Scouts BSA attend Sea Base- Part 1 Autumn

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Part One

 

February 1st Scouts BSA chartered the first female troops. Autumn Nichols was among those girls across the country that signed up with her local troop, Troop 7220, Heart of America Council, Lee’s Summit, Missouri.  Six short weeks later she was on her way to Sea Base to participate in a Coral Reef trip registered as a Scout.

Her father and brother had gone on a Sea Base trek several years ago.  In fact, Autumn has watched her scout brother do lots of adventures through scouting and has always wanted to do the same things. She was happy to finally be able to join.  “Oh my gosh!  I can go on a High Adventure trip? I can’t even describe how excited I was and how awesome [the trip] was!”, Autumn exclaimed when trying to put her recent trip into words. 

When the troop made the Sea Base reservation, they knew female troops were on the horizon.  They registered with a few open spots in mind for the new scouts. The troop formed with 13 girls and 2 immediately took the Coral Reef trip spots.

At only 13 years old, in the 7th grade, and newly elected patrol leader of the Phoenix Patrol, she has taken on new responsibilities for her troop.  She has scouts in her patrol older than herself that she has had the opportunity to lead.  Their first campout was in the snow. They knew snow was forecast for the campout, but they were surprised to wake up to 3 inches on the ground.  Autumn says they figured out the challenges as a troop. “Our Scoutmaster is amazing.  All the adult leaders are so helpful. I never had a moment when I didn’t enjoy it.”

Newly formed Troop 7220 participated in a local parade along with Troop 220.  The girls refer to themselves as “Blue” and Troop 220 as “Red”.  Together they passed out candy and cards in an effort to promote more girls joining. Currently, they have 15-20 girls and 80 boys. “Talking to friends at school and other places encourages them to join together.  Some joined with 3 friends!”, Autumn explained.

When the opportunity came for Autumn to attend Sea Base her parents talked about who would go with her.  Afterall, her Dad had participated with her brother 2 years prior.  David Nichols said, “I wanted it to be all about her.”  The final family decision is that Autumn would go without her immediate family members.  She was shocked at first that her parents were not attending, but said, ‘it went really smooth.’

Soon the pictures and comments came flooding home of her time at Sea Base.  “It was like swimming in an aquarium full of fish!” was by far her Dad’s favorite comment. When asked her comments couldn’t keep up with her thoughts-“Absolutely stunning!, Surrounded by schools of fish, So amazing, Something I will never forget, The water was the color of ice blue Gatorade.”

When asked about her future in scouting she reported that she arrived home from Sea Base on Saturday, achieved rank on Sunday and will receive it in a Court of Honor on Monday.  She asked how old you must be to work at Sea Base and quickly did the math of which year she would be staff. You will be hearing this name again as a staff member in 2024.

One new Scout. One High Adventure trip. Lifelong friends. History made.

Sea Base Alumni and Friends Association (SBAFA) is open to all who love Sea Base.  The website, SBAFA.org, can provide all the details about membership and the upcoming Reunion Oct 11-13,2019.

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Scouts BSA attend Sea Base- Part 2 Sadie

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Part Two

 

The Nichols Family and Creemer family share lots of adventures together.  They have sons in scouting together. Various combinations have done High Adventure together.  They also both have sailboats and race them. They also both have daughters as founders of Troop 7220. 

Sadie Creemer has been a Girl Scout since she was 5 and is almost finished with her Gold Award.  She has been in a Venture crew and trekked to Philmont, Okpik, back to Philmont and now Sea Base. She, too, has watched her Eagle Scout brother in Troop 220 and wanted to share in those experiences. In fact, several girls in Troop 7220 have brothers in their linked troop.

Being elected Senior Patrol Leader put her “in a leadership position and allowed me to lead.” Experiences until now she had not had.  She uses the old scout adage as scouting being a safe place to fail to describe her experiences so far.  On this trip to Sea Base she says she learned to manage her money, buy her own food, consider others around her, be responsible and carry her own weight.

Sadie is self-proclaimed as ‘always outside, always moving.’ She was initially nervous about going to Philmont but upon returning couldn’t wait to go back. She says being outside has “helped me find my identity in this mother earth environment and what I want to do forever.” As with many that experience High Adventure trips, she considered the crew she trekked with lifelong friends.

In preparing for the Coral Reef trip, the crew quickly voted her the crew leader.  It wasn’t a matter of which troop the leader represented, but the best scout for the job. They bonded quickly and even had an impromptu ‘rap battle’ on the deck one evening. These times when scouts ‘unplug and make great connections are the most relaxing and chill time ever.’  These shared memories and bonds are what make High Adventure what it is.

The crew flew into Ft Lauderdale, spent the night then drove to Sea Base the next morning. While Sadie was used to swimming in lakes, she was a little unsure about the ocean.  She was surprised that you could see so many things. “Holy Cow! This is incredible!  It’s a different world-a different ecosystem!  Fish swimming beneath you!” They did 9-10 dives that week and even swam with a sea turtle. Sadie described the experience as ‘looking so real, not like a fish tank, but being in their own habitat.’

It was evident that Captain Chuck, on board his boat The Wanderer, has a passion for his boat and being with scouts.  He was very trusting letting them learn and try new things.  With Sadie’s racing experience she taught the Captain a few tricks on stealing the wind from other sail boats.

As is the custom at Sea Base, at the end of the week, a crew puts their troop patch up on the wall in the Galley. As SPL/Crew Leader Sadie had planned on adding T7220 patch on the wall. When the time came to place the patch, Sadie realized she forgot to bring one to share.  Quick call to her SM, she asked to remove the patch from her shirt.  Using her pocketknife, Sadie removed her hard earned, long awaited troop patch from her uniform and proudly stapled it to the wall for all to see.

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Two new Scouts. One High Adventure trip. Lifelong friends. History made.

Sea Base Alumni and Friends Association (SBAFA) is open to all who love Sea Base.  The website, SBAFA.org, can provide all the details about membership and the upcoming Reunion Oct 11-13,2019.

Scouts BSA attend Sea Base- How it came to be

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Part Three

All fairy tales should have a happy ending.  In order to get to the happy ending they also need a knight in shining armor; this story has several.  All good fairy tales also have a fairy godmother. In this story that part is played by Doug DeMarco’s mom.  When she heard that girls were being accepted into BSA she asked Doug what he was going to do about girls in scouting.  He replied that he would be supportive.  She knew she was on her deathbed, so she redirected again, “What are YOU going to do?”  Thus, she charged him to make sure the girls, including her great granddaughter currently a Cub Scout, to have every opportunity to participate in scouts.

Doug’s scout story starts back as a Cub Scout.  His mother was the Den Mother for Doug and his brother. Sports was more important to Doug, scouts were secondary.  “My Mom is the reason why I am an Eagle Scout, why I’m involved,” shared Doug. “She said you might as well realize that you will get your Eagle.” She had not grown up in a scouting family but had seen the benefits of scouting in her own sons. In fact, when Doug’s oldest son was five, she asked when he was going to put him in scouting. Doug waivered saying that his son wasn’t sure what he wanted.  Mom quipped back, “He’s five, he doesn’t know what he wants. Sign him up.” He is now an Eagle Scout. Last October at his troop’s Fall Eagle Court of Honor all this family history of scouting weighted on his heart.  He reflected on how many Court of Honors his Mom had attended and he decided that he needed to give back by being the Committee Chair for the new girl troop.

Merle Bowers began his scouting career in the mid 60’s and has been going ever since.  In his early 20’s he was Scoutmaster of the same troop. Two years ago, when BSA announced that they would include females he went to the scouts in the troop and offered his support. The Charter Organization-Lee’s Summit Christian Church- was also behind a girl troop 100%.

Scott Willoughby has been active in scouting for 30-40 years and found he was less and less involved with the troop. He found a perfect spot to help with forming the girl troop. He was now recharged. Sean Ahern also found a new calling behind the scenes.  He organizes and helps keep others on track. Tabitha Beck has a boy in the troop and stepped up to be the Scoutmaster for her daughter. Members of the 80-year-old troop have always offered up what was needed. “Money is never to be an issue for scout to participate in our troop,” shared Doug. From summer camp scholarships to the first year’s program, the troop response has always been “How much do you need?” and a check appears.

Now that the troop had several knights in shining armor, they were ready to begin their quest. They began with a committee meeting in November first, and informational meeting by the middle of November. They continued to meet every Monday night and establish budget goals. They set 3-month, six-month and long-term goals. They wanted the new troop to have their own equipment so they would not have to borrow from the boy troop. “ From the sheer gratitude of the congregation and former scouts that want to see the girls be successful, all the goals were met by the middle of February,” Doug was happy to report. David Nichols, parent of the one the girls, said is humbling to watch what these men have accomplished so that his daughter can have a scout experience like her brother.

Passionate leaders answered the call to start the girl troops off right. They built the committee, planned fund raising, scheduled leadership training and campouts. Only one person can technically wear the knot for starting the troop, but it took many a humble leader to get this started. Chartered with 12 girls, the troop has grown to 17 and continues to grow. Four of the five adult leaders are Eagle Scouts. They have sons that are Eagle scouts. Thirteen of the 17 girls have a direct line father or brother who is an Eagle Scout. So, the part of the story yet to be written is how these destined to be female Eagle scouts will carry on this momentum.

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Sea Base Alumni and Friends Association (SBAFA) is open to all who love Sea Base.  The website, SBAFA.org, can provide all the details about membership and the upcoming Reunion Oct 11-13, 2019.

Philmont Crews arrive at Sea Base St. Thomas; Staff arrive at Northern Tier

Sea Base staff has been working with displaced Philmont crews to have a High Adventure program. Recently, one crew arrived in St. Thomas to set sail on their new adventure.


Our own SBAFA President was able to visit Philmont and a few staff members from her Crew.

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Some of the Philmont staff was transferred to Northern Tier to work.

They were given a hearty Northern Tier welcome! 

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Philmont Recovery Efforts

Many of you watching the events of the Ute Park Fire unfold at Philmont are asking how you can help. The situation is on-going and dynamic so Philmont won't know all of what it needs for days or weeks to come. We do know, however, that the need is going to be real and substantial. Philmont has insurance for fire damage, but will need significant help for things that are likely not covered, such as reseeding and reforestation, repair of roads and bridges, trail reconstruction, and staff support.

photo credit: Jake Koch


For now, if you'd like to help by giving to the PSA, we'll work with Philmont to determine how best to apply your donation when the time comes. Your contribution may not go directly to repair or rebuild a lost building, but rest assured it will go to continue making Philmont a premiere high-adventure experience for Scouts for years to come. This is not a PSA fundraiser - 100% of your contribution will go to Philmont for fire support.


To Give click here: https://www.philstaff.org/store/donations/fire_relief/
#IWGBTP #Philmont #Philstaff


Resources:
http://philmontscoutranch.org/About/FireInformation.aspx
https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5820/
http://www.philmontscoutranch.org/webcam.aspx

Post-Irma Clean Up Profiles - Michael, Jeff, and Jose

First, there was Hurricane Harvey. The news was full of damage reports and people helping each other. Then came Hurricane Irma. We followed its track and watched it grow as it headed towards the US. At one point Irma covered all of Florida, then all of Georgia. The anticipation, preparation and then the destruction flooded the news. Scenes again filled our newscasts about the damage and people helping people.

If you did not live in the affected area, eventually the horror of the stories wore off. You went back to work, slept in a house with electricity and running water. Now a special few people came to action. They answered the call to help. FEMA’s Search and Rescue teams moved their operations into Brinton Center. Volunteers sent supplies and made donations. Sea Base Alumni and Friends Association (SBAFA) put out a call to all members and friends to come serve again. As the only Alumni and Friends Association, anyone who loves Sea Base can join. That shared experience of sun, sails, salt water, and bubbles gets in your veins and does not easily wash out. 

The volunteers started arriving with chainsaws, tools, trucks, water and muscle power. Sea Base and the Keys holds a special place in your heart if you have ever visited, or in the case of Michael Hang of Ohio, those who had never visited. “I volunteer doing maintenance at our local camp, 7 Ranges, every week. Being a huge fan of sand, ocean and warm weather, I always wanted to experience Florida Sea Base. When this opportunity came up I jumped at it and had a great time,” shared Michael. “Doing a lot of tree work I now know what poisonwood is thanks to the knowledgeable staff. Ultimately, I saw an opportunity to give something back to the BSA and the Irma recovery. New friends, island experience, good food and have a part in Munson Island early stage recovery. What could be better? Would love to return again.”

Jeff Kidd was the same way. An Eagle Scout and now Scoutmaster of Troop 209 in Apex, NC, Jeff had worked at Sea Base back in 1994. “I will forever be grateful for the opportunity that was given to me back then. If Nick, Ed and Sam Wampler had not given me a chance back in 1994, I would have missed out on a truly life-changing experience. Sea Base holds a special place in my heart so whenever Sea Base needs my help I will do my best to help it. I experienced so many things when I worked at Sea Base that I had never been able to do before (diving on coral reefs, sailing on a tall ship, great fishing and catching lobsters). I want to make sure all Boy Scouts have the same opportunity to experience what Sea Base offers. I hope my week of volunteering creates an opportunity so that a Scout can experience the wonders of Sea Base.”

The same story resonates through each volunteer. The time they spent in the Keys changed them and they wanted to give back. “I spent 10 unforgettable weeks at Brinton in the summer of 2017 and I wanted to give back,” said Jose Guzman of Doral, FL. “I met more good people and, most of all felt part of a great team.” Scouters are a different breed. They run towards the hard work. They see a need and help. It is just what scouts do. In typical scout fashion, the volunteers got back as much as they gave, if not more. Sea Base took some licks and has more work to do but thanks to volunteers and staff, it has begun serving participants again.

Written by Suzanne Tiernan with input from volunteers at the Florida Sea Base