Re: The REAL problems aboard ship - Forwarded
Bruce C Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mon Jun 15 06:25:45 1998
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 1998 10:00:41 -0500
From: "William H. Sills" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: The REAL problems aboard ship
IMHO Kevin should add a Fun Activity on the week that his ship doesn't a
membership meeting or a Quarterdeck meeting. Let the youth Activity
Chairman set it up with help from other kids. Appoint the 19 year old as
the first one. Dump him if he refuses!!!
You have some great boats. We have lots of ships here in the Central Region
that would love to have just one of them!!! There should be absolutely no
problem getting kids because they can go sailing right away.
Many Scoutmasters don't understand how the BSA is SUPPOSED TO
WORK. Kids should move on from Tiger Cubs to Cub Scouts, then Webelos, next
to a troop or team and then, on to Sea Scouts/Venturing/Exploring and,
finally, to leadership. (We don't have the ROVER interim step in the USA.)
Scoutmasters try to retain their older boys and don't encourage them to
take the next step. Life is unfair, deal with it!!!
Set up a sailing day, advertise it in the local paper, Cable Community
page, local radio/tv and in your local council newsletter. Try to get a
flyer into the schools. Some school papers allow paid advertisements. Just
mention the sailing at the yacht club. (Have experienced sailors upon which
you can count in charge of each boat.) Reach the kids, don't rely on
You have two girls. Have you assigned them a job? You may want to make
every youth a Monthly Activity Chairmen. Assign the Mate's son to a month
in between the ones you assign the girls. Have the 19 year old's girl
friend, Mate's son, girl take the job in that order and follow them with
the other youth members. Allow them all to pick any reasonable activity.
Then, have them follow through with it. If they don't do anything, meet
anyway and let them explain to their friends why it didn't work out.
Dating: Np problem here, Golly, you have boys dating a girls!!! That's a
nice situation in Californi!!!. <VBG> I have found that the youth spout
off about the rules but are generally happy with them and the fact that I
enforce them. Every young person that I have worked with WANTED rules.
Naturally, they rebelled some but rules give them a staff to lean upon.
Remember, we are not and should not be their pals. They have plenty of
them. What most youth need is an adult that cares about them with no idea
of personal gain. They don't need a pot bellied, super annuated, bald
headed old guy for a buddy <me, not necessarily any of you :-)>
2. Membership recruitment - Mentioned above and don't rely on Scoutmasters
who fear "losing" their older boys. Use a series of well targeted "First
Nighter"s. Try to work on one selected group of youth at a time. Don't try
a scatter blast at the world.
3. Rank advancement - Two of eight still haven't passed apprentice after a
year (one is my Mates son). That is simply absurd. Those kids are just
giving you a hard time!!! Even a brain dead youth could pass the Apprentice
Sea Scout rank requirements in a week. Your Mate's son appears to be
displaying passive resistance to being in Sea Scouting!!! The relationship
between your mate and his son may be dysfunctional. I had the same problem
off and on with my boys when they were Sea Scouts. I think that is a very
common problem. It ain't easy to be both dad and Skipper/Mate at the same
time. :-) (Actually, it isn't easy to be the parent of a teenager!!!)
Work with the rest of the youth. Our method is to incorporate as many of
the Ordinary, Able and Quartermaster requirements as possible into the time
we are cruising and sailing. Most of our Sea Scouts have found the
requirements relevant. Anchoring and piloting are important when not doing
them successfully means not having time to get a snack, a shower, a visit,
etc. ashore!!! <G>
My Sea Scouts have far more classes than they want in school. Again, just
have them do the stuff afloat. Youth are practical. They have plenty of
things to do. They aren't going to spend precious leisure time studying.
They will take the time to learn what they find useful. Let them sail to
Catalina but make them navigate, anchor, select the itinerary, etc. DON'T
DO THINGS FOR THEM. I lay down and rest. <G> Just keep the master mariners
"alarm" button on in your head: become instantly alert when the vessel
motion changes, you hear any unusual sounds, etc. :-)
4. Training - "I asked the youth if they wanted to go to Rendezvous this
year and told them that I felt every one of them could go and getting a
passing score on whatever the planned to compete in. They initially felt it
should be a fun outing. I did not want to take them if they don't practice
because I'm not going to take them anywhere to fail or waste a lot of ship
You should let them go where they wish. Failure is often required before
achieving success. Wasting ship funds or not is really not your job. Let
the Purser explain what is available for activities. Let the youth
determine how to spend that part of your funds.
"After a discussion they decided that they did want to go and needed to
schedule regular practice to be able to do well. No practice days have been
set. I will keep reminding them about time slipping away. How do these
other units get so well trained?"
You are not letting them be in charge!!! Let them go and fail!!! Let them
look terrible in front of their peers!!! I have had superb, prize winning
ship's companies and I have had some that barely earned "DFL"!!! Some of
the poor ones learned to become top competitors. They found a reason to
practice: They did not want to look stupid in front of other teenagers. It
is important for your Sea Scouts to take charge of their own destinies.
Their score is NOT a reflection upon you. On the contrary, it is testimony
to your painful but excellent leadership. Boy, failure has always been a
great incentive for me to improve and I am certain that wull be the case
for your Sea Scouts!!! <BG>
"It seems the only thing they are really interested in is getting away from
adults (including us) and having fun." Gee, that sure sounds as if you have
a lot of teenagers in your ship!!!
I don't force anything. Participation and work is the "dues" to go sailing,
getting to use a boat for racing, going iceboating, etc. Those who wish to
be "in charge" of the bigger boats on trips have to earn that position.
Sometimes things do deteriorate but, painful as it is, my mates and I do
not step into the breach. So far, the kids have always ended up "taking up
We have never given the youth the option of changing into a social club.
The CO and Committee run a traditional ship. No one is forced to sign the
articles and no one is forced to remain a member. They are free to organize
anything they want outside the ship but we are Sea Scouts. (We are active
sailors and iceboaters so we might not be considered as traditional as some
NE Region ships but we are as traditional as anything else in Central
Region. For the salty ones, we are probably more NC than EC in that
Yes, youth run means "Standing in to danger" but that is the way are
program is theoretically supposed to work. <VBG>
I hope that this provides some food for thought if not immediate help.