Please join us in congratulating and welcoming the 2017 – 2018 Western Region VOA! Read below to learn more about them.
Western Region Venturing President: Jessica Kent
Jessica Kent joined Venturing after she connected with a Crew that was leaving on her 14th birthday to backpack across Catalina Island for 6 days. Being the avid adventure seeker and outdoorsperson that she is, she leapt at the chance. During that trek, Jessica learned about the importance of Venturing and began to share it with others. She became involved with Crew leadership positions, planning and marketing events to bring growth. In 2014, Jessica became the Council VOA VP of Programs, becoming the Council VOA President the following term.
Jessica currently attends the University of Utah studying Civil, Environmental, and Nuclear Engineering. Originally part of Crew 412, in Fountain Valley, California, she has earned her Venturing Silver, Ranger, and Religious awards. Now a part of Crew 9410 in Salt Lake City, she is working toward her Trust, Summit, and Super Nova awards. She has served on staff at her councils summer camp for four years, and is currently the Western Region VOA VP of Communications. Camping nearly 200 nights and volunteering over 800 hours in her Venturing career, she has attended Jamboree 2013, VenturingFest 2016, Powder Horn O’ahu, and is looking forward to staffing Jamboree later this summer.
Jessica intends to create effective and informative visibility throughout the region by engaging youth in the ways they succeed best. Her plans this term include improving communication between and within the VOA, starting VOAs in Areas 2 East and West (as well as supporting and continuing growth in Areas 1, 3, 4, and 6), and continuing to connect with Venturers in the Region to educate them about their support systems and opportunities, among other small tasks – like promoting VenturingFest 2018 and the 20th Anniversary of Venturing to name a few.
Western Region Venturing Vice President of Administration: Sarah Chen
Sarah Chen is a member of Orange County Council located in Santa Ana, California, which is a part of Area 4 in the Western Region. She is currently registered in Crew 1210 and has been involved in Scouting since the age of 13 1⁄2. She joined Scouting because she strongly believes in the purpose of Venturing as a youth-led program focused on high adventure, public service, and leadership development. She originally founded Crew 1210 as a high-adventure crew after seeing her brother have so much fun in his Boy Scout troop. It was not until she was exposed to the VOA did she realize what leadership and passion towards Venturing is. To this day, she is constantly inspired by her VOA peers and continue to do the best to live up to the Venturing motto.
Sarah is a senior in the Classical Voice Conservatory at the Orange County School of the Arts. She studies voice with Christin Cornell and has been her student for five years. Honors include: Classical Singer National Semifinalist; Musical Arts Regional Competition; Professional Opera Singers’ Association 2nd Place. Performances include: Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Dorabella in Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte, Ginevra in Handel’s Ariodante, and Fidelio in Beethoven’s Fidelio. During the summer of 2016, Sarah performed in major cathedralsand churches in Austria and Germany and sang chamber works with a select group of chamber singers from her school.
Outside of singing, Sarah enjoys volunteering at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Long Beach as a Teen Ambassador. She was awarded at Capitol Hill for earning the Congressional Gold Award, where she dedicated more than 400 hours to voluntary service, 200 hours of personal development, 200 hours of physical fitness, and 5-day exploration/expedition. Sarah will attend Stanford University in the fall studying Science, Technology, and Society.
Sarah wants to increase Venturing membership and promote its program across the Western Region.
Western Region Venturing Vice President of Communication: Reece Kilbey
Reece is a member of the Aloha Council located in Honolulu, Hawaii which is part of Area 6 in the Western Region. Reece became involved in Scouting at age 9 with Pack 364 in order to make friends and immerse himself in the outdoors. Reece is currently registered in Scouting as a member of Venturing Crew 808, a crew he founded, where he serves as the Crew President. Additionally, Reece currently serves as the Area 6 VOA Vice President of Communications. Reece is very excited about staffing NYLT Academy LA and Jamboree 2017 as Aerial Sports staff. He will attend The University of Hawaii – Manoa in the fall, studying Botany and rare plants, where his passion for his orchid garden can thrive.
Reece is very excited to engage the Western Region in new and exciting ways.
Western Region Venturing Vice President of Program: Quan Phung
Western Region Area 1 Venturing President: Melissa Schaefers
Melissa Schaefers became involved with Venturing at age 13 by starting an outdoor-focused crew with her brother and their friend. Since then she’s hiked in the Redwoods, Three Sister’s Wilderness, and along the Rogue River with her crew. She has attended NYLT and NYLT Leadership Academy and will be staffing both this summer. She has earned the Pathfinder award and is excited to continue on her path to Summit. She will continue attending Linn-Benton Community College this Fall.
Melissa hopes to improve the Venturing program by enabling Venturers to take full advantage of all the Area has to offer with clear communication between all 12 Councils within Area 1.
Western Region Area 2 East Venturing President: Cristian Joya
Cristian Joya is from Western Colorado Council in Basalt, Colorado and attends the University of Colorado at Boulder, majoring in MCD Biology. He earned an Associate of Science- Biology degree with honors at Colorado Mountain College while still attending Basalt High School. Christian is an Eagle Scout and has also earned the Ranger award as well as the Venturing award, Discovery Award, Sea Scout Apprentice Award and plans to earn the Sea Scout Quartermaster Award. Cristian serves as Section Secretary for the Order of the Arrow [OA] representing Mic-O-Say Lodge 541 where he serves as Vice Chief.
Cristian is excited to build up an Area VOA where one does not yet exist, and is ready for the challenges that accompany it.
Western Region Area 3 Venturing President: Jack McClelland
Jack is a member of the Pacific Skyline Council located in San Mateo, California which is part of Area 3 in the Western Region, and is currently dual registered with Crew 420 and Troop 28. Jack became involved in Scouting at the age of 8 with Pack 58 in Hillsborough because he enjoyed camping, wanted to race Pinewood Derby cars, and wanted to get to know kids outside of his school. He is currently the President of the Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council’s Venturing Officers’ Association.
Western Region Area 4 Venturing President: Natalie MacEwan
Natalie MacEwan is a current Junior at El Camino Real Charter High School. She is a goal oriented and ambitious individual with a background in team environments, such as sports (competing on her high school volleyball, water polo, and swim teams), leadership, community projects, and more. Natalie was inspired to join Venturing due to her immense passion and appreciation for the great outdoors. Shortly after joining, she was sought out by the Venturing Officers Association, applied, and became Western Los Angeles County Council Venturing’s Vice President of Communications for the 2015-2016 term. Currently, Natalie serves as the Western Los Angeles County Council Venturing President.
Natalie is very excited to continue upon the growth from this past term.
Western Region Area 6 Venturing President: Alexandra Basurto
Alexandra Basurto, who lives in Tucson AZ, has been active in the Venturing program for the past four years, serving as VP in her Crew and the Catalina Council VOA. One of her favorite part of Venturing is being part of the Baden-Powell Pistol team, which she is the President/Captain; the team is the only BSA Venturing shooting team in AZ, which shoots both pistols and rifles. She attends Cienega High School and is in the NJROTC program, where she is on the drill team and orienteering team. She is also on the track team, German club, and Link team. Alexandra has also served on staff with NYLT, summer camp, and various camporees. She has participated in Philmont treks and the International Pimaree, a camping event between Mexican and Catalina Councils.
She is very excited to take on the responsibilities of the Area 6 President and to serve the area well.