Sea Scout numbers (like those in other programs) have been declining for years. The reasons were many, but chief among them was a flawed “If we build it, they will come” attitude coupled with being disconnected from the rest of BSA, reinforced by non-Scout uniforms and attitudes of some long-standing leaders who were stuck in memories of the past. These obstacles have been overcome, the Sea Scout committees at all levels have accepted that growth is their direct responsibility and concrete actions have been taken that have begun to show results as the number of units has begun to rise.
2019 ended with an increase of ships (Sea Scout units) from 377 at the end of 2018 to 391 at the end of 2019 - the first year over year increase in ships in more than a decade. We have processes and practices in place to enable us to start more ships than we lose and (pre-COVID) were on track for another increase in 2020. Present 2020 numbers look disappointing because so many councils remain fully or partially shut down and are unable to get recharters processed. We are systematically working through those with good success and expect to recover almost all of the lapsed charters.
Our post-COVID outlook is excellent. We have the processes and more importantly, the dedicated and trained youth and adult Scout leaders in place to achieve significant year over year growth - at least 10% annually. This document will describe how we will do that, and will illustrate the growth potential over the next five years.