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Before dipping their paddles — and, when things go awry, their whole bodies — into Galveston’s Offatts Bayou, Scouts try kayaking techniques on the shore (opposite page). Kayaking’s one of several ways Scouts can enjoy the water at Sea Scout Base-Galveston. Program Director Rob Clift’s most excited about the total renovation of the base’s new BaySmart Express, a state- of-the-art, 110-foot oceangoing classroom that can accommodate up to 100 students at a time. Other features at the base include a five-story, 60,000-square-foot environmentally friendly building with lodging, classrooms, offices and a cafeteria ready this year. The Point Glass (examined by executive director Ed Carrette, below) is the base’s 82-foot former U.S. Coast Guard cutter, and it’ll soon be shipshape and ready, too.


required to keep food fresh in the fleet’s onboard coolers. Charles is usually on a boat with Scouts, although he will tackle any task at hand, up to and including cleaning oily engine rooms. “There’s a different level of commitment,” Steele says.


THE OUTCOME OF THEIR commitment made its tangible presence felt for the first time in the summer of 2011, when the initial Scouts arrived for weeklong summer programs. Crews of six Scouts participated in kayaking, small- and large- boat sailing, and power boating on the waters of Offatts Bayou and portions of the nearby Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The $3,000-per-crew cost of the program


hasn’t been a problem, Steele says. They’ve drawn Scouts from Louisiana and Dallas in addition to Galveston and Houston for the first set of week- long adventures. And they’ve received inquiries from as far as St. Louis. For the moment, however, most potential visitors are waiting until the facil- ity fully opens this summer. In spite of the potentially national draw,


Steele says he doesn’t see Sea Scout Base- Galveston competing with Florida Sea Base. He says they complement each other, with the blue Florida water providing matchless snorkeling and diving, while Galveston emphasizes sailing instruction, seamanship and navigation skills, as well as an array of vessels from kayaks to 40-plus- foot schooners. In the future, Scouts may sail on the bigger


vessels from Galveston to as far as the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, 70 miles off the Texas coast, where the Gulf of Mexico’s shallow bottom allows coral reefs to flourish. Meanwhile, Steele says he’s working to build


Sea Scout traditions in a brand-new place that, to every appearance, will be around more than long enough to develop its own traditions organi- cally. And watching over it all are the Doolins, working, providing support and energizing the vision of a world-class sea base. The mission and vision of the Doolins contin-


ues to be that Sea Scout Base-Galveston serves as a high-adventure marine and maritime destination — with aquatic programs aimed at educating and fostering independence of body, mind and spirit, while instilling lifetime leadership and team- building skills. Herrera adds, “The bottom line is to serve youth, and the tool we’ll use is Sea Scout Base-Galveston.” ¿


JOIN SEA SCOUTS Visit seascout.org to join a ship near you.


MARCH•APRIL 2014 ¿ S COUTING 29


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