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Separate Sea Scout patrol within troop

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...Most often such character development is achieved by means of outdoor programs where scouts can be close to nature. But there are ways of learning conservation and leadership skills in an outdoor setting that do not involve camping, and that is where the Sea Scouts come in.

In 1910 Lord Baden-Powell’s brother Warrington published a book in Britain about Sea Scouting.

gary_entz_-_seascouting.jpg

 

By 1912 Arthur Carey of Massachusetts used the book to establish the Sea Scouting program in the U.S. Despite an endorsement from the Secretary of the Navy, Sea Scouting in America started off slowly and for its first years was largely confined to the Atlantic coast.

The Great Lakes, however, are a natural setting for Sea Scouting, and by 1918 Sea Scout units were being established in Wisconsin. The entire national organization was restructured in 1922 under the leadership of Thomas Keane of New York, and consequently during the 1920s membership in Sea Scouting exploded.

Sea Scouting reached the Northwoods in the spring of 1929 when a Sea Scout unit was established in the town of Mercer. A. H. Rice, the Scoutmaster for the local Boy Scout Troop became the unit Skipper. Richard Roberts became First Mate of the Mercer “Ship.” The choice of Mercer as the first in the Northwoods was a direct result of Thomas Keane’s aggressive recruitment program. Keane had instructed scouting’s regional headquarters in Chicago to look to towns and villages not large enough to support a full Sea Scout program but still active enough to recruit teenage boys for a separate Sea Scout “patrol unit.” With an active Boy Scout organization, Mercer was perfect for this...

The History of Sea Scouts in Mercer (WI)

https://www.wxpr.org/post/history-sea-scouts-mercer#stream/0

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Sounds like the original venture patrol.

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Explorer crews within troops were allowed until the 1959 "improvements" to Exploring.

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Adventure patrols are difficult in nature to manage while at the same time maintaining a positive performance troop program. Rare is the adult who can achieve that kind of troop program. I only know of one SM (a mentor of mine) who managed to balance the two programs in the troop, and he has since retired. 

Our troop compromised by encouraging Temporary Adventure Patrols. Any scout, any age, could create a Temporary Adventure Patrol for whatever activity he wanted so long as he was the leader and recruited the members to manage it. The patrols were intended for one adventure outing and then it dispersed. It was an outside troop activity, so the scouts in the patrol had to meet outside of normal troop activities. All our Philmont and Northern Tier  trips were Temporary Adventure Patrols. Along with the Scuba trip, Alaska trip, countless backpacking trips. We usually had at least one Snow Ski Adventure trip every couple of years.

While the membership Chair for the district, I observed several troop programs that started Venture Patrols and Venturing Crews to give the older scouts a separate program. They generally dissolved in three years do to lack of interest. The problem is the motivation of the adventure patrols was wrong. If the older scouts were not happy with the program as Troop Scouts, what was going to make the program more interesting as Adventure scouts.  Troop leaders need to develop the troop program to challenge the maturity of older scouts instead of splitting the troop with a program intended only to  entertain them.

The successful adventure programs are the ones where  the scouts are "learning conservation and leadership skills in an outdoor setting."That kind of program requires challenging both the physical and intellectual abilities of the scouts. That is the kind of program that rewards a young adult for their efforts and makes them want to continually apply themselves.

Barry

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@Eagledad, I suspect that 98 years ago nobody worried about entertaining older scouts. A sail boat sounded like fun, so they got one and had fun. And it grew into Sea Scouts. And now, their equivalent to Eagle is harder to do than what Eagle requires.

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16 hours ago, MattR said:

@Eagledad, I suspect that 98 years ago nobody worried about entertaining older scouts. A sail boat sounded like fun, so they got one and had fun. And it grew into Sea Scouts. And now, their equivalent to Eagle is harder to do than what Eagle requires.

Sea scouts works because it requires more than just sailing from the scouts to be successful. The scouts were, and still are, expected to run the program. Most of the those types of programs were successful because the scouts took more interest than just the theme activity. Even today there are many successful Venturing Crews and Troop Adventure Programs because the scouts push the program forward. They are just shadowed by the many adult created adventure programs that hang on to the adults passion.

I was part of an Explorer post when I was a youth, It was a very maturing experience. Quite different than the troop program in that the scouts were the operation managers and owners. The adults were more of just an interested resource. It was an attitude difference; scouts in the troop can run the troop, but there is always the hanging feeling that the adults are just waiting to jump in when something goes amiss. Scouts in the Explorer Post are part owners. They are responsible for the bad days as well as the good. I tried very hard to take that in our troop while I was a SM, and succeeded in many ways, but the troop program struggles with a large difference of maturity in the age spectrum. While the older scouts buy-in, they younger scouts still feel like they are part of a  youth program. It works, because the older scouts teach by the actions of role modeling. But the challenge is greater on the adults, if they are even willing.

Also, as you implied, the culture expected more maturity from youth in those days.  Older scouts could just grab a sailboat and give it a try. At age 16, my dad was the SM of his troop. They would meet at the church steps on a Friday afternoon and hike out of the small town of Laurel Mississippi with their gear to find a place to camp. Sometimes an adult might attend, but it was WWII, many times it was just the Scouts. Adults back then gave youth more independence to drive their passions.

I had an adult scouter friend who had much the same kind of experience in a small town in Oklahoma during the 60s. He and other scouts took turns being the SM because there weren't any adults available. He told me something I had never heard before about summer camp. The counselors at his camp camped alone in their specific theme area. Scouts would show up at any time to work on their specific badge, and then move on. He was expected to keep his campsite neat and clean and always wore a clean full uniform. He said that kind of responsibility was the best scouting for developing boys into men. There was nothing like that for his son. I remember that he was always in a ironed clean uniform when I saw him. He had a different respect for scouting that most of us don't have. 

Those scouts sound special to many of us today because they were special. If a boy wasn't interested in scouting, he wasn't scouts. If he was interested, then he gave his all.

I remember being grateful for my experience in the Explorers when I was elected the president of our flying club in college. That club held national honors and the expectations on me were huge. It was the first time that held such a responsibility. I was naive and scared, but my experience in Explorers gave me enough confidence to take things one step at a time. I just did what I learned in the Troop and Explorers. And that experience gave me the confidence to be successful in my career.

I have a lot of respect for Sea Scouts as well as it's history.

Barry

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

Sea scouts works because it requires more than just sailing from the scouts to be successful. The scouts were, and still are, expected to run the program.

That's why I was so impressed with the Israeli scouts. From day one, when a 6 year old kid enters their program, they know that when they're 14 they're going to be running a small group of younger scouts. By the time they're 16 they're going to be deciding the program for a patrol. By the time they're 18 they're going to be running a troop of 100. There are no ranks or requirements for each scout and only vague descriptions of what the program could be, but the leadership is very well laid out.  Fewer expectations of ranks and parents might make it easier for scouts to lead.

This also reminds me of a description of Japanese gardens. They're supposed to look natural but everything is placed for a reason. It's very unnatural. They want the fallen leaves cleaned up, but not too clean as that wouldn't look natural. So they use the old men to clean up the leaves. They don't see everything, they get tired, sweeping up most of the leaves is good enough so they can go back to talking to their friends. The result is perfection, just enough leaves to look right but not overwhelming.

Maybe what I'm saying is scouts needs more really young adults (rovers?) and grandparents running things. Youthful enthusiasm along with older wisdom but fewer expectation getting in the way of the actual scouts. Given the current problems it might be something to consider. Of course, this is all just an old man talking. I should get back to my garden ;)

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15 minutes ago, MattR said:

Maybe what I'm saying is scouts needs more really young adults (rovers?) and grandparents running things. Youthful enthusiasm along with older wisdom but fewer expectation getting in the way of the actual scouts. Given the current problems it might be something to consider. Of course, this is all just an old man talking. I should get back to my garden ;)

Yes, I like that. 

I would be interested in learning how Israel scouts trains adults.

Barry

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