Scouting Forums

Volunteering method in question

Recently, our Ship has undergone some leadership changes. The new Skipper has been a Mate but was appointed by the CO without consulting with the Committee. The reason is, the appointee has a lot of sailing experience, however, virtually no BSA let alone Sea Scout leadership experience from their actions. Unfortunately, this argument was down-trodden quickly by the CO who wants me to write down a list of issues and get back to them instead of listening. Further, the new Skipper has not shown qualities I would deem constructive based on 10+ years (short-time) of being through the BSA let alone my own childhood experiences as a Scout.

One of the more oppressive behaviors, IMO, is his explicit use of “press gang” mentality which he has expressed several times to others. He has done this to choose volunteers, and, assign Scouts to tasks, yet, does not bring the plans/intent to Committee to make sure policy is being followed and the methods meet Sea Scout standards. Its more off-the-cuff actions. E.g., this past weekend at Powderhorn, when he stated this was his method to get people involved, I had to tell him there’s no place in the BSA for such actions. You always approach people and ask, especially as volunteers.
There are other items which I’ve found to not be Ship-quality behavior, however, I’ve gotten shut-down when voicing my concerns by the CO and area Commodore. The CO stated they did not want to pass almost all actions and decisions through Committee since they believed it would take far too long to have anything done. As far as I knew, the Committee was designed to safeguard the unit and make sure actions did not dishonor the unit.

So, I wanted to check with the forum here.
Am I being too sensitive with the way things are going and the actions being performed?
Is “press gang” mentality, unofficially no longer used after the 19th century, allowed in the BSA?
Does the CO and Skipper have authority to override the Committee and Chair with decisions, including non-communications affecting the Ship?

I’m confused and not seen this type of behavior in any other BSA units I’ve been in. Its usually a very open line of communication, but, I wanted to get a check and see if I’m just being over-sensitive.

It’s very hard to know what’s really going on from reading a post without the benefit of experiencing it for ourselves. So, my response tries to see both sides.

I don’t think you stated what your role is within the Ship? It is the CO’s decision, but I’d hope they would listen to the Committee Chair if there are concerns or issue.

Having BSA experience isn’t a must, but I’d hope he is willing to take training. If he’s not following BSA safety rules and not willing to learn, I’d be concerned.

I’ll admit, I had to look up “press gang”. I have to wonder if that’s similar to being “voluntold”. There has to be a certain aspect of that at some times if you want to get positions filled, but it depends on how far you go with it. Or is it more him being downright rude about it?

To a certain degree, he doesn’t need to run every decision by the committee, but it really depends on what decisions you are talking about. It should be a youth led Ship with his mentorship on the program side. Yes, the committee chair has some oversight, but that doesn’t mean they should micro manage every decision. The committee is more for the behind the scenes stuff that enables the Ship and the program.

1 Like

Thanks Jacob.
I’m the Committee Chair. The previous leadership admitted to not having such an organized group for about 8-10 years, thus, having people coming-in with a lot of Scouting experience was admitted by the CO as being slightly overwhelming. There are others who were “voluntold” without being asked what position they would have. I asked one who stated they wanted a different position, but, said they could do the one they were given.

I was not consulted, at all, about the CO’s appointment of the Skipper. At a previous Committee Meeting, the current Skipper was going to be approached to be the Program/Activity chair. I’ve been kept out-of-the-loop with decisions being made by the CO and now current Skipper.
No interest in micro-managing, but, would like the entire committee to be kept abreast of the plans and intents, more-so to see how we can help find support. Its not a one or two persons show.
As for youth led, thats another issue. I’ve told both the CO and Skipper that adult leadership needs to attend Quarterdecks, not to dictate, but, to hear and provide input when needed. Further, notes from the QD should get back to the Committee so that we can see how to support the decisions the Scouts made. Nope, not being done. Have not seen any notes for the past couple months.

I’ve tried to voice my concerns to the CO and area commodore, even citing the original plans. I was quickly shot-down, thus, the reason I’m coming to the forum to see if this is me, or, something is not running right.

For now, I’ll let things flow and see what happens after our Koch Cup qualifier, and, upcoming Committee meeting in a couple weeks.
I’ve not seen this type of leadership with other units, thus, my concern. I’m accustomed to letting the Scouts make decisions based on programs setup by the leadership and sought goals. Time will tell.

It doesn’t really sound like there are any policy violations, unless there’s something Sea Scout specific I’m missing. It’s sounds like more a question of style and long term effectiveness.

1 Like

Have you consulted with your commissioner? A good commissioner can be of great help in a situation like this.

1 Like

Training Requirements

Have you tried the “Every Scout deserves a trained leader” approach? Check with your council or district training chair to see if your council requires direct-contact leaders to complete both youth protection training and basic position-specific training before meeting with youth. My council’s training committee priority month is to get all direct-contact leaders to update their hazardous weather training.

Chartered Organization Representative (CR) Training

Some of the information for CRs is out-of-date. I created the Chartered Organization Representative discussion topic to help CRs get up to date.

Skipper (SK) and Mate (MT)Training

My understanding is that the joining and basic position-specific training for the SK and MT are the same:

Adult Application:

  • Scout Oath
  • Scout Law
  • Scouter Code of Conduct
  • Declaration of Religious Principle.


  • Youth protection training (Y01)

Basic Position-Specific

  • Online training modules:


  • or P44 - Sea Scout Adult Leader Basic Training (SSALBT)
  • Note: I understand all Sea Scout BSA adult leaders are required to take and keep the SCO_800 Hazardous Weather Training current to be considered basic position-specific leader trained.

Supplemental and Advanced:
For more see:

Jacob, the style and effectiveness is my concern. He’s relying more upon his experience as a rugby player of “pressing” people into action. The style, however, is quite offensive and something I definitely do not want my teens using as an adult. An extreme volun-told method where you don’t get a chance to give feedback, and when you voice-up, you’re somewhat belittled. Again, not a style I want my kids around. The previous Boatswain left the program due to the way the Skipper majorly embarrassed them in front of other Scouts at a small boat sailing clinic, and, other Sea Scouts have shown disrespect for the previous Boatswain who had been trying to get the Ship back into working order.
Another Sea Scout was injured during a tubing event. When he complained, the new Skipper used rugby-style leadership and said, “Shrug it off”. That Scout ended-up with TFCC, medical bills, and having to use the BSA insurance. All because he was told to shrug-it-off.

TW, I approached the commissioner regarding another issue over a year ago, They never got back to me despite my chasing for a couple months. I finally dropped it. I might try again.

Bill, I did. After some incidents I didn’t agree-with (yet the COR did), I entered into our GroupMe that exact phrase. Its a phrase our District has tried to put at the fore-front of all activities for quite a few years. The GroupMe response - crickets. The CR told me months ago, the Ship is a high-adventure organization that has its own set of rules. Talking with other Venturing crew leaders, no, we all have the GTSS and Sea Scout manual as the primary. The CR did not want to hear it. I’m glad you pointed-out the out-of-date CR information.

The prior leadership was removed due to personality issues with the CR and area commodore, yet, the program was running fine and was improving. Other scouts left as well at that time.
As mentioned, I’m going to wait until after this weekend’s Koch Cup and Commodore’s Cup. A QD is next week, and, Committee meeting the following Sunday. I won’t be attending since one son is a Sergeant with the Post and is working a festival (traffic) while the other is helping another Scout with their Eagle project (promised months ago).

It sounds like the big issue is your CO is willfully disregarding the GTSS, the Scout Oath, and Scout Law. I’d suggest a conversation with your DE.


I believe the quote is an old one by the founder of the Scouting movement. (I thought I had a citation. I need to search for the first time it appeared in a publication, again)

More useful quotes

I believe the DE may need to take the issue to the Scout Executive.

Thanks all for the input and suggestions.

Many new DE’s in past couple years, new one just this year.

This topic was automatically closed 7 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.