A Skipper’s Responsibility
There comes a time in every scouts life, whether it be a Boy Scout, Venturer , or Sea Scout where you ask yourself, “Am I in this for the long haul?” If the answer is yes, (and we hope it is), then what do I do now? Why, your Quartermaster project of course. A lot of concern usually comes up when discussing what type of project a scout can do. Second guessing and questioning yourself is natural and a hurdle you need to overcome. This is something that we can get past.
When I was asked to write an article about this, I started to think back to how I came up with my Quartermaster project. I had three main questions that I had to answer for myself which helped me along the way.
1. What type of project is important to me?
2. What type of project is important/useful to my community?
3. Is my project within reason, and can I get it done?
What type of project is important to me? When I worked on my Eagle project, I wanted to do a community service project instead of a manual labor one. At 14 years old, manual labor just wasn’t my bag. I worked with a small charity to provide Christmas gifts to children and young adults who were living in a battered women’s shelter. For my Quartermaster, I wanted to do something to help the community. The project I chose helped one of our squadron’s sister ships by painting and beautifying the church where they held their meetings. The church received a much needed paint job, and the satisfaction of beautifying a community space was also very gratifying. At 20, I found that manual labor wasn’t that bad.
Is my project within reason? Yes, this is a very subjective question, but I feel that it is necessary. Some people have more means than others and that should not be discounted. As my history professor said, “your eyes are bigger than your stomach.” There might be this great and worthy project that you want to do, but is it realistic? You have to take all of this into account when planning. Do your best when taking all these things into account and always be prepared for the unexpected. Have a contingency plan in your back pocket, such as “what do I do if it rains?” Think through as much of the details as possible. Make lists for yourself. Finally, consult with someone you trust for advice on your undertaking.
Here are some questions that you as a Skipper should ask your Quartermaster candidate when they are planning their project. There are many, many more questions that can be asked but here is a small starter list;
- Has your project been approved, or would you like me (the Skipper) to help you submit your project for approval?
- How much will your project cost? Will you be able to get a great deal of supplies donated or even offered at a discounted price?
- Will you be able to do this within a day? A weekend? Two weekends? Time is a valuable commodity in this day and age.
- Will you provide a meal for the crew helping with the project? Can you get the meal donated? Do you want to make it into a pot luck?
- Do you need tools? Gloves? Eye protection? If working with tools, do you know where the local hospital is? Do you have a first aid kit or medical supplies handy?
- Will you need to have a tour permit and permission slips?
- Do you need to contact any city officials, food suppliers, or vendors for supplies, assistance, or permission?
In conclusion, why a Quartermaster project? The project is a culmination of an individual’s Sea Scouting experiences. Your guidance helps them navigate their course. It teaches your scouts, through their project, how to become an effective leader. So few scouts achieve the rank of Quartermaster, this honor reflects well on your guidance as a Skipper and on your ship as a whole.
Don’t forget, while scouts are already stressed about their project, try not to make it any more difficult on them. Some ships have a tradition of doing a little extra when it comes to scouts earning their Quartermaster. Remember, if it isn’t in the book, it isn’t a requirement.
Western Region Program Task Force