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Y’all wouldn’t believe the amazing time Area 5 had at Winterfest! Now if you’re asking, what’s Winterfest? Let me tell you, its only the biggest, bestest, and most attended Venturing event in the Southern Region. It’s not just for Venturers either, Winterfest has Sea Scouts, and Explorers too! They crammed all of us into Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
We kicked off the weekend with an amazing opening show Friday night. It’s was poppin’ and hoppin’, but it was only the beginning. After the show, we got into the region talent show auditions where you could see all the wacky and radical things the region has to offer. But the party wasn’t just in the convention center, the party was also on the streets of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge with Scouts going to Ripely’s attractions and Wonderworks.
Sadly, the night had to come to an end, but the fun was just beginning. Saturday started bright and early, especially for the staff. The main morning event was the annual cardboard boat regatta. Each unit got together to design and construct boats made only of tape and cardboard. Some of the designs were pretty unique. After either making it to the end of the pool or sinking gloriously like the Titanic, it was time to go bowling where each crew has a ball every year! (Buh dum Tis)
More fun was waiting back at the convention center. There were many different activities ranging from volleyball to rock climbing and even Quidditch which was a fan favorite of Crew 4213 of Palmetto Council. They also had the great V swing where you can get pulled up to the ceiling and swing across the floor of the main convention center. There were also squeezeboxes and the milk crate tower (fan favorites of Tori Jenkins from Crew 6 in Piedmont Council).
In the convention center, we saw all the Explorers competing to win different championships. They had archery and shooting where Crew 420 from Blue Ridge Council destroyed the competition. There were also great displays and booths throughout the halls. You could’ve even stopped by the SR5 booth and learned how amazing Legacy is or stopped at the Southern Region booth and met our Region President (Ryan Davis) and Advisor (Sherry McGugin).
This Day of fun and excitement came to an end at the closing show, which included a showcase of the top 5 winners of the talent show and awards. Shoutout to Rosie Simmons from Crew 469 in Coastal Carolina Council who won the talent show with her rendition of Mariah Carey’s “Hero”. After a good night of sleep (or lack of if you were up playing Monopoly like our Area President Jackson), we attended the Southern Region Brunch which brought most, if not all, the areas of the Southern Region together for a time of fellowship and most importantly breakfast. They gave out the Venturing Leadership awards for the region and awarded each area president with their own custom belt buckle. After the weekend I realized why I am in Venturing and why I hold my area position. Not for personal gain, but for others to enjoy and be molded by the Venturing program.
-Andrew Salisbury, Southern Region Area 5 Vice President of Communications