On February 7th and 8th the Las Vegas Area Council Mountain Man Rendezvous was held. Four of our ship members (Jane, Alex, Miranda, and I) attended the event. We worked the event as volunteers with Ship 37, S.S.S. Raven. Four of their members came: Jake, Sarah, Gavin, and Lotario. We also shared a campsite with them.
After arriving on Friday, we assisted with parking and traffic, which was a very important and exhausting job, considering that there were nearly 2,000 scouts coming to attend this event. That night, the temperature was less than 40 degrees.
The next morning, we woke around 700 for breakfast. Since our volunteering shift didn’t start until about 1200, we were free to roam around and check out all the different stations and events. The event offered a great variety of things to do, such as: archery, black powder shooting, knife throwing, tomahawk throwing, wall climbing, whipping, rope making, log throwing, log sawing, and much more.
Later in the day, competitions were held in some categories. If the scout qualified for competition earlier that day, their name was written down and they would come back at a later time to compete. Jake, Alex, Jane and I each qualified to compete. Later, we went to compete. The others covered our shifts while we were away. Jacob, Jane, and I qualified for archery, but unfortunately did not place. However, Alex qualified for both tomahawk and knife throwing. She got 3rd place in both competitions. Towards the end of the day, there was a closing ceremony where they announced the winners of each competition. When they called the names of the winners of the knife and tomahawk throwing, Alex marched proudly up to the stage to receive her medals. The reactions of all the Boy Scouts in the audience were priceless. They were shocked to see that Alex, a girl, had done better than them and placed in competitions at a Boy Scout event.
It was so much fun. I’m really excited to go next year!
The first weekend of this month, our ship presented colors at the Las Vegas Area Council Annual Dinner. The event was held at Sam’s Town Hotel & Casino. Ship 37 helped us with it. Our Joey, Alex, Vaneza, our skipper, and I drove up on Friday night. We reunited with Miranda. Our new member, Emily, was already in Vegas. We went to the movies and then went to our hotel room to get sleep for the event the next day.
On Saturday, we got donuts and worked on getting our uniforms prepared for that night. We went to the mall and went shopping. Afterwards, we met Jake, Gavin, Lotario and the leaders from Ship 37, and we practiced posting. Our setup was different than we thought it would be. At first it was frustrating trying to figure out the new setup along with teaching Lotario, Gavin, and Emily how to post colors correctly. This was their first event doing so. We got it resolved though.
After going back to our rooms and getting dressed, we were finally ready to post colors. We had six flags and two rifles. I was at the podium doing the calls. We did really well. Afterwards, we got to eat. Jake and Joey were chosen to help present the Silver Beaver awards to the recipients. It was a great event. We also retired the colors. Our ships bonded some more that night, but the boys had to go home. Us girls spent another night.
On Sunday, we had breakfast and packed up. Alex, Joey, and Emily went swimming. We said goodbye to Miranda and Emily. Emily was staying to visit family. It was a really fun trip. We can’t wait until next year!
(The article about the Mountain Man Rendezvous was written by Joey Kasper. The article about the LVAC Annual Dinner was written by Jane Silverstein.)
Tags: Boy Scouts of America, Sea Scouts, Western Region, Western Region Sea Scouts
This past week, I was invited to Phoenix, Arizona in order to represent the Western Region Sea Scouts at the Teenaged Program Symposium. The meeting mainly focused on maintaining youth participation in venturing programs, and to battle the decline in membership numbers.
The program covered reasons why Scouts are leaving and how we could fix the problems. This resulted in a major breakdown and re-construction of the Venturing values and rank systems. Another large portion of the discussion was about starting up new Crews, Ships, and Explorer groups throughout the region. Many great ideas were shared and everyone walked out with a better idea of program start-ups.
As for my part, I was asked to work together with the Western Region Venturing President, The Regional OA Chief, and an Explorer in preparing a presentation about Modern Technology in Scouting. A large amount of the adult leaders there felt that they were out of touch with current forms of communications and asked us to essentially give them a refresher course.
We presented various mediums of communication and publicity, ranging from social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and online storage sites such as Dropbox and Google Drive. We told them the advantages and precautions on using each, and offered to help with the setup of said accounts.
After our presentation, they had us sit down and we took turns answering questions about our programs, and how the adults could connect better with their crews. There was a large push into making these programs appeal to more teenagers, and offering a program that will benefit them for the rest of their lives to a further extent.
Afterwards, Commodore Gilliland and I went over to the Membership Committee Discussion. For that discussion, I was asked to prepare a list of recruiting efforts and retaining efforts that worked, those that didn’t, why they didn’t work, and how we could fix them. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay for the whole meeting, as I had to catch my flight.
Overall, I was amazed at the amount of productiveness and effort put into maintaining these programs, and it was good to see that the programs were in good hands. I learned quite a bit more about recruiting efforts and I hope to implement many of them in my ship. I met many new faces of great people who work tirelessly to keep these programs running, and I hope to further work with them to provide the best programs we can offer.
SSS Makai 700
Power Squadron Course
Recently, the three Sea Scout ships based out of the Newport Sea Base have been participating in a four-week Power Squadron course. This course will teach the scouts many basic nautical terms, rules, and concepts. This course is designed to prepare potential US boaters to take the American Boating Course test and safely operate boats in a variety of situations. The Power Squadron Course is also an Ordinary elective.
Sail Loft Visit
A few weeks ago, Ship Ninety Renegades substituted a sail loft field trip instead of their weekly Wednesday meeting. After the business portion of the meeting was out of the way, Mr. Kettenhofen, a mate for Ship Ninety, explained the different uses of several sewing machines. Two of the sewing machines used the straight or running stitch and made anything that would not be strained, such as a sail bag or pouch for spare line. The next machine utilized a zigzag stitch, which is commonly used for high quality sails. The final machine employed a three step zigzag stitch. This stitch increases the strength of the stitch and can be used to make heavy-duty sails. One particularly surprising characteristic of the final two machines are their amazing capability to punch through several inches of thick material. Obviously, this is important when hemming the edges of the large sails because the strands of Kevlar or carbon are concentrated in one area. Often, the corners are significantly thicker than the middle of a Kevlar or carbon sail.
After the sewing machine demonstration, the scouts listened to a short talk about how the draft of a main sail is determined. This section included a comparison of modern and past sail assembly processes. The three factors a sail making must consider are heat, pressure, and time. Different sail makers control and tweak these factors in order to create, what they believe, is the most efficient and effective product possible. The entire system is completely fascinating. The final portion of the field trip was interactive. The scouts were allowed to walk across a main sail from a 60 foot racing yacht, Dare. Then with the help of some string, the draft of a main sail was demonstrated. The field trip proved to be rather educational and piqued the interest of many ship members.
These past few weeks Del Mar, ship 711, has been extremely busy with ship activities such as work parties. Ship 711 has been repairing and cleaning both the ship and our sail inventory. In January, our ship Del Mar was pulled out of the bay for a routine hull cleaning and inspection. Though the wind has not been the best, we have managed to sail out to the ocean almost every weekend. In recent weeks, the ship has recruited several new members. Furthermore, the many scouts have completed advancement requirements. Overall, the first two months have been a very good start to a potentially productive new year. Our goal is to continue sailing and having great experiences on the water.
Border Run 2014
Last weekend, the Newport Sea Base Youth Racing Team participated in the beginning stages of the annually held race-Border Run.
The course of this race stretches from a start line positioned by the Newport Pier to a finish line at the mouth of San Diego harbor.
The course is notorious for light conditions and many participants will not finish.
The NSBYRT team raced in this event for the past three years, finishing only once.
Though the team dropped out of the event, it was definitely a wonderful experience.
Some of the highlights include: seeing Dennis Connor at the start, watching Groupama’s trimaran fly a hull in the ridiculously light conditions, and taking selfies at the top of the mast.
The team is slatted to race in Island’s Race in a few weeks and we are all crossing our fingers for favorable conditions.
Tags: Boy Scouts of America, Cruise, Sea Scouts
The SSS Morning Star traveled to Alameda California for a training weekend with the SSS Makai over Presidents’ Day weekend. After a long night of driving, the crews were out of the slip and on our way to Redwood City to begin training. Being an inland ship based out of Sherman Oaks, California; Morning Star doesn’t own a boat. This was a great opportunity for boating and cruising experience that many of the younger girls have not seen. Sophomore Crew leader Rachel felt “It was a great experience because the guys helped us learn the jobs that we were assigned to during our watches. We were able to practically run the boat for part of the cruise.”
Once docked and secured, training began instantly. Everything from Scuttlebutt to Compass and Relative Bearing was covered. As an added bonus we were able to do Breeches Buoy. In Southern California there are no available Breeches Buoy towers, so being able to have access to that equipment along with the training of our new Scuttlebutt coxswain, left the crew feeling more confident in our skills as well as forming a stronger bond. Not only with our own crew, but with the guys of Makai too. “Some highlights of this weekend have been getting to meet other Sea Scouts that share the love and passion for scouting as I do. I met some great people on this trip that I hope to see again!” said Morgan, a freshman crew member who kept asking when we got to go back up to Northern California.
Being a Southern California crew, many of our girls hadn’t seen the Golden Gate Bridge before this trip. But thanks to a special surprise from the guys’ crew, we were able to not only see the bridge from the water but take selfies and group shots with the famous bridge. A unique experience for the Morning Stars Yeoman Cami, “I got to steer the boat towards the bridge up until it was picture time! It was so exciting.” And many of the girls felt the same way.
Tags: Boy Scouts of America, Coast Guard, EAGLE, Sea Scouts, USCGC EAGLE
In the spring of 2013, I was selected as one of the six Sea Scouts across the nation to be selected to sail on board the United States Coast Guard Cutter Eagle. The USCGC Eagle is the United States Coast Guard Academy’s training ship. It is used to train the cadets and future officers of the United States Coast Guard. I chose to sail on board the USCGC Eagle because I want a career as an officer in the Coast Guard. It was the perfect opportunity to get hands-on experience on what it’s like being in the Coast Guard.
My mother and I flew from San Francisco, CA to Jacksonville, FL. The next morning, my mother and I drove to Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville. I met up with the other Sea Scouts and we took a van over to Naval Station Mayport. We waited about an hour for the ship to dock and for them to rig the brows. We then boarded and got oriented with life on board the USCGC Eagle. As we were pulling out of NS Mayport, I was on line 1. It started raining and the line got waterlogged. When we were pulling the line in, everyone’s face got soaked. After we got into the channel, we had a Search and Rescue call. A boat had capsized. The bridge dispatched a Response Boat from USCG Sector Jacksonville. All of the people were safe, and we stood by to help. We then continued out to sea. We did our “Up and Overs” the first night too. “Up and Overs” is slang for climbing qualifications. This allowed us to climb the rigging. I also stood a helm watch and went to bed.
My first two days underway I was a Mess Cook. I reported to the galley at 0500 and I finished at around 1930 or 2000 each night. My first day as Mess Cook, I was in the Wardroom. I served the food to the officers and cleaned all of Officer’s Country. The second day, I was in the Scullery. I was a runner, ferrying dishes from the Scullery to the Crew Mess. You burned a lot of calories going up and the down the stairs so many times. I also built a high pain tolerance because those dishes were hot coming out of the dishwasher!
After the first two days, I got up with the rest of the crew at 0630 for the first time! I stood CIC Watch from 0800-1200. The CIC (Combat Information Center) is the nerve center of the ship. It has all the information you could want. The CIC has radar, speed, and wind indicators. It even has a list indicator. I think the record was 63 degrees! We only listed about 10 degrees to each side on average. We also plotted our dead reckoning position every 30 minutes.
Later that night, we had our first Engine Room Watch. We stood watch from 2000-2400. In the Engine Room, the MKs (Machinery Technicians) showed us how to bleed air tanks, take soundings, and draw systems. We also learned about the different security conditions the ship could be in and the different fire-fighting methods that were on board.
On the fourth day, my division had engine watch again from 0400-0800. We mainly worked on drawing the bilge system. We also took soundings on the various tanks throughout the ship. The average temperature was 97 degrees, so everyone was sweating. A favorite thing to do was standing under the air conditioning duct for a few minutes. My division got off watch and we went to breakfast. After breakfast, we had Damage Control Training. We learned how to treat traumatic injuries. We had training until lunch. After lunch, we had more Damage Control Training. We learned the different ways you could patch pipes and hull breaches. We then had watch in the CIC from 1600-2000. During our watch, at around 1800, one of our crew members was diagnosed with Appendicitis. She had to be Medevac’d off the ship. Since we were in the CIC, we got to watch the helicopter hoist her out of the small boat a little ways away. We could also hear the radio communications between the helicopter and the ship.
My division had its last watch that morning. We were in the CIC again from 2400-0400. We circled the island throughout the night and then we set Special Sea Detail at 0515. We then made our transit into Hamilton, Bermuda. We manned the rails pulling into Bermuda, and then we went to our mooring stations when we were a couple nautical miles away from the pier. I was on line 1 again. We heaved the line to the pier and put tension on the line once it was on the mooring bit. Mooring took about 10 minutes. We then put the brows over. After we packed up, I said goodbye to my division and thanked them from their hospitality. I also thanked and took a picture with the Captain and XO. The XO also said she was willing to provide me a letter of recommendation to the Coast Guard Academy.
Soon after, I disembarked at met my parents at the pier. We then took a taxi to the airport and flew back to the US. This trip is a fantastic opportunity for all Sea Scouts, especially those looking for a career in the United States Coast Guard. You are thrown into a military environment and you are expected to perform well. I also got a lot of advice from cadets on how to get into the Coast Guard Academy and I still have a lot of the connections I made on board. This is a summer I will never forget!
Boatswain’s Mate, S.S.S. Makai
2013 National Flagship
You can apply for the Eagle Cruise at SeaScout.org
Hello from Decisive. So far the crew on the S.S.S. Decisive has had a lot of positive changes from everything from more crew to a new meeting place.
With a busy new year ahead of us we have a lot more changes that will take place. Last month the Sea Scouts on Decisive had their winter Bridge of Honor. Decisive welcomed a new member, saw 4 Scouts advance to Apprentice, and 2 to Ordinary. We also had 4 Small Boat Handlers and 2 Qualified Seamen. 2 Scouts earned their Long Cruise badge first Red Arc.
After the ceremony we said goodbye to each other for 3 weeks and when we came back we had a surprise waiting for us: a new meeting place in all its glory; a place that we could decorate and make our own.
Along with our new meting place this month we have 6 Scouts working towards their BSA lifeguard.
Tags: Boy Scouts of America, Cruise, Sea Scout, Sea Scouts
Sea Scouts should make every effort to make 2014 the year of getting out on the water.
Small boats are a wonderful way to get Sea Scouts on the water every week. This provides an opportunity for hands-on activity, fun and character building through adventure.
The benefits of small boats are huge. Sea Scouts who are taking out a boat frequently are constantly becoming better sailors. Weekly small boat activities can also help keep Scouts excited about being a Sea Scout. This positive energy in a Sea Scout Ship can help with retaining existing Sea Scouts and recruiting new ones.
Sea Scout volunteers should help their Sea Scouts keep the Sea Promise by reviewing Safety Afloat with the youth, having a Float Plan and making sure a Tours & Activities Plan has been filed online prior to any weekend aquatic activity.
2014: Let’s get on the water.
Tags: BoatUS National Flagship, Boy Scouts of America, Sea Scout, Western Region
The BoatUS National Flagship Applications are due on March 31, 2014. Applications can be downloaded from SeaScout.org.
What makes an application successful? Here are tips from Sea Scouts from the 2013 and 2012 National Flagships:
Nicolas, Past Boatswain of the 2013 National Flagship
Julia, Boatswain’s Mate of the 2012 National Flagship
Commodore’s Message: What to Include in Your Application
Tags: Boy Scouts of America, Maritime Education, Sea Scouts, Training
One tradition at a Bridge of Honor is having a cake with the Quartermaster Award for a Sea Scout who has earned the highest rank in Sea Scouts.
Earning the rank of Ordinary is often the most difficult for a Sea Scout, because of the amout of information they must learn.
One tradition in recognizing a Sea Scout who has earned Ordinary is giving them a set of Liberty Cuffs.
Liberty Cuffs are a tradition from the US Navy. Two artistic patches sown in on the inside cuffs of the enlisted Dress Blues. They remain hidden until the sailor is on “liberty,” when the sleeves can be unbuttoned and folded up (as Dress White cuffs do not have buttons, Liberty Cuffs are not worn on Dress Whites). There are many classic designs, such as ships, dragons or the timeless “Deck Ape” or King Neptune.
There are many other traditions to recognize a Sea Scout for advancing in rank. However, it is extremely important to remember the old Davy Shellback quote on advancement from the 1940 Sea Scout Manual: “Tis not the badges that you are earning, but the knowledge that you are learning, that will comfort and tide ye when old Neptune starts a turning.”
Advancement is far more then simply earning a badge. We recognize a Sea Scout for their the hard work and knowledge they have learned. More importantly, it is that knowledge that can save a life in an emergency at sea.
Tags: Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts
November 2013 was a busy month for the Sea Scouts on Decisive. We did everything from small boat handling certification to working on our boat and even being zombies.
Small boat handler’s weekend was jam packed with learning and fun as we started off our weekend everyone was eager to learn or teach. As we were learning out of books our Skipper thought we could use more hands on learning so we walked the docks at our home harbor. We saw many different types of sailboats, motorized boats and anchors. With 8 chapters to learn and put into practice we had to schedule or day carefully so Opal L.(boatswain) and our skipper came up with our plan of the day.
We stayed on the boat for two days learning everything we needed to know for our bar.
While taking the test you could almost feel the excitement in the air as everyone was anxious to pass. When the scores were in everyone had passed! No one had lower than a 98%!
The next weekend we had a work party and with so much do on our boat there was not a dull moment.
We cleaned the entire boat built a new jack staff and even fixed a soft spot on our foredeck
If that was not enough fun, we still had zomb-bor-e. Our local Boy Scouts had invited us to go camping with them but there was a twist , the Sea Scouts on Decisive we asked to dress up as zombies and scare the Boy Scouts! As soon as everyone was at the cabin we dressed up and went into zombie mode.
Once we got the signal it was time to go we went into action. We had a screamer and two teams the were going to scare the Boy Scouts. When the first scream had happened we expected the Boy Scouts to go to the source and see what was wrong a few minutes after the scream no one had moved so we screamed again. Still no one moved so we walked in to see what was happening and the scout leaders had told the Boy Scouts to stay seated.
Even though we our zombie plan was a bust we still had fun activities to do with the Boy Scouts. There was rifle shooting, blockade building, knife throwing, archery, ax throwing, sling shots, first aid,and fire building.
After all of the events there was an awards ceremony and every group had to perform a skit
In our skit we were “undead Americans” who took the word “zombie” offensively.
At the next meeting we had a pajama party potluck while we watched “freaks and geeks” in celebration of Thanksgiving
As you can see Decisive always has fun and works together as a team even in the most unlikely of situations.