Saturday, January 10, 2015

Why I Decided To Leave BSA Seabase

The last few years I have been writing this blog it has mostly been about craft projects, old funny stories, or insights into weird ideas.  When I first started this blog back in 2008, it was mainly a diary of how things were going in my life.  I haven't done a post like that in a while, but due to circumstances as of late, I knew I had to write a "diary post."

Back in December I was ecstatic when I was hired to work for the Boy Scouts of America down in the Keys at their high adventure base known as BSA Sea Base.  I had worked for the BSA in 2004 at Philmont in New Mexico.  Since I live about 350 miles from Sea Base, I was able to take my own car, and thus a lot of my stuff along with me.  So I packed up and drove down there.

Unfortunately, my car decided at that moment to have a few problems.  I was stuck in a traffic jam, and it was dangerously close to overheating.  Luckily, I was able to get out of the traffic jam, pull over, and check my car out.  I made it down there okay, but my car was making a lot of noise.

When I get to Sea Base I discover that my "housing" was half the size of a standard hotel room, and there would be four guys to an apartment.  We did have a bathroom, but it was tiny.  Two of my roommates had been there so long they had accumulated a lot of stuff, and there was not any place where I could put my own belongings. 

I start talking to my roommates, and they start telling me about my immediate boss (who I will not mention by name.)  They described him as a Cuban dictator who screamed, cursed, insulted, and abused those around and underneath him.  Now here's a side note.  I had to sign and notarize a paper saying that I would abide by the Scout Law at all times.  (Yes, I really did have to have it notarized.)  So I wonder when this guy is cursing at people, which part of the Scout Law is that under?  I had one of my roommates tell me, and I quote, "I would never work for that madman." 

So in the morning I talk to the main boss about my concerns.  I straight up tell him I'm not comfortable with the living arrangements, and I will not be yelled at.  I said, "If he has a problem with my work, that's fine.  If he doesn't like the way I did something, that's fine.  He can tell me in a calm voice.  The moment he screams or curses at me he will find himself on the ground screaming, "My crotch, my crotch, oh my God my crotch!"  I will not be disrespected in that manner."

The main boss was very sympathetic about my concerns.  He said, my immediate boss was better than he was years ago, but would I have a run in with him?  Yes.  Would I be cursed at?  Yes.  Also, he didn't like the living arrangements either.  But, on an island land is at a premium, and they just don't have much space.  They were in the planning stages of putting together another housing unit, but that would still be years off. 

So I agreed not to take the job, and come back home.  I went to a mechanic that they knew just 9 miles up the road.  They found my compressor and a few items were not working and/or dying.  So I went to Miami to stay with some friends until nightfall.  I was then able to run my car with the A/C off at night when it was cooler.  That way my engine didn't overheat.  I dropped off my car at my trusted mechanic the next day, and he got it working again. 

I have to say that Philmont was an amazing adventure, and I would suggest that every Scout who is interested tries to make it out there sometime during their lifetime.  However, I am not so sold on BSA Sea Base.  I never found it comfortable there, and would not suggest that anyone work there.

On a side note, I had someone suggest that I talk to someone in charge at the Gulf Ridge Council (here in the Tampa Bay area) to see if I could get ahold of a higher up in the Boy Scouts to let them know what was going on.  I didn't think it would do any good.  I mean, the screamer had been with them for years, and I think everyone knew what was going on.  So I don't think it would matter much what I would report. 

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