Colorado is the ultimate outdoor playground, but there’s one thing you won’t find there: easy access to the ocean.
The Centennial State is one of 10 states that are doubly landlocked, meaning a person has to travel through two other states to get to the Pacific, Atlantic or Arctic Oceans. (Nebraska is the only triply landlocked state.)
Given its undeniably non-coastal location, it might surprise some people — at least those less familiar with Sea Scouts — to learn that the next National Sea Scout Boatswain hails from Colorado.
Cassidy Christian, a 19-year-old from the Denver Area Council, has been named the 2021–22 National Sea Scout Boatswain.
She becomes the first National Boatswain from a landlocked state since Edward Campbell of Albion, Ind., served in the role in 2015–16.
“Colorado is famous for its beautiful mountains, but as soon as I learned that there was a Sea Scout Ship forming near me, I knew I had to jump on board,” Cassidy says. “Even in the middle of the country, we can sail, canoe, kayak, rowboat and even scuba. You can be a Sea Scout anywhere.”
As National Boatswain (pronounced “bosun”), Cassidy will be the top youth member of Sea Scouting, a BSA program for young people who are at least 14 but not yet 21 and love spending time on oceans, rivers, bays and lakes.
Cassidy’s term will begin June 1, 2021, when she will take over the helm from Aven Alexander of Texas.
Who is Cassidy Christian?
Cassidy is a member of two Sea Scout ships: Ship 444 of the Denver Area Council and Ship 25 of the Baden-Powell Council (based in Binghamton, N.Y.).
She’s also a member of the Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts, a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient and is working toward her Quartermaster Award, which is the highest award in Sea Scouts.
When her Sea Scout ship isn’t on the water during the winter, it doubles as a Venturing Crew. She’s also a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s national honor society.
She has attended National Youth Leadership Training, Powder Horn training, the Kodiak Challenge and the 2019 World Scout Jamboree.
But her favorite Sea Scouting adventure was a scuba diving trip to the Homestead Crater in Utah. The crater is a geothermal hot spring and billed as the only warm-water scuba diving location in the lower 48.
“Temperatures reach as high as 96 degrees, even in the middle of winter,” Cassidy says. “Diving in the crater was magical.”
In high school, Cassidy was a varsity golfer, competed on the speech and debate team and was a member of the National Honor Society. In college, she’s a member of the sorority Delta Delta Delta, the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, the Rotaract Club and the Alpine Club.
But through all that involvement, Cassidy — like other busy teenagers — made time for Scouting.
What will she do as National Boatswain?
Cassidy was returning from dinner when she got the call. She had been selected from a highly competitive applicant pool to lead Sea Scouting in the 2021–22 year.
“I’m honored and excited to represent the Denver Area Council and the other landlocked states,” she says. “I want to do the most I can for Sea Scouts, and the role of National Boatswain will allow me the best possible outlet to accomplish this goal.”
She plans to focus on recruiting new Sea Scouts through a dual approach.
“It’s essential that we try to involve new audiences who may not know about Sea Scouting or Scouting in general,” she says. “But Sea Scouts needs to support our Scouting base in order for our base to support us.”
Cassidy has seen how Sea Scouting fits into a young person’s progression from Cub Scouts to Scouts BSA to older-youth programs. Her challenge is to enhance awareness.
“The younger we introduce Scouts to Sea Scouts, the more likely they will consider joining the program at 14 or starting a ship of their own,” she says. “If we want to see Sea Scouting’s membership numbers grow in the next five years, we need to target Webelos and new Scouts BSA members right now.
“Sea Scouts can no longer be the best-kept secret in Scouting.”
What are three things people should know about Sea Scouting?
In the spirit of giving Sea Scouts its time in the sun, we asked Cassidy to share three things she wishes more people knew about Sea Scouts.
- Once you achieve the rank of First Class in Scouts BSA, you can switch completely over to a Sea Scout Ship and continue working toward the Eagle Scout Award there. “A Scout could consider joining a ship and finishing their Scouts BSA ranks while starting a new adventure in Scouting,” Cassidy says. “Sea Scouts can be there to help them reach their goal.”
- When Scouts BSA troops attend high-adventure bases like the Florida Sea Base or Northern Tier, they complete a lot of Sea Scout rank requirements while there. “If more Scouts and adults knew how much they’re already completing for Sea Scouts by going on high adventures, that might inspire them to create or join a Sea Scout ship before their trip,” Cassidy says.
- Sea Scouts is the official youth program of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, which is the volunteer component of the U.S. Coast Guard. “This partnership gives Sea Scouts the opportunity to benefit from Coast Guard seamanship training, while also introducing Sea Scouts to the Coast Guard,” she says.
What’s next for Cassidy?
After college, where she’s majoring in political science and economics, Cassidy wants to attend law school.
Her goal is to practice maritime law, also known as admiralty law.
“Sea Scouts has really opened my eyes about admiralty law,” she says. “As a maritime lawyer, I can protect seamen who have been injured on the job, settle recreational boating accidents, negotiate working conditions between captains and crews, and I could even work with cases surrounding international piracy.
“All of these opportunities sound really intriguing to me, and I would never have thought about maritime law if I wasn’t a Sea Scout.”
How do I join a Sea Scout ship?
To find a local Sea Scout Ship by you, go to beascout.org, click the Sea Scout logo and enter your ZIP code.
“Every ship across the country is welcoming and excited for new, interested Sea Scouts,” Cassidy says. “Sea Scout ships do not have to be large, seafaring vessels. Paddlecraft like kayaks, canoes and sunfish sailing boats can make a ship. You just need a love of being on the water.”
The 11 most recent National Sea Scout Boatswains
2020–2021: Aven Alexander
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
Hear from Cassidy
Current National Boatswain Aven Alexander introduces Cassidy in the video below before Cassidy provides some remarks of her own.