Suffolk Sea Scout helps rebuild a part of her city

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 25, 2004

Anyone who has read my column for the past three and a half years know that I have a very soft spot in my heart for the Boy and Girl Scouts.

My son is an Eagle Scout, my daughter an active Girl Scout, and my wife and I have both been scout leaders. One area of scouting that I am an especially big fan of is Venturing Scouting, especially where Sea Scouts are concerned.

My love for the Sea Scout program comes from a number of directions. First, as a retired Coast Guard officer, who has responded to his share of Search and Rescue cases I support any program that teach young men and women safe boating fundamentals.

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The more knowledge a person has on the water, the safer their experience should be. Additionally, Sea Scouts teaches the traditions of the sea…another part of the maritime experience that help makes it a passion. Finally, Sea Scouting teaches teamwork, many hands working towards a common goal…you have to believe that programs like Sea Scouting help make our community at large better. The more programs like this that we can offer young men and women, the better the chances that they will get through a challenging part of their life.

OK, I’m stepping down from the boating soap box. Now a question…what is the Quartermaster Award in Sea Scouting?

Unfortunately, few people in our community have ever heard of the award. Like the Eagle Scout or Girl Scout Gold Award it is the ultimate scouting achievement requiring an incredible amount of dedication and knowledge. It is a crowning achievement for a young man or woman in Sea Scouting. The Quartermaster award also requires a project, which in the case of Erin Maccord of Suffolk, will benefit the boating public and community.

Erin’s project was not an easy one. She decided to repair an eroded stairway and create a new picnic area at Bennett’s Creek Park. Her Sea Scout unit had used the area often for events, but there were repairs and upgrades needed. To fund her project, Erin approached the local home improvement stores and did a presentation for the Bennett’s Creek Ruritans. The project ended up being funded mostly by the Ruritans, a group whose support of scouting is exceptional, and with a discount provided by Lowes.

Erin organized two crews, one to build a picnic table and one to repair the eroded stairway.

The first team included Rick Daigneault, Scoutmaster of Driver Boy Scout Troop 16, and his two sons, Alex and Willie. Willie is an Eagle Scout. This group volunteered to build the table.

Meanwhile, Scout Ship 16 shipmates Amanda Evans and Williams Evans helped to dig out the old stairway. Erin’s brother Matt, an Eagle scout himself, helped with the digging and placing the new stairway in place.

Together both crews landscaped the new picnic area.

This project now gives boaters, fishermen and the general public a great place to have a break, have lunch, or just enjoy the afternoon. It is another example of scouting giving back to the community.

According to Erin’s dad, Jim Maccord (aka &uot;Mr. Sea Scout&uot;), she only has only two requirements left to complete Quartermaster and sit for her board of review.

Even with these few items left the list of achievements has been impressive.

Erin has been a Sea Scout in Ship 16 since she turned 14, sailed up the East Coast 3 times, served as ship’s Boatswain, Boatswain’s Mate, Yeoman and ship communication specialist. She has also earned the Long Cruise Badge with three rockers, the Boy Scout of America Lifeguard, the Scout fleet Medal and the US Heritage Award.

Erin is a graduate of Nansemond River High School, and she will be attending Virginia Tech this fall having been accepted to the Engineering Program.

Congratulations Erin, you have done your community proud!