Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Typical Quarterdeck Meeting

by Rebecca

At the February Quarterdeck Meeting, I hadn't planned on collecting quotes. But thanks to Skipper Shay and Mr Sanford, I started writing them down on the back on the agenda. Here are some of the better ones.

"Skipperish things." - Skipper Shay

"That doesn't sound like it is a skipperish thing." - Mr Sanford

"Rebecca, we're going to have to confiscate all your paper." - Caitlín

"We can practice CPR on them." - Mr Longhi

"The rain gutters aren't that deep." - David

"You can give me my purple one back now." - Skipper

"I think the marinas have enough life rings." - Skipper

"We could walk to the grocery store there." - Skipper

"Untie all those knots, take the sails down." - Skipper

"I don't want an all green crew." - Skipper

"Men in kilts, yes." - Skipper

"Prop wash is the bay." - David

"Do you know what the shoreline does on a boat?" "It gets you stuck." - Mr Longhi and Adam

"Sit around, take naps, eat cookies." - Skipper

"A long cruise is sleeping on the boat." - Mate Enright

"We had Commodore Alexander." - David

"Somebody goobered it up." - Skipper

"They need to put one fake skeleton in there." - David

"I'm pretty sure the quotes are longer than the minutes now." - David

"Supply guy. Storekeeper." - Mr Longhi

"That's not a quote." "Yes, it is actually." - David and Mr Sanford

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Recognition Dinner

by Caitlín

Last night Ship 7916 held its first annual Ship Recognition Dinner, to honor those who have put the most work into the unit in the past year. We expected approximately 50 Scouts, family members, guests, elected officials, and dignitaries.

Many of the Scouts arrived at 6:00 p.m., giving us an hour to set up before the guests were scheduled to arrive. Rebecca, my sister, and I were the first to arrive, and we began checking off tasks on the list of things that needed to be done. When the others showed up, we realized there had been some confusion about the dress uniforms; Because the uniforms are stored and pressed inside out, all but three Scouts came in wearing their shirts inside out. Some had yet to sew on any patches and so had only to turn their shirts right side out, while others were not so lucky and had already sewn every single one of their patches on. Still, everyone looked really nice, and I suppose now is a better time to wear your uniform inside out that at the National Capital Area Council Wardroom Awards Dinner in a few weeks.

Once all the Scouts arrived, we finished setting up pretty quickly, and hung around talking. Rebecca and I tapped one or two people at a time to nonchalantly go out into the hall and sign the special surprise we had arranged for the Skipper, while Mr. Siegal showed Gus and Daniel how to flip quarters into their hats as they wore them. They found that very amusing and it became their new game.

When the room was full of guests, Occoquan District Supervisor Mike May (left) was kind enough to take the time out of his busy schedule and stop by during a break from a board meeting to say a few words of support and talk about how exciting it is to have a Sea Scout Ship in Occoquan.

We had planned to then continue with our program, but encountered technical difficulties with the A/V equipment on which the "best photos" slide show would play at the end of the evening. It took five men to resolve the issue, although I think it was mostly Mr. Kent's doing.

Once they finally got it working, I called everyone to order using, for the first official time, my boatswain's call to pipe the command for All Hands (make sure you turn your speakers down a little before listening!). That really caught everyone's attention quickly, as it was made to do. Perhaps I shall practice other commands and use it more often. Skipper Shay gave a welcome, Alpha Crew Leader Jared Habel lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Occoquan Mayor and Committee Chair Earnie Porta gave the invocation, then everyone sat down to a potluck dinner.

When most people had finished their meal, the Skipper and I once again asked for attention, and recognized Mr. Longhi for his huge amount of work on our treasury and his handiness with boat repair; Ms. MacDonald for jumping in and "saving our bacon" when taking over popcorn fundraising; and Mr. John Houser, Manager of Occoquan Regional Park, for inviting us to participate in the kayaking trip that inadvertently provided the small welcoming flotilla for Amanda Grace when we bought her home.

Skipper Shay then called all of the officers, both youth and adult, to the front and thanked them for their contributions with personalized ditty bags that her friend Debra Daube donated to us in memory of her stepfather.

Mate Dan Schmoker received the "above and beyond" award, and also on the behalf of COR Stu Sanford (who unfortunately could not make it) for the tremendous amounts of work they've both done that is, indeed, above and beyond their job descriptions.

Captain John Ashton, fondly known as Chief Boat Procurement Officer, received a certificate of appreciation. He then presented the same to his "number one man and good friend," Captain Tom Finn for being with him through procuring boats and setting sea anchors.

The two businesses that gave us very generous donations--Carefree Boat Club (representatives, at right) who allows us the use of the Catalina 22, Takin' it Breezy, and Prince William Marine, which donated a slip for Amanda Grace although she's a "blow boat" and not a Sea Ray--were presented with plaques as a small token of our thanks.

Assistant Unit Commissioner Tammi Cope-Jones spoke about Family Friends of Scouting, and then District Executive Tim Rupert announced that we are the largest Venturing unit in the district, and larger than the average Sea Scout Ship (we are the only Ship in the Occoquan District) in the Council.

Next on the agenda was the photo slide show, but first Sarah, Rebecca, and I slipped in our little surprise for Skipper Shay. We had been emailing back and forth for weeks, trying to keep any intention of recognition a secret. Unfortunately, when a member of the planning committee lives in the same house, it is rather hard, so the Skipper knew we had something up our sleeves, just not what.

Although I knew I would be the one announcing the award, I hadn't though out what to say at all, so with a little hesitation I announced the gifts as Rebecca and Sarah presented them. The first was this:

A plate from Paint Your Heart Out--a business only a block or two from the VFW--that was hand-painted by Rebecca's sister, Judith (thank you SO much!), which people can sign before it is fired using a special pencil. The second gift was Sarah's idea: a box of chocolates from Gearhart's Chocolates in Charlottesville, VA. These are the Skipper's very favorite chocolates, and she often half-jokingly hints that if you want to get on her good side, get her Gearhart's. The whole room gave Skipper Shay a standing ovation.

Mr. Chris Ragland from Carefree Boat Club stepped up next to announce another very exciting surprise--that they are donating Takin' it Breezy to our Ship!

We then watched the "best photos" slide show to remind everyone that this is what they are supporting. The Skipper closed the event, parting with this quote by Mark Twain:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." –Mark Twain
The day also happened to be the date that Luis, one of our newest Scouts, turned fifteen. After most of the guests left, we celebrated with cake and a rendition of "happy birthday," conducted by Luis's father (left).

We stowed all the chairs and tables, packed away the display items, and departed. I think the evening was very successful for our first try, despite the somewhat last-minute planning. The Mayor said it was, "a very pleasant event and I really enjoyed myself. It had the right mixture of formality/informality and the right length...all very well done."

Read the Skipper's post about our First Recognition Dinner.