1. What is the CLC Venture Crew?
Cascade Leadership Challenge is a Scouts BSA (formerly Boy Scouts of America) Venture Crew, #310, with a mission to develop youth (generally 14-18) into capable and confident leaders through outdoor adventure and experiences. Training to lead people up mountains, down rapids, along trails, and more prepares youth for future roles as leaders in business, politics, and elsewhere. The CLC Venture Crew is run through volunteer power - parents, past CLC Venture Crew members, and other interested in helping youth make up the bulk of our volunteers. The Crew’s chartered organization, also called Cascade Leadership Challenge, provides program guidance, meeting facilities, and lends the Crew equipment (charters are granted by Scouts BSA to local councils and to community-based organizations to operate the Scouting program for one year, and are renewable annually).
2. Tell me about safety and supervision.
Safety is our number one priority. We follow all Scouts BSA safety protocols including the Guide to Safe Scouting and Youth Protection training. We have experienced leaders that will make the “go, no go call”. That means there is someone in charge to make the decision if the trip should be cancelled, for any reason. Every trip includes at least one male and female adult who has training and experience in that area. We spend extensive time training the youth in wilderness first aid, rafting, kayaking, climbing, and mountaineering skills. We always take the time appropriate to make sure everyone is safe are not afraid to turn back for any reason at any time. While there have been plenty of blisters, scrapes and bumps, we have never had anyone seriously injured or hurt. Scouts BSA provides insurance and supplemental coverage to all scouting units and chartered organizations, including CLC.
3. How do I (or my youth) become involved?
Everyone is invited - no prior training or experience is required. If you are just investigating CLC at this point, then you may want to contact our “on-boarding” volunteer parent, Eden. She will be happy to discuss with you what CLC is like.
If you already know that the CLC Venture Crew is for you, then you can just start coming to meetings and trips! If you contact us ahead of of time we will make sure that someone is there to greet you and introduce you to everyone. We will need you to fill out a Scouts BSA intake sheet and waiver to make it official.
4. What is expected of the youth members and parents?
We expect youth to be active members and not just consumers. We have trained adults, former CLC Venture Crew members, and current members to teach the necessary skills. We understand that not all youth will jump in right away and be fully active, but as they progress we will be there to help them along. Prior outdoor skills and experience is not necessary, just a desire to learn and have fun is all we ask for.
Parents can be involved at all different levels. We have some parents that are actively involved with everything from planning and leading trips to helping with fundraising efforts. Other parents choose to let their youth do this on their own and watch them grow from the sidelines. We welcome whatever help parents have to give, but there are no specific requirements.
5. How much does it cost and how do I pay?
“Get in the van and pay what you can!” is one of our founders sayings. We do everything we can to keep this affordable and to cover our costs. Youth just getting started may pay on a trip by trip basis - usually less than $25 for a day trip and $50-$100 for an overnight trip, including necessary gear and food.
If the CLC Venture Crew is a good fit, then youth are encouraged to become a member of Scouts BSA with a membership fee of $93 per month. This covers all meetings, leadership training, use of gear and equipment, unlimited day trips per month (there are usually a few each month); one overnight trip a month; and one long trip a summer. Many youths do more trips than that and just pay additionally for each trip. We try to keep costs low - overnight trips about $50-$100 and weekly trips are usually no more than $380.
6. What trips do you go on and when are they?
What we do and where we go changes from month to month and year to year. There are many day trips rafting, hiking, climbing and sea kayaking. We generally try to do at least one overnight trip a month and weekly trips at spring break and every week during the summer. Many youths choose to spend their entire summer with us going from trip to trip to trip.
Summers typically kick off the week after Seattle public schools let out with a week of “Camp Disaster” where we camp for the week in the Leavenworth area. We spend a lot of time training the youth for summer adventures before and after daily rafting, climbing and hiking trips.
For water sports, we typically have day trips throughout the year down the Wenatchee, Skagit, Skykomish, Middle Middle and Sauk rivers. For longer trips, we often go down the Deschutes, Salmon, and Tieton. There is also a week-long sea kayaking trip in the San Juan Islands.
If rock and alpine are more your thing, we also do longer climbs during the summer - St. Helens, Adams, Baker, Hood, and Rainier are mountains we regularly send groups to, in addition to lots of hiking in the Olympics and Cascades and regular climbing trips throughout the state.
On occasion, we put together longer expeditions and have done trips for our most experienced members to Everest, New Zealand, Denali, Yosemite, Aconcagua and down the Nahanni. We try to do an expedition trip every other year or so.
7. Can you accommodate dietary habits and food allergies?
Yes, just let us know and we can make it work. We have youth with all eating habits and allergies and are committed to doing whatever is necessary to keep them safe and healthy.
8. How do I see the calendar and sign up for trips?
Events are kept on our calendar and password protected for privacy. Email info@CascadeChallenge.org to get started.
9. How are trips planned and organized?
The CLC Venture Crew has a system of “movers”, “shakers” and “participants”. Movers are adults that help assist the youth in planning and executing trips. Each trip has a male and female adult. They do the driving and overseeing of the youth, stepping in when necessary, but generally letting the youth lead. Shakers are youth that plan the trips. Each trip has two shakers that plan the meals, make the schedule, do the food shopping and generally get everything ready. All youth are trained to be shakers. Participants are youth that do not have a leadership role, but are expected to actively participate in all levels of the adventure - from packing to clean up. CLC Venture Crew does not have consumers, everyone will be actively involved. We are not a guide service or organization where youth are just dropped off and told what to do. Everyone is expected to chip in.
10. Do you wear uniforms or need any special gear?
We do not have uniforms, though we occasionally get logo t-shirts, hats, or other gear.
In terms of gear, we believe that you should have to buy as little gear as possible and can generally provide the youth with everything they need. We have access to a warehouse full of top-shelf gear - rafts, kayaks, paddles, wet suits, dry suits, booties, splash jackets, helmets, climbing shoes and boots, harnesses, ropes, ice axes, crampons, backpacks, tents, sleeping pads and pretty much anything else they may need.
Youth may need to bring some personal gear - pants, jackets, gloves, long underwear, etc. However, it is our goal to provide as much as we can.