How many Sea Scouts earned the Quartermaster Award in 2013?

Quartermaster_AwardIn a room filled with 175 Sea Scouts, odds are just one earned the Quartermaster Award last year.

Finding him or her in this imaginary room won’t be easy, but once you do, you’ll be face-to-face with a young man or young woman who worked tirelessly to earn Sea Scouting’s highest honor. This individual has been active in Sea Scouting, conducted a Quartermaster Project and demonstrated 11 special skills — to name a few of the rigorous requirements.

In 2013, exactly 39 Sea Scouts had a bridge of honor ceremony to receive the award, which has been around since 1930. Consider a Quartermaster bridge of honor ceremony the Sea Scouting equivalent of an Eagle Scout court of honor — only even rarer.

Of the approximately 6,800 Sea Scouts registered in 2013, 0.57 percent earned the Quartermaster Award.

For comparison, of the roughly 1 million Boy Scouts registered last year, about 4 to 5 percent earned the Eagle Scout rank. I’ll have exact Eagle Scout numbers from 2013 in a month or two.

So how does 2013′s Quartermaster Award number compare to previous years? Check out this handy chart: Continue reading


Amid ‘One Oath, One Law’ changes, the Sea Scout promise is here to stay

sea-scout-promiseAhoy, Sea Scouts and adult advisors!

While it’s true that the BSA is transitioning to the Scout Oath and Scout Law in all programs, I confirmed this morning that the Sea Promise isn’t going anywhere.

In October 2012, I first reported that the resolution to move away from the Cub Scout Promise, Law of the Pack, Venturing Oath and Venturing Code had passed. For Venturing, the change will take place in May 2014. For Cub Scouts, it’s May 2015.

Sea Scouts, however, are in a different boat. Here’s how Keith Christopher, National Director of the 101-year-old Sea Scouts BSA, explained it to me this morning: Continue reading


Notice anything special on the crest of the new USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier?

Update, Sept. 7: Just to clarify, though the fleur-de-lis was in use before Scouting began, the Navy has said this use of the fleur-de-lis is indeed a reference to Ford’s Scouting career.

As the only Eagle Scout ever to become U.S. president (so far), Gerald Ford stands among the most successful men ever to emerge from the Boy Scouts of America.

That legacy continues with the USS Gerald R. Ford, a $13.5 billion, 1,106-foot aircraft carrier set to join the U.S. Navy’s fleet in 2016.

Last month, the ship’s crew released the Gerald Ford‘s official crest.

It features 38 stars, representing Ford’s tenure as our 38th president. The colors include blue and maize, honoring his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Michigan. But it’s the fluer-de-lis at the top of the compass that really caught my eye.

The fleur-de-lis, of course, shows off Ford’s achievements as a Boy Scout, and its northern position on the compass says a lot about how much Ford’s life direction was positively shaped by his time in Scouting.

Here’s the crest: Continue reading


Sea Scout ship to honor Tiger Cubs killed in Sandy Hook shooting

newtownLike all of us, Todd Skiles was overcome with grief when he heard about the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.

But when news broke that two of the young victims were Tiger Cubs, Skiles and the Sea Scouts of Ship 100 in Gainesville, Va., wanted to find a way to honor and remember 7-year-old Chase Kowalski and 6-year-old Benjamin Wheeler.

That’s why the National Capital Area Council next week will christen its newest 22-foot sailboat the Benjamin Chase.

You see, Skiles wasn’t content letting the name of the perpetrator be all people remember from this tragedy. Continue reading


How many Sea Scouts earn the Quartermaster award each year?

Quartermaster_AwardThink the Eagle Scout Award is rare? Check out the Sea Scouting Quartermaster Award.

First earned around 1930, the Quartermaster Award is Sea Scouting’s highest honor.

Just how rare is it? Keeping in mind that roughly 5 percent of all Boy Scouts earn the Eagle Scout Award, would you believe that just 0.5 percent of all Sea Scouts earn the Quartermaster Award each year?

That means the Quartermaster Award is 10 times rarer than its Boy Scouting counterpart.

quartermaster-award-knotLet’s look at it another way. Last year, just 33 of the 6,670 registered Sea Scouts earned the award.

Compare that to the record-setting number of new Eagle Scouts in 2012 —  57,976 out of roughly a million Boy Scouts.

Quartermaster Award recipients, like Eagle Scouts, receive an automatic pay grade increase if they join the military.

So what does it take to earn the award? To earn Quartermaster, Sea Scouts must:  Continue reading


Where to find scholarship money for Eagle Scouts

NESAEmblem_SpotEagle Scouts are “Prepared. For Life.” But are they prepared for the high cost of college?

College tuition was weighting on the mind of Scouter Pam K. from Westlake, Ohio, when she sent me this note last week:

Hello Bryan,

I am helping my Eagle Scout (Ricky) prepare for college in the Fall of 2013 and wondering if you can blog about scholarship opportunities?

Thank you,


Of course, a Scout should apply for scholarships himself. But it’s typically Mom or Dad who signs the check for college, so you can appreciate Pam’s eagerness to find some sources of extra cash to help lighten Ricky’s load.

Do you empathize with Pam’s plight? Here are a few ideas:  Continue reading


Youth Protection: It really does begin with YOU

youth-protectionYou might not enjoy reading this.

But it could be the most important thing you’ll read today.

As stated in The Boy Scout Handbook, “Child abuse is a serious problem in our society, and unfortunately, it can occur anywhere, even in Scouting.  Youth safety is Scouting’s No. 1 concern.”

Child abusers are out there. They come in all shapes and sizes.

That’s not meant as a tabloid-style scare tactic. It’s just the truth.

The good news is that you’re not alone in your efforts to help identify, report, and, thus, prevent offenders from harming your kids.

The BSA has the tools and information you need. That’s why even though you only take the training once every two years, Youth Protection is a 24-7, 365-day-a-year operation. That’s as true for Scouters and Scout parents as it is for all of us who work for the Boy Scouts of America.

As a youth organization, the BSA isn’t alone in its efforts to help prevent abuse. Did you know that the Boy Scouts of America hosted the first-of-its-kind National Youth Protection Symposium in early November? I did, and I wanted to know more about what took place at this event.

So this week, I sat down with Michael Johnson, the BSA’s Youth Protection director, to talk about the symposium, discuss current and emerging threats to children, and learn what parents and Scouters can do to make the movement safe. Continue reading


Sea Scouts rewarded for STEM research, with more than just a payday

Members of Ship 41 show off O’Tumbler.

Today’s Scouts will go on to careers where they solve some of the world’s biggest problems.

But apparently the boys and girls in Sea Scout Ship 41 aren’t waiting till they’re grownups to make a difference.

The Scouts of the ship Intrepid out of Bay Village, Ohio, researched harmful algae blooms in nearby Lake Erie. With no easy solution available, they invented their own, developing O’Tumbler, “a vertical wind turbine that circulates oxygen-rich water to help stimulate the growth of plankton and provide a food-rich habitat for fish.”

For their efforts, the Sea Scouts were named the national winners of Interlux’s 2012 Waterfront Challenge, a title that comes with a $20,000 prize. Skipper Richard Gash says the ship will use the money to educate the Lake Erie community and demonstrate ways to help protect the world’s 10th-largest lake.

“This has been a super opportunity for our Sea Scouts to study, brainstorm and develop practical solutions to real-life environmental problems,” Skipper Richard Gash said in a statement. “We look forward to using the Interlux award to further educate our community to help protect our great natural resource, Lake Erie.”  Continue reading


What are your unit’s annual dues?

So, let’s hear it: What does your pack, troop, team, crew, ship, or post charge for annual dues/fees? Don’t include “a la carte” items, such as uniforms or campout fees, if they aren’t part of that one-time dues payment.

Leave a comment if you need to explain what’s included in your unit’s dues. Thanks for sharing!


Unit charter fee changes: How what’s new will affect you

Let’s talk money.

Two big changes coming up next year will impact every registered Scout unit:

  1. What is now known as the “unit charter fee” will change its name to the more-descriptive “unit liability insurance fee.”
  2. The cost of this fee will increase from $20 a year to $40 a year. This fee is per unit, not per individual.

Every Scout unit — packs, troops, teams, crews, ships, and posts — must pay the fee each year, and every penny of this fee goes into the general liability insurance program, providing coverage for claims alleging negligent actions that result in either personal injury or property damage.

Note that the annual registration fee for individuals isn’t changing — it remains $15.

Find answers to your important questions after the jump…  Continue reading