Seascout-Net Mail Archive for October of 1998: A Good Ship . . .
A Good Ship . . .
Mon Oct 19 11:45:39 1998
Shipmates and friends
I am not sure a really good Sea Scout Ship exists. It is something like
Christianity, no one has seen it operating as idealized. However here's what
I have seen as the ingredients for a Ship that hits on at least 5 cylinders or
has perhaps only one sheet to the wind -
Structure - the Sea Scouts and adult leaders each have roles and
responsibilities and no what they are, and are held accountable. I'm no
entirely sure a brand new Ship should have a bunch of 14 year old running
everything -- very often they do not know enough. The Spurgeon initiatives
which had Sea Scout units running everything by Roberts Rules of Order has
been the demise of more new Ships around here. The Sea Scouts should be given
as much responsibility as they are equipped to bear. It takes the burden off
the adults and makes the Sea Scouts happy. It should not be seen as an
absolute, you have to ramp up to it.
Visibility - the Field of Dreams philosophy, "just sail and they will come" is
not quite enough. You must very deliberately take on projects that put you in
the public eye . . . repeatedly. This means service projects, rendezvous, long
cruises, fundraisers, and these projects must very consciously be reported in
the community press and to your sponsor. I hear leaders complain they don't
have time for this. Do you have time to go unhappily sailing with just two
Variety - Not every teenager gets excited at just tending a sheet and watching
the shape of a sail. Recently Sea Scouting has been consumed by a yachting
racing mentality and I think that offers too narrow a base. In addition trips
to working boats and ships, Naval bases, Coast Guards bases, technical
schools, aquariums, etc., get away from repeated day sails. Try night sails,
do some snorkeling, try some old sailor's arts, take USPS courses. Encourage
your Sea Scouts to take SCUBA courses, boat building, lifesaving courses, and
the like on their own. I find overnight sails are the greatest bonding cement
because of the strong social aspect. We have a very successful Aubrey-
Maturinesque Ship's dinner where everyone has to offer some form of
entertainment under penalty of death or worse. Basically it is a Baden-Powell
talent show. We have kids who find our camping, cooking, and first aid
instruction the best part of the program. Go figure.
Consistency - Meet regularly at the same place and the same time. Sail
regularly about the same time, so people can plan to work with you. The kids
grow to expect a midsummer long cruise and a winter camping trip and a fall
fundraiser and plan their lives around it. (If you don't you find yourself
planning around their other activities instead.) Have your committee meetings
the same day of the same week of every month. You must have a committee to
prevent Skipper burnout and to provide continuity.
That's my two cents and maybe a doubloon.
Sea Scout Ship 101 Viking
"We Sail To The Ends Of The Earth." (and occasionally over the edge.)
www.seascout.net/ship101 (a work in progress)