Current members of Sea Scouts “learn the ropes” in a 2009 boating exercise with Coast Guard Station Siuslaw River, above, and the Eugene Yacht Club, left. (courtesy photos)
Without an official leader, Boys and Girls Club leadership program may become defunct.
The Boys and Girls Club of Western Lane County’s Sea Scouts have gone without a skipper for the past four months, but unless a replacement is found soon, the program could wind up at the bottom of the ocean.
“If we don’t take steps to find a skipper as soon as possible, there is potential that the Sea Scouts Program could come to an end,” said Juline Walker, the Club’s Teen Program director.
According to Walker, the local Sea Scouts unit is in the process of re-chartering with parent organization Boy Scouts of America. In order to re-charter, however, four adults must commit to the program.
Only three adults have signed up for the Florence unit, including Walker and two other volunteers. Bob Teter, former Club executive director, resigned from the skipper position — the fourth adult needed — last August.
“For some of these kids, this is one of the things they look forward to every single week,” Walker said. “… They still have been coming here, even without a lot of structure, because they really want this to work.”
Although the deadline to re-charter was due last week, she said the Sea Scouts Program will be temporarily placed into a “holding pen” until someone volunteers to be skipper.
But the clock is ticking fast; the program must find a fourth adult within the next month or it risks termination.
Walker said the Skipper position entails being an adviser to the scouts, and the perfect candidate would be someone with boating and navigation experience.
“We need someone who is a good role model and enjoys working with kids, sharing something they’re already passionate about with a younger generation,” she said.
The local Sea Scouts unit, which started in 2006, helps young men and women develop communication and seamanship skills.
Seven adolescents, from ages 12 to 16, currently participate in the year-round leadership program.
“It’s been one of the more successful programs for the Boys and Girls Club throughout those years in terms of quality and membership,” Walker said.
Sea Scouts meet once per week for group meetings and training, as well as attend special activities and projects scheduled throughout the year. During these sessions, they learn about the Coast Guard’s history, boat safety, survival skills and proper maintenance of sea vessels.
Members of the unit also are given the opportunity to attain ranks, preparing them early on for a career in the Coast Guard, Navy or Marine Corps.
Florence resident Bridgett Klingler said the Sea Scouts Program has helped her 12-year-old son gain confidence and self-esteem.
“Being able to work with other kids as a group has been a real benefit for him,” Klingler said.
She said her son would be devastated if the local unit shut down.
“It’s just been a wonderful program, and we’re really distraught over the fact that it may end,” Klingler added.
For more information about the Sea Scouts Program or to volunteer for the skipper position, contact Juline Walker at 541-999-4763.For the complete article see the 01-02-2010 issue.
Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-02-2010 paper.
Share on Facebook