Young men and women, ages 13 to 21 with an interest in learning the skills needed for safe boating.
Cradle of Liberty’s Sea Scout Squadron held its second annual Sea Scout Rendezvous at Camp Firestone during the weekend of June 19 – 21, 2015, immediately prior to the beginning of the summer camp season at Resica Falls Scout Reservation. This is the second year that the Squadron held its annual Rendezvous at Resica Falls. Squadron Commodore Bob Gabage, who also acts as the Skipper of Ship 201, the SSS Slayer, located in Jenkintown, was pleased that the number of Sea Scouts participating in the 2015 Rendezvous was greater than that who participated in the initial Rendezvous held in 2014. The Rendezvous is designed to foster camaraderie amongst the Sea Scouts in the council and provide a council event that is specifically tailored to Sea Scouting.
The Sea Scouts were headquartered and billeted at Firestone Lodge for the weekend and most of the weekend’s indoor activities were held at the Lodge. The theme of the 2015 Rendezvous was shooting sports and was designed to allow the participating Sea Scouts the opportunity to earn their basic levels of the Sea Scout Shooting Sports Medal in both the rifle and shotgun disciplines.
The Shooting Sports Medals were instituted by the BSA in October of 2013 and are available only to registered Sea Scouts. There are three separate disciplines to the medal: rifle, pistol, and shotgun; and four separate levels: basic, intermediate, advanced, and expert; for each discipline. For the basic level, a Sea Scout must take and successfully complete the National Rifle Association (NRA) “First Step” program in the respective disciplines and then show basic ability on the range with either a rifle, pistol, or shotgun.
The NRA “First Step” course in both rifle and shotgun were held on Saturday morning in the great room at Firestone Lodge. The courses were taught by Ship 461 Skipper, Timothy P. Wile, who is a firearms instructor certified by the NRA in both rifle and shotgun disciplines. In the “First Step” program, the Sea Scouts were schooled in the basic parts of rifles and shotguns as well as their respective ammunition. They also learned basic cleaning and maintenance for the firearms and how to safely handle and store them. Finally, the Sea Scouts were instructed on basic range safety rules and shooting techniques.
Following lunch, the Sea Scouts moved to Firestone’s rifle range for the shooting portion of the Rendezvous and the competition between Ships for the Squadron’s Liberty Cup. Firestone’s rifle range was the site for both the rifle and shotgun shooting. The shooting portion of the competition was done under the supervision of Ship 461 Skipper Wile, who performed the duties of both rifle and shotgun instructor, as well as Squadron Commodore Bob Gabage, who performed the duties of the range safety officer and who also kept score for the competition and for qualifying for the shooting sports medals.
To qualify for the basic level of the shotgun shooting medal, a Sea Scout must hit 11 out of 25 flying clay targets. The shotguns used were brand new Remington 870 12 gauge shotguns loaned to the Squadron by the Musser Scout Reservation for the Rendezvous.
There were four Sea Scouts who qualified for this medal at the Rendezvous – all from Ship 201. Those Sea Scouts who already had the basic level in shotgun were afforded the opportunity to qualify for the intermediate level in that discipline. The intermediate level requires a Sea Scout to hit 11 out of 25 flying clay targets in two sessions, or 22 clay targets out of 50. Only one Sea Scout qualified for this level – Ship 461 Boatswain Matthew R. Ranberg.
In addition to shotguns, the Sea Scouts also enjoyed some rifle shooting at the Firestone range, using new Savage .22LR rifles, also obtained from Musser Scout Reservation specifically for this event. The Sea Scouts had the opportunity to qualify for the rifle shooting medal in both the basic and intermediate levels. No one qualified for the basic level, however, two Sea Scouts, both from Ship 461, qualified for the shooting portion of the intermediate level – Ship 461 Boatswain Matt Ranberg and Ship 461 Boatswain’s Mate Kyle Coaché.
At the end of the shotgun shooting portion of the day, Squadron Commodore Bob Gabage announced that the winner of the 2015 Liberty Cup was Ship 461, SSS Nautilus, and that the high shooter for the competition was Ship 461 Boatswain Matt Ranberg.
It would not be a Sea Scout event without some activity having to do with the water and the 2015 Rendezvous was no exception. During mid-afternoon on Saturday, the Sea Scouts took a break from shooting and enjoyed several hours of kayaking, rowing, canoeing, sailing, and just plain fun at Lake Roger. For the aquatic event, the Squadron “borrowed” a lifeguard from Resica Falls who volunteered to participate in the event.
Saturday evening saw the Sea Scouts assisting the instructors in cleaning the rifles and shotguns used during the day’s shooting and packing them up for their return to Musser Scout Reservation. Following the cleaning chores, they enjoyed an evening of fellowship in the great room at Firestone Lodge, a fire burning in the fireplace that dominates the great room, listening to guitar music, playing chess and other games, and enjoying an ice cream snack.
The Rendezvous ended Sunday morning after breakfast and cleaning of the Firestone Lodge.
The Cradle of Liberty Sea Scout Squadron consists of the six Sea Scout Ships currently registered in the council and was officially formed in October of 2013. The Squadron’s Commodore is Bob Gabage. The Squadron meets the first Monday of every month at the council headquarters in Wayne and the meetings begin at 7:00 p.m.