The school year has ended. Seniors have rejoiced. Now as we turn back to our lives in Sea Scouts we see that another change must take place.
For many Ships the end of the school year marks a time for elections. Boatswain and Boatswain’s Mates. Crew Leaders and Yeoman. This is a time where some Scouts move on to new challenges in life and other Scouts move on to new challenges in their Ships. The question many Scouts may be asking is “Am I ready for this?”
While the exact requirements and duties of each rate are up to the needs and standards of each Ship here are some thoughts and advice on the various leadership positions.
The Boatswain is the voice of the Crew. At the same time they are the will of the Ship’s Program. There will be times when things have to get done at the cost of some comfort. Find a balance that works for your Ship and more importantly your Crew. Clear lines of work/training time vs. recreation time will help to ensure everything gets done while everyone has fun doing it. The most important duty the Boatswain has is to ensure the Crew is able to direct the course of operations on their Ship. Take everyone’s opinions, wants, and desires into consideration when planning activities. Also, take every chance to provide opportunities for your Crew to grow as a team and as individuals. Break up the work load with your other youth leaders to give them experience.
The Boatswain’s Mate has a very diverse role. They must support the Boatswain, balance the Boatswain’s leadership when necessary, be a friend, a confidant, a partner, and a myriad of other roles. When the Boatswain is off deck they have to carry on with the Ship’s program with all the enthusiasm they possess. Be sure to be involved in all the planning your Boatswain conducts. It is important you understand the plan in case you need to take charge.
The Crew Leader is the first level of command leadership in Sea Scouts. When work parties take place it is the Crew Leader that makes sure the details are happening. They are also the ones in the most direct contact with the Crew. It is their job to know the mood of the Crew. That is not to imply the Boatswain and Boatswain’s Mate should be oblivious, just that with a higher lever of responsibility sometimes you are not as involved on a personal level as you would like to be. Know your Crew and their personalities. Be sure to delegate tasks to their strengths when possible and ask them what attributes they would like to strengthen.
The Yeoman is the administrative backbone of the Ship. Tracking attendance is a key part of advancement. Tracking advancement is a key part of planning your Ship’s training and operation schedule. The distribution of announcements helps the Ship operate on schedule. The Yeoman is the communication hub for the entire Crew. Stay up to date on your Ship’s activities and ensure accuracy.
The Purser holds the logistical key (forgive the pun) to Ship’s operations. The collection of funds is essential for events so that materials, supplies, and food can be purchased. Being able to report that all hands have turned in their funds keeps the Ship moving forward. Thorough record keeping and administrative diligence is a must for this position.
The Storekeeper tracks the material condition of the Ship and its resources. From uniforms to Boatswain’s stores the program can only carry on for long as it has the logistical support to do so. Take the time to inventory your galley, training supplies, operational equipment, and maintenance resources. Knowing what you have or need will let you know what you are able to accomplish or what steps you need to take to be able to accomplish something.
Those were just thoughts on positions, but here are some on 11 Leadership Principles that can help you be successful.
Know yourself and seek self improvement.
Be technically and administratively proficient.
Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.
Make sound and timely decisions.
Set the example.
Know your Crew and look out for their well being.
Keep your Crew informed.
Develop a sense of responsibility in your fellow Youth Leaders.
Ensure the task is understood, supervised, and accomplished.
Train your Crew as a team.
Employ your Ship in accordance with its abilities.
Did you read the above and think “Yeah, I can do that”? Then guess what… you are ready to take on the challenge ahead of you.
The bottom line is that Leadership is a skill that takes dedication and practice. It also takes a lot of team work. Reach out to your Adult Leaders for guidance and support when needed. If your Ship doesn’t have guidelines or training for your Youth Leadership positions take the time to create them. If you don’t make the effort to develop your Ship’s training and invest in its future then who will?
XO, S.S.S. Makai