Monday, September 29, 2008

Raven Canoe

"On June 19, 2008, The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) and the Sealaska Heritage Institute held a formal naming and welcoming celebration for a new ocean-going cedar log canoe that has been especially carved for inclusion in the new Ocean Hall at the National Museum of Natural History."

I learned about this cool boat from the latest issue of the e-newsletter, Anthropology at the Smithsonian, then Googled for this online article:

Tlingit Canoe Plies the Waters of Our Nation's Capitol

"A traditional Tlingit cedar canoe journeyed the Potomac River in Washington D.C. The 26-foot canoe, carved by Tlingit artist and Sealaska shareholder Doug (Kevin) Chilton was gifted to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History."

Photo credit: Smithsonian Institution, Donald Hurlbert

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Popcorn Selling

by Caitlín

This morning we conducted our first BSA popcorn sales at the annual fall Occoquan Arts & Crafts Show. The VFW was kind enough to let us use the spaces next to their front steps and hot dog booth to set up displays of the tins and hold signs so that we didn't have to pay for a booth ourselves.

Part of our agreement was to also help the members of the VFW staff their hot dog and drink stand, but they really didn't need much help. Adam was the only one of us who was on food duty.

At right is what we first used to draw Craft Show visitors towards the table (marked by the balloons and "Support Scouting" banner in the background) filled with every different kind of popcorn and information about our Ship. Me, Sarah, and Peter show off our first dollar--which was a donation.

After a while with almost no interest in the popcorn--even with us saying "Good morning!" to every passerby--we brought the banner down to the side of the street, too.

When that didn't catch people's attention, we tried making more signs from the flaps of the cardboard boxes that the popcorn tins came in. Peter was occupied doing that, so Sarah and I were the only ones holding the banner and greeting people.

There were also several comments muttered about, "Why are girls selling Boy Scout popcorn?"
Sarah thought they didn't notice our shirts (here's a time when true uniforms would help a lot!), and that it we should turn around so people could see the larger, more eye-catching text on the backs of our T-shirts. The Skipper said, "Turn around? What if we turn the banner around and write on that?"

So Skipper Shay wrote on the nice blank reverse side of the banner that we were specifically Sea Scouts and that it's a co-ed branch of the BSA for youth ages 14-21. It wasn't as colorful as the printed side, but it explained our purpose much better than a photo of a very young boy in a "dirt Scout" uniform. Trail's End (warning, music begins abruptly on their site) really should make a popcorn banner that includes both Venturing Scouts and Sea Scouts, pictures both boys and girls, and features older Scouts.

Our new banner caught a little more attention, and we got a lot of amazed exclam-
ations of "Sea Scouts!" as if people didn't believe we existed or something. Or probably they'd never heard of us, as Sea Scouting is the "best kept secret in Boy Scouts." There was one girl seemed very interested in our program and took a flier with contact info and more information, so hopefully we'll at least gain a new member!

But despite people noticing us, business was still so slow that Sarah, Adam, and I were counting the minutes until we could go home. Or at least until our relief came, which was supposed to be David and Daniel. David was sick and didn't really feel up to being there, and Daniel had to attend a school function and that caused him to arrive an hour late for his shift, so it was still pretty much me and Sarah running the show.

A few people did buy popcorn, and several others, including Mayor Porta, said they would buy it later online so that they didn't have to carry it around town. A couple people came up and asked about prices, but after finding out how much it cost they said they were sorry they couldn't help out.

In four hours we made a total of $75.00 (most of which was in donations), while at the car wash we made over $300 in the same amount of time. Hopefully the popcorn-sellers will do better tomorrow--maybe a fresh crew will help.

To support Sea Scout Ship 7916, and enter this code: TEYQBZ7. You can also send $25.00 worth to the men and women fighting overseas--with 70% of the proceeds still supporting our unit--by clicking "Other Treats" and then "Military Donation."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Open House

by Caitlín

Yesterday evening Sea Scout Ship 7916 held its first membership open house. I thought we did rather well for the little formal planning we put into it, although there wasn't as large a turnout of prospective members as I had hoped (but then I was a little late in getting some of the publicity blurbs out).
I arrived early with my sister and my friend Chelsea to help Skipper Shay set up. Rebecca and her mom had come very early, and almost all of the other Scouts who came showed up soon and brought with them food and display items.

There's no real story to tell here, so some photos instead. The lighting in the VFW is really horrible for picture-taking, so they came out a bit grainy and everyone has red-eye:

Chelsea (on the right) and my sister Laurel put up a Venturing Advancement poster. (They did not like their pictures being taken, can you tell?) We had the most frustrating time trying to get the poster and chart--which had both been rolled up for however long--to lie flat. We ended up using a lot of tape.

No one noticed me taking this shot until it was too late. Skipper Shay explains what needs to be done to set up for the team-building activity Mate Dan planned.

Light refreshments were provided, including snacks, soda and other drinks from David's family, muffins from Rebecca's, and cupcakes from Gus's.

Everyone schoomzing.

Eight people were randomly assigned to either Alpha or Bravo team, with David and me as the leaders. Each team had to pick a container of "toxic waste" out of the middle of one 9'x9' square and move it--without touching it--to a second square using the supplies provided or stepping inside either square. Here, Alpha team (David's crew) lowers their invention down to the container.

David right where he likes it best; in the center of everyone and making them laugh.

This slide show I made--showcasing some of the best photos taken in our first year of being chartered--played throughout the evening to give visitors an idea of what we do.