Each summer, several week-long sailing-based leadership development programs are offered for Sea Scouts, a co-ed branch of Boy Scouts aged 14-20. Established in 1996, the Sea Scout Experience Advanced Leadership (SEAL) program provides leadership training on private sailing yachts that have been made available by the owners. Training locations include Long Island Sound, Chesapeake Bay, Galveston Bay, Newport Beach, CA, and Puget Sound.

Every year, 25 to 35 Sea Scouts are selected for this program on a national basis. Entry into the program requires a strong working knowledge in seamanship and coastal navigation, and advancement through the first two Sea Scout ranks of promotion. Last summer, Connecticut proudly sent five Scouts for SEAL training, two from Westbrook (Ship 1784) and three from Groton (Ship 584) to boats in Long Island Sound, Galveston Bay and Chesapeake Bay. Grouped into crews of five to seven Scouts per boat, they sailed for eight days under the supervision of the knowledgeable boat owners plus two instructors per vessel. Their duties and responsibilities included planning, provisioning and cooking all meals, clean up, overall boat management, determining courses to sail, selecting harbors and marinas to visit, coastal navigation, sail trim and line handling.

SEAL candidates also learn life skills including evaluation, training, team building, communicating, motivating, leadership, goal setting, planning and preparing, managing, supervising and commanding. On completion of the course, candidates receive a special uniform insignia showing them to be SEAL graduates.

This summer, Sea Scouts Phoebe Costello from New Haven (Ship 1) and Nick Wokanovicz from Bridgeport (Ship 110) will be attending SEAL training in Puget Sound and Chesapeake Bay, respectively. As part of crews from around the USA, they will meet several Scouts who will become friends for life, having shared the pleasures of sailing and the challenges and successes of the SEAL program. Young adults with an interest in learning more about boats and the sea through Sea Scouts are welcome, as are seasoned adult mentors. For more information, contact New England Flotilla Commodore Marshall Parsons at 860-983-7681 or seascout1@subvetsgroton.org.