Part of the Boy Scouts of America, open to male & female

HAWLEY LAKE REGION - Sea Scouts, a nautical-themed branch of Boy Scouts of America and open to youth male and female, is coming to Lake Wallenpaupack. 

Skid Rollison, a Navy veteran, long time Lake Wallenpaupack boater and Boy Scout leader, has announced the formation of the “Ship,” which is how Sea Scouts refer to a Troop, as it is known by the Boy Scouts.

Focus on boating

As he explains, Sea Scouts is a unique program within the Boy Scouts of America, and it is the second oldest program in the BSA family. 

Sea Scouts, like Boy Scouts, pursue challenging rank advancement; like Venturers, share a love for high adventure; and like Exploring, offers a viable career path to the marine and maritime industry and the military. Just as the name implies, the Sea Scout program focuses on boating. 

Activities include in, on, under and around the water programs. Challenging rank advancement, nautical uniforms, and customs and ceremonies prepare youth to be safe on the water and treasure our maritime heritage, Rollison noted.

Their uniforms might be Navy blues with white sailor Dixie cup-caps or ball caps, or other variation; earn Navy-style ranks; they learn the vernacular, and traditions of Naval and maritime service. Their meeting room, for instance, might be decorated to resemble a ship cabin. They may walk up a gangplank to enter and first stop to salute the flag, and then salute the officer, asking permission to board.

13 to 21

A youth must be 13 years of age and graduated from the eighth grade or be 14 to join Sea Scouts. You can stay in Sea Scouts until you are 21 years of age. 

Rollison stated that the mission, values and purpose of the Sea Scouts is similar to the traditional Boy Scouts.

The Sea Scout mission is to prepare young people to make ethical choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. 

Learning leadership skills, performing community service, and providing good social experiences are critical elements of the program. 

Community service

The Sea Scouts at Lake Wallenpaupack may be engaged in a variety of local community service projects, both at Wallenpaupack and elsewhere. It may involve cleaning up river banks, assisting where they are able, with the PA Fish & Boat Commission, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the two dive teams on Lake Wallenpaupack, and other agencies. Wally Lake Fest, he affirmed, opens a wide opportunity where Sea Scouts can make a visible and active presence.

Like traditional scouting, they will also do land-based activities such as camping an attending jamborees.

It’s not just a summer program. In the winter they may do activities on the ice, as well as plan “cruises.”

Sea Scout cruises

Each Sea Scout plans cruises on a boat. The National Sea Scout Support Committee makes special arrangements each year with the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, to board the Coast Guard’s Barque Eagle, a three-masted barque-rigged ship used to train cadets and officers candidates in the U.S. Coast Guard. Local Sea Scout Ships can apply for this adventure of a lifetime.

“Ships” are run by the scouts, with direction provided by the adult leaders. Rollison, who will be the “Skipper” (equivalent of the Scout Master). 

Seeking a meeting place

Rollison is currently looking for a meeting place for the Sea Scouts at Lake Wallenpaupack. Ideally, he said it would be at a marina where scouts could bring and store boats.

They need at least five scouts and five adult leaders to organize a Ship. Two of the scouts must be new to scouting.

He said that Sea Scouts can already be Boy Scouts associated with a Troop, and can remain in both if they wish. Certain badges that are earned in Boy Scouts are the same as in Sea Scouts and are count for both; other badges are unique to Sea Scouts.

A wave of interest is already swelling in forming a Sea Scout Ship. He stated that he has both young people and adults who want to be involved, and he is looking for more. 

Rollison, who was brought up in the Lake Wallenpaupack area, is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and served in the Persian Gulf, working sonar and later as a gunner’s mate. He has been active for many years as a Boy Scout leader for Troop 129 in Paupack and an assistant leader with Troop 2619, the girl’s troop that was formed last year. He also served as aa Girl Scout leader.

Explore careers

They have opportunities to explore nautical or maritime careers and job opportunities, and speak with U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard recruiters. 

The primary purpose is “forming responsible and caring adults.” 

Charles D. Wurster, Vice Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard (ret.) and a volunteer Sea Scout Commodore, states on a promotional video, “America is a maritime nation dependent on a strong wartime industry for commerce at home and around the globe. This industry needs competent and capable young adults that Sea Scouts become. Not only do they share a passion for our national history, these young men and women develop character and learn vital skills and problem solving, team work and leadership.”

To learn more

A Youtube video just over five minutes long describes the Sea Scout program. The link is as follows.

Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hS3MwMtAqOc

If you would like to become a founding youth member or a founding adult leader of Sea Scouts BSA in the Lake Wallenpaupack Region, please contact Skid Rollison at medic96.geo@yahoo.com.