Deanna Anderson, a Black Hills State University business administration-management major from Tea, was recently recognized with the Boy Scouts of America’s Area Venturing Leadership Award, a regional award recognizing the immense work she has done to promote Venturing and Scouts throughout Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Deanna founded the 605 Venturing Crew to promote adventure through leadership in the Spearfish community. Deanna began her involvement in Venturing during high school, and, after graduation, she decided Black Hills State University was the best place to continue her pursuit of daring endeavors and leadership.
“I knew wherever I was going that I still wanted to do scouts. Out of all the locations I could have chosen for college, BHSU was the best for adventure,” said Deanna. “I’ve been able to cross a lot of things off my bucket list, like rock wall climbing and hiking Black Elk Peak, which is the highest terrain I’ve ever hiked—now I really want to go bungee jumping!”
When Deanna first arrived in the Black Hills for college at BHSU, there were no local Venturing Crews. Deanna took initiative and founded the 605 Crew, which currently has eight members and includes both BHSU and Spearfish High School students.
“Our focus is high adventure!” said Deanna, “We just had an event where we jumped off a 60 foot tower and rode an 800 foot zip line at the Tramway in Keystone.” The Crew plans to have a tubing event at Terry Peak in December.
Deanna is the 2017-2018 President for both Area One Venturing and the Central Region Venturing Officers Association. She has been able to implement her marketing education with her current role as youth advisor for the adult committee for the local Troop 17. She is actively involved on the BHSU campus through Campus Activities Board, Talking Hands, Nights of Country Swing, and Fashion Design Club.
“Growing up, both of my brothers were in Boy Scouts and I was jealous,” Deanna explained why she first joined the Scouting program. She was involved in Girl Scouts for 2 years. Later, at age 12, she began searching for a Venturing Crew in her hometown of Tea near Sioux Falls.
“It was difficult to find a Venturing Crew in my area—Venturing is still a fairly young program,” said Deanna. Instead of waiting to find a crew, she and a friend started their own. Deanna explained that, because Venturing doesn’t have set programming, each Crew gets to define their group and theme, “There are art, cooking, and high adventure crews! My first crew liked swimming, traveling, and cooking.”
Deanna’s involvement in Venturing has meant more than lake days and cookouts. “At our events, we talk about life and what we want to do with our futures. We learn a lot of life skills that we didn’t have before.”
Along with her crew, Deanna has developed into a community leader, assumed multiple Venturing positions, achieved awards and recognitions, and traveled to international meetings in Spain and France. She continues to be involved with her original Sioux Falls Crew remotely as their web designer.
Deanna’s first adventure in the Black Hills took place the summer before her freshman year. While mountain biking down South Dakota’s second highest peak during Venturing Crew 361’s Black Hills Weekend Adventure, Deanna crashed her bike, breaking both her arms. Deanna couldn’t imagine missing out on the Crew’s next adventure. She pleaded with the doctor who had just finished casting her arms, “Can I still go rafting tomorrow?”
Though she may have been sidelined for that event, this young leader continues to be actively involved in the Boy Scouts of America’s Venturing Program. “Lead the adventure—even if it doesn’t follow the plan,” Deanna has striven to live by this moto since she began Scouting at age 5.
When asked about her hopes for a future career, Deanna said, “I don’t want to have an office job, I want to be proactive. I’ll most likely work with Scouts again— I just love it too much!”
Deanna says she wouldn’t take a moment of her Venturing experiences back, “I got to meet a lot of amazing people, and they’re still my friends today.”
According to Helen Lockwood, the Venturing Advisor for Area 1, “Venturing is part of the Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women who are 14 through 20 years of age. Venturing focuses on high adventure and leadership skills. On the Area level of Venturing, officers promote the Venturing program, design and hold for leadership training, outdoor area adventures and camping for crew in their area.”