Participating in a Long Cruise is the goal of every Sea Scout ship; however, the planning process is both challenging and demanding. Especially for growing ships, the immense tasks that loom in front of Long Cruise planners can be daunting. All too familiar with these struggles – having experienced them firsthand – we asked ourselves how we could not only encourage, but also empower ships to pursue Long Cruise planning. A Long Cruise can be incredibly rewarding, not only for the scouts participating in the actual event, but also for the scouts involved in the arduous planning process.
We – the NCAC Sea Scout Quarterdeck – devoted many planning sessions to brainstorming ideas that would closely imitate the lessons and experiences gained from participating in a Long Cruise. Although it was unlikely that any ship would be able to participate in a real Long Cruise this summer, we continued to search for solutions. How could we incentivize Long Cruise planning, even in a time where communication was challenging? How could we make resources available to growing ships who have never had the opportunity to plan a Long Cruise before? How could we involve the entire community of Sea Scouts, not only in the National Capital Area Council, but also in the entire nation? The culmination of our efforts and extensive planning produced the Sea Scout Long Cruise Challenge 2020.
The competition officially launched on July 21st, and it will run until August 31st, giving ships a month’s time to commit to a plan, delegate assignments, and create a boarding manual and video for presentation. Creating meal plans, assigning roles, researching marinas and routes – Long Cruise planners will find that there is plenty that must be done in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Whether planning a budget or arranging for transportation, the logistics and planning that is required for a Long Cruise also requires effective teamwork, reliable leadership, and resourceful delegation. Throughout the duration of the event, the NCAC Sea Scout Quarterdeck will continue to offer tips and advice through flyers and social media posts to ensure that all components of the Long Cruise plan are receiving sufficient attention.
Components of a submission include a Boarding Manual and short promotional video presentation that will be graded by a panel of judges. Success can be obtained through careful attention to three factors: depth and detail of information, professionalism of the material, and strength of the speakers. As long as appropriate consideration is exhibited for each component of the criteria, Long Cruise planning submissions also have the potential to showcase a ship’s creativity and resourcefulness.
The winning submission will have the opportunity to participate in a one-week Long Cruise aboard the SSTV der PeLiKan, a 46-foot Morgan ketch situated on the Chesapeake Bay near Baltimore, Maryland. Friends of Sea Scouting of Maryland (FOSSOM) – a 501(c)3 non-profit who operates the boat for the benefit of the Sea Scout program – will provide a BSA-registered captain, and cover fuel, moorings, and docking fees to an amount not to exceed $300. More information regarding the grand prize can be found in our event’s boarding manual. Ships interested in registering or are interested in obtaining more information can have their skipper send an email to NCACSeaScouts@gmail.com.
Long Cruise planning is similar to the large-scale projects one might see at school or at work. They can be incredibly frustrating. They can be challenging. They can be confusing. But the frustration, the obstacles, and the confusion all contribute to creating impactful, purposeful experiences that truly shape youth leaders. Large-scale planning projects create opportunities for growth, both within the team and within individuals. They create environments that require communication and conflict resolution. And the result of such arduous labor can create an experience of a lifetime.