From shining stars to city lights, Venture Crew was on a high adventure

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Posted: Friday, August 23, 2013 12:00 am

Whether it’s maneuvering a rocky trail or managing packed streets, Gretna Venture Crew has done it all.

Venture Crew 363 — a coed scouting organization for teenagers — recently returned from their high adventure trip to New York, where they backpacked in the Catskill Mountains as well as visited New York City.

“I think it was a little bit of a culture shock,” said Cindy Mefford, associate advisor to the crew.

Mefford, fellow leaders and 11 teens took the trip, which she said had sweeping contrasts between being out in tranquil nature and the city that never sleeps.

“We just saw as much as we could,” she said.

Mefford said the annual high-adventure trip is planned each September as the crew comes together and discusses what it is they want to do for the trip, whether it be rafting, visiting a beach or hiking.

“Once we narrow it down to what we want to do, we pick where we want to do it,” she said.

Last September the crew came up with an eclectic group of desires, which resulted in the trip to New York, which allowed for rafting, backpacking and the city sights.

The trip started on July 26 when the group arrived in Albany, N.Y., and took a train to the Adirondack Mountains where they went on a one-day whitewater rafting trip, which included some intense rapids.

Following the rafting trip, the crew visited the Catskill Mountains for four days of backpacking and took on the Devil’s Path, rated one of the top 10 most challenging trails in the nation by Backpacker magazine.

Mefford said the crew was eager to take on the challenge, though it had its share of difficulties.

“Every year, we have new members who may have not been through things like this before,” she said.

However, she said the Devil’s Path provided a great opportunity for teamwork as it presented many challenges.

“There were places where maybe the wall was seven- to eight-feet high,” she said.

In order to scale these walls, crew members would have to work together to either pass backpacks or provide lifts and boosts to other members.

Following the four-day hike, Venture Crew went to New York City for a day, where they saw such sights as the Hard Rock Cafe, the 9/11 Memorial, the Empire State Building and Times Square.

The crew even finished the day in style by riding in a Hummer limousine to the LaGuardia Airport.

Mefford said that as the trip had such a wide split between activities, certain scouts enjoyed some parts more than others, but greatly enjoyed the trip as a whole.

“Different kids, different tastes,” she said.

She said this was her fifth trip with Venture Crew, and while she’s often asked which one was her favorite, she said they each have unique things about them that she enjoys most, resulting in no favorite trips.

With September only a month away, Mefford said she and the crew are excited to already get started on next year’s high adventure.

She said the crew meets on Thursday nights at Gretna Middle School, and welcomes anyone — scouts and leaders alike — who is interested in joining to attend a meeting or two.

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