Hi everyone, it’s that time of year when applications for all sorts of things are due. Please make sure all your Scouts are aware of these!

Apply for National, Regional or Area Boatswain!

National, Regional and Area Boatswain applications are due shortly. National Boatswain Hannah Carter says this about applying:

In order to run for these Regional and National Leadership positions, you don’t have to have the longest resume or be the best public speaker, but rather have goals for what you want improved in this program. If you are someone who wants to help other people, or help the Sea Scout program grow, I urge you to apply for these positions. We need people who want to make that difference and make our program the best that it can be.

National Boatswain Hannah Carter

To see the rest of her comments, and to apply, look here. Applications for National Boatswain are due by February 15th, 2020. For Regional Boatswain, your application is due by March 1st, 2020, and for Area Boatswain, by March 15th, 2020. Hint: you can use the same form to apply for all three if you like – just check all three boxes.

By the way, if you are interested in helping but don’t want to be the lead person, we will shortly be looking for National Quarterdeck members, so keep an eye out for those applications to be available.

Sail Aboard the Coast Guard’s Tall Ship Eagle

San Juan, PR (Feb. 21)–Coast Guard Cutter Eagle under full sail off the coast of Puerto Rico. BROWN, TELFAIR H. PA1

Each summer, a select few Sea Scouts have the opportunity to sail as crew about the Coast Guard’s training ship, the barque Eagle. This summer, they’ll sail from New London, CT to Boston, MA. This is a really unique opportunity – how many people do you know who have been at sea on a 295 foot 1700 ton sailing vessel? Better yet, you won’t just be a passenger, you’ll be serving as a member of the crew, learning all about the operation of the vessel and participating in it! Learn more about the experience and the opportunity here – those applications are due March 31st.

SEAL 2.0

SEAL is perhaps the most important and effective youth leadership development experience we have. Every youth I’ve talked to found it a life-changing experience. However, we have had a very limited capacity – last year we had to turn away several Scouts who wanted to attend. This year, our National SEAL Coordinator Rob Freas has led a team to rethink, revamp and expand SEAL – the result is going to be even better than before, and best of all, he has worked with the regions to expand the opportunities – we’ve doubled the number of SEAL cruises around the country, including for the first time having SEAL opportunities in all four regions. We’ve also expanded the kinds of opportunities. In addition to sailboats and power boats, we now have whitewater rafting and paddlecraft SEAL options!

I have heard from a few Scouts who were afraid to go to SEAL for fear of “failing”. I want to make sure that all of our prospective attendees know that everyone who fully participates in a SEAL course will graduate – you won’t fail. Those who meet some specific performance criteria will get extra recognition but everyone will graduate. So please don’t let fear of failure prevent a Scout from attending SEAL. The level of excitement about the improved program and the new options is really high – I think people will be talking about the 2020 SEAL class for years, so don’t miss the chance to participate! More information and applications are here.

Sea Scout Leadership Awards

Nominations are open for Sea Scout Leadership awards at the area, regional and national levels. Remember that anyone (including you!) can send in a nomination – it doesn’t have to be a Commodore. We have plenty of worthy Scouts and adults out there – think about who you know that is exceptional but who has not been recognized, and then please take a few minutes to fill out and send in a form. You can find the application and the criteria here.

National Flagship

Each year we select a ship to serve as our National Flagship – there are lots of worthy ships out there, but one of them will be picked to represent the best of what Sea Scouts stands for to the public and the rest of BSA. The criteria haven’t changed since last year but we’ve created an online application process that we hope will make things easier and more visible for both the applicant and the review team. Now would be a good time to take a look back on your ship’s 2019 and think about sending us an application! You can find the criteria and the form here – your applications are due by March 31st!

Conclusion

Finally, numbers. I promised to report after we got end of year numbers. We don’t have the full picture yet, but here is what we know. There is some good news – we ended 2019 with a national increase of 14 ships over the end of 2018 – that’s an increase from 377 to 391 ships. However, primary membership decreased from 3286 to 3080. We don’t have numbers for full membership yet, but there should be about 1000 more Scouts who are multiple registered and thus not included in those membership numbers. This isn’t bad but we really need to get to growth in 2020 – there’s a lot going on, and I hope you’ll all pitch in to help get us there!

T.W. Cook
National Commodore