PORT ANGELES — They’ve rigged the 40-foot vessel, the leaders and the vision.
Now, it’s a matter of anchoring the most important element of a Sea Scouts ship: the Scouts.
Young men and women ages 14 (or 13 if they’ve finished eighth grade) to 20 can join a Port Angeles Sea Scouts ship — the equivalent of a troop — for the first time coming late September.
What awaits them?
The ship’s future skipper Jared Minard envisioned the possibilities: kayaking through the San Juan Islands, repairing sail boats at the Port Angeles Yacht Club and then racing them, trying on Coast Guard survival suits and visiting the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton and the Lower Elwha Klallam Hatchery.
The Sea Scouts, a program of the Boy Scouts of America, teaches water safety, boating skills, social service and maritime heritage. The Port Angeles Yacht Club will sponsor the Port Angeles Sea Scouts.
Shana Scott, district executive for the Mt. Olympus Boy Scouts District, said Minard will bring all the “right stuff” to his role as skipper: “passion, experience in scouting and working in the marine industry.”
He’s currently an assistant Scout master with Boy Scouts Troop 1460 and works as a marine mechanic with Platypus Marine in Port Angeles. Before that, he rebuilt hovercraft as a civilian contractor for the Navy, he said.
Minard aims to expand the scouts’ exposure to all maritime industries, rather than prepping them for the Navy or Coast Guard alone. The words “career preparation” might not be the ticket of appeal for every 14-year-old, he said, so they’ll excite potential Scouts with the joy of being on the sea first.
“They’ll find out it’s career preparation after they’ve had all the fun,” Minard said. “When they say, ‘Wow, people get paid to do this.’ ”
The ship will welcome Scouts of all experience levels and interests, Minard said.
“It’s just fun being on the water, learning about the sea, fishing, sailing, seeing something new you’ve never experienced,” he said. “This is a great place to try it out.”
Minard said Scouts will learn leadership foremost, then project management, navigation in waterways, small boat maintenance, rope work, survival skills, fishing, boat handling, welding and fiber glass work, among other skills.
The ship will meet twice a month at the yacht club, and the meeting times will be decided based on scouts’ schedules.
Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will be able to participate in Sea Scouts without leaving their current troops. Minard also plans to speak with sports coaches and other youth program leaders to avoid scheduling conflicts with other groups.
Once the first few scouts commit, Minard expects “it will spread like wildlife,” he said.
Interested youth and adult leaders can contact Minard at 760-689-8455.
Reporter Sarah Sharp can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at [email protected].