It’s more smooth sailing ahead for Sea Scouting as another outstanding young person has been selected to lead the BSA’s aquatically inclined program.
Aven Alexander, a high school junior from Texas who has earned the Quartermaster Award, Sea Scouting’s highest honor, will serve as the 2020–2021 National Sea Scout Boatswain.
As National Boatswain (pronounced “bosun”), Aven will be the top youth member of Sea Scouting, a BSA program for young people ages 14 to 21 who love spending time on oceans, rivers, bays and lakes.
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.
“Sea Scouts has allowed me to travel, make lasting friendships and become the leader that I am today,” Aven says. “I’m honored to serve as the next National Boatswain, and I cannot wait to see how Sea
Scouts will grow within the next year.”
Aven’s term will begin June 1, 2020, when she will take over the helm from Hannah Carter of California.
Let’s meet Aven
As a Sea Scout, Aven has earned more than a dozen awards, including the Area Sea Scout Leadership Award. She has completed Sea Advanced Leadership training — a weeklong on-the-water experience known as SEAL. And her Ship 1 (SSS Unique) of the East Texas Area Council was named the 2018 National Flagship — an honor that goes to that year’s top Sea Scout ship.
But Aven’s BSA involvement goes deeper than Sea Scouting.
In a reminder that it’s possible for a young person to participate in both Sea Scouts and Scouts BSA, Aven is a Star Scout in Troop 101G. She’s also a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s national honor society.
Even with all that, she somehow has time to play varsity tennis, serve as a youth leader at her church and volunteer to help children removed from their families by Child Protective Services.
I caught up with Aven to learn more about her vision for the program.
Bryan on Scouting: What has been the best part of your Sea Scouting experience so far?
Aven Alexander: “Sea Scouting offers many experiences that youth cannot be exposed to simply by participating in school activities. Because of Sea Scouts, I got the opportunity to travel from Texas to Seattle to attend SEAL. I got to fly on a plane for the first time in my life.”
BOS: What myth about Sea Scouting would you like to dispel?
AA: A common misconception about Sea Scouting is that you have to live near the coast to have a unit, but this isn’t true. Sea Scout Ships can do paddlecraft, small-boat sailing or even scuba diving. All you need is a river or a lake to get time and experience on the water.
BOS: What’s your go-to technique for recruiting more Sea Scouts into your ship?
AA: It’s probably the way that I got recruited into my ship: by friends. I had a friend invite me to a ship meeting one time, and ever since then, I couldn’t stay away. One of the best ways to get someone to join is to just reach out and invite them personally.
BOS: What do you hope to accomplish during your term as National Boatswain?
AA: I plan to provide a new perspective in order to improve the program as a whole. And I’d like to see communication strengthened on a council, area, regional and national level.
The 10 most recent National Sea Scout Boatswains
2019–2020: Hannah Carter
2018–2019: Jack Otto
2017–2018: Mercedes Matlock
2016–2017: Rachel West
2015–2016: Edward Campbell
2014–2015: Peter Schmidt
2013–2014: Billy McElligott
2012–2013: Matt Miller
2011–2012: Eva Hogan
2010–2011: Vanya Keys