While other Ships in other regions have been “on the water” for some time, we in the Central Region have just begun thinking of uncovering the boats, doing our safety checks and needed repairs and deciding when we plan to launch. Spring is a busy time for our Ships.
I had an interesting project the last two months. As you all are aware, we got the good news that Sea Scouting was named the 5th official program of our Scouting movement in early February. While we broadcast the news to our Sea Scout volunteer family, I took the opportunity to call all 67 active Council Scout Executives in the Central Region to introduce myself as the new Commodore and to talk and promote Sea Scouting. I spoke to over 70% of them found them supportive of our program, and in our discussions we exchanged ideas for Ships and Chartered Partners.
Several suggested rowing clubs in their communities as potential Chartered Partners; one even mentioned a paddleboard manufacturer in their Council. Many were interested in paddle craft orientation as they had always considered only sailing as the basis for a Ship. Having a council-owned or ship-owned vessel did not seem to be a limiting factor. Many units did not have their own vessel but used one from a Chartered Partner or friend of the program. Even in areas with limited access to large bodies of water, Ships are thriving. Many were really excited about the New Century Universal Uniform (NCUU), its appeal to our Sea Scouts, and their availability and reasonable cost. Many were interested to discuss the Coast Guard Auxiliary and especially the United States Power Squadron’s commitment to Sea Scouting.
The one message coming through all my discussions was the need for a passionate individual to be the champion and unit leader needed to make the Ship successful. I was not surprised as this is the same need as in all the other programs within Scouting. We seem to be fortunate as we have many passionate champions in our Sea Scout Ships.
Our Area Commodores and I are meeting in early April for our semi-annual face-to-face gathering. Given my experience with these calls, we are designing a periodic communication routine to all our councils to keep Sea Scouting in their minds and stand ready to assist their efforts in Ships, both old and new.
I hope all of you saw the message from Charles Wurster, our National Commodore, regarding the Venturing awards. Many of you had heard conflicting rumors on this subject. Please pass on his message (“keep doing what you’ve been doing”) to whoever needs to hear it in your ships or councils.
Our goals for 2016 are simple: Membership, Membership, and Membership. As we have come out from under other programs where we have been hidden for the last 50 years, we need to attain a critical mass of Ships and Sea Scouts to continue to build off our strong foundation and traditions.
We appreciate your input on our communications. Let us know what your Ship is up to and we encourage you to involve other Ships in your Councils and Areas in your adventures. Remember, more Scouts involved in any activity can lead to an annual event and be a real blast.
Carry on Shipmates!
Central Region Commodore