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Engineer61

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

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I am glad they vacated the area before the real weather hit. The weather is not all that unusual for winter in Arizona...a bit odd that it is this late in the winter ... Global Warming I guess.

 

"Hope that helps allay your fears for the future."

 

Not really. The trip doesn't change the fact that Scout is a non-swimmer and should not be on the open water. In spite of our suggestion/request, Scout was placed in a canoe with another Scout, not an adult.

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Eng,

 

HMM interesting. I'd remind the unit of the G2SS policy of adults only with beginners. They may still think scouts who are lifeguards are still allowed to be with beginners.

 

Me personally I rather have a beginner in a canoe with a scout who's a lifeguard, heck a Scout with Lifesaving MB who knows his stuff works for me, than an adult who isn't. IMHO, Lifesaving MB has more advanced lifesaving skills required than the current crop of lifeguard courses, including BSA Lifeguard. In fact I just looked at the requirements for both.

 

http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34435.pdf for BSA Lifeguard and

 

http://usscouts.org/mb/mb009.asp for Lifesaving MB. they are virtually identical except Live saving MB requires

 

5.Show or explain the use of rowboats, canoes, and other small craft in performing rescues.

 

8.Explain the importance of avoiding contact with an active victim and describe lead-and-wait tactics.

 

9.Perform the following nonequipment rescues for a conscious practice subject 30 feet from shore. Begin in the water from a position near the subject. Speak to the subject to determine his condition and to provide instructions and encouragement.

a.Provide a swim-along assist for a calm, responsive, tired swimmer moving with a weak forward stroke.

b.Perform an armpit tow for a calm responsive, tired swimmer resting with a back float.

c.Perform a cross-chest carry for an exhausted, passive victim who does not respond to instructions to aid himself.

 

Now BSA lifeguard does require CPR/FA/AED certification, 2 hours of lifeguard OTJT, and a written test, whereas Lifesaving MB doesn't.

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The trip doesn't change the fact that Scout is a non-swimmer and should not be on the open water.

 

Yah, I'm not sure that a creek of 250cfs quite counts as "open water". ;)

 

In spite of our suggestion/request, Scout was placed in a canoe with another Scout, not an adult.

 

Yah, this is a case where your lack of experience is showin', I reckon. Puttin' a lad with an adult in a canoe creates trim problems, because the adult is usually so much heavier. This makes the canoe harder to maneuver and more likely to get into trouble.

 

Furthermore, rescue is not goin' to be accomplished by the other fellow who was dumped into the river, it's goin' to be accomplished by the buddy boat(s). So for safety, it's more important to have the better rescuers in a nearby boat paying attention.

 

But yeh do provide a great example of well-intentioned parents without enough experience tryin' to insist on a setup that will actually make their boy less safe. Kudos to your son's scout leaders for knowin' their stuff and exercising good judgment.

 

Now to the heart of the matter: Did your son have a good time? Maybe even learn some stuff? :)

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Beavah makes a strong argument for putting a non-swimmer Scout with another scout. I tend to agree with the reasoning.

 

However, Safety Afloat makes it very clear that the non-swimming scout must be in a canoe with an adult. Not just any swimmer adult but a certified lifegaurd adult.

 

I wonder what the rationale was behind that requirement.

 

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/Aquatics/safety-afloat.aspx

 

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Since we've been in a drought here in Arizona most of the Dammed lakes on the Verde are very low in their fullness.

 

That means if they get a lot of water from rain, they have a lot of room in the lake to store the water. Horshoe is 0% full so the river after it is very very low and bartlett is only 39% full. they have room to hold quie a bit of rain run off.

 

So the flow on the Verde is reasonably stable even with some rain. They'd need a lot more than 1 inch of rain to need to release enough water from. yes, in winter it has at times been pretty dangerous, but we've just not had the rain and snow to make it bad right now. doesn't mean that it might not get bad when the snow pack melts this spring, but the snow levels were pretty darned low up north this winter, even with this storm's late arrival. Of course we might get one more snow before Easter, we've done that a few times.

 

It makes me think that you need to go on a couple outings with the troop as a parent to see whether you can trust these leaders are not. I don't think you do at all, do you?

 

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I think it is frustrating to parents when we tell them one thing before the trip, and afterword they find out we do something different.

 

Falling back on a plan B happens all the time. And, I find the best thing is to explain to parents why you made the decision that you did.

 

The parent begins to gain trust in your judgement, and you might actually discover that you did make a bonehead move! (No point in keeping the "What I would do differently" file empty.)

 

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NOW,

 

Thanks for the link. I am curious as to why only adult lifeguards, and not any lifeguards.

 

Must be the lawyers is all I can guess.

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Yah, actually NealonWheels posted the wrong link. This particular thing seems to keep changin' with every recent G2SS revision, and national isn't the best at updating their site.

 

The most recent G2SS revision specifies that it's just a swimmer adult, not a trained lifeguard adult. Which then begs the question why a trained lifeguard youth wouldn't be a much better choice than an adult who crawled through his swim check.

 

http://scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/GSS/gss02.aspx#i

 

As a longtime, ACA-trained paddlin' instructor, I'll stick by what I said rather than try to guess what the G2SS will say next month.

 

Beavah

 

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1) Why am I not surprised about BSA literature contradicting each other?

 

2) Why is an organization that is suppose to develop youth not allowing a trained lifeguard that is a youth to go with a non-swimmer, preferring instead to use an adult who may not know what to do?

 

3) What about the 18-20 y.o. Venturers who are trained lifeguard instructors, would they be allowed to have a non-swimmer Venturer with them, or would someone who is over 21 need to be with them?

 

 

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Engineer61: I really appreciate your concerns. While not an ACA trained paddling instructor like Beavah, I have spent numerous years on the water with rafts, canoes, and kayaks. The biggest problem I see is that most people just don't respect the water and its power. It is nice to hear someone who does.

As far as the non-swimmer being with an adult I can only guess from personal experience about the reasoning. 1) Most adults' judgment is more mature than the young scouts' so the "horseplay leading to a problem factor" is minimized. 2) When two people go overboard and one person panics they can be very hazardous to the other person in the water. The physical difference between a grown man and a young scout could be all the difference in preventing the panicked person from harming the other person.

As for Beavah's correlation between the commercial airline pilot and the scoutmaster, I don't get it either. Unless the particular scoutmaster has hundreds of hours in training and water time, access to up-to-the-minute conditions, and constant guidance from others if there is a problem, then there is no comparison.

The trim problem he mentions due to weight differences is real but should be a non-factor for any adult with good canoeing skills, especially in calm waters; so that doesn't excuse the adults from not following the Boy Scout guide. In fact if this was a problem for the adult, than that is more reason to question things. As the parent you should always do what you feel is best and don't be swayed by others, especially adults that might not know that much more than you.

Now that you know I respect your concerns and feel you should make the decision you're comfortable with, I'll explain why I too, like Beavah feel that it isn't that big a deal for a non-swimmer to go depending certain conditions are met. It sounds like it is very calm water. I would have him with a skilled adult, no exceptions. It is very difficult to control the horseplay of kids. Some of them thrive on trying to scare the other person in their canoe especially when they smell the fear. So again only with an adult.

I have taken numerous kids on simple slow water floats. I ensure they wear a pfd at all times and I check it to make sure if is fitted and fastened properly. They are always with me or another adult. We have a safety talk beforehand. We demonstrate what to do if you fall in, and I always show how to get back in the canoe, raft or kayak if someone goes overboard. Usually one of my children will demonstrate this since it is more effective that another kid can do it. We stress never getting separated and have predetermined points where we all gather for a break and check on everyone.

If your scout leaders are skilled in water safety, canoeing, conscientious, reliable, good decision makers and mature than your worries should be minimal. If however they tell you one thing then do another without good reason, or listen to your request knowing they won't fulfill it, but don't explain this to you at the time, I would not have confidence in them with my non-swimmer and a water activity.

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Yah, hmmm....

 

Welcome to da forums, scout_father. Thanks for your comments. Hope yeh stick around and sit for a spell.

 

One thing in your post struck me as somethin' that we all should think about, and because it's a safety thing I figured yeh wouldn't mind the feedback and would take it in the right spirit.

 

If yeh remember your Safety Afloat training, you'll recall that Cartoon Joe goes to great length to have yeh chase Safety Sandwiches all around the screen, and the "bread" of the Safety Sandwich is qualified supervision and discipline.

 

I think if you're really finding that "it's very difficult to control the horseplay of kids" that the answer isn't (just) to protect the nonswimmers by puttin' 'em with adults, eh? Yeh need to rethink how you're doin' things so that yeh can maintain good discipline for all the boys and adults.

 

Also worth it to remember EDGE, eh? Just demonstratin' getting into a canoe isn't enough for lads to learn. They actually have to "do" - first with guidance, then on their own.

 

Beavah

 

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You are right Beavah,

 

My link was not the most up to date version of Safety Afloat.

 

Funny that I did a Google search and that was the first link on scouting.org that popped up.

 

I guess I should not assume that anything on the scouting.org website is up to date including the link that Beavah supplied.

 

Richard B. if you are reading this I think you need to have this corrected.

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Beavah: Thanks for the welcome. Ive been reading this forum for awhile and only recently been able to register. Ive enjoyed getting to know the online personalities of the few dozen posters that I read most frequently.

My statement It is very difficult to control the horseplay of kids is a statement of fact. It doesnt mean there is chaos or lack of discipline. It means that kids control themselves. Adults can teach, cajole, threaten, reward, punish, make the scout sign, or whatever, to achieve control but in the end they are dependent on the kids' compliance. Do boys always comply? No. Is it because the leader wasnt great or wasn't trying? No. Boys at the scout age just cant control themselves all the time due to the immaturity of their neurological development. That is why the number one answer from a kid when asked why they did something completely stupid is I dont know. Is this a constant problem? No. Boys tend to work this stuff out on their own with one another. However, when you have a non-swimmer like Engineer61s son that also doesnt seem to really like the water, you try and control as many contingencies as possible for his safety and comfort. That is why you put him with an adult whose neurological development allows for better decision making. That was the point of that statement, in the context of reasons why he stays with an adult. It wasnt meant to imply that the kids I deal with are out-of-control and undisciplined. They actually are really quite good, but occassionally commit a bone-headed act. By the way they are not scouts. I am not a scout master and our troop does very little water activities.

As far as EDGE training I havent forgotten it. It just isnt applicable to every learning situation. I am not one who believes EDGE to be that great. In fact I think there are much better teaching methodologies than EDGE. But since that is what the boy scouts require in certain situations I know it so I can make sure the boys follow it when instructed.

I disagree with your statement that Just demonstratin' getting into a canoe isn't enough for lads to learn. They actually have to "do" - first with guidance, then on their own. I've been on many rafting trips where the professional guides explain and one person demonstates the reentry. And everyone seems to be able to muddle through it when they need to. Also, there are many instances in boy scouts where EDGE isnt followed when boys learn things and that is because the doing and redoing isnt practical. If you however, truly think that EDGE is the only way a kid can learn something, because "they have to "do" - first with guidance, then on their own", well there are a few classes I hope you never teach. :)

 

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S-F,

 

I gotta disagree with ya on a few points. In reference to neurological development, I know that some research states that the human brain isn't fully developed until age 25. I also met a neurologist who said the article is boulderdash (not his words, but they are not printable on a Scout forum ;) ) Basically he said a lot of factors go into brain development, and you can see elderly folks with the same type of brain patterns as the 20 somethings in the research. He also said environment plays a factor, and I also rememebr hearing about that in my genetics vs environment (nature v. nuture) arguments from HS and college science classes.

 

And I think both factors have a part to play. Let's face it out society has basically extended adolescence to the mid 20s to mid mid 30s. Heck I have friends my age who still act like college students. Just compare the social norms from 30. 40. 50 100 years ago. You had 17 and 18 working, supporting families, etc.

 

I think the problem is kids do not have enough responsibilities today. Whenever they get into a jam, or have a problem, heck sometimes before they even have a problem, mommy and daddy get involved.

 

I'll give you examples some first hand, some second hand. One of my profs was threatened with a lawsuit b/c he gave a student a B for a grade. She complained to daddy who threatened with the lawsuit.

 

In my job I deal with HS and college students. I've had parents call, stop by, etc to set up stuff for their child for their child's projects. These are 16-24 year olds who are more than capable of filling out paperwork, dropping it off, and communicating with me. heck I had one dad very angry at me b/c I scheduled his daughter to do a project when they are on vacation, and she gave me those specific dates.

 

My personal favorite involved an accident I was in. I got hit by a lady in her late 20s, and she was older than me. First person she called after hitting me was her daddy. When he showed up, police had to stop him from interfering because he trying to help his "little girl."

 

I think the reason why the folks are not behaving is because there is no expectation of them behaving, and when they do misbehave, no serious consequences.

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One of the most popular activities at our summer camps are troop canoe swamps. The Scouts go out in canoes and swamp each others canoes and then get back in, bail them out and do it again.

 

I would say that's EXCELLENT safety training for canoeing.

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