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Alternate swim requirements for 2nd & 1st Class

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  • #16
    Completely understand about new class. During swim tests a few months back, the LG watching one scout got distracted by someone asking him a question. Scout in the water started having difficulty and I reflexively jumped in did the upper arm grip and lower back thrust until the lifeguard jumped in with his tube. LGs didn't know anything about the procedure.

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    • #17
      I have a boy who cannot swim. He's completed all other 1st & 2nd class requirements done the alternative that our council advancement chair agreed upon (a mile hike, which slow and challenging, but survivable for him, be able to explain rescue techniques to other scouts).

      The hardest part: paperwork. Got the boy's and dad's signature on the planned alternative requirements. His dad got the affidavit from his doc that he can't swim, but it didn't say he *could* hike! So his dad needs to get that before our advancement chair says o.k.

      So really, it may be just as quick to find an experienced swim insturctor to volunteer a few evenings with your boy until he learns the modified strokes to meet the reqs. Bottom line: talk to the boy about what path he wants to take. Support his effort,

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      • #18
        I am curious, Why would a doctor write a the boy can't swim excuse?????? The dumbest thing I have ever heard.

        a 1 mile hike????? that would take what 20 minutes if he is slow????

        Buy the kid some swimming lessons.

        We had a 1st year scout telling me how the swim test was so easy and he shouldn't have to take it cause it was so easy, you guessed it he didn't pass.

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        • #19
          I am curious, Why would a doctor write a the boy can't swim excuse?????? The dumbest thing I have ever heard.

          Just guessing here since I don't know the facts in this particular case, but it's probably because the boy can't swim, or shouldn't swim, due to some physical condition. As I say, it's a guess, but I think it's a pretty good one.

          By the way, I assume you realize that there are some boys who obviously can't swim. We had a boy in our troop who has no use of his legs whatsoever, and very little use of his arms. He made Eagle. He needed a number of doctor's notes along the way, which in his case stated what was fairly obvious to anyone who looked at this young man sitting in his wheelchair trying to make the Scout sign as best he could -- but he still needed the doctor's notes.(This message has been edited by njcubscouter)

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          • #20
            I work with an autistic boy in a troop, and the sensation of the water surrounding him in the pool sends him into fits of rage and anxiety. The boy's been taking showers and spit baths since he was two because of it.

            We've tried every trick in the book, and next we're going to try wetsuits -- we're trying to think outside the box as best we can before explaining this all to his doctor, that he just can't compensate for the sensation of the water.

            Don't assume that because a boy "can't" swim that it's a cop-out.

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            • #21
              Just a thought, I was at the pool earlier this evening and I remembered this thread, I tried swimming with only one half my body. It took a couple laps, but I was able to do the backstroke with one arm and the same leg. It was extremely tiring, but it is possible. You may want to suggest that he work at it, I know that I would get a lot more satisfaction out of overcoming a challenge without an alternate requirement.

              He has to complete the other requirements first, so maybe suggest he spend an hour a week, while he is doing the other requirements, in the pool. If at when he is done with the other requirements you think he still can't complete the swimming stuff then process the paperwork for alternate requirements. If nothing else he will be more comfortable, and hopefully safer, in the water.

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              • #22
                Just a thought, I was at the pool earlier this evening and I remembered this thread, I tried swimming with only one half my body. It took a couple laps, but I was able to do the backstroke with one arm and the same leg. It was extremely tiring, but it is possible. You may want to suggest that he work at it, I know that I would get a lot more satisfaction out of overcoming a challenge without an alternate requirement.
                Definately. The good thing about this kid is that he wants to do what everyone else does, he's not looking for shortcuts.

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                • #23
                  Commodore Longfellow (of the Lifesaving Service of the American Red Cross)used the phrase "Everyone a swimmer, every swimmer a lifesaver." I believe that everyone should have a working knowledge of basic water rescue skills. We also have had a boy who for medical reasons could not fulfill the swimming requirement. Instead, we felt it was more important that he know that he can help in water situations in a manner that still kept him safe. We required him to complete the requirements for the Red Cross Basic Water Rescue Course. We left it up to him as to whether or not he wanted to attend the actual course or just meet the requirements. There are numerous places where the course requirements can be found. NASAR (National Association for Search and Rescue) is also another good resource.

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                  • #24
                    The boy I'm dealing with falls in the "obvious, if you just look at him" category, but the council advancement committee doesn't review these things with the kid in front of them. Thus, the doctor's note. Remember: Boy Scouts love paperwork!

                    In the same vein, looking at this kid, you'd wonder if he could survive a mile hike. It may take an hour. But the kid is tough. Regardless, the advancement committee doesn't see the kid, so they demand proof that you've thought this thing through.

                    We will work on the rescue requirements, because even if you can't handle the equipment, you can coach someone who can.

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                    • #25
                      I have a scout who is under seeing a psycologist for a water phobia issue that according to the doctor will take a few years to work out. If I were to seek an alternative event, does anyone have any suggestions? He will go in the water, canoe and rowboats with a life jacket,but will not even go near shore without one.

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                      • #26
                        Alternative swim program:

                        sink

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                        • #27
                          Cchoat,

                          What age are we talking about? If it's 12-13 I'd let the therapy run its course. Make it no big deal if he takes until 16 to make 1st class. Let him rack up bunches of other merit badges until he gets this phobia licked. That rank advancement will represent his conquest of his fears.

                          If we are talking a 16 y.o. who's finally got this thing diagnosed, I'd talk to the district advancement chair, the boy, and his parents. There's no one-size-fits-all alternative. For this boy, there may be a series of excersizes that chip away at the boy's mental blocks. (Think rowing machine, breath control, flexibility conditioning.). With real phobias, a person needs to build a tolerance to specific sensory/motor stimuli to build a bridge to success. A sports psychologist may help the boy identify reasonable short-range objectives. I'd think some of those would make good alternative requirements.

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