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1 Ship vs. 3 Ships

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I was talking with the Ships DE last weekend and found out that 2 other Sea Scout Ships have been started in my council.

Even though we are only about a 15 min. drive from each other we are in different districts.


There was one thing that he said that kind of bothers me.

He told me not to worry about the other Ships taking kids away from our Ship as from what he has heard we were the only one that had any type of program in place.


It seems that one of the Ships has been started by the retired Rear Admiral that is on the Council Executive Committee.

At one time he was going to use his background and connections to help any ship in the council but is now only going to be doing it for the ship he started.

One of the other adult leaders of this Ship has a sailboat and has taken the Sea Scouts for a couple of rides and that has been the extent of their activities.


The other one has been started in a church in the middle of the city and has no access to any type of boats.


The Ship I am Skipper of just registered its 10th member which is more than the other 2 Ships put together.


The driving force behind starting 2 new units instead of encouraging them to join one ship was that the DEs of the other Districts wanted that notch for starting a new unit.


I find it funny that all the kids have in my unit are from both of these other districts and none are from the district we are chartered in.


I have nothing against starting new units but it seems that we now have 3 struggling Sea Scout Ships (and yes we are still struggling) instead of working together, pooling our resources and having one thriving unit.


I have seen this done with Troops in our council where in an area with one Cub Pack feeding 3 troops and starting a 4th Troop that drew off of this same Pack just to get that added unit number with no regard that it will weaken all of the other Troops.


I dont think we will have much success in drawing more boys into the program until our Council level professionals concentrate on having quality units that draw and keep kids into Scouting instead of just starting as many mediocre units as possible.

(This message has been edited by CNYScouter)

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Don't worry about the other ships, just concentrate on yours. Make sure you provide the best program and actively recruit.


It's up the other Ship's youth, and adult leaders to keep them afloat or they will sink.


(yea I'm groaning on the last sentance also :) )

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I think even if one does concentrate on the program of their own ship/troop/pack, this kind of "numbers game" by the DE's can end up being a detriment to scouting.


What often happens is kids join one of the "struggling units" and if that unit doesn't have the program, they quit. They never check out the other "less struggling" unit or the unit with the good program. They think all units are the same.


Think of the benefit to the children we serve if there were one strong unit, verses three struggling ones.





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I don't know how strong Sea Scouting is in your area -Other than the 3 Ships you mention?

We are at this time the only Ship in our Council.

While the Metro Council next door has two Ships listed one of these is a "Paper Unit" and has been for some time. I talked with the Skipper and he informs me that all the Sea Scouts are in college?? The other was a new Ship that I now think has folded.

The nearest Ship to us is in West Virginia, while it's only about 50 miles away it's kinda hard to get to and the distance makes looking in for a quick visit a little hard.

I think Sea Scouting is a wonderful program. I really wish we had more Ships in our area.

We have seen a few Scouts leave for college and we have a few that are less than active.

While I can see that the Ships on the West Coast who have really big boats can manage large numbers of Scouts, we can't.

I have yet to work out what the ideal size /membership might be? I know that over 30 Sea Scouts was a bit more than maybe we could manage. I'm starting to think that a number of about 20 -24 might be ideal.

Of course a lot depends on how active the Scouts are and what equipment you have.

Our Scouts really like meeting and mixing with other Sea Scouts and other Ships.

Next month we are going on a cruise with a Ship from Maryland on the Sea Eagle.

While I will admit that there is something nice about being the only Ship in the area, sadly most people have never heard about Sea Scouting and I've lost count of the times I have had to explain that we are part of the BSA and we are a coed program.

I would like to see Sea Scouting establish a presence in our area and I'm willing to offer advice and words of encouragement to any one who wants to start a new Ship, but right now my main thing is the Ship that I serve. I suppose in some ways I'm like the retired Rear Admiral and can see where he is coming from.

Having several Ships in the area would be nice. Right now it seems our Scouts are so very busy with so many things going on trying to get them to sign up and commit to things is like hard work.

The deadline for the paperwork and money for the Winter Training weekend was yesterday and only seven of our Scouts have signed up. We have to have a male and female leader, so we now have three adults taking seven Scouts! I know the adults will have fun and enjoy the weekend but if there was a Ship in the area we could offer to take them along, fill a mini-bus and keep the cost down.

Last year we met with the West Virginia Ship and a Ship from Maryland to help prepare our Scouts for the Regatta. Again having other Ships close by would make this a lot easier.

While you don't want to live in each others pockets, having other Ships near by could be a really nice thing.


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CubScoutJo got my point exactly.


Sea Scouting is very weak here with many people that have never heard of it.

It has been many, many years since we have had a successful Ship in this area.


The few ships that the council did have were through the local dive shops and not very active.


The last one my council had was at an antique boat museum a couple of hours north of here.

It only lasted one year as it was in a low population area and couldnt interest enough kids.


I fully agree that having a few ships in the area can be a good thing but I dont see enough interest yet here to have 3 ships so close together.


Every council around us has a Ship registered but every one I have contacted so far is a "Paper Unit".

While at WB the staff made the point of telling everyone they had a Sea Scout Ship in their council.

When I contacted the Skipper he told me that even though they had been around for months they hadnt had a meeting/activity and he couldnt even get his own son to attend.


The Ship members and I have been actively recruiting from these 3 districts and since June the Ship has only attracted 10 kids. These other units together don't have that many so I still don't see enough interest to start new units.


We are working on it and are growing slowly.


What often happens is kids join one of the "struggling units" and if that unit doesn't have the program, they quit.


I have been running into this with my recruiting efforts.


The kids that dropped from Scouts had such a lousy time in their unit they are unwilling to give it another try even though this is a different program.


I just sent in the application for the winter training weekend.

I have 3 adults taking 2 Scouts.

My son and a young lady signed up to go.

I am going and the other 2 adults are members of our CO who are empty-nesters.

Both are very nice older ladies and have decided to help out with the Ship.

One is a Golf widow and the other is a child physiatrist who wants to work with normal teens for a change.

They really need the Venturing training and though this looked like a fun way to get it.


The professionals at council just made my job a lot harder as a volunteer by starting units where there is little interest just to get that credit of starting a new unit.


Instead of working to have one strong unit to spark the program and interest and creating another unit when that interest is strong the council has just gone ahead and started these other Ships and spread our resources thin making it tougher for any one of us to continue and grow.




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  • 5 weeks later...

I have been involved in scouting, venturing, and now sea scouts for over 20 years. All arguments for and against new units start and end with district volunteers and professionals serving youth. It doesn't matter how many units or how many adults or how much FOS is done... if you lose sight of why you are there, you'll get hung up on the minutae that will kill your interest in keeping it moving.


When we got mixed up in the council issues and district goals, we lost sight of the purpose: YOUTH!


Our sea scout ship is the largest in our council, second largest in the area. It began four years ago as a result of our council "VOA" being frustrated trying to meet the needs of bridging the gap between Venturing and Sea Scouts in our council. The commodore told them to get involved in Sea Scouts to see what they could do from the inside out.


As a direct result, the young men and women were the cream of the crop from units all over the council. They saw a new challenge and jumped in with their feet running before they even had the paperwork finished. They kept their "home crew" working while building the council program and their sea scout ship.


They found a chartered partner, got 5 adults to get on the paper and launched a new ship after trying to join one that was in weak condition. One thing led to another. Their first regatta they showed up in green shirts. The next regatta they were all in dress blues. Of the 7 that originally started the new ship, 6 were Eagle and one was a GSUSA Gold award recipient. They knew their way around the program and lived it full tilt.


Their momentum is carried on today... it's an awesome thing to see. Today the ship is the steward for a boathouse, a 36' old diesl powered retired navy landing craft, two sailboats:25' Catalina & 22' Capri, three dingy sailboats, two rowing dingys and an inflatable and they have a 16' catamaran their rebuilding. They have a program that will rock your socks off. The alumni show up every year for a New Year's Day cruise and have attended all events that they possibly can. We have to our credit two very capable and outstanding Quartermasters. With three more youth chasing their coattails!


If you have a program, the youth will come and the youth will make it fly. If you get hung up on numbers and issues outside of your unit, you'll get lost in the quagmire away from the program.


Stick to going, doing, and running. Program, Program, Program - the rest are just the details. It's what makes the Scouting program the best in the world. (Oh, one big secret, the adults have to get out of the way :)

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