Thanks to a connection created by Leo Smith of Carefree Boat Club, my scouts have been given the opportunity to provide the first volunteer/Sea Scout crew to the historic Chesapeake Bay oyster buyboat “Half Shell” on Saturday, May 2nd as the vessel is used to provide water taxi service during the Occoquan River Festival. The captain, Andrew Samworth, is a former Sea Explorer (former name for Sea Scouts), who wants to give back, is very interested in working with us, and is enthusiastic about having scouts as crew. He even said that, if things are quiet and smooth, scouts could take turns joining him in the pilot house for some real-life lessons.
We are working out the details, but it seems a crew will consist of 3 scouts, with shifts from 2-4 hours, depending on the number of scouts available. This would count as service hours for advancement, and, of course, service hours aboard a boat are the best!
“Half Shell” is part of the Living Classrooms Foundation, and Capt. Samworth would like us to join him during summertime participation in the foundation’s Shipboard Education & Environmental Outreach Program, so participation in the River Festival would give scouts an advantage in joining those activities.
This is stuff right up my alley; when I was a volunteer for the National Park Service at the time I was denied the opportunity to be a Sea Scout/crew member, the LHS Chesapeake was a floating environmental education center, and they welcomed me aboard because I had the ability to tend the 13 aquariums, as I had just completed a marine aquarium course at the National Aquarium in Washington, D.C. I mentioned this to Capt. Samworth, who was shocked at the discrimination I had faced, and replied, “Well, you are showing them now!” I am, indeed!
P.S.- Another interesting connection: both “Half Shell” and LHS Chesapeake are now part of the Living Classrooms Foundation.