Bravo Zulu to the recipients of the 2023 National Sea Scout Leadership Award

Every year since 2017, Sea Scouting has said “Bravo Zulu” to Sea Scouts and adults for their outstanding service by honoring them with the National Sea Scout Leadership Award.

Let’s also say “Bravo Zulu” (the nautical way to say “well done”) to the most recent award recipients. These six honorees have gone above and beyond to support the high-adventure program for young people ages 14-20.

The Sea Scout Leadership Award is bestowed upon Sea Scouts and adult leaders who have been involved in the program for at least a year, hold a leadership position within Sea Scouting, and “show exceptional dedication and give outstanding leadership and service to Sea Scouting and to Sea Scouts.”

National Sea Scout Leadership Award recipients get:

This year’s national recipients

Jewell Norris

Jewell Norris

Council: Sam Houston Area Council

An Eagle Scout and Wood Badge course graduate, Jewell served as the national boatswain, starting last year. During her tenure, her servant leadership promoted outdoor and on-the-water activities following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She mentored national service territory boatswains and guided them when the national Sea Scout committee reorganized the territory functions.

Tyler Clendenning

Tyler Clendenning

Council: Pathway to Adventure Council

As the national boatswain’s mate for program, Tyler oversaw the coordination of national quarterdeck functions and worked to improve program elements. He planned and facilitated the Ship in Action Initiative, encouraging ships across the country to reach the Journey To Excellence standard of holding bimonthly unit events. Tyler also worked on putting together the new Virtual National Sea Scout Academy 2023 team.

Matthew Irsfeld

Matthew Irsfeld

Council: Denver Area Council

As the national boatswain’s mate for communications, Matthew enhanced communications among youth and adult members by increasing the Sea Scout BSA social media presence, building a presence on TikTok and building social media resources and precedents for future officers to use. His innovative ideas have bettered the program’s mass communication.

Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson

Council: Colonial Virginia Council

Johnson, a retired Coast Guard commander and cutterman, has coordinated the Coast Guard Sea Scout USCG Barque Eagle program, in which a select group of Sea Scouts sail on the Eagle for 10 days. He helped develop contacts with the Coast Guard and coordinates with the Coast Guard Auxiliary in selecting Sea Scouts to participate in the program. Johnson is also a committee chair for Ship 16, “Confluence” in Suffolk, Va.

Ron Sunker

Ron Sunker

Council: Sam Houston Area Council

Sunker has served as a Jamboree subcommittee chair for the national Sea Scout committee, planning and coordinating the national Sea Scout exhibit booth. He is a member of his council executive board. He earned the Eagle Scout rank and Quartermaster award as a youth.

John Taylor

John Taylor

Council: Virginia Headwaters Council

Taylor has served as co-lead for the national Sea Scout subcommittee for the national exhibit booth and the 2019 World Scout Jamboree. He served as the chair for the strategic planning and membership committees. A Silver Beaver Award recipient, Taylor also serves as council vice president.

Territory recipients

The award is presented at various levels, from council to national. The nomination process, which we have outlined here, is rather simple. This year’s territory recipients include (* indicates an adult leader):

Territory 1
James Hallstrom, Cascade Pacific Council
Monique Wong*, Far East Council
Territory 3
Nicholas Lopez, California Inland Empire
Territory 9
Keggan Aerts, Michigan Crossroads Council
Territory 10
Richard Ballard, Longhouse Council
Sal Ciampo*, Theodore Roosevelt Council
Territory 11
Rachel Tagen, Narragansett Council
Territory 15
Matthew Simonson, Occoneechee Council
Norm Effinger*, Colonial Virginia Council
Territory 16
Brendan Young, Greater Tampa Bay Council

To see a map of each territory, click here.


About Michael Freeman 446 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.