As soon as we met Patti Monahan on Facebook, we knew we would feature her on Naples Noteworthy. She is the kind of person that we love to spotlight: someone who is kind, generous with her time and gifts, who gives back to the community, and who has a passion for life. Within just a few minutes of speaking with her we learned about her amazing family, and how they are all involved in Naples BSA Venturing Crew 242, where Patti is the Venturing Advisor, daughter Sarah is the President and a Ranger, husband David Kisner Jr. is the Committee Chair, and son David III is an Eagle Scout and one of the crew.
The family does this and many other activities together, so they are always on the go. Because they spend so much time together on Venturing Crew 242, Naples Noteworthy also took an interest in the family and what they are doing together and for the community. Venturing Crew 242 is one thing that brings them all together, and in this day and age, that’s a rare thing to see in a family. Which is why we’ve named the Monahan-Kisners the Most Adventurous Family in Naples.
About the Family
Patti is a Personal Assistant and Health and Life Insurance Consultant and her husband David has worked as a corrections officer for the Ft Myers prison for 22 years. Patti has been involved with scouting since her son David was 5 and was also a Girl Scout Leader when daughter Sarah got into scouting. Venturing Crew 242 was just the next logical step. David got involved with Crew 242 when his children asked him to help with some of their projects, and he enjoys being involved in the Venturing Crew. As a matter of coincidence, Patti also takes TRX classes at Addicted to Fitness, which was mentioned in an earlier Naples Noteworthy feature about Fitness Guru Jon Bates. The family currently resides in Golden Gate estates.
Patti attends church where she feels her talents (learned to this point) are best used. Currently, that is at St Monica’s Episcopal Church, Crew 242’s charter. “The church does a lot for the community as they have for over 25 years,” says Patti. “They wanted a crew and we wanted a loving home–a perfect match. The pastor and youth pastor are fun. Friendly, and give us the freedom to serve in our own way. I respect, appreciate, and love them. They, Pastor Kathryn and Youth Pastor Jonathan, are also Facebook friends who keep in touch, showing they care about each of us even with their busy schedules.
“I also serve at Livewire Church which began at the Hollywood 20! They have since moved to Toll Boulevard, which makes our job as a production team easier. I can hardly express how much I LOVE working with technology and such a young, friendly, kind and spiritual family there. When I am unable to serve, I can watch the service online (though I miss my friends there a lot when I don’t get to hug them in person). Pastor Kristine and Josh are wonderful as are their family and the entire Livewire team producing the Sunday experience.” (Naples Noteworthy listed Livewire Church as one of the Top 5 Non-Denominational Churches in Naples in an earlier feature.)
David and Sarah both attended Palmetto Ridge High School. David graduated a few years ago and is a server at Wyndemere Country Club. He and his father both enjoy fishing. David has had scouting in his life since he was 5, is now, as we said, an Eagle Scout, and intends always to have scouting in it, in some form. Sarah is currently in the collegiate program at Florida SouthWestern State College for her senior year where she is completing an Associate’s Degree. She was recently featured in July’s è Bella Magazine. Sarah is a referee at SWFL Bubble Soccer for Naples games when needed. She has also been active in scouting and is now a Ranger, the equivalent of an Eagle Scout. She enjoys many activities. The Cope and NYLT (National Youth Leadership Training) programs are her favorites. Sarah was the first female Senior Patrol Leader of the NYLT. Like her mother, she likes to research and be a problem solver.
Naples Noteworthy: We asked Patti Monahan, Advisor to Naples BSA Venturing Crew 242, to tell us a little about the Crew, what it is, how it began, who can join, and what sort of activities they do.
Patti Monahan: Venturing is a division of the Boy Scouts of America started over a decade ago (similar to the Explorers program) and is high adventure. It is designed for older youth, Co-Ed, ages 14-21 to run their own crew with adult advisor guidance. Venturing activities include hiking, rock climbing, snorkeling, archery, first aid, building, and like the other divisions of scouts, helping others. Crews are overseen by organizations such as clubs or churches. St Monica’s Episcopal Church at 7070 Immokalee Road, kindly extended the invitation to charter Venturing Crew 242 and officially became our charter February 1, 2015. They also charter Cub Scout Pack 242. We are very grateful for the support St Monica’s Church has extended to Scouting and the community. I can hardly express my gratitude in meeting Pastor Kathryn Schillreff and youth pastor Jonathan Evans; both are good friends, kind, and a ton of fun! Had it not been for this church, many teens might have outgrown their scouting opportunity by the time a charter could be found or formed.
Venturing Leadership uses adults for guidance (like a shadow) for the youth. The youth of Crew 242 wrote their own bylaws and chose to hold semi-annual elections. Officer positions include the President, Vice President of Administration, Vice President of Programs, Treasurer, Secretary, Webmaster, and Venturing guides. Awards in scouting are most commonly associated with the Eagle, a boy’s highest award, typically taking years to achieve. A young lady would earn a Ranger award similarly. The current president of 242, my daughter Sarah Kisner, earned this award. Her project was a playground area improvement at the women’s shelter in Naples, a cause she strongly supports. The new award system implemented in 2015 has replaced the Ranger with the Summit award. The new ranks are Venturing, Pathfinder, Discovery, and Summit. Summit is the highest award and all of them are based on 4 Venturing values, abbreviated as ALPS. These are Adventure, Leadership, Personal Growth, and Service. Silver is technically the highest achievement, but Ranger presented itself much more similarly to an Eagle Scout rank, as it included more rigorous challenges, including a service project involving long-term planning.
Naples Noteworthy: We asked each of the family members to relate which activities they did on the venturing crew that they liked best and why.
Sarah Kisner: Philmont, New Mexico with NAYLE (National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience). My favorite experience would likely be my NAYLE experience in New Mexico. This was a week-long leadership course that intended to put leadership experience behind prior existing leadership knowledge. Through this opportunity, I was able to hike Philmont Scout Ranch and the famous Tooth of Time, which has an altitude of 9,003 ft. I even brought my ukulele with me and got to play at the summit. Some of my other favorite experiences were backpacking in Tennessee and Georgia several times, as well as being able to go whitewater rafting, hang-gliding, parasailing, and zip lining.
Patti Monahan: Everything! Hang-gliding, huge inflatable mountains in Florida to running, to flying a plane and more! What began as a curious inquiry into scouting when my son was 5, became a lifelong journey in our family’s growth together and individually. I also enjoyed being a Girl Scout and Girl Scout Leader from the time my daughter was 6. Having both my children in the same program at the same time has enabled me to see them work together and the time savings is a bonus!
David Kisner III: Philmont in New Mexico. Two weeks of tough hiking.
Husband, David Kisner Jr: Hang-gliding was adventurous. Quality time with my family.
Naples Noteworthy: Patti, you mentioned volunteering with the crew at Habitat for Humanity. Have you done other community service like that?
Patti Monahan: This crew’s focus is community service and technology. We have volunteered at Relay for Life, the Women’s Shelter events, community outreach, church events, Habitat for Humanity, Project Outreach, Feed the Homeless, Scouting for Food, the VFW, and “tech nights”, among others. Our crew youth decided together we wanted to focus our volunteering efforts on military veterans in the community. We are fortunate to have technologically-gifted individuals who enjoy sharing that knowledge at “tech nights”, an event focused on mobile device learning.
Naples Noteworthy: Sarah, how do you like being President of the Crew? Can you also relate some of your experiences at COPE with the JROTC week?
Sarah Kisner: I enjoy being president of the crew because I feel like I can reach out to younger kids who really need the guidance. Staffing COPE was really great. I’ve been in this program nearly 6 years but this really was a new challenge. I loved this opportunity as a staff member because I was 30+ feet up and was able to coax JROTC members through the challenging COPE course.
Naples Noteworthy: How do you find time to do all these venturing projects?
Patti Monahan: Time…That is the million dollar question. It’s very challenging. I’ve never had a vacation in my life and likely never will, so knocking off my bucket list items as a shared endeavor in very tiny steps on a weekend or day gives me hope and keeps me inspired.
Naples Noteworthy: What encouragement would you give for someone to get involved in venturing?
Patti Monahan: Not only are there countless opportunities for service hours, (which can be applied to both school and scouts) but we offer fun, affordable, and diverse activities. If you don’t like one activity, there is always another completely different one coming up. One of the other different things is the age group. In this program, you’re with older teens and the program is focused on this age group. Join!
Naples Noteworthy: Have any of you ever tackled something you weren’t sure you could do…but then you did it? How did that make you feel?
Sarah Kisner: Personally, I was terrified to be the SPL (Senior Patrol Leader) of NYLT (National Youth Leadership Training). Especially as a female in a male-dominated program, (Boy Scouts in general) I felt all eyes were on me as the first female in the position. However, the constant support I have received through this program has been remarkable.
Patti Monahan: I had a fall (Humpty Dumpty) that caused me to become very hesitant about heights. Some people dive into a cold pool to get warm. I chose to go to the top and work my way back down to face my fears. After my first skydive, I went hang gliding, parasailing, and flew a plane at the Naples airport. I felt reborn. I’m not finished yet.
Naples Noteworthy: Do you feel your participating in the Crew has any connection with your spirituality? If so, how?
Patti Monahan: I’ve had several spiritual experiences in my journey though I’m not sure I could put a name to them. I experienced concerns (spiritually, physically, financially, mentally) that made me question where my future would lead. As part of that learning, I have had many doubts. There have been ups and downs during that journey that I wouldn’t change because they are a part of what has brought me into this part of my life puzzle. It has not been a perfect game to fit all the pieces into. There were times when we’ve all wanted to quit. I’m sensitive. I hurt. I love. I treasure. I pay it forward with no expectations save one: that it be paid forward to someone, somewhere, somehow! (That is my pet peeve and I call it “it’s the point”)! Because the earth is propelled forward with gravity, I feel something does that. An energy we cause to move it. If that energy is only absorbed and consumed, it will fade. I believe our combined passions, in a positive light movement, have a force that if given away, will do just that—keep going. Someone needs what you have learned and we don’t have enough time to learn it all and certainly not alone.
Naples Noteworthy: How much has venturing brought you all together as a family?
Sarah Kisner: I cannot explain how much closer this has brought my family. Through Venturing, my mom has become my best friend and I have the ability to help her in something she’s passionate about.
Patti Monahan: ^^^ My mom button just went into the waterfall.
My extensions of me, my kids, are everything. I am once again a part of their adventures, similar to when they were younger but this time, they don’t need me. They want to share with me what they have learned. That’s more valuable than any Visa commercial! Venturing allows me to see the world from a fresh set of eyes. Their views, their learning experiences and challenges, make me a better person not only through diversity, but they hold me to a standard that requires me to forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made in life and will continue to make as part of the human journey as well as recognize the positive offerings I can gift.
Naples Noteworthy: Feel free to share anything else about your experiences as part of Crew 242.
Patti Monahan: There are unique challenges in teen attendance and group funding. At the same time, the unique advantage of a group of young adults who have learned to survive together in the wilderness as well as invitations to be a part of their community (sometimes unplanned), allow for an experience that is like no other! It is versatile, understanding, positive, challenging, and absolutely incredible. You will not emerge as the same person you came in as. Humans are meant to evolve and it’s best retained, and shared while still young enough to do so.
How to Get Involved in Venturing
The best way to get involved in venturing is to show up at one of the meetings. You can find out when Crew 242 is meeting at their website, above. Or leave a message at the Facebook page.