Meet Edward Campbell, the 2015-2016 National Sea Scout Boatswain

Edward Campbell 2If Edward Campbell has his way, Sea Scouting will soon be as well known in this country as the rest of Scouting’s great programs.

And as the 2015-2016 National Sea Scout Boatswain, Edward has the power to make it happen.

Last month, the National Sea Scout Support Committee selected the Sea Scout from Albion, Ind., as National Sea Scout Boatswain. His term began June 1 and ends May 31, 2016.

Edward, a member of Ship 5111 (Patriotic Pearl) of the Anthony Wayne Area Council, will lead Sea Scouts from across the U.S. as the youth representative on the National Sea Scout Committee. He’ll report to the National Commodore and the National Director of Sea Scouts. He’ll attend BSA events and represent Sea Scouting to those inside and outside of the organization.

Sea Scouts everywhere should feel lucky to have Edward representing them. He is highly driven and well-decorated. Edward has earned the highest awards in Sea Scouting and Boy Scouting: the Quartermaster and Eagle Scout awards. He earned both the previous top Venturing award and the current one: the Silver award and the Summit award. He’s a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow. He plays tennis and made his school’s National Honor Society. I could go on for several more paragraphs listing his robust résumé, but I think you get the idea. This guy is impressive.

I was lucky enough to meet Edward at the BSA’s National Annual Meeting last month, and he answered some questions about Sea Scouting and his life. He told me how Sea Scouting thrives in “interior” states, his plans to attend the U.S. Naval Academy and his ongoing quest to sleep outside every night for a year.

See the interview after the jump, and join me in congratulating Edward Campbell!

Bryan Wendell: What does the National Sea Scout Boatswain do?

Edward Campbell: The National Sea Scout Boatswain is the face and the voice of the Scouts in this water-going division of Scouting. This also comes with the task of leading the initiative for the change to our program.

BW: If you could only accomplish one thing in your term as National Boatswain, what would it be? Why?

EC: If I could only achieve one “thing” in my term, I would want to make Sea Scouting known as well as it was in the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s, when the nation looked upon this program with high regard.

BW: Where would you like to see Sea Scouting in 5 years?

EC: I would like to see the program grow in numbers, as I would like to see all programs do. Most of all, though, I would love to see the program become the program it once was. I would like to help usher in the popularity of this division so that everyone knows what Sea Scouting has to offer the young people of our nation.

BW: A lot of people think of oceans when they think of Sea Scouts. But you live in Indiana (though not far from the Great Lakes). Is Sea Scouting different for those in the “interior” states? Why or why not?

EC: I would say it is different because the “interior” states do not always have bodies of water to enjoy larger vessels for overnight sailing. You have to get creative to complete many of your requirements.

BW: What is the biggest misconception about Sea Scouting?

EC: Sea Scouting is just not on the coasts — it is a nationwide program. In my opinion, some of the greatest ships and Sea Scout programs are well away from the oceans. I think this is true because it is more of a challenge to complete the hard tasks that people say, “can’t be done right” away from larger bodies of water.

BW: How do you change that misconception?

EC: It could be changed with better promotion and support. We need to get the word out that Sea Scouting exists and sometimes even thrives in inland areas. Where there is a will, there is a way to succeed in Sea Scouting.

BW: I hear that after serving as National Boatswain you want to go to the Naval Academy? Impressive! Have you always wanted to go there? What’s the plan after that?

EC: I have not always wanted to attend the academy. I never knew exactly where I wanted to go, but I have always been interested in serving my country. After the academy I hope to pursue a career in the Navy, and upon my retirement from there I plan to use my degree in political science and Constitutional law to serve my country in yet another fashion.

BW: The Quartermaster Award is one of Scouting’s rarest awards. How difficult was it to earn?

EC: After earning the highest awards in all the programs, including the newest Summit Award in Venturing and, on June 4, completing my Denali Award, I can say the Quartermaster was by far leaps and bounds more difficult to earn than all the other awards combined. This factor makes it the most meaningful award to me.

BW: With all these awards, when do you have time to eat or sleep?

EC: I make the time! I have to eat well to stay healthy, and as for sleeping, that’s a whole other story. On Aug. 1, 2014, I took a personal challenge to sleep outdoors for one full year. I have two more months before I sleep indoors on a bed again!

BW: Why sleep outside for a year? Sounds crazy to me.

EC: I took on that challenge and called it “Sleeping for a Cause.” I have been very fortunate to have traveled throughout the U.S.. I attended two national jamborees, took a trip to Canada and one to Germany and Ukraine to celebrate their 100th year of Scouting. My cause is to help other Scouts who couldn’t otherwise afford those travels.

BW: What’s the best part about Sea Scouting?

EC: It’s a small, close-knit community that uses traditional maritime practices. Since the start of the program, there have been very few changes, and that’s what makes it great.

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.