In the history of the Boy Scouts of America’s Venturing Program, no one from the Heart of America Council has earned a Summit Award. until Robyn Bryson.
A senior at Shawnee Mission West High School, Robyn had watched her three younger brothers benefit from the Boy Scouts and knew she wanted to be involved. So, when she learned about the Venturing Program, which is open to both young men and women, Robyn was all-in.
“I knew I wanted to get in and learn more about myself and what I am really capable of in the back country and in general,” said Robyn, who served Venturing Crew 2085 out of Iron Horse District en route to her Summit Award. “I never thought I’d be honored like this, because I was doing what I was supposed to be doing in my everyday life and in softball and scouting.”
Through the Venturing Program, young men and women are given the ability to pursue a common adventure with a group—or Crew—and acquire life skills and valuable life experiences. Through the process, they develop the areas of leadership, event-planning, organization, communication and responsibility, and learn more about themselves and their areas of passion and ability.
To earn the Summit Award, which represents Venturing's highest honor, “Venturers” must serve the crew as a leader— both formally and informally— and be a mentor to others. They also are charged with strengthening their community by designing and leading a service project to benefit others.
For Robyn, the community betterment aspect was a major draw.
“There are so many opportunities for community service out there and so many places that could use a few hours here and there,” she said. “It just feels good to know that you took part in helping.”
Robyn’s service project involved multi-purpose improvements to the playground at Tomahawk Elementary School in the Shawnee Mission School District. First, she painted a 30-foot by 40-foot two-lane racetrack on a large concrete area, which would give students additional activity options during recess. Then, she designed and built a “buddy bench,” which would give those who didn’t have anyone to play with at recess a place to sit. Others then would know that they were in need of someone to include them.
“The buddy bench was a measure to prevent exclusion at recess and other activities,” said Robyn. “Our community depends on all of us to be its best and to continue to improve. By helping our community, we are improving it.”
With Robyn’s Summit Award, she not only becomes the first Venturer in the Heart of America Council to earn the honor, but one of the few in the nation. For her achievement, she was recognized as the Blue KC Sporting Samaritan on September 30, 2017, receiving tickets to the game and a gift certificate for Sporting KC merchandise and was also recognized on the pitch prior to the game.