SR A3 Boatswain and Crew arrive at Camp Perry (From left to right: SSS Response Skipper Tom Trefny, Jared Panico, Ryan Trefny, Jess Hopkins)

When I visited the Texas Seabadge course in October, I heard of a new Sea Scout ship in the Rio Grande Council – Ship 911. At Seabadge, I met Ship 911’s committee chair, Mr. Jesus Loperena. Knowing that I wanted to go and help train the new ship, I proposed an idea to Mr. Loperena: a weekend where a few scouts and I could train their members, while promoting Sea Scouts in the Rio Grande Council. I mentioned that the Rio Grande Council should have many ships, considering their proximity to Laguna Madre and the Gulf Coast. He was receptive to the idea, and months of planning ensued. We finally decided to visit the ship on December 27th, during the Rio Grande Council’s Annual Winter camp.

After a five-hour drive from Round Rock Texas, my crew and I arrived at Camp Perry: Rio Grande Council’s Flagship property. We were greeted by Tor Loperena, Ship 911’s Boatswain. Tor and I had been communicating since October, and it was good to finally meet him in person. After meeting the other members, we jumped into ILSS training. Ship 911 became engaged in the foundations of Sea Scout leadership and organization.

ILSS and Navigation Training

The next day, the Sea Scouts were asked by the camp director to perform the morning flag ceremony. The whole camp saw how the flag ceremony was done with the Boatswain’s pipe – something most of them have never seen before.After morning meal, Ship 911 learned the Ordinary Piloting and Navigation requirements. They learned how to plot a course using speed plotters, dividers, and charts.

At Lunch, the Sea Scouts were asked to give a presentation to the Winter Camp – so Tor and I hosted a Q&A all about Sea Scouts:

SR A3 Boatswain Ryan Trefny and Ship 911 Boatswain Tor Loperena host Sea Scout Q&A during Lunch at Camp Perry

After lunch, Ship 911 along with my crew and I traveled to Laguna Station – a small scout outpost on South Padre Island. I wanted to scope out the property to see if Area 3 Sea Scouts could hold events there, or help Rio Grande council produce more Sea Scout ships. Although the land was a prime spot for Sea Scouting, much of the property was in need of an update. Taylor Villalobos, a prospective Sea Scout and former Laguna Station staffer, said this regarding the property: “The facilities here at Laguna Station suffer from neglect. In fact, it’s been hard for the Council to hold onto the property. Rumors say that Laguna Station could be gone within a few years. That can’t happen, because Scouts really enjoy this place.”  When I looked around Laguna Station, all I could see was potential. This property could be an amazing spot for Sea Scouts to come over the summer or spring, especially for paddle craft skills. I looked forward to see Sea Scouts use this property in the future.

Laguna Station


Tor, S911 Boatswain, learns the Boatswain’s Calls

Area 3 Crew and Ship 911 depart Camp Perry

On the last day, Tor, along with some of his officers, practiced doing a Quarterdeck meeting. I helped him set up a digital system for storing Ship documents, and assisted him in organizing a Quarterdeck agenda. Tor and Taylor set up their Ship’s email list to enable more efficient Ship communication.

Overall, the visit was a great success, and contributed to two of Area 3’s goals – to strengthen new ships within the area, and promote Sea Scouting in councils that lack ships. With the Rio Grande Council being more exposed to Sea Scouting, Ship 911 will continue to succeed, along with Southern Region Sea Scout growth.

By Southern Region Area 3 Boatswain Ryan Trefny