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How about Sea Badge training...........

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7% growth in membership for Sea Scouts in Central Region using "outdated" course content to train adult leaders. Our Boy Scout Council has negative membership growth here using the "new" WB course content.


Congratulations to Sea Scouts, Central Region.


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I do agree with you that the presentations that used 21C WB referances were watered down. I got more from WB than Seabadge in that respect. As to the other presentations, there were quite a few that I got a lot of information from. Do I feel I could go out and start a ship, no. I do feel I could help be a leader in one and that I do know that Sea Scouting needs to be more than the best kept secret in the BSA. Some of the material was presented by less than stellar presenters, but in all, the information I gleaned was great. In talking with others from my crew to others in the course, I got more of a feeling of them braging than giving me information.

David Harrison

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From the looks of some of the Ship displays they were several there with reason to be proud of the program they are providing. My experience with those in the crew I was in was very positive, even though not all of them had direct Ship contact. All the people I talked to were happy to share ideas and resources about specific things I was interested in.


Your comment on watered-down is important. This was supposed to be ADVANCED TRAINING. I do not think anyone goes to advanced training to get waterdowned information or outdated materials.


As a Sea Scout unit leader I certainly did not go to advanced Sea Scout training to get an overview of Sea Scouting for Venturers. Thats not a knock at Venturing, I am just sure that at the advanced training for Crew leaders they do not spend a lot of time talking about Ships.


I agree that there was not enough information there to make someone confident enough to go start a ship....but should there have been?

I mean if you go through Sea Scout leader training from New Leader essentilas through Sea Badge, should you have enough confidence and information to be an effective ship leader, or at least to organize a unit?


This just is not a good course syllabus for advanced Sea Scout leadership training.


It also lacked pizzazz if you know what I mean, and that part the staff needs to take responsibility for. What little ceremony there was, was lackluster at best. The only Sea Scout flavor came fromm things the participants brought and not from anything the staff did. The "social" felt like a Quaker social, with everyone sitting around the edge of the room and no actual activity in the center.


How about a Pledge of Allegiance and the Sea Scout Oath at least? That is not how you ring a Ship's Bell. A double salute boarding the ship would have been nice. Side boys? A Boatswain pipe maybe?


And I am not trying to be a uniform police but it is advanced training, if you are going to just where the white or tan blouse at least look in the handbook at what goes on it. This is not a Cub Scout or Boy Scout shirt. It is a Naval Uniform, be respectful at what you put on it. Things like camporee patches, jambo patches, wood badge beads, do not go on the white blouse, and beads, knots, council strips, activity patches, jambo patches, OA flaps, etc., do not go on the work tans.


There was nothing "advanced" about this course.


I am through venting now I think,



Did I mention that there were a lot of very nice people there?






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Back in 2005 when I first got involved with Sea Scouting, I went and bought myself a Sea Scout Manual.

I was impressed by the size of the book!

It seemed to cover just about anything and everything a Sea Scout might need.

I sat down and read it from cover to cover twice!!

For work I have to read a lot of reports and updates, but even being used to reading material that might be seen as being dry. The Sea Scout Manual was tough going.

When the Ship did get started we along with the membership fee and the cost of a working uniform collected the money needed to buy a copy of the Manual for each and every Sea Scout.

As we started to use the Manual we started to notice that some of the material was out of date.

I mentioned this to a friend of mine who serves on the National Sea Scout Committee and was informed that they were working on a new manual. He said that there were problems as the people working on it were all volunteers who were located in all parts of the Country and at that time there was no budget for the new manual.

I'm not sure if that really was the case? Or if there is now a budget for the new manual?

Last January the Ship was invited to attend a Quarterdeck Training in New Jersey.

I'm unsure if it was supposed to be a Regional Training or a Flotilla training.

We drove from SW-PA to NJ in the snow, expecting something a lot better than I could do!!

It was fun and the Scouts who attended had a good time, but the material was terrible.

The people presenting the training were all very nice and some were very knowledgeable about seamanship, boat-handling and that sort of thing.

But the material was just not very good.

The Sea Scout Manual and other Sea Scout publications informed me that the outline for Quarterdeck Training can be found in the Skippers Manual. The Skippers Manual has been out of print for a very long time. I did find one on E-bay that was printed in the 1940's!!


Being the only Ship in our Council the Council run Scout Shop didn't as a rule keep copies of the Sea Scout Manual in stock. So the ensure that we would have copies on hand I would buy a dozen or so copies at a time.

I was surprised to find that the last time I ordered them they they had gone up in price by about $4.00 a copy. Same book, same printing date, same everything??


Sea Scouters are some of the nicest Scouter's I have ever met. They couldn't have been more kind and understanding toward me and the Ship. They really did reach out and take us under their wing.

But a good many seem to get very defensive when it comes to changing anything.

A lot of the program does deal with tradition and a good number of the Sea Scouts I know really like this and enjoy learning about it. Some even accept the fact that the outdated material is just part of the way things are!! It's almost as if this is part of the program.


A new Sea Scout Manual is never going to be a "Best Seller". I'm sure that sales will never reach the numbers that the Boy Scout Hand Book or the Cub Scout books reach.

Maybe we should look at what is happening in the LFL program where all the material is now available on line?

But maybe before that could happen Sea Scouting might need to become part of the National Web site? (http://www.seascout.org/

is unofficial and may not reflect the official position of the National Sea Scouting Committee or the Boy Scouts of America.)


I have not taken Sea Badge.

I have sat through the other adult leader training's.

They have been enjoyable, good fun and have provided useful information. Sadly a lot of the material presented seemed to be the personal opinion of the person presenting it.

Of course we all know that some presenters do at times get a little carried away. But some of the courses I sat through were supposed to be the same courses that every volunteer leader has to go through and if I hadn't already taken the courses; I'd never have known.

I'm not sure why this is happening?

It might be that Sea Scouting is so very small that the powers that be are happy to ignore what is going on?

Or it might be that the Sea Scouting powers that be don't want to allow or don't seem to want National interfering?

The program does offer the youth that join a lot.

From my adult point of view I find it a lot easier to understand and deliver than Venturing. Of course a lot of that is because I like the structured program, which at this time I fail to see in Venturing. (This is a problem with me not the program!!)

Over 50% of the youth who join the Ship do come from Boy Scouting programs, many have taken the youth leadership courses offered in Boy Scouting, sadly when I try to use the youth leadership materials offered by Sea Scouting resources it's like entering a time-warp!! The Scouts who have been though Boy Scouting courses see this and end up being more than a little confused.

Of course there is still a lot of good stuff in the old material and just because something is old doesn't mean that it's all bad.

Sea Scouting is a great program, it has the potential to reach a lot of young people.

It does seem to be growing.

Surely it's time we spent some money updating the materials available and tried to make it even more appealing to young people and new adult leaders?


(I did try and spin off, but got an error message! So I put this here!!)

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We have had a lot of boaters look at the book at it gets a w i d e variety of responses. Over all most are very positive. But power boater think it has too much sailing stuff, sail boaters think it should have MORE sailing stuff. Navigators like it a lot but it needs info on GPS and not so much on LORAN. etc etc.


That is always a problem with any resource, even the Internet ones. We live in such a fast changing world as far as technology that no printed information will stay perfect for very long.


But at least in the Sea Scout Handbook pretty much all of the boat terms, types, and parts are still accurate even today. (the advancemnt requirements are very clear also and there is no way that a hike at Philmont is acceptable as a "cruise on a boat or vessel" as suggested at the Seabadge training.


The unit organization, youth and adult officer roles are still accurate. Activity plans are still good, etc.


So as a program handbook, while voluminous in comparison to other BSA handbooks it is still very usable. Even if a new handbook did not come out in the next few years this one is still usable.







(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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There were 42 participants.

What did you think about the discussion of uniform / no uniform for Sea Scouts?

In my opinion I think the discussion was flawed. The Venture Scout program lends itself to an incredible amount of flexibility. If the youth led Ventures vote to have tie-dyed shirts and specialize in bowling and movies, then so be it. If they choose to be a crew who sails and SCUBAs and wear tie-died tee-shirts, then they should be registered as a crew.


But, if the unit charters itself as a Sea Scout Ship, then they ought to follow the nautical theme of Sea Scouts, refer to the Sea Scout manual, take the Sea Scout training, and be uniformed according to the manual. I noticed in the past, when I was helping out with a local troop, that the Scouts would remove their uniform shirts before exiting the meeting place and walking home. Someone coined the term, social suicide. Now fast forward a few years. Dinner at the yacht club. Scout Scouts and Sea Scout officers in dress white uniforms. Members of the chartered org commenting and complimenting the scouts on their appearance, "You young ladies and gentlemen look fabulous!" Members of the chartered organization overheard telling their dinner guests, "Those are OUR Sea Scouts". A Sea Scout taking his senior pictures in dress whites. The look good and they know it! They stand out at the club and they like it. The uniform instills a sense of belonging to the ship, it is a morale builder, it brings a sense of pride in the ship, and adds a huge amount of espirit de corps to our unit. It's part of our tradition.


It works for us. It may not work for you. We spend a Friday night dinner in white and the rest of the weekend we're in our gray tee shirts and shorts.



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There have been people who have posted on the Sea Scout net. page, that the course was "Top notch" It would seem to me that some people did enjoy the course and did get something from it. They point out that Sea Scouting in the Central region has seen 7% growth. A member of the Ship that you serve stated that this Sea Badge course was a a good way to start the boating season. Ea. Scuttlebutt has it that they refer to that guy as "Mr. Positive."


Scuttlebutt has it that they refer to that guy as "Mr. Positive."

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"The Venture Scout program lends itself to an incredible amount of flexibility. If the youth led Ventures vote to have tie-dyed shirts and specialize in bowling and movies, then so be it."


Venture Scout program? Please. Its called the Venturing program. Please don't call it 'Venture Scout' or the like.



"If they choose to be a crew who sails and SCUBAs and wear tie-died tee-shirts, then they should be registered as a crew."


Well, while I can see where you are coming from, and agree with you to a point, the problem is that we have both SCUBA crews AND Scuba ships. The SCUBA crews I've seen pretty much follow how most crews operate, and the SCUBA ships DO follow the Sea Scout program, wear the uniform, etc.


I know of Sea Scout ships who wear aloha shirts (with sea scout insignia) as their uniform. :)


Problem is is that back in the 1960s, National themselves defined 3 types of Sea Scout Ships: Red, White, and Blue. (you might here references to 'Red Fleet', 'White Fleet', and 'Blue Fleet'). Blue ships were those that followed the traditional Sea Scout program, including advancement, traditional uniforms, etc. White ships were those that did do boat activites, but may not be into the full Sea Scout program, maybe not into the advancement program (hence the creation of the Smallboat Handler and Qualified Seaman bars), and maybe not into the full uniform. Red ships were those that did SOME kind of nautical activity, including stuff like SCUBA, water skiing, etc. These were more properly just Explorer Posts (this was back in the 60s-80s) that had a water-based theme of some kind.


In my experience, most Sea Scout Ships today fall into the Blue and White category, and rarely include the Red (most of these are Venturing Crews).


IMO, the general attitude in the Sea Scouting community is that the formal Sea Scout uniform is expected at National and most Regional events, and may or may not be used at the ship/council levels. I think with most ships (ie the youth) if you show them the uniforms, and their costs, they will usually adopt at least one of them for use by the ship.



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All I was expecting was that if a participant or staff wore a BSA uniform to this event that they would were the entire uniform not a mis of uniforms and that they would wear it correctly. Especially on the staff. I anticipated that an advanced training course would have a staff with advanced skills and knowledge.


I also wasn't expecting such weak support of the uniform, the advancement requirements, the ceremonies, the traditions. Rather than learning more information I recieved none.


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  • 5 months later...

I have been working with the Council Commodore on this, but I do not have an answer or a specific location. I will post here as soon as I know (which hopefully will be within a day or two!). Until I hear back, I do not feel I can comment on the location or other information, other than to say it is an EXCELLENT course, and I would recomend this highly to any Sea Scout leader at any level of the program. Stay tuned....

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"Does anyone out there "know someone" who might know if the November Sea Badge course is going to be held? The region site still lists it as (T)."


You didn't indicate which region. I know we have a course in the Southern Region planned for November in Florida, but its still being worked on. So wasn't sure if that's the course you're referring to.


As Seabadge (its one word) courses are regionally run (except in the Western region), might I suggest dropping a line to your regional commodore?


The Sea Scout website (www.seascouts.org) should have the email addresses of all the regional commodores, and is the place for listing upcoming Seabadge and SEAL courses.



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