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Engineer61

Confused ... Fails Swim Test, but can go on Canoe Trip

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1)In whether their child goes or not, always Parent final decision.

 

2) Personally I wasn't there I didn't see the kid, don't know his history - or med history, haven't seen if he's been in the water before or how he acted in the water. In my case, I'm not currently certified but have been a Lifeguard and a Life Guard Instructor plus significant lifetime water experiences make me fairly comfortable in the water. But every canoe trip I've taken(with BSA) so far has had at least one Currently Certified Lifeguard. I might (depending on observation of the youth) be willing to take a non-swimmer on a relatively flat-water canoe excursion. Just because I'm willing or not willing to take him has no bearing on whether the parent allows or doesn't allow him to go.

But if there are more than the riffles we get around here, I (me)wouldn't take a non-swimmer on a for real whitewater trip.

 

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Hey...thanks for all the responses. See if I can answer some stuff...

 

As far as I know, he has never "passed" the swim test, he refused to use the pool at Summer Camp the one year he went. And he doesn't want to go to Summer Camp this year.

 

He went on a near-shore lake canoe trip last year I think ... the got dumped and they didn't dry bag their clothes... not sure what they did about that.

 

My pool is about 30' long, I've never seen him do more than one-half lap without having to stop and clear his eyes, nose, ears or mouth.

 

The river is a section of the Verde River in Central Arizona, flow is controlled by a dam....last I checked it was releasing 200 cfs. But it is a narrow river for the most part ... I have no idea on the water speed. Google Earth does show white water in parts.

 

"A PFD is a supplemental safety device in my opinion." I completely agree. I consider a PFD as something that has a good chance of keeping you alive if you are unconscious or directionally disoriented...it won't get you to shore. If you panic, your body will just be easier to find.

 

I'm in a "wait and see" on his ability tonight. But regardless...his participation on the next trip isn't my decision....it's Mom's.

 

 

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Yah, sounds like they're doin' the stretch below Horseshoe Reservoir? At 200 cfs that would be very tame by all reports, though I personally have never paddled it. Even at higher flows up to 1000 cfs it's considered a beginner's float, accessible to paddlers of all ages and abilities.

 

A 200 cfs river is not goin' to be very large, eh? We're talkin' a wade in most areas, or a few strokes to make it to shore.

 

Somebody else on the forums who has real local knowledge might chime in with more detail, but from what you're describin' I reckon the adult leaders in your son's troop know what they're doin'.

 

B

 

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Well here's an update that will prevent any sleep for me for the next 48 hours.

 

I watch the Lifeguard a the YMCA totally pass off his swim test. I would have failed him on at least 1/2 the criteria.

 

1) Did not swim 75 yards continuously, stopped at most every 1/2 lap (25 yards)

 

2) Stopped and bounced off the bottom several several times.

 

3) Only swam one stroke "in a strong manner" the rest was just floundering.

 

4) Did not successfully float.

 

I told Mom what I saw and what I thought ... she sent him anyway.

 

In short ... my Scout in or on the water is a danger to others who will have to risk themselves to save him.

 

That section of the Verde River is due to get 1" of rain over the next 24-36 hours.

 

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Yah, Engineer61, I'm not sure I see what da problem is, eh?

 

The river is small, dam controlled, and runnin' at levels far below what it can sustain. Even at levels 8 times higher than what yeh report it's known as an easy paddle/float for inexperienced folks of all ages. An inch of rain isn't goin' to change it much, eh? If yeh look at the historical streamflows it's been very consistent.

 

At some point, when yeh get on a commercial airline, yeh have to just trust that the pilot knows what he's doin'. Yeh can make yourself nuts by listenin' to ATIS and turbulence reports along your route, worryin' that his examiner was a bit "loose" about his last check ride and all the rest. Same thing here.

 

Not one of us as parents can be or do all the things our kids need to grow up healthy and happy. Our kids need teachers, and coaches, and scout leaders, and band leaders, and grandparents and friends and all the rest. And every friend our kids make, and every adult they learn from, and every new challenge or experience they face makes us worry a tad. But that's just our psychotic need for control talkin'. Our love for our kids is what allows us to let 'em go, because we know that in the end, overall, kids need more than we can provide on our own.

 

So let him go, mate. Almost all of us in Scouting have dealt with boys who are weak swimmers time and again. I'm sure your son's troop has. Honestly, the lads are pretty easy to handle, eh? It's the adults I worry about most of the time. ;)

 

Beavah

 

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"An inch of rain isn't goin' to change it much, eh?"

 

Uhhhh... I'd say wrong on that ... an inch of rain will flash flood all the tributaries out there. That area is all mountainous with little to no soil to hold the water...historical flows are meaningless in Arizona, since we've been in Drought to Extreme Drought conditions for almost 25 years.

 

Like I say, it's my sleep that gets lost.

 

I don't correlate the airline pilot with experience, testing and training vs. with 14 year old ... sorry.

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No, the correlation is between the airline pilot and the scoutmaster.

 

And yeh can pull up the hour-by-hour data on the river from the USGS stream tables. Different rivers get affected differently by runoff from tributaries, eh? A flash-flood in a side canyon does not mean that the main stream is significantly altered. Especially when the upstream dams ordinarily retain more water in such conditions specifically to mitigate what you're talkin' about.

 

You're actin' like a novice airline passenger who reads a book about horrid air turbulence and then thinks a report of light-to-moderate turbulence along a route is enough to question the captain who's been flyin' the route in all kinds of conditions with all kinds of people for the past ten years.

 

Relax. So far every time you've fretted about this stuff over the past 2+ years on the forums, the lad has come back just fine, eh? What you're talkin' about is ordinary stuff for any of us who regularly take kids on paddle trips.

 

Beavah

 

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I'm usually in the position of insisting to a parent that lil' Johnny can't go because he did not qualify for x y or z!

 

And this is one when parents are divided I take a long step back.

 

If you're losing sleep, try not to wake the Missus!

 

Bigger picture: his swimming ability is a problem. It must be overcome, because frankly, I don't see your troop backing off of aquatics anytime soon. When he comes back and you have a moment give him a "one of the things that everyone expects of a First Class scout is ..." lecture.

 

If there's a seasoned instructor (scout or scouter) who works with tough cases, invite him over to your house to give the boy a few pointers. This doesn't have to be done right away, and it might not work instantly. But boy's gotta know this is important to you to know that he's prepared when all of AZ is back under water!

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Yeah, Beav....heard before "Just trust us."

 

===

 

Oh well...I hope there's lot's of good movies on this weekend.

 

===

 

(This message has been edited by Engineer61)

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Eng,

 

I've specialized in the "hard cases" b/c I was one as a youth. By any chance did your son have any incidents when he was younger? I know I drowned and had EMS revive me when I was very young. As a result I feared the water until given an ultimatum: learn to swim or get out of Scouts.

 

I'm still here ;)

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In our troop Scouts and adults must have qualified as swimmer during the previous year to get in a canoe. All wear PFDs all the time. It's troop policy and it's not negotiable. If you don't swim you don't go.

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"By any chance did your son have any incidents when he was younger?" Nope.

 

====

 

Trip was cut short due to the cold front that moved in. 50 MPH winds, snow in deserts.(This message has been edited by Engineer61)

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Yah, interestin' weather yeh are havin' out there in northern Arizona, eh? A pretty extreme event.

 

I take it that despite your worries and a highly unusual extreme weather event, junior Engineer is home just fine and all. Glad to hear it. Hope that helps allay your fears for the future.

 

Beavah

 

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