Bridge of Honors: Recognize Accomplishments

Sea Scouts should plan at least one ceremony a year to recognize youth for their accomplishments in advancement and ship projects. The ceremony can be large or small, formal or informal. The important element is to recognize the youth for their achievements. To not have any recognition is, “…to dilute the award and therefore the honor which it signifies.” Royal W. Connell and William P. Mack, Naval Ceremonies, Customs, and Traditions, p. 65 (Naval Institute Press, 6th ed., 2004)

The traditional ceremony is a Bridge of Honor held on a Landship. Many ships recognize a Sea Scout’s progression to a new rank with a gift from the ship, such as Liberty Cuffs when a Scout makes Ordinary or a Marlinspike knife when one earns the rank of Able.

The highest rank a Sea Scout can earn is the Quartermaster Award. One tradition many ships follow is for the new Quartermaster to challenge one of their shipmates to also earn the Quartermaster Award. This “Quartermaster Challenge” can be done several ways.

One tradition is for the new Quartermaster to call one of their shipmates after and present them with a nautical key chain, lanyard, or some other symbolic item.

Some ships hold more then one “Bridge” a year. This may take the form of an informal bridge at the end of summer, followed by a formal bridge in the winter. The purpose of this is to give the youth a greater sense of accomplishment and encouragement for more advancement.

There are many different traditions to recognize rank advancement. At a minimum, there should be a brief description of the award or achievement, the Sea Scout is called forward before their shipmates, and the award presented.

Letters of recognition should be requested to honor a new Quartermaster.  A volunteer or parent should include in the request a brief description of the Sea Scout being honored, a short summary of the Quartermaster Award, date of the presentation and invitation to the individual.  Here is a list of possible individuals who can send a letter of congratulations:

President of the United States

Governor of the Sea Scout’s state

Mayor (Many City Council members have attended Bridge of Honors)

Congressional Representatives

State Legislative Representatives

Master Chief of the United States Coast Guard

Officer-in-Charge of your local Coast Guard, Navy, Army, Air Force, or Marine base

Astronauts

Professional Athletes

You are truly only limited by your imagination. The important thing to remember is that the Sea Scout has worked very hard to advance and should be recognized for their resolution to learn.

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