NEWS-LEDGER – MARCH 9, 2011 -
By Steve Marschke
The old Boy Scout lodge – the last house on the right as you head south on Park Boulevard – has been given to the local Sea Scout chapter. It’s a gift of the former Lions Club in the old “East Yolo” region here. The donation gives the maritime-oriented Sea Scouts a place to meet and study up on their skills.
“It took some poking and prodding from me,” said Nate Eckler, “skipper” of the local Sea Scouts chapter. The owners had been allowing his organization of about 15-19 members to use the building, but it needed a lot of repair work from somebody, and the Lions have stopped meeting in West Sacramento.
“It was pretty much falling apart,” said Eckler. “I said, ‘What do you intend to do with the place?’ and they said, ‘We’ll turn it into a two-bedroom house and rezone it and sell it for charity.’ I said, ‘I’ll save you steps B-through-F!’”
So the Lions got their paperwork in order and donated the site to the Sea Scouts.
“We had bounced between each others’ houses to have our meetings, and had them at barns and in garages,” added Jeremy Pease, executive officer of the group. “It is astronomically good to have a place now to meet every Tuesday.”
The lodge has formerly been a place for Boy Scout troops and firefighters unions to meet.
“Our goal for the place long-term is to get the place renovated and have it available as a youth meeting place for anyone,” said Eckler.
The Sea Scouts spend a lot of time learning boating skills and performing maintenance and repair work on their fleet of several powerboats and several sailboats. Their new flagship is a shrimp trawler recently donated, and powered up the coast from Morro Bay.
“You get kids on the water and they get excited, and they tell their friends,” said Heather Wright, power boat director.
The chapter works on a budget of about $45-50,0000 per year, said Eckler, but most of that value isn’t actually in cash.
“Much of it is contributed,” he told the News-Ledger. “Rustoleum gave us $4,000 worth of paint and epoxy, and Stearns Coleman gave us $2,500 worth of safety equipment.”
The “S.S. Neptune” chapter of the Sea Scouts always invites new members, and always has a wish list for donated items – a list that currently includes a stucco contractor, windows, a dumpster, office furniture, large dry-erase boards, kitchen cabinets and countertops, computers for training, a roofer’s help, central heat/air, security doors, landscaping and interior paint. Donations are tax-deductible.
The Sea Scouts can be reached at www.youthmaritime.com or (916) 775-3732.
Copyright News-Ledger 2011