Fall Fun Rally Recap

Sea Scouts from Indiana Ship 393 at the FFR.

Sea Scouts from Indiana Ship 393 at the FFR.

Have you heard about the largest Venturing event in the nation? The Fall Fun Rally(FFR) just took place the last weekend in September and is already scheduled to be September 25-27, 2015 next year, so mark your calendars! At this past FFR, there were Scouts and Scouters in attendance from over 14 different states from three of the four regions in the nation totaling to over 1,300 people. A large group of Sea Scouts from the Central and Southern Region were in attendance as well.

Sea Scout and Venturing leadership from around the country traveled to the FFR for the weekend.

Sea Scout and Venturing leadership from around the country at FFR.

Some of these Scouts included Peter Schmidt, the National Sea Scout Boatswain; Maddie Culwell, the National Venturing President; Emily Mausshardt, the Central Region Venturing President; Edward Abraham, the Western Region Venturing President; and Katie Bruton, the Central Region Sea Scout Boatswain.


Central Region Boatswain Katie Bruton Speaks at a training session.

Central Region Boatswain teaching at FFR.

Peter, the National Boatswain, spoke at the Sea Scouting courses that took place during the weekend about some of the new changes coming to the Sea Scouting program. Katie, the Central Region Boatswain, taught several Sea Scout courses from “What is Sea Scouting? to Introduction to Leadership Skills for Ships(ILSS). There were many other courses offered throughout the weekend including some of the new trainings required for the new Venturing awards. Besides trainings courses, there were over 90 events including crate stacking, one of the most popular events from the weekend. If you would like to read more about some of the awesome things that took place at this past year’s FFR and to view some pictures, click here!

Katie Bruton
Central Region Sea Scout Boatswain

The National Boatswain Bearing Episode 1

The October Edition of the National Boatswain Bearing is now available! The National Sea Scout Boatswain’s Monthly Video Series, The National Boatswain Bearing, will highlight exciting news and updates occurring in our program! This initiative stemmed from responses on the Youth Sea Scout Survey that was sent out earlier this year.

Recruiting Best Practices

Recruiting is one of the most important things in Sea Scouting, a ship cannot last without it. Some ships succeed at recruiting and other don’t. Obviously I’m no expert, but I have seen what has worked and what hasn’t worked. Here are some ideas:

  • Take recruits onto the boats! That is the heart of the program and the biggest factor if a scout will join or not. Sailing is fun, so use it to your advantage.

    #GetOnTheWater during your recruiting activities!

    #GetOnTheWater during your recruiting activities!

  •  Have some event for the parents. The scouts can say they want to join, but if the parents aren’t into it then that idea will get shut down. Involve the parents!
  • Recruit Boy Scouts, Venturers, American Heritage Girls, and Girl Scouts. They make great scouts and the older ones are usually tired of their current scout group and are looking for something new and exciting. Recruit towards that emotion.
  •  Use food toward your advantage. People are a lot more likely to go toward your stand for a free burger, and while they are eating you can make friends with them and talk to them.
  • Make friends! This is truly the best way to recruit scouts. When they feel like a part of a group then they will most likely join.

A few other things that might help is to be nice, truthful, and professional. It’s a great program and Best of luck in your recruiting!

Eugene DeNezza, II

Northeast Region Boatswain

What a Summer!

From the Koch Cup, to Summer Cruises and other great activities it been a very busy summer for Sea Scouts across the country! This month I will be updating all of you on my progress during the first three months of my term. But first, let me introduce myself.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Campaign

 I am Peter Schmidt, your 2014-2015 National Sea Scout Boatswain. I have earned the Quartermaster Award and I am from Illinois where I currently attend the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.You can read more about me here at seascout.org.
My term began with a trip to Nashville, Tennessee for the BSA National Meeting where both myself and outgoing National Boatswain, Billy McElligott, took part in the National Boatswain Change of Watch Ceremony. For the duration of the meeting we promoted Sea Scouting in the Exhibit Hall and promoted our program.

2014 Change of Watch

The 2014 National Boatswain Change of Watch in Nashville, Tennessee. From Left to Right National Commodore Mr. Charles Wurster, 2014-2015 National Boatswain Peter Schmidt, 2013-2014 National Boatswain Billy McElligott, and National Director Mr. Keith Christopher.

In June I attended the 2014 William I. Koch International Sea Scout Cup in Long Beach, California. I was able to meet Sea Scouts from around the country and from all over the world. At the Koch Cup I was able to begin getting feedback on several of our resources. Changes have already begun on our web presence based on what we heard!

Koch Cup

Peter Schmidt sails a CFJ back to the Koch Cup Sea Base with fellow Koch Cup Staff Member, Kerry, from the United Kingdom after a rescue.

Koch Cup Awards

The 2014 Koch Cup Awards Ceremony. From Left to Right National Director Mr. Keith Christopher, National Boatswain Peter Schmidt, and Chief Scout Executive Mr. Wayne Brock.

During the first part of my term I have undertaken several major projects including the recently closed Sea Scout “Voice of the Youth Survey” and the creation of the National Youth Sea Scout Task Force. The other large project that is getting off the ground is our improved Social Media presence on Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to check us out and follow along for the best Sea Scout news out there. I can’t wait to see where the next nine months will take us with all of the exciting projects that are taking shape right now!

Smooth Sailing,
Peter Schmidt
National Boatswain

Fall Fun Rally- Greater St. Louis Area Council, CR Area 3

Are you looking for more information on the Sea Scouting program? Come to the largest Venturing event in the nation September 26-28, 2014 for a fun-filled weekend of over a hundred activities and learn about Sea Scouting too! At the Fall Fun Rally(FFR), there will be a class for youth and adults about the Sea Scouting program. Around 1,500 Scouts from around the nation attend annually to join in on the fun. The Fall Fun Rally is at Beaumont Scout Ranch near St. Louis, MO and is open to all Scouts of the Venturing and Sea Scout age. The theme of the FFR this year is celebrating 250 years of St. Louis with a Doctor Who twist. For more information and to register, check out: http://fallfunrally.org/2014

Katie Bruton
Central Region Boatswain

National Sea Scout Blog Relaunch!

You asked, we answered! In reviewing the results of the Sea Scout “Voice of the Youth” Survey countless Sea Scouts asked for clear communications from the leaders in the Sea Scout program. Each Regional Boatswain, the National Boatswain, and special guests will be actively blogging to keep you informed on all of your Sea Scout needs. Plans include announcements, upcoming events, past events, best practices, ect.

Peter Schmidt
National Boatswain

Tips for Submitting The National Flagship Applications

National Flagship Application for the SSS Kansan in 1939.

National Flagship Application for the SSS Kansan in 1939.

National Flagship Applications are due March 31, 2013. The application follows the BSA Journey to Excellence and is designed to recognize all program aspects of Sea Scouts.

The Selection Committee is made up of National Sea Scout Committee Members from across the country.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their written materials and supporting photos as one PDF with the file name being that of your Ship (example, SSSDautnless Application.pdf).

All videos should be in QuickTime or MP4 format. This is to ensure efficient sharing of all application materials between the Selection Committee.

Good luck! We look forward to reviewing all the National Flagship Applications after March 31, 2013.

Sea Scouts Teaching Boy Scouts How to Row A Whaleboat

The Sea Scout Ship Gryphon of Redwood City, CA hosted Troop 206 of Menlo Park, CA for a morning of learning how to row a whaleboat and boatswain’s chair. 13 Boy Scouts attended in all. The Troop was divided into two Patrols. While one Patrol went out rowing, the other learned boatswain’s chair.


Joint activities where Boy Scouts can be introduced to Sea Scouts is vital for the growth of Sea Scouts. These sort of events allow Boy Scouts to learn a little about Sea Scouts and have fun. Equally important, Scoutmasters and Parents get to watch Sea Scouts in action.

Joint activities can be organized by Sea Scout leaders attending Boy Scout District meetings. Offer to the other Scout leaders opportunities for their Scouts to go out rowing, work on the Sailing Merit Badge or any nautical themed Boy Scout requirements. Such activities let the Boy Scout leaders see the benefit of Sea Scouts. It also allows District Chairman and District Executives ways to retain older youth in Scouting.

The New Century of Sea Scouts

It is time to focus on the New Century of Sea Scouts. The Sea Scout Centennial was a great success, with over 45 Centennial events celebrating our first 100 years.

Sea Scouts celebrated a Centennial because of the work of dedicated leaders such as Arthur Astor Carey, Thomas J. Keane, Carl D. Lane and William Menninger. How did they succeed? How can we learn from them as we sail into the future?

The first true growth of Sea Scouts started in 1924 when Thomas Keane became the National Director of Sea Scouts. His first mention in the National Reports is very humble. They did not know what the following 16 years would bring.


The 1924 National Report, where Thomas J Keane is first mentioned.

Reviewing the National Reports from the 1920s to 1948, there is a definite formula of success we can look to for inspiration. So what did they do?

The National Sea Scout Committee identified several key issues in 1927, specifically:

The organization of Regions and Councils;

Training of Sea Scout leaders before registration of Sea Scout Ships;

Strong institutional backing be required for each Sea Scout Ship registered; and

Great emphasis placed on safety precautions.

The leaders of the 1920s and 1930s went to work building the future. New volunteers were required. Ships, Councils, Regions and National all worked together with Sea Scouts being an integrated part of the Boy Scouts of America. The results in growth were extremely successful.

Sea Scout Growth over a 6 year period of time.

Sea Scout Growth over a 6 year period of time.

How can we build a bright future in our New Century?

We must develop training material for volunteers, strengthen council relations and leverage technology to further both goals. We must never forget out primary objective: providing maritime opportunities for youth.

Council Development

We are developing materials to help councils executives and district executives understand the Sea Scout program. Due to the small numbers of Sea Scouts (less than 7,000), many do not understand the Sea Scout program. We have one presentation that volunteers can use to explain Sea Scouts to Council Executive Boards or Districts here for download. Another is available on YouTube:

Sea Scouts can help Boy Scout Councils & Districts with 1) the retention of older Boy Scouts; 2) retention of Boy Scouts who have “Eagled out” of their Troop; 3) provide opportunities for youth who were never Boy Scouts; and 4) provide new opportunities for young women to join Sea Scouts. Women make up 51% of the populations and we would be remissed to not highlight this recruiting opportunity.

Sea Scouts can build lasting partnership with Boy Scout Troops by becoming “Nautical” Merit Badge Counselors, hosting Cub Cruises and inviting Boy Scout Troops to see Sea Scout activities. Sea Scout leaders should also attend monthly district meetings. Having a Sea Scout leader serve on Council Committees such as Marketing, Aquatics and Risk Management are also ways to integrate with council operations.

Training for Adult Volunteers

Sea Scout leaders should all attend Sea Scout Basic Leader Training either before starting a Sea Scout Ship or shortly after joining one. Additional skills can be gained from Seabadge and Seabdge Underway.

We also must look ahead and leverage technology to increase training opportunities. These can include webinars, recorded video on YouTube and podcasts. Topics could cover recruiting best practices, specific pointers on teaching requirements such as Navigation or Rules of the Road to Sea Scouts, insurance requirements or how to prepare a vessel feasibility report when considering the acquisition of a new boat. There are many other topics that need to be covered for new and current volunteers.

The Second Star on the Right

Arthur Astor Carey started Sea Scouts based on the goal of providing opportunities for youth. Thomas J. Keane truly forged a 100 year program with competent professionals who knew how to train adults to empower youth. Our responsibility is to continue what Carey and Keane built, leveraging technology to provide new opportunities to Sea Scouts.

If you would like to help develop training materials, prepare white papers and create other content to help build our program, please contact us on the form below and state how you would like to help.

Why Sea Scouts is Celebrating a Centennial

Sea Scouts, BSA is a century old because of its dedicated volunteers. They are the ones who inspire youth leadership and create opportunities for Sea Scouts. One of those individuals was Charles J. Elliott, from the San Francisco Bay Area. Chuck passed away on November 21, 2012.

Fleet Admiral Nimitz presenting Sea Scout Charles Elliott the Quartermaster Award.

Fleet Admiral Nimitz presenting Sea Scout Charles Elliott the Quartermaster Award.

Chuck had an amazing life. He grew up during the Great Depression and World War II. He joined the Sea Scout Ship Navigator, a sailing whaleboat out of San Francisco. Chuck also had the distinction of Fleet Admiral Nimitz presenting him the Quartermaster Award.

Chuck was lifelong friends with one of his shipmates who also earned his Quartermaster that night. Both would ultimately serve as the others’ best man at their respective weddings.

Charles Elliott embodied the Scout Law, especially a Scout is Loyal, Helpful, Kind and Friendly. Demonstrating extreme loyalty to his community, he served in many civic organizations. One such example was his service in the Coats Guard Auxiliary for over 32 years, where he was know for being dedicated and a kind mentor to others.

As a Sea Scout leader, Chuck had a super human ability to get donations from civic groups to support his last ship, the Gryphon of Redwood City. Chuck also served with a chartered partner for two other Sea Scout Ships in the Bay Area, the Corsair and Viking.

Onboard the USS Potomac.

Onboard the USS Potomac.

Chuck Elliott was just one of the great people who provided positive opportunities for youth in the first 100 years of Sea Scouts. The New Century of Sea Scouts will require more people like him, willing to put in the time and effort to make a difference for others.

Red skies, Mr. Elliott.


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