In the nautical world, a boatswain (pronounced “bosun”) is the officer in charge of the ship, equipment and crew.
In the Sea Scouts world, the National Boatswain is the youth leader in the charge of the whole Sea Scouting program.
Last week, the National Sea Scout Support Committee selected Mercedes Matlock of Frederick, Md., as the 2017-2018 National Sea Scout Boatswain.
Mercedes is a member of Ship 59, SSS Sea Dogs, chartered by the YMCA of Frederick County and part of the National Capital Area Council.
As National Boatswain, Mercedes will represent Sea Scouts on ships from sea to shining sea. She’ll report to National Commodore Charles Wurster and National Director Keith Christopher.
Her term will begin June 1, 2017, at which point she’ll take the helm from 2016-2017 National Sea Scout Boatswain Rachel West. (That’s Mercedes and Rachel in the photo at the top of this post.)
Sea Scouting is a program of the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women ages 14 to 21. Founded in 1912, Sea Scouting has promoted citizenship and improved young people’s boating skills through instruction and practice in water safety, boating skills, outdoor fun, social activities, service experiences, and knowledge of maritime heritage.
More about Mercedes
Mercedes is an Able Scout, and she has completed her Quartermaster project and is waiting upon approval from council to have her bridge of review.
During her time as a Sea Scout, she has served as her ship’s Boatswain Mate of Program, Boatswain and Purser. She has also been the Northeast Region Boatswain Mate and Boatswain.
She worked as a camp counselor for three years at Boy Scout Camp Airy in Maryland.
As a Girl Scout, Mercedes earned the Bronze and Silver awards.
As a Sea Scout, she graduated from NYLT (National Youth Leadership Training) and SEAL (Sea Scout Advanced Leadership) courses.
She participated in the 2014 and 2016 William I. Koch International Sea Scout Cup and the 2013 and 2015 Northeast Regional Sailing Championships, earning 2nd- and 3rd-place finishes.
Mercedes attends Hampton University in Virginia where she’s a pre-med biology major who hopes to become a pediatric cardiologist and complete medical research.
She’s off to a good start, having been placed on the dean’s list.
When she isn’t studying, Mercedes spends time on the Hampton University Varsity Sailing Team, Biology Club, Chemistry Club, Pre-Medical Club, and MAPS (Minority Association for Pre-Medical Students).
More about Mercedes’ vision for Sea Scouting
Mercedes’ overall goal is to expand awareness and recognition of Sea Scouting and represent Sea Scouts across the nation in the best possible manner.
Her goals are to broaden the program by increasing the number of Sea Scouts, connecting youth leaders from all regions and increasing awareness of the program using social media by developing content for a Sea Scout YouTube channel.
Fellow Scouters, please join me in wishing Mercedes fair winds and following seas throughout her term in office.