Over the year's I have witnessed persons standing on the pitcher's mound and throwing the ceremonial first pitch to the catcher of the team. The pitch has left the guest thrower's hand with varying results. One only get's one pitch and you don't have an opportunity for a do over. If it's not your best pitch the audience, televised and in the stadium, witnesses your miscalculation. I've laughed on many occasions as a person has thrown a ball without the neccessary velocity and it fell short of the home plate only to roll on the grass to the catcher. I've seen some throw the ball over the catcher's head and into the crowd. I've seen some completely missed the plate by throwing so far off line you leave wondering what were they throwing at. In other words, they couldn't hit the side of a barn.
I'm aware the name has been changed of this historic track and field team from Ed Waters Track and Field Team to Baltimore Track and Field Team. My days as a parent, assistant trainer and supporter of Baltimore City's summer recreation program was when the team was named after Ed Waters. It was in tribute to a Baltimore athelete who was a world class 400 Meter runner. During my 10 years with the team, it produced many Olympic athletes and was a magnet for talent from all over the metropolitan area. The unwritten story about the program was it success rate in producing not only champions, but also amazing college students, professionals and good citizens.
On a personal note my son is an alumnus of the program and God has blessed him with a successful academic career (Compter Engineering, Electrical Engineering, MBA, and JD) and business career (Vice President of Consumer Banking, J.P. Morgan Chase). I attribute some of his success to the discipline he learned from track and field after he stepped onto a track at 7 years of age. He ran from age 7 to age 17 with the Ed Waters team.
During that 10 year period of time I became involved in the lives of some amazing young men and women. I continue to marvel at their accomplishments and character.
Rodney Williams, successful academic career earning four degrees, and founded a start-up company named LISNR. His firm employs over 20 people and he is seen as one of the rising superstars in business tech start-ups. He recently met with President Obama and has on his roster of clients, Roc Nation, Dallas Cowboys, VISA, AT&T, and Budweiser.
Brandon Scott, a Baltimore City Council Member, who recently led a group of young men on a walk from Baltimore to Washington. DC. He co-founded the group 300 Men March. He has emerged as one of the rising leaders of our City.
Now Baltimore City will be introduced to Mr. Calvin Young, an engineer and graduate of Harvard Business School with a MBA. He has thrown his hat into the ring at age 27 to run for the office of Mayor of Baltimore City.
From success in track and field throughout the City and Country, we are discovering Baltimore talent that are leaders of our City's and Nation's future. On your mark, set, go!
Later this morning 40 of Baltimore's best young men will reach their destination - Washington, D.C. After an overnight walk from Baltimore to Washington, these youmg men will demonstate to the nation a very plausible solution to addressing the ranging violence going on within urban communties throughout this nation. The solution is the total engagement of our youth in addressing public policy, managing programs, and inclusion in the economy in their local communities.
Young legs are able to walk 35 miles in 20 hours, but praying hands can surround our youth with the protection from on high so that they can reach their goal without harm or danger.
I've witnessed one of the young men who attends Union Baptist Church emerce himself in the 300 Men March program. He is developing into the type of leader that makes all of us proud.
Channel the youth within your communities into this program and you will find them discovering a greater purpose and becoming a better citizen of our nation.
I've returned to writing my blog and I'll return to the pulpit this Sunday. I'm thankful I had a brief vacation break. I had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica and attend my family reunion in Richmond, Va. Both experiences were relaxing and provided me with a rest from stress. If you are able to attend this Sunday's worship service, you will recognize the words, "Rest from Stress,' are the title of the sermon.
I'll not share the essence of the message, but all throughout the Holy Bible you will discover Jesus takes breaks to release himself from the tension of a stressful life. Even the Genesis story reveals God takes a break from the work of creation. It's called recreation, The Sabbath.
Periodically take a stress break and you will discover the tension level in your home and on your job will be dialed down significantly and the relationships you treasure the most will improve.
One of my favorite uncles was named Uncle Jimmy. He lived in Portsmouth, Va. He was, as we called him, a Merchant Marine. As a child, I really didn't know what a merchant marine did, I only knew that when I visited Uncle Jimmy, he was a lot of fun. He could tell amazing stories. He had traveled to far away places. He was tough. He was strong. He was a man.
When I visited him, it was like going to a never ending party. He filled the house full of food, music, and plenty of soda pop. He would give me a $5.00 bill when others would give me $.50. He must of been rich because he dressed well and while others were riding street cars, he had a Buick.
I entered into a conversation with the President of the Maryland State AFL-CIO. He introduced me to the Port Agent for the Seafarers International Union. The SIU represents and trains Merchant Mariners. These are the professionals who staff the commercial boats and shipping lines. They are the ones responsible for the maintenance of the vessels, the movement of the cargo, and the safe travel of the vessels through international and state waterways.
Our church, Union Baptist, has developed a relationship with SIU to expand their reach within the community we serve and to make persons aware of the opportunity they have to join an apprenticeship program that will prepare them to become Mercant Mariners.
Tomorrow, August 4, 2015 beginning at 6:00 p.m. we will hold an introductory session for persons interested in learning about this opportunity.
Come and learn, share and inform, persons you know who could benefit from having an exciting career as a member of the Merchant Mariners.
The Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship
Located on the campus of the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education
Is a Seafaring Career for Me?
Although the merchant marine is sometimes referred to as the nation’s “fourth arm of defense,” America’s mariners who choose to work on government vessels are part of a civilian crew supporting military missions. Mariners sailing in these positions are not members of the armed forces.
The Unlicensed Apprentice Program
There is no charge for tuition or room and board for Program participants. However, students are responsible for paying the costs of their uniforms (once the student receives their uniform the fees are non-refundable), a physical exam, drug test, benzene test, and fees for the following required documents: a U.S. Merchant Mariner’s Credential, a Transportation Workers Identification Credential, and a current passport. These fees and costs are approximately $3000. Students must also pay for the cost of their transportation to the Center.
Phase I – twelve (12) weeks of entry level training at the SHLSS.
Phase II – ninety (90) days or more shipboard training as a non-crew member unlicensed apprentice. This includes thirty (30) days in each department with required completion of a designated sea project. Apprentices receive a stipend while they are training on board the vessel during Phase II.
Phase III – seven (7) weeks of follow -up training in Piney Point, MD. This phase focuses on the specific skills of each department (deck, engine and steward).
Phase IV – employment as an entry level crew member on a designated SIU-contracted vessel for a minimum of 120 days.
Phase V – completion of department specific upgrading classes in deck, engine or steward department. Upon successful completion of upgrade, the apprentice will receive a probationary Union book as a member of the SIU with B-seniority, which is the second highest level of seniority. You must successfully complete all five phases in order to receive credit for the UA program and it must be done within one year of your completion of Phase III or you will be discontinued and your seniority will be dropped to C-seniority.
Training covers the duties and responsibilities of seamanship in the three shipboard departments: deck, engine and steward, through a curriculum that includes both classroom learning and hands-on training. Skills that are taught include:
Deck – marlinespike seamanship, cargo handling, watch standing duties, routine maintenance regimes and shipboard safety.
Engine – diesel and steam plant familiarization, use and care of tools and equipment and shipboard safety.
Steward – food preparation fundamentals, handling stores, nutrition, shipboard sanitation, laundry operations and shipboard safety.
Students are required to take classes concerning shipboard emergencies and operations including: fire fighting, water survival, first aid, CPR, industrial relations and social responsibilities on board a vessel. Each course is designed to provide the students with skills and knowledge to perform safely and effectively aboard a ship. Apprentices also learn about citizenship and individual responsibility through a series of classroom discussions and visits to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and the SIU Headquarters in Camp Springs, Maryland. The prospective seafarer will also learn about the nature of the shipping industry, the economics of marine transportation, and government policies and regulation that affect the vitality of the U.S. fleet.
Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship Policy Regarding Requests for Accommodations
What Should I Expect if I Attend the Unlicensed Apprentice Program?
0400 - wake-up
0415 - prepare dorm for morning inspection
0430 - breakfast
0445 - report to work in the Galley
0730 - mustering for morning colors
0800 - march to class
0800 - 1100 class
1100 - march to lunch
1130 - report to galley for lunch detail
1300 - march to class
1300 - 1600 afternoon class
1600 - return from class and march to evening meal
1630 - report to galley for evening meal duty
1630- 1930 - galley duty
2000 - lights out
The Unlicensed Apprentice Program is a structured and disciplined program. The UA is required to wear a uniform (once the students uniform has been issued the fees are non-refundable) and march to and from classes. Apprentices must adhere to strict grooming standards. Students are not allowed to wear jewelry or makeup. Students are not permitted to have cars on campus, and are not allowed to leave the campus. Drug and alcohol use are prohibited at all times and students may be required to submit to drug and/or alcohol testing.
An applicant must be self-motivated to succeed in the classroom and other assigned areas of detail. The UA is observed and monitored during all phases of training. Excelling in the classroom is not the only requirement. A UA must also possess a strong work ethic to succeed.
All apprentices must comply with the Program’s Rules and Regulations. Apprentices are required to sign a copy of the Rules and Regulations upon arrival. Disciplinary issues are handled by a Review Board which consists of staff and members of the UA Program. Demerits are issued for violations of the rules and regulations. Five demerits will result in dismissal from the Program.
Estimated Costs (these costs vary)
Applicants should be aware that if they do not complete the entire Program, (Phase I through Phase V) they will not be eligible to receive certificates for the courses they have taken up to the point that they were dismissed, decided to leave or discontinued by the school for not completing all five phases.
Application Process and Admission Requirements
• Must be 18 or older.
• Must be eligible to work in the United States.
• Must be able to meet all U.S. Coast Guard qualifications/requirements for the issuance and upgrades of a Merchant Mariner’s Credential. Do not currently hold a MMC above OS, WI, SD(FH). Must also obtain a USCG issued 2 year STCW medical certificate.
• Must be able to obtain a Transportation Workers Identification Card (TWIC) issued by TSA.
• Cannot be on any form of probation or parole.
General Physical Requirements
Be in good physical, mental and dental health. Applicants must be able to pass a complete physical and drug test performed by a Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan contracted clinic for employment purposes.
• Have blood pressure normal for their age.
• Have teeth in good medical condition. (see dental requirements)
• Have normal color vision as determined by USCG approved color vision testing or mariner could be restricted to sailing steward department.
• All deck department applicants must have a minimum of 20/200 vision in each eye, and corrected to 20/40 in both eyes.
• All engine department applicants must have a minimum of 20/200 vision in each eye, and corrected to 20/50 in both eyes. NOTE: If the applicant does not meet the vision requirements for upgrading in either the Deck or Engine departments, he/she may be restricted to sailing in the Steward department.
• Applicants who wear corrective lenses or glasses need to bring either two (2) pair of glasses or one (1) pair of glasses and one (1) pair of contact lenses.
(YOU HAVE 30 DAYS TO COMPLETE STEP #1, FROM THE DATE YOU SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION, OR YOUR APPLICATION WILL BE VOID)
2. On a separate paper write an essay, of no less than 400 words, about “Why I want to be a Merchant Mariner.” The essay may be handwritten or typed on a computer. At the end of the essay, you must include the following statement: “I hereby affirm that this essay was written by me, and no one else.” After this statement, sign your name. Please mail this to the Admissions Office along with other required paperwork.
3. Provide three (3) non-family character references (ONE FROM EMPLOYER SEE BELOW) to be mailed to the Admissions Office by the person writing the reference. Letters should include the persons name writing the letter, their relationship to you and a contact phone number. Please be sure they include your full name and mail to SHLSS Admissions, PO Box 75, Piney Point, Maryland 20674.
4. Provide high school and/or college transcripts.
5. If prior military, provide a copy of your DD-214 long form. If discharge from military was anything other than honorable please provide information about discharge as well.
6. Send six head shot size photos (similar to those used for a passport) (no hats, head covers or sunglass unless hat or head covering is worn for religious reasons) FAXED or SCANNED PICTURES ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE.
Upon completion of Step #1, including testing, your application will be submitted to the selection committee. The committee will meet once a month to pick applicants to move onto Step #2. You will be contacted by mail or email within 60 days after completing Step #1 if you have been selected to move onto Step #2. Due to the economy and other conditions, the need for apprentices fluctuates throughout the year therefore, the class sizes will fluctuate depending on the amount of mariners needed. At any time the school reserves the right to not hold a selection committee. Any money spent as part of the application process is non-refundable and the sole responsibility of the applicant.
1. Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC). TWIC centers and appointment scheduling can be done online at www.tsa.gov/twic or by calling 1-855-347-8371.
2. Merchant Mariners Credential (MMC) from the USCG. Your MMC must state OS, WI, SD(FH), make sure it states food handler (FH). You must apply for your TWIC before you can apply for a MMC. Contact your local USCG Regional Exam Center for information and an application for a MMC, or go online to www.uscg.mil/nmc/ for further information.
4. Valid passport.
5. All applicants must have a complete dental examination administered by his/her private dentist. A dental letter must be sent to the Admissions Office, on your dentist’s letterhead and must specifically state that the applicant does not have any cavities, pyorrhea, or periodontal disease and currently needs no work to be done. The letter must contain a current date.
All official government documents (TWIC, MMC, passport) should be copied and mailed to the Admissions Office, please do not send originals. Make sure you send all pages of your MMC, the page that contain your picture and any endorsements issued by the USCG (pages 4 & 5). Please be sure to send the original dental letter.
Once an applicant has a completed file they will be advised approximately three months prior to their report date that they have been selected for class. The applicant will need to contact their local SIU Hall to set up their trainee physical, functional capacity exam, drug test and benzene test. This is a conditional acceptance letter and all medical exams must be completed and passed at least two weeks prior to the date the applicant is scheduled to report to the School. If the applicant is unable to pass all medical exams within six (6) months of his/her origianlly scheduled start date, the applicant will lose their conditional acceptance. The applicant may re-apply for admission after waiting at least one year from the date their conditional acceptance was withdrawn, but must re-submit the entire application, beginning with Step #1 and be selected to move to Step #2. They must pass all medical requirements (physical exam, benzene test, drug test and functinoal capacity test) before he/she will be considered for admission. Students will be scheduled for classes on as needed basis depending on industry needs.
I overheard a person saying yesterday, I don't use email or technology, call me.
It is amazing how rapidly our lifestyles and patterns are being affected by technology. We are way past what many may said is the technological revolution. We are firmly in the technology era. To not go along, means you are being left behind like any ancient relic from the past.
Applications are being produced at an alarming rate. They are all designed to make getting information, or preforming some task easier. I'm always downloading some new application and trying it out.
Surprising many of the good ones are free or have a modest cost attached to them.
Some basics you need are a desk top computer, a laptop, an iPad, and an iPhone. These devices comprise the Apple garden. Some of you may like other brands, and there are many.
Whatever product you use, you will never be able to fully operate it functionally. It can do far more than you can think. But if you learn to master a few applications you will discover a brave new world of technology that is sweeping the world and making it far smaller.
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. coined this title when asked the question regarding the Civil Rights struggle, "where do we go from here."
This question is very relevant in Baltimore given the events of April 27, 2015. When a major distrubance erupted and 400+ business were looted and burned, 175+ police officers were injured, over 300 people arrested, and more than $50 million in property was damaged. Baltimore received a black eye as a result of the international, nation and local media coverage. In many ways this distrubance highlighted the effects of many years of instutitional and structual racism, disinvestment in certain neigborhoods, and benign neglect on the part of many to the conditions that were breeding disfunctional men, women and children. Study after study was identifying the effects, but very few were facing up to the sources of the problem. Mountains of bandaids have being used without any diagnosis for treatment and a cure.
Maybe after the Freddie Gray distrubance, it is time to hit the reset button.
We have many assets within out city with amazing capital and human resources. Maybe its time for government to get out of the way and listen to the institutions and individuals who make up the City in determining, where do we go from here?
Our City is home to the 7th per capital largest urban city that houses colleges and university. We have no shortage of intellectual talent. We have research capacity that is second to very few cities. We have world class medical instutions that have on its staff some of the world's outstanding physicians. Clearly the wherewithal is here to solve the health care disparities that is adversely affecting our community and the improve the education outcomes of our local residents.
Ponder this thought, UnderArmor is a 15 year old business that was developed within this community and it is now a billion dollar world wide enterprise. Clearly the business acumen is here to develop, sustain, and grow enterprises. Circling over our economy is old money because Maryland was one of the thirteen colonies. We have access to capital, unforunately the distribution is inequitable, and the wealth gap is widening.
Baltimore is home to the great religious movements in America: Roman Catholism and Methodism. We are also home to the second largest Jewish community outside of New York. A.M.E., A.M.E. Zion and the African American Baptist Movement all have strong roots within this community. The Greek Orthodox movement and many other faith movements are located within our boundaries. There should be no lack of spirituality to lead us out of this malise.
What's missing? Trust, common values and vision are key ingrediants needed for progress and transparency. Shared leadership is necessary to propel us to another level.
If the population of Baltimore City is around 600,000, we need the active participation and consultation of more than 60,000 people to turn as Congressman Cummings would say, "this moment into a movement."