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pvtjoker

BSA - Second Class (swimming requirement)

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Learning to float was the critical thing for me. I had been stuck in the beginning YMCA class for half the summer because I was afraid to put my face in the water, and I could not float. Someone coaxed me into trying the cork float, where you curl up in a ball, hold your knees and breath, and bob in the water. For some reason, this worked; and once I knew I would not likely sink, it was onward to fast advancement to Star and Marlin, or something like that. Two years ago I did my 25th official summer camp mile, and I have mastered the float to the extent my feet even come up without kicking.

 

Overcoming obstacles is part of growing up, especially those that scare us.

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We've had one "troll" in the last year or so that I recall, and the trouble it caused was relatively minor and was dealt with. Perhaps the term is defined differently by different folks.

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I had a scout like that in my troop. Came in as a Webelos crossover and he was 15 before he made second class. He's now an Eagle Scout and a freshman in college. It can be done, with patient instructors, peer support and determination. I agree...every scout should know how to swim.

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My son has a raccoon phobia and cannot attend camp because of this.....it is certified by his doctor and is in writting. So I ask for an alternate for all of the camping requirements.

 

I am being silly of course.

 

We have too many selfish adults trying to short cut the requirements. Yes they are selfish because they like their boys advancing.

 

So telling him is simple.......Here is the requirement, did you do it? no....... Pretty simple

 

So your first class scout who could not swim goes to Northern tier and drowns, whose fault is it???? the requirement is to make the boy self sufficient.

 

As a youth I had a friend who refused to advance......He never wanted to be patrol leader or anything, he just wanted to camp and camp he did. He passed his swimming test, did the mile swim for kicks, resident camp, weekend camp and on. He never advanced just enjoyed camping. so who cares he took what he wanted from it.

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He doesn't need to swim until he is 15 or so. He can complete all the meritbadges for Eagle, all the requirments for 2nd class and 1st class except for swimming. as he matures he can work up to being a "marginal" swimmer. I didn't pass the swim req's unil 15 and i still got my Eagle.

Waiving a requirement because he is afraid to do it is a bad precident for him personally.

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When I was a Scoutmaster, I had one Scout who was afraid of the water and a non swimmer. I asked his parents about this --- they said he had mild cerebral palsy but that his doctors thought it would be good for him to learn to swim.

 

So for several years, when we went swimming he sat on shore or at the dock. He couldn't pass the swim test for Second Class. I never made a particular point of it, because it was a decision he had to make for himself.

 

The last outing I was on before leaving the troop was to a swimming pool, and during the swim this boy popped up beside me in the pool with a big grin on his face! He's finally taken the swimming lessons he needed to overcome his fear and learn the skill.

 

 

 

 

 

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Scoutfish, I wanted to get back to our apparent disagreement here. I asked who had "decided" that this Scout was done advancing, and you said the Scout had, by "refusing" to learn to swim. First of all, I was talking about an actual conscious decision, not merely a consequence flowing from some action or inaction. Second of all, I do realize that in using the word "refusing" you were referring to pvtjoker's description of the issue as a "refusal (fear based) to learn how to swim." So it's really his description that I have an issue with. I don't necessarily buy that there was a "refusal" here. As is typical in these threads, what we don't know about the real-life situation is much more than what we do know. All we really know is that a boy of unknown age has failed to go in the water at least once. Maybe pvtjoker has more facts available that would paint a different picture. Maybe the boy is 16 and has been simply refusing to even try for five years. Or maybe he is 11 and has a diagnosable phobia of going in the water (in which case I wonder where the BSA's "disability" policies start to kick in.) If he does have a phobia, the best thing obviously would be to help him overcome it so he can learn to swim and, incidentally, advance in Scouting (without having to even think about trying the "disability" route.) There was a whole other thread about a boy who was stuck at Tenderfoot because he couldn't swim, and the main focus of THAT original poster was how to help the boy learn to swim. The original poster in THIS thread does not say anything about any efforts to help the boy learn. We know nothing about what (if anything) has been done to help this boy overcome his fears. The original poster simply asked how to tell the boy he's done advancing. When you tried to actually answer his question, and provide words to use with the boy, I thought your answer was pretty good -- mainly because it included the word "IF", as in, if you do not learn to swim you are not going to advance. I would point the "if" in the other direction and say, in effect, "if you are going to advance, you are going to have to learn to swim, how can we help you do that?" In other words, leave out the word "not." I guess that's a matter of personal style, and different approaches might work better with different boys. As you also said, you set it up as a challenge to be overcome. And you offer help. You don't treat it as a "done deal" as the original poster seemed to suggest.

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