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NickP412

Swiming Req. not fair?

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What do you do with a young boy who has a "severe irrational fear" of water that goes over his knees? Lets even say that he has a clinically diagnosed phobia and is working with a psychiatrist to overcome his fear.

 

Work with him to help him overcome his fear.

 

Question - How young is this boy?

 

 

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"What do you do with a young boy who has a "severe irrational fear" of water that goes over his knees? Lets even say that he has a clinically diagnosed phobia and is working with a psychiatrist to overcome his fear."

 

The process for alternate requirements can be found here, http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/earlyalt.aspx

 

I do not think a boy that you describe would pass "The physical or mental disability must be of a permanent rather than a temporary nature."

 

He would need to work through his issues as described and for the reasons listed in this thread.

 

 

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Ed asks:

 

"Question - How young is this boy?"

 

Mds3d had already posted:

 

"BTW I really do know a boy like this. After 3 years of working with the doctor, they requested alternative requirements. He was told that he could not be accomadated "simply because he was a little scared." The boy would later age out of scouting a Tenderfoot scout with more than 60 merit badges."

 

Now if the scout aged out then he is at least 18 and the present age of the scout doesnt matter does it?

 

If the psychiatrist would have stated the issue was a permanent disability, I think he should have been afforded alternative requirements. Realize that this is after 3 years, I am not saying this should be done every time someone has hesitation in getting in water, but to sumarily dismiss everyone as just being "afraid" is not right. I think 3 years of documented psychiatric treatment would qualify as sufficient to qualify as proof of a disability.(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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After the Challenger exploded back in 1986 (which we could see in the sky from the playground at school... I am sure that had a lot to do with it), I developed a severe irrational fear of flying, to the point that my parents sent my younger sibling to visit relatives and stayed home with me instead of going to what was supposed to be a huge family gathering.

 

It took about 4 years and many, many visits to a psychologist, but eventually I was able to fly. I still have those fears every once in awhile (and I really hate when they hit me just before I go to sleep), but it hasn't stopped me from traveling by plane including a trip to Europe in 2008 which involved 7 flights in 15 days.

 

 

As for water fears, I guess I just don't get those. But then again except when I was in college I've never lived more than a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico. I don't remember a time in my life where I didn't know how to swim.

 

 

 

The requirements are the requirements. A phobia isn't a permanent mental disablility, it's something that can be overcome. It just requires the right state of mind and the right assistance to do it.(This message has been edited by nolesrule)

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If it is a "clinically diagnosed phobia" that has not been resolved after three years of working with a psychiatrist, and the psychiatrist is able to certify to this as stated in the rules for Alternative Requirements, I would think that the Council Advancement Committee should seriously consider granting the request. The rules draw a distinction between a condition that is "permanent" and one that is "temporary", but there are conditions that fall in between the two; or stated another way, what does "permanent" mean? I think what the BSA is aiming at is limiting exemptions to situations where the condition cannot be overcome with a reasonable amount of time and effort. Three years of psychiatry, in a program that only lasts between 6.5 and 7.5 years, is a lot of time and effort. To me it seems like enough to grant the alternative requirements.

 

The story about the 18-year-old Tenderfoot with 60 merit badges almost seems too strange to be true. (Or maybe, strange enough to be true.) That young man must be truly extraordinary to do all that work, and not gain the recognition that one normally gets from doing it. (Of course, he presumably did benefit from all those merit badges.) But I can't help the feeling (admittedly without knowing all the facts, so it's just a feeling) that he was not well served by the system.(This message has been edited by njcubscouter)

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While I understand that it is important to expose the Scouts to new experiences and opportunities I must admit I am a bit mystified by the desire to remain true to the swimming requirements for First Class. If the Scout is truly afraid of the water and can not after repeated attempts of mentoring by peers and adults be cajoled into overcoming this hurdle; why are we dead-set on ending his advancement possibilities before he can attain first class? He does not have to earn the swimming merit badge, instead he can opt out and earn the hiking or cycling badges instead. So why the do we need to put so much emphasis on swimming in T-2-1?

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24,

The reason for the emphasis is that one need to pass the Beginner and Swimmer tests in order to 2nd and 1st Class respectively. You are correct in that once they get that out of the way, they do not need to get Swimming MB.

 

As someone who DID have an irrational fear of swimming as a youth, or maybe it was rational since I did drown and needed EMS to resusciate me one time, I can say I am very glad for the requirement. My mother, knowing a littel about scouting from my older brothers, gave me an ultimatum: learn to swim or get out of scouts. I was a PITA the first week of swimming lessons, but after that things went smoothly. grant you when I went to summer cmap a year later, i couldn't get past beginner, I did take instructional swim and was abel to master the Swimmer test mid week. ther eare way to work on this.

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24.

First let me say that this is MY feelings about it.

 

Swimming is a very important part of scouting. And we have toi think about what scouting is, and maybe even the definition of a scout in general.

 

Basically, scouts are people who go through all kinds of terrainand environmenst. We go through the woods, over the rivers and stay away from grandma's house!

 

It about outdoors and "rougfhing it".

 

NOw, I would not expect a person with a disability that can pretty much handle all other aspects of scouting to be held back, but at the same time, it's part of what scouting is.

 

 

Kinda like saying an astronuaght is afraid of space or submariner afraid of tight places. Maybe they could get an exemption during a part of their training, but they will never be able toi handle their job or achieve advancement.

 

Hard to be a cop ifv your afraid of guns!

 

S

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Scoutfish, I beg to differ. Many folks feel the same as you - Scouts is the great outdoors, being prepared, etc. However, the method (at least one of them) is the great outdoors. The purpose (or aim) is citizenship, personal fitness and character development. How do we go about developing personal fitness? Possibly by having swimming requirements. How do we build character? Possibly by going camping, learning outdoor skills and "being prepared" which could include a basic level of swimming.

 

So can one obtain the aims of Scouting without being able to swim? Yes. If one does, is it the Scouting program? Not really. I think we need to be careful about changing such a basic requirement. For years, one of the selling points of Scouting was to teach boys to swim. My second son really struggled to pass the swimming requirements at the age of 11. A few years later, he really struggled to earn the swimming merit badge. But it really helped him to gain self confidence and really did help in character development. That's the program. A side effect, it is a useful skill to obtain, much more so than learning the clove hitch for instance.

 

In a way, the beauty of the requirement is in the fact that it is difficult for some to master. That doesn't make is wrong or unfair, just difficult. For some boys, trying to learn the Scout Oath is ten time harder than learning to swim. Why should they be made to accomplish that task?

 

Remember, basic swimming is required for Eagle. Neither the swimming nor the lifesaving merit badges are required.

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First, I really never saw any one tell me what they would do other than "work with him."

- I really do have a problem with this approach. One, it is so incredibly vague it really doesn't say anything. Remember, he already is working with a mental health professional. What else are you going to do?

 

Second, Some made comments about their "irrational fears." One person mentioned almost drowning and fearing water, the other mentioned a fear of flying after the Challenger. Neither of these are irrational. They both have reasons associated with the fear even if they were not considered "good" reasons.

 

Third, Someone mentioned it being too strange to be true. Think about it. What else do you have to do as a tenderfoot scout with no apparent hope of ever progressing in rank. Granted many of his merit badges were some of the easy ones, but he never had to work on any rank requirements, never got to be in the OA, he never worried about many things that most scouts worry about.

 

Finally, This scout is now 22 and a Scouter. He is finally able to get into water up to his shoulders, but still has a panic attack if the water is as deep as his ears. He does actually swim. He built a lap lane into the pool at his house that is only 5 feet deep and is currently trying to find out if anything will prevent him from earning the mile swim award. He usually doesn't tell people about this little issue anymore, and usually no one even notices.

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MDS,

Sorry just noticed you are new and forgot to say WELCOME TO THE FORUMS (and yes I am screaming at you ;) )

 

That said, a few commentsa about my post. By "working with him" I meant that there are classes, both at outside agencies like the YMCA and ARC, as well as summer camp that provide swimming lessons. Also usually every district has at least one person with the KSAs to teach swimming and would be willing to work with him year round. I know I do stuff throughout the year locally in my area.

 

As for my "irrational fears" comment. sometimes I poke fun at myself, while trying to show a point. Yes I was terrified of water, but I was able to overcome it, and I eventually became a lifeguard instructor among other things.

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I am a firm believer that every scout--actually every person--who can learn to swim should. I believe that every scout who can earn Swimmer MB should. Even though I am an Emergency Preparedness counselor I encourage every scout who can to earn Lifesaving instead. I feel strongly about this but I accept that not every scout can do these things and that does not make him less of a scout. There is so much more to scouting than swimming and other water activities.

 

With a diagnosed phobia I think the scout would have a case as a "Scout with disabilities" and should have been able to complete alternate requirements. This is clearly not a case of "being a little scared".

 

I have a problem with the idea that without swimming it is not scouting. We have had two scouts in my 12 years with our troop that could not swim. One had ear surgery(ies) that left him unable to submerge his head. He completed alternate requirements for First Class and went on to earn Eagle without any further accommodations.

 

The second is a scout with multiple physical and intellectual disabilities. Swimming is one of a number of things he cannot do. Scouting for him is different than it is for most boys but he remains active as a 21 year old Life Scout working on Eagle. He does his best and works harder for advancement than many more "abled" scouts. Is he less of a scout because he had to earn alternate requirements and substitute some required merit badges?

 

I sure hope not.

 

Hal

 

 

 

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First, I really never saw any one tell me what they would do other than "work with him."

- I really do have a problem with this approach. One, it is so incredibly vague it really doesn't say anything. Remember, he already is working with a mental health professional. What else are you going to do?

 

I'm the one who posted "work with him" and yes it is vague. Why? I have no idea who this Scout is or what he is like. Once I make that determination, I would be able to give you a "less vague" answer.

 

Is this mental health pro a swimming expert? Has this mental health pro ever taught anyone to swim? I have been a swimming MB counselor for over 20 years and I am a very good swimmer and I lost count of how many kids I helped learn to swim.

 

Finally, This scout is now 22 and a Scouter. He is finally able to get into water up to his shoulders, but still has a panic attack if the water is as deep as his ears. He does actually swim. He built a lap lane into the pool at his house that is only 5 feet deep and is currently trying to find out if anything will prevent him from earning the mile swim award. He usually doesn't tell people about this little issue anymore, and usually no one even notices.

 

Apparently this wasn't a permanent condition.

 

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Just imagine for a moment.....

 

A news headline reading: Eagle scout stands by as child drowns!

 

I know this sounds extreme, but whats next? "I cant perform first aid because I have a germ phobia."

 

I know that I am straying way off the PC reservation here, but STOP watering down the value of real acheivement.

 

CE

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I spent a ridiculous amount of time at T-foot and 2nd class simply because I had a (ir)rational fear of standing up in front of everyone and speaking. it took me a year at each of those two ranks.

 

it is also fitting that during that same time, i could not swim. finally, i got tired of the sweat i was getting and taught myself (still can't do the american crawl though...25 years later).

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