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Mustang sailor earns Sea Scouting's Quartermaster award

Matt Lebo, 21, of Mustang, OK, earned the Quartermaster Award in the 100th year of Sea Scouting in the United States.
by Bryan Painter Published: April 29, 2012

There's a difference between the waters of the California Delta around Stockton, Calif., and those of Lake Hefner.

But for Matt Lebo, 21, of Mustang, the common denominator of the two is that they both carried him toward his goal.

Lebo has been involved in Sea Scouting, a coed program offered to youth to not only promote better citizenship but to improve boating skills, since he was 14 years old.

Now, he has achieved the program's highest award, that of Quartermaster. He has enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and has a deployment date of May 22.

What started as spending time on the California Delta with his grandfather, Harry Williams, a former Sea Scout himself, is an interest Lebo maintained upon moving to Oklahoma. This came in early 2011 after his father, Arthur, who serves in the U.S. Air Force, was assigned to Tinker Air Force Base.

In California, Lebo would go on Sea Scout cruises aboard an 82-foot retired Coast Guard cutter. Here, he participated in Sea Scouts Ship 131 offered through the Last Frontier Council with activities including among other things, spending Sunday afternoons in a 27-foot sailboat on Lake Hefner.

“Sea Scouts gives me a sense of responsibility, a sense of accomplishment,” Lebo said. “It puts you in a spot where you have to have leadership.”

It also, he said, never puts you in the same situation twice. Each day on the water, adds to the overall experience, Lebo said.

“I try to learn by noticing things I didn't notice before,” he said. “And then I talk to people about that and try to build on it.”

Preparing to serve

Sea Scouting had its beginning at a camp fire in England when Lord Baden-Powell voiced the hope that older Scouts would be interested in learning about boat management and seamanship. At that time, he stressed the importance of young men preparing themselves to serve later on their country's ships, according to information from the Boy Scouts.

After that campfire, Baden-Powell's brother, Warington, wrote the book “Sea Scouting and Seamanship for Boys.” It was well-received by the young men of Britain and after a short while made its way to the U.S., according to the Boy Scouts.

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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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Sea Scouts gives me a sense of responsibility, a sense of accomplishment. It puts you in a spot where you have to have leadership.”

Matt Lebo, 21, of Mustang


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