The REAL problems aboard ship -Reply
DAVIS JONES (JONES.DAVIS@EPAMAIL.EPA.GOV)
Fri Jun 12 12:52:25 1998
Kevin and Michael,
Don't believe for a second that this is an epidemic isolated to the left coast. My ship in Virginia has
been through (and is going through) the same problems. Also, I don't think you can blame it on
"modern" youth unless your definition extends beyond mine (I would have fit into my current ship
perfectly well some fifteen years ago). I won't talk about everything you mentioned except to
empathize and share pain, but I do have a suggestion for interaction with area Troops. Instead of
just having a first nighter type of boating day, we offer a merit badge weekend where we teach Boy
Scouts motor boating, sailing, weather and oceanography. The Scout Masters see it as a chance to
use us to supply part of their program (merit badges), while their kids have a lot of fun. Our kids do
a good bit of the teaching, providing them with a chance to excel and show off. We do get some of
the older Boy Scouts coming back to join us later, usually with the blessing of their troop leaders.
We also make a little money of the event by charging $20 per boy for the weekend.
We have not had any advancement in about a year. I would love to limit trips to those with ordinary,
etc., but we wouldn't have anyone go. We concentrate on teaching sailing, and have had a couple
of people progress almost to Able without even knowing they were working on ranks, but that's
unusual. Now that the new rank requirements make it a little harder to get even apprentice without
some specific "class work", it has become harder to just teach them during sailing classes, etc.
I've tried to place more responsibilities on the youth, but that's hard to do. The kids seem like all
they want to do is sit on boats and have us sail them around, but that may be our own fault by not
organizing our training enough. We're now trying to clarify to the kids and adults what the program
is and I am hopefully that those who buy into those program ideals will embrace them and those that
don't will stay out of the way. It was and is very frustrating to try to provide an excellent program
to people that don't really seem to want it, but the few times things have completely worked and the
ship or an individual scout exhibited a change in character that I helped foster made it worthwhile.
The commitment of the skipper is crucial, and time consuming. I finally resigned last month after a
three year "interim" stay. My original agreement was to serve as skipper until a replacement was
found, but everyone quit looking while I was doing the job. I found I was spending more time with
other people's children than my own, and had to redirect my personal priorities. Right now, we don't
have a skipper, and rule by committee does not work very well. If you know of anyone in Northern
Virginia that is available.......