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by mark ray WHAT I’VE LEARNED

Adam Tunks This Scouter’s secret: Just add water—and adventure.

FactSheet Adam Tunks


CURRENT CITY: Dallas, Texas


ALTHOUGH ADAMTUNKS had been involved in sailing and Scouting for most of his life, he never heard about Sea Scouting until the end of high school. When he was about 18 and his mother took over Sea Scout Ship 1000 in Dallas, he jumped at the chance to come aboard, eventually earning the Quartermaster Award—the top rank in Sea Scouts, equiva- lent to the Eagle Scout Award. And he’s never disembarked. Tunks recently ended a six-

DAY JOB: Asset manager for a real- estate investment firm that specializes in apartment complexes

FAVORITE CAMP: Sea Scout Base— Galveston, Galveston, Texas. They are putting together a great facility. I’m excited about what they’ve already got going and where they’re taking it.

PROUDEST MOMENTS IN SCOUTING: When I have a youth on my quarterdeck [a Sea Scout ship’s youth leadership group] come to me and say they have made a decision about anything at all. When they do that without my asking and actually step into leadership roles, those are really my proudest moments.


year stint as the ship’s Skipper (the unit’s top adult leader) and now serves as a mate (the equivalent of an assistant Scoutmaster or associate Advisor). But he’s done plenty of Scouting on land as well. An Eagle Scout, he completed a Rayado trek at Philmont Scout Ranch and served two summers on Philmont staff. He has com- pleted both Wood Badge and Seabadge.

WHAT SHOULD OTHER SCOUTERS KNOW ABOUT SEA SCOUTING? Our mission is their mission. We all share the same BSA mission and vision statements. At the end of the day, we’re here to create Scouts. We’re not here to create sailors. We’re taking all

SCOUTING ¿  

the same conceptual and struc- tural components that make a Boy Scout troop work and doing it around water activities that are interesting to older youth.

WHAT MAKES SEA SCOUTING APPEAL TO TEENAGERS? The main driver for a number of our youth is the opportunity to be in charge of what the ship does. By truly handing the reins to them, and acting as an adviser and peer rather than someone they report to, you give them what is probably the only forum in their life to learn how to make good decisions and do things for themselves. You’ve got to give them something to do that they think they can get hurt doing. It’s our job to make sure they don’t get hurt, but they have to have that sense of adventure mixed with true responsibility.

IS PROXIMITY TO THE OCEAN IMPOR- TANT IN SEA SCOUTING? No. You just have to have access to some sort of water activity during the year. You can do small-boat sailing or focus on river rafting, canoeing, or kayaking. Or you can have a scuba ship that trains in a pool and then takes trips to practice scuba somewhere else. The basic message is that Sea Scouting encom- passes anything having to do with being on top of or under water.

WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR SHIP’S ACTIVITIES? We anchor out in the middle of Galveston Bay and have a night out on the water. We go to an event called Safety at Sea, where the youth get to go out on Texas Parks and Wildlife patrol boats, practice emergency procedures with a Coast Guard simulator, work with Texas Department of Safety water-rescue folks, and train with live flares and live smoke signals. We’ve also taken a 10-day trip down to the British Virgin Islands. That’s just fun stuff. I don’t care how old you are.


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