(Editor's Note: Thanks to Valerie Burchfield for contributing this story.)
William “Will” Cox, a Sea Scout in Dana Point-based Mariners 936, just completed his Quartermaster Project in his quest for Quartermaster Rank in the centennial year of Sea Scouting in the United States. The Quartermaster community service project is the final step in achieving the prestigious rank of Quartermaster in the Mariners Sea Scouting program.
Cox decided to dedicate his project to helping the Southern California Bluebird Club. The Bluebird Club is in constant need of new bluebird boxes to replace old worn out boxes and supply new boxes for the Western bluebird habitat.
The birds need substitute living accommodations such as the bluebird boxes due to loss of habitat. To help, Cox arranged a bluebird box build on March 31 and April 1, which included students from San Clemente High School in his AP Environmental Class, friends and fellow Mariners.
Under his direction and using plans from the Bluebird Club, the participants made 10 new brightly painted bluebird boxes. He is going to present the boxes to the Bluebird Association at the May meeting. He has also been invited to attend the 35th North American Bluebird Society Conference in Newport Beach Oct. 4 – 6, to share his project experience. To see bluebirds nesting, check out the live webcam on the association’s site socalbluebirds.org.
“I was really surprised at how enthusiastic my friends were about the project – once they understood the importance of providing the Western Bluebird with new homes, they were anxious to help. Of course, some of them just wanted to get to use the power tools! It was fun leading this project and I am glad the Southern California Bluebird Association gave me the opportunity to help out,” Cox said after completing his project.
Sea Scouting is affiliated with Boy Scouts Venturing Division and Mariners is the local Sea Scout group or “Ship” based in Dana Point. Mariners is a co-ed group for high school-aged youth where sailing, racing and other maritime activities have been taught by Jim “Skip” Wehan and a team of adult and youth advisors for over 35 years.
The Quartermaster rank is comparable to the Eagle rank in Boy Scouting and requires a great depth of knowledge about maritime activities. Achieving this rank is so challenging that only a very small number are awarded per year.
Completing the community service project is the last step in a process that typically takes 3-4 years to complete and involves mastering a number of maritime skills, assuming leadership roles within the organization, and safely skippering a cruise at sea for a minimum of two nights including all navigation, safety drills and meal preparation. As part of his leadership training in Sea Scouts, William also graduated SEAL (Sea Scout Experience Advanced Leadership) Training in Newport Beach. It was a week long intensive at-sea course which qualified him to serve as a ship’s petty officer. Achievement of the Quartermaster rank offers an automatic pay grade increase of two levels for Scouts wishing to enter the Navy or Coast Guard after completing high school.
He is scheduled to be honored for his accomplishments at a Quartermaster Ceremony in June at the Ocean Instituted in Dana Point. Anyone interested in learning more about the Mariner Sea Scouts can visit mariners936.com.