On June 17th, our very own Sea Scout, cadet Lance Newland, will travel to San Francisco California to participate in this year’s Sea Experience Advanced Leadership (SEAL) Training on the Pacific coast. SEAL training is the highest-level National Sea Scout Leadership course. Candidates are selected from around the nation to attend the course. The scouts are expected to have basic seamanship skills prior to arrival.
The purpose of SEAL is to provide leadership training for 16 to 20 year old Sea Scouts. The course is taught by Sea Scout leaders who are managers, teachers and executives. SEAL is taught in a high-adventure setting, in this case sailing on a 42’ ketch Sea Scout Training Vessel. Team building, planning and preparing, goal setting, and problem solving are just a few of the modules that candidates are taught. After each module, the Scouts were given an immediate opportunity to apply and practice the learned skills.
Each day one of the crew members is selected to be in charge as the ship boatswain, one is navigator, and Scouts sail a course they planned. Scouts have to cook their own meals, clean and prepare the boat to get underway. They are evaluated on their leadership skills and in motivating and training their crew, which soon develops into a high performing team. They must work together so that each one earns 800 or more of 1000 possible points to be awarded their individual SEAL twin dolphins.
Each day starts at 0600 and they are often up until 0030 working on their course plans or assignments for the next day. It is an intensive 11 day course. As one said after he went through the course – “It is the most fun I NEVER want to have again.” We usually see a tremendous amount of growth and maturation in graduates. Most parents and Skippers make the same remark.
The expectation is that at the end of the week, candidates will have experienced being part a high-performing team, realize what they are truly capable of, and that they will have developed the leadership and team-building skills that they will need to go back home and lead their ship to better program and greater and opportunities.