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.

GryphonRowing_0218

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.

Keane_8515

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.

Sea Scout Centennial Event After Action Reports

Thank you everyone who organized an Official Sea Scout Centennial Event to honor our Centennial.

So far, over 40 events were held across the United States, plus state resolutions passed by California and Massachusetts. Other end of year activities are planned as well.

We want to hear from everyone who organized a Centennial Event on their successes and “sea stories.”

Please take a moment and share with us your after action report.

Eight Cups: AMR 2012

I sat at Coffee Bean this morning sipping on a warm cup of coffee. Flipping through the pages of Bernal Diaz’ Conquest of New Spain, hoping to squeeze out any last bit of information before a history midterm. I do not consider myself to be an avid coffee drinker. Sure, I indulge on blended-chocolaty drinks from Starbucks every once in a while, but this drink is saved for special circumstances. Hot coffee with creamer and two sugars.

Well, why am I talking about coffee on a Sea Scout blog? I will tell you: In the midst of college essays and exams, I stop for a minute to remember how 8 cups of coffee helped me survive Ancient Mariner Regatta 2012.

 

CUP 1

In the early morning of Friday, May 25, 2012 I hopped in the car with two of my best friends, Devan and Sabrina. Headed to the U.S.S. Hornet in Alameda, CA, we had a long drive ahead of us from Los Angeles to the Bay Area.  Devan, Sabrina, and I spent most of high school attending Sea Scout Competitions as a member of the M.S.S. Morning Star. Now we were all eighteen and close to finishing our first year of college. This would be the first time any of us would attend the Ancient Mariner Regatta (AMR) as senior member of our crew, meaning that we would not be competing. I found myself nervous. While, Devan and Sabrina knew that they would act as judges for various events that weekend, I was to be the Regatta Boatswain and I honestly had no idea what to expect. Singing to the radio we made our way up Interstate 5 towards Northern California.

 

CUP 2

With only 30 minutes left until our destination, the engine of the car stopped. We pulled over to the side of the freeway and waited for the tow truck. All we could do at the time was laugh hysterically at our awful luck.

 

CUP 3

Finally, arriving at the U.S.S. Hornet I was greeted by Josh Gilliland walking at a quick pace across the hanger bay. A sight that was not uncommon throughout the rest of the weekend. Josh and I had been in constant contact leading up to the event, I hoped to assist him in any way throughout the weekend. Josh is pretty awesome; he spends countless hours preparing for this one weekend every year. AMR this year included even more preparation due to the Sea Scout Centennial and the many ships that traveled from far away to attend. I spent the rest of the day walking across hanger bays, climbing up and down ladders, and keeping myself insanely busy.  At the end of the night I was tired, but I knew I would need to save my energy for the rest of the weekend.

 

CUP 4 and CUP 5

I set my alarm to wake myself up a half hour before everyone else. It was Saturday, and it would be the start of the competition. I indulged in two cups of coffee at breakfast to kick-start my morning. The crews began to flood into the galley, some looking happy, others nervous, but all a bit tired.

The competition began as tests were handed out and all crews scribbled away. Sea Scout Knowledge, First Aid, and Rules of the Road were only the beginning to a weekend of events. It was weird to be on the other side of the competition, knowing that I had sat, taking these tests, only a year before. After about a half an hour crews began to leave the testing area moving on to other events. I found myself following Kevin Trujillo, the Head Judge, helping wherever I could.

 

CUP 6

I had survived the first day of events, but the evening was filled with a long dress inspection as well as organizing movies, games, haunted stories, and mingling. I took a break from my Regatta Boatswain duties to hang out with the girls from my ship, Morning Star.

 

CUP 7

It was now Sunday. I woke up early again in order to attend the Boatswain meeting. The day ran smoothly and I found myself enjoying snapping photos and videos of various events. Josh had put me in charge of getting some cool footage, and I think I did pretty good. Like always, the competition closed with a rush to the finish, only a handful of crews able to complete all events and earn the coveted Resolute Mariner Award. After dinner, excitement picked up. I did a quick practice with the color guard team who would perform colors the next morning. Then it was on to a formal style dance, complete with a photographer and fun music. The night ended with a bang as fireworks were lit behind the Golden Gate Bridge. Shipmates and crew members held each other close to keep warm, the flight deck provided a perfect view of the show.

 

CUP 8

Monday morning began with an early morning Boatswain and Color Guard practice. The competition’s Award ceremony commenced with a large scale traditional Pass In Review Ceremony. I stood at the front of the room, calling the command, a feeling of power and passion for Sea Scouting ran over me. After the Awards were handed out I knew that everyone who attended AMR 2012 had a rewarding experience. Morning Star headed up to the flight deck to take pictures in our dress uniforms, a tradition that could not be missed.

 

I now find myself stronger due to the leadership position that I had enjoyed so much that weekend. Nothing can replace the amazing time I had as a competing member all throughout high school, but being Regatta Boatswain definitely comes in at a strong second place. Ancient Mariner Regatta 2012 left me with countless memories, aching feet, and eight empty coffee cups, none of which I will ever forget.

Written by:

Caitlin Harrington

AMR 2012 Regatta Boatwain

caitlin.harrington93@gmail.com

Massachusetts Honors Sea Scout Centennial

Governor Deval L. Patrick of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has issued a proclamation making October 8, 2012 Sea Scouts Day in the Bay State. The Governor, in issuing his proclamation, reminded the citizens of Massachusetts that Sea Scouting in the United States began in Massachusetts, that it has grown from one Boy Scout Training Ship to become a national program for young men and young women that promotes our maritime heritage and provides hands-on maritime education, training, and experiences, while partnering with other civic organizations to promote safe boating, environmental conservation and community service.

A Week Aboard the USCGC EAGLE

Hey fellow Sea Scouts!!! My name is Madison Shapiro, and I am the Area 4/6 Boatswain in the Western Region.  This summer, I had the amazing opportunity of being chosen as 1 of 6 Sea Scouts throughout the nation to spend a week aboard the United States Coast Guard Cutter Eagle training vessel.  “USCGC Eagle is the sixth U.S. Coast Guard cutter to bear the name in a proud line dating back to 1792. The ship was built in 1936 by the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany.” Along with me, my fellow Southern Californian Sea Scout Matthew Gorman, from SSS Spartan, was chosen as well.

Me (left) and Matt (right) arriving at the Eagle

When Matt and I checked in upon our arrival, we were shown our berthing areas and then told we had liberty until 2400.  While underway, the vessel was divided into 3 sections (fore, main, and mizzen) and was then split into 5 groups.  Matthew and I were in “Mizzen 5.”  Throughout our week onboard, each group rotated through watches: Helm, Lookout, Engine Room, and Galley.

Learning how to work the fire hose during Deck Training

There were many other activities we did along with the watches.  Every day, whichever group was not serving a watch spent the day on deck doing Deck Training.  This training consisted of knots, heaving line, spraying a fire hose, putting a “Gumby” suit on, etc.  At the end of the week, all the groups competed in the Square Rigger Olympics, in which all the skills learned during the week were put to the test.

The Coast Guard Eagle Crew members competing in the Square Rigger Olympics.

Whenever the captain wanted to raise the sails, the whole crew was called to “Sail Stations.”  The only things you usually heard being said at this time were commands being given to the crew, and the crew in return saying things like heave, ho, back easy, take strain, etc.

Furling the sails during Sailing Stations.

One of my personal favorite experiences aboard the Eagle was when Matthew and I climbed the rigging all the way up to the royals (the highest yardarm on the ship).  It was honestly one of the scariest moments of my life, because you’re climbing up around 147 feet in the air, on a 76 year old ship, and you are being held on by just a safety harness.  But after I got up there, I was glad I overcame my fear because it was one spectacular view with the sunset amongst the sails.

Climbing the rigging during the sunset…every sailors dream!!!

Being on the Eagle was one of the most amazing, outstanding, and life-changing weeks during my Sea Scout career these past 5 years.  It helped me realize that a maritime career, hopefully in the US Coast Guard, was truly what I wanted to do in life because being out on the ocean is what gives you such unique opportunities that you can’t get anywhere else.  During my week, I learned leadership skills and I grew a much bigger understanding for not only the ocean and its beauty, but for the people like those in the US Coast Guard who work non-stop to keep Sea Scouts and other “sailors” safe while we are out on the water.

Fair winds and good fortune,

Madison Shapiro

Western Region

Area 4/6 Boatswain

madshapiro@gmail.com

Scoutfleet 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland

Sea Scouts from all across the country made their way to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in Maryland for Scoutfleet 2012. Over 200 youth and adults, and 20 ships journeyed from 12 different states to participate in a weekend of fellowship, fun, and celebration of  “A Century at Sea”. Highlighting the event were a mini- regatta, a parade of ships, and a dinner/ dance, as well as the chance to meet other Sea Scouts from across the country!

Before the official start of the event, Ships sailed in, from near and far, to register. Some had journeyed a few hours, others a few days away from home.  And in the humid, hundred- degree heat, it was widely- agreed upon that some cooling off was in order. Luckily, the Walter Sondheim Fountain was nearby, and provided some sweet (and very wet) relief from the heat!

But the heat was soon replaced by thunderstorms and a whole lot of rain! For two whole days, rain came down sporadically… but hard when it did! Tank- tops were switched out for foul- weather gear and sweatshirts, and most everyone retreated below decks. For those of us who didn’t live in the area, though, the lightning was pretty neat to watch.

Despite the fickle weather encountered in Baltimore, we managed to have a pretty good time. In fact, I think the rain made things even more fun! Because, of course, what are Sea Scouts without a little water?

During the downpour, we witnessed the opening ceremony, where attendance was taken, all were welcomed by the Chairman of the event, and the National Director of Sea Scouts and National Boatswain were introduced. And as an added bonus, we had the pleasure of listening to a beautifully- sung version of “The Star- Spangled Banner”, performed by a scout.

After the rain cleared up, Sea Scouts had the opportunity to explore Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on foot, which most of us took advantage of. From the Ripley’s Believe it or Not “Odditorium”, to the malls, museums, and landmarks, there was no shortage of things to see! And once we had all gotten our fill of Baltimore, there was still so much more fun to come!

Scouts crowded the docks for hours, until lights out, taking pictures, sharing phone numbers, and just being teenagers. We laughed, we smiled, and most importantly, we made some great new friends that night.

The next day, ships gathered in the Harbor for the pass and review of small ships. Each ship was given directions and a position, and sailed off in the direction of Fort Henry, the birthplace of “the Star Spangled Banner”.  Ships saluted as they passed the national director on Cherokee III, and while passing the USS Constellation, who saluted with cannon fire!

Next on our day’s agenda was dinner at a local restaurant, The Rusty Scupper, where Scouts had their choice of hamburgers or platters full of crab. And after the dinner, two sheet cakes, each printed with the Sea Scout emblem and decorated with one hundred candles, awaited us.

Awards were presented, speeches were given, and the cakes were devoured! Then, after multiple plates of cake, we headed to the dance floor outside to work off those newly- gained calories. The night ended with a farewell speech and pictures taken at the front door of the restaurant, and scouts returned to their vessels for the night.

We departed the next morning. Lines were cast off, sails were unfurled (engines started, for those of us on board power boats), and ships set off toward home, leaving Baltimore behind. But the memories made that weekend will surely be carried with all in attendance for some time to come!

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