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Sea Scouts Lend a Hand

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For the past century, Sea Scouts, BSA, a program of the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women ages 14 to 20, has promoted better citizenship and has enhanced members’ boating skills through instruction and practice. They’re also responsible for introducing young people to an exciting new life of seaborne adventures. Yet aside from learning about and enjoying the wonders of the great blue sea, members are encouraged to serve their community, through everything from river or beach clean-up efforts to food drives. And this past Sunday, a Hernando Beach Sea Scout Ship joined in on an effort to prepare and safeguard the Hernando community for what could be rough waters ahead.

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This past weekend, the Sea Scouts of Ship 27 of Hernando Beach arrived in full force at Linda Pedersen Park, assisting county residents with the task of filling sandbags in preparation for Hurricane Ian, which was forecast to hit Florida this week. The Sea Scouts worked as a team with county employees that were coordinating Hernando sandbag operations and storm preparation sites.

Sandbags are known for their ability to reduce flood water damage and can serve as a barrier for moving water during serious storms. Over the two day period, eight Sea Scouts filled more than 900 bags of sand for elderly residents in the coastal area in anticipation of Hurricane Ian.
Ashley Young, chairman of the Hernando County Sea Scout Ship 27 (representing Hernando Beach), defines Ship 27 as “an adventure scouting unit for older scouts, primarily sailing experience and marksmanship training.” The adult leader is Skipper Bill Novas, a Navy Veteran. Yet beyond the realm of adventure, this ship is always set to sail in the name of community service.

“The Sea Scouts had the pleasure of working with Bill and Joe, county employees, who are coordinating the county sandbag operations,” said Young. “During the afternoon the park was packed and the county employees directed the scouts to elderly residents who needed help filling and loading sandbags.”

The Scouts were pleased to lend their energies and talents to this valuable community effort.”We had just finished a coastal sail and we heard they were looking for youth volunteers to help fill sandbags,” said Sea Scout Andrew Eaton. “The Sea Scouts were happy to be there for our community.”

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Sea Scout Brendan Young said, “We are preparing for a major storm and it is so important everyone in the community helps. We have a great group of scouts who believe in community service and wanted to be here to help. The county employees at Linda Pedersen Park were amazing. They made sure everything was working smoothly and directed us so that we could do the most good carrying and filling sandbags for people who needed it. The whole community came together for this storm.”

Skipper Bill Novas praised the students’ efforts.”The young men and women worked hard. There were many appreciative older residents who were worried about getting their sandbags filled and moved to their cars and it was wonderful the Scouts were there to help. It is great training for the Scouts to be involved in emergency preparation.”

Emily Thomas, district executive of the Greater Tampa Bay Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, commends the Sea Scouts of Hernando Beach for their efforts. She stated, “The Sea Scouts of Ship 27 are always out there at the beach, helping as needed. They do Coastal Cleanups and many other projects.”

Thomas expresses great pride in this and all Sea Scout efforts. “I’m so proud of the Scouts,” she said. “They realize the need for helping the community. And they are there for the community.”

Ashley Young also hopes that the Scouts will inspire other young people to “test the waters” of community service. “I am…in the hopes these young men and women can motivate others to help in the community and encourage young people to join scouting.” For more information about the Sea Scouts and how to join, call the District Executive’s office at 352-459-9375.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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