The BSA National Board, on February 10, 2016, adopted a resolution “…to make Sea Scouts a separate program with the same status of other programs.”
What are the changes in Sea Scout eligibility for awards and recognitions as a result of the Sea Scout program status change?
As with past changes in BSA programs, changes to eligibility for awards and recognition are being phased in over time. In the past, Sea Scouts were considered to be a subset of Venturing and were eligible for a variety of Venturing awards including: Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder, and Summit; Quest, TRUST, and Ranger; and the Venturing Leadership Award (VLA). With the change in the Sea Scout program status, this eligibility has been reviewed at the National Office and the following changes have been adopted.
Sea Scouts, who are working on any of the Venturing awards and recognitions, will be “grandfathered” to complete those awards and recognitions through December 31, 2016. After that date, eligibility for Venturing awards and recognitions will be limited to registered Venturers. Any Sea Scout may dual-register in a Venturing Crew to maintain eligibility for Venturing awards. Likewise, any Sea Scout Ship (unit) may dual register as a Venturing Crew.
Venturing Leadership Awards are generally presented in the spring to recognize leadership service that occurred in the prior calendar year. A new Sea Scout Leadership Award has been approved, for use beginning in 2017, to recognize leadership service in 2016. Until then, Sea Scouts and Sea Scout leaders will continue to be eligible for the Venturing Leadership Award. Insignia for the Sea Scout Leadership Award will include the existing VLA knot, with Sea Scout miniature device, and neck ribbons with a Sea Scout pendant, similar to the existing VLA.
What about eligibility for other advancement, awards, and recognitions?
The Sea Scout Resolution didn’t change the eligibility for other advancement, awards, and recognition programs. For example, the Eagle Scout rank will continue to be available to Sea Scouts who achieved First Class rank in a Boy Scout Troop or Varsity Scout Team. General BSA awards, such as Religious Emblems, Nova Awards, BSA Lifeguard, etc., will continue to be available to Sea Scouts.
Will there be a “Unit Leader Award of Merit” for Sea Scout Skippers?
Yes, the application form for the Unit Leader Award of Merit is being updated to specifically include Sea Scout Skippers. The existing Unit Leader Award of Merit knot, with Sea Scout miniature device, will be used to recognize these outstanding Skippers. A new Sea Scout Skipper of Merit badge-of-office is also being developed; it will be similar to the existing badges for Cubmaster of Merit, Scoutmaster of Merit, Team Coach of Merit, and Venturing Advisor of Merit.