By Lars Dalseide | October 20 2012 13:48

Recruits receive Thanksgiving thanks to Illinois Venturing Crew

Larry Quandahl of NRA's Youth Programs Department popped into my office this week with a handful of stories. All deserve to be heard, but one that jumped out at me centered on an Illinois Venturing Crew raising money for the local Naval training base. Thanks to Venture Crew 1220 for sharing their tale.

Itasca, Illinois - Venture Crew 1220 of the Itasca/Wood Dale neighborhoods of Illinois came to the rescue of Naval recruits at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. The Venturers of Crew 1220 are experienced when it comes to using NRA Basic and Instructor Courses for fundraisers. They have offered both courses in the past to help pay for high adventure trips, like Philmont. In December 2011, Jim Appleby (an NRA Appointed Training Counselor) told the Crew about VFW Post 2801 of Villa Park. It set the stage for everything.

Every Thanksgiving, the VFW hosts a dinner for the Naval recruits with the help of more than 150 volunteers. They host more than 200 recruits that night, and it's nothing but fun. What isn't any fun is the large expense of the transportation of the Naval recruits to Villa Park. After hearing about those $1200.00 transportation costs, the Venturers decided to host a NRA Pistol Instructor Course to raise funds.

First on the list was to secure a venue. Maywood Sportsmen's Club has always been receptive. Venture Crew 1220 holds a number of shooting events at Maywood Sportsmen's Club every year. Michelangelo Scafidi, Crew Advisor and Club President, lined up 23 candidates for the class. A few hours spent learning their lessons, and 23 instructor candidates were added to the rolls of NRA Certified Pistol Instructors. It resulted in the most successful fundraiser the Crew has ever held.

On March 19, 2012, Venture Crew President Lauren Scafidi and the members of Crew 1220 tendered a check in the amount of $1,500.00 to VFW Post 2801. That would cover the transportation cost and more. Wayne Beasley, Senior Vice Commander of Post 2801, was happy to receive the check.

Martin Wezeman of Post 2801 said that not only will the Naval recruits benefit from the donation – the Post will too. Now, they will have additional funds to host their "Welcome Home All Veterans" events. Mr. Wezeman also pointed out that the Post has been involved with the Thanksgiving event before he joined 30 years ago.

Venture Crew 1220 concentrates on the shooting sports and is open to young adults both male and female, ages 14-20. Crew 1220 also has a number of partial PADI scholarships available. If you are in the Chicagoland area and would like more information on joining Venture Crew 1220 or its scheduled events, please contact them at venturecrew1220@aol.com. Venture Crew 1220 would also like to thank all of the NRA Certified Pistol Instructors who volunteered to help put on the NRA Basic Pistol Instructor Class: James Appleby, Gordon Barnhill, Tom Conaway, Tim Forde, John Meyers, Martin Wezeman and Michelangelo Scafidi.

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