NEWPORT — Leon Noble, Skipper of the SSS Rampart, announced last week that the local Sea Scout program is still drifting from location to location, after discussions with the Port of Newport fell through.
According to Noble, things were looking good — until, suddenly, they weren’t.
“During the (five or six) months of discussion with the port, I let a couple of potential locations slide. I was trying to be patient and wait for the port to make a decision,” said Noble. “The impression that I had was that it was just a matter of making it through the process. Confidence was high; we had even been allowed to use the intended space twice in the last couple of months or so, to stage equipment and take a pause for our Sea Scouts to eat before taking a ship tour at NOAA.”
Having a space is integral to the SSS Rampart, as their fundraising efforts are less conventional: rather than door-to-door sales of sweets, they focus on work projects that put their vocational skills to work. However, without a place to call home for the troop, those project vessels are continually being moved to new locations — which has resulted in some setbacks, such as the Viceroy’s Redemption breaking free of its mooring and then being looted.
Noble is now opening the search for space to consider all options, and asking the public for help. He posted on the Sea Scout Ship Rampart Facebook page, saying, “We are not asking to receive something for nothing; we intend to prioritize this in our operating budget. Our budget is dependent on a shop space which includes the cost of the space. If anyone is able to assist, we implore them to contact us.”
The ideal space would be roughly 1,600 square feet indoors, with a big door and about 2,000 square feet outdoors for storage — though, Noble said that if an all-indoors space was available, they would be glad to use that as well.
The space should be able to house four general areas; the shop area, where scouts would use tools and work on their project vessels; a briefing and training area, which would be used for technical instruction and would house things like 3D printers and plotters; a sail and upholstery loft for sewing; and a retail zone.
“We are not looking for a taking relationship with anyone,” said Noble. “We just need a little help to get started.”
Noble also stated that, “In the next couple of weeks, we are going to transition to a non-profit charter organization, which will be able to do more directly targeted things to support the Sea Scouts of SSS Rampart.”
The SSS Rampart leadership can be contacted via the Facebook page or their website: sssrampart.weebly.com.