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Engineer61

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

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Yah, hmmm...

 

Just sharing perspectives, eh? Always good to hear feedback and think about things.

 

I guess my experience is just different than scout-father's, eh? I've never had any trouble at all with older boys with lifesaving skills takin' care of younger fellows and non-swimmers on the water. Yeh remember this was just fine and even encouraged in the BSA for most of its history. Honestly, a lad who has been with a troop for many years doin' trips is far more reliable in my experience than adults who are new or only occasional participants. Bone-headed moves are evenly distributed between adults and youth, and are based on experience, eh? I know I've made more than a few over the years, even with experience. :) Eagle92 is quite right in his observations as well.

 

But da bigger issue is still the discipline one, for both youth and adult participants. I guess if I felt the discipline issue was such where I had to put a nonswimmer in my own canoe, I also wouldn't be willin' to take the rest of mixed-bag "swimmers" down the river. I'd want to correct the behavior issue first.

 

So maybe it's that I trust the lads more, or maybe it's that my expectations of their behavior is higher, or both. The latter would make me uncomfortable from a safety perspective, the former from a scouting one.

 

Just MHO, somethin' to think about.

 

If yeh read some of the historical threads, you'll find that I agree with yeh completely on the merits of EDGE. There are all kinds of other ways to think about teachin' and learnin', many of 'em better.

 

I think, however, that goin' with just lecture-demo is still not a good thing, and that just about all of the other ways of thinkin' about learning would say the same thing. I reckon most canoein' MB counselors at summer camp discover that a significant fraction of the lads for one reason or another have some difficulty gettin' back in a canoe, even after it has been demonstrated. ;) SeattlePioneer's approach is the one I find more fun and effective.

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Eagle92: As an older person who was raised in a very strict household, and self supporting at a very young age I appreciate your comments and thoughts. We are in agreement on more than you would think. I agree that kids general behavior is partly a result of some of what you described. But that is not the behavior Im discussing. I am referring to the difficulty of impulse control which causes a perfectly well behaved kid to do something that leaves everyone wondering why - including the kid. It is well accepted in the world of neurology that the young brain is still developing. Regardless if some call balderdash on the science, it is the consensus not just some research. Keep in mind that technology has progressed rapidly over the last few decades and the study of the brain has benefitted greatly. Also it is not surprising that you can see elderly folks with the same type of brain patterns as the 20 somethings in the research. You know what the comedians say, You start out needing diapers you finish up needing diapers. :)

Now let me explain one more time. I never said that the kids Im dealing with arent behaving. In fact the kids that I deal with, and also the scout troop I belong to are all pretty well behaved and respectful kids. They are enjoyable to be around. There is an expectation of discipline and there are appropriate consequences meted out when it is not met. The statement I made was a general statement about kids, not any one particular group over another.

I agree with you that sometimes the reason folks are not behaving is because there is no expectation of them behaving, and when they do misbehave, no serious consequences. Again, it is not this general behavior that I am considering. What I said was It is very difficult to control the horseplay of kids. This horseplay was my term for the difficulty of impulse control. It was not meant to describe a bunch of undisciplined kids. Generally speaking each one of those kids has a greater potential for a lapse in good behavior than one of the adults on the trip due to the above reason. For that reason; a kid who is a non-swimmer and uncomfortable in the water needs to be with an adult. It doesnt matter if the other kids are exceptionally well behaved and mature, which most of the kids are that I have taken out on the water. In this situation, if an adult can eliminate the possibility of this one off chance that the well behaved kid just might do something stupid and out of character, however remote, than they should.

 

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SeattlePioneer: I agree wholeheartedly. Canoe swamps are great fun for the "swimmer" boys that are comfortable doing this. Youre right about the safety training. Not only are they having a blast, they are improving their skills through all the repetition.

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Yah, sorry scout_father, I'm afraid yeh got the neurology research wrong, eh? That's the problem with the popular press reportin' on science. It's funny to me that so many of us older folks bought this nonsense. Just goes to show our own prejudice.

 

What real cognitive and neroscientists have told me the science actually shows is that learning actually causes changes in the brain, and that young people are better learners than us old folks. After certain ages, some parts of the brain get more "fixed", and it becomes harder to learn. For learning a foreign language, that happens pretty early on. For learning judgment and some higher order things, the brain doesn't get "fixed" until the mid-20s. So if yeh haven't learned some things by then, it becomes hard to learn.

 

That doesn't mean that kids can't learn that stuff fairly early on. In fact, in many other cultures around the world (and in the US a century ago), adolescent boys are considered full adults, and they do not exhibit the same behaviors that kids in the US do. They are trusted to hunt and run farm machinery and apprentice in trades and every other variety of thing where they're just fine at impulse control.

 

Da notion that kids lack impulse control is an excuse we've developed for our poor parenting and teaching. If it's biological then it's not our fault, and we can keep right on with what we're doin' or even make it worse, rather than confront the consequences for kids of our own choices.

 

A lad who can drive a car at 16 is certainly capable of operating a canoe at 14, and personally I just haven't had the issues that scout_father describes. We use youth as assistant Canoeing MB counselors and lifeguards and whatnot at camps across the country.

 

Beavah

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Beavah: Im not really sure why you continue to infer things that were never implied, so I really dont understand the point of many of your comments. But because your comments are offered as if they are based on statements I made I feel I need to address them.

 

I guess my experience is just different than scout-father's, eh? I've never had any trouble at all with older boys with lifesaving skills takin' care of younger fellows and non-swimmers on the water.

I never said Ive had trouble either.

 

Yeh remember this was just fine and even encouraged in the BSA for most of its history.

Just because historically something was fine and even encouraged, doesnt make it valid or appropriate for all- time. And it certainly doesnt, in and of itself, make a good reason to continue doing something. One on one contact between adult and child used to be fine too. Things change.

 

Honestly, a lad who has been with a troop for many years doin' trips is far more reliable in my experience than adults who are new or only occasional participants.

Reliable doing what? Im not really sure what you mean by this comment.

 

Bone-headed moves are evenly distributed between adults and youth, and are based on experience, eh?

Here is where some of the confusion between us might be taking place. I understand that bone-headed was not the best term to use to describe an act due to difficulty with impulse control. So taking into consideration that stupid can be due to many different reasons, I understand your points completely. But with my intended meaning (an act due to difficulty with impulse control) in mind, I disagree with you on both points.

 

I know I've made more than a few over the years, even with experience.

I have too.

 

Eagle92 is quite right in his observations as well.

To which observations are your referring. Youll see in my response to him I agree with some of them.

 

But da bigger issue is still the discipline one, for both youth and adult participants. I guess if I felt the discipline issue was such where I had to put a nonswimmer in my own canoe, I also wouldn't be willin' to take the rest of mixed-bag "swimmers" down the river. I'd want to correct the behavior issue first.

Again, the issue is not the general discipline or behavior of the kids. I would never take a kid that was disobedient and a problem on any activity much less one on the water. I am talking about the difficulty with impulse control that kids have. Ive made that perfectly clear so Im not sure why you are unable or unwilling to recognize the difference. It isnt that the kids dont listen or do as they are told. It isnt that there is a problem with discipline. It is the fact that they have a greater chance to do something impulsive with bad consequences, and not really know why, than the adults have. And that difficulty with impulse control cant be corrected by you or me.

 

So maybe it's that I trust the lads more, or maybe it's that my expectations of their behavior is higher, or both.

I cant comment since those are relative and I dont know the degree you have in either your trust or your expectations. I will tell you that my trust and expectations vary depending on the kid.

 

The latter would make me uncomfortable from a safety perspective, the former from a scouting one.

Im unclear about this statement.

 

If yeh read some of the historical threads, you'll find that I agree with yeh completely on the merits of EDGE. There are all kinds of other ways to think about teachin' and learnin', many of 'em better.

I just knew we'd have to agree on something. :)

 

I think, however, that goin' with just lecture-demo is still not a good thing, and that just about all of the other ways of thinkin' about learning would say the same thing.

It might not be the optimum teaching method but it isnt a bad thing. It is more than adequate for the not very wide, a wade in most areas, calm, slow moving river you described. In fact that is basically the only type of water that Ill take other kids on. I do make exceptions for a few of my childrens friends. Also, many things do not lend themselves to doing immediately after one has been lectured and seen it demonstrated. That doesnt mean you dont teach it, and it doesnt mean that one doesnt learn it.

 

I reckon most canoein' MB counselors at summer camp discover that a significant fraction of the lads for one reason or another have some difficulty gettin' back in a canoe, even after it has been demonstrated.

Ive found that even after doing the reentry a couple times most kids and adults still have some degree of difficulty reentering the canoe. It is like doing an Eskimo roll. You learn it and do it a few times so you know how to do it. But it is only with a lot of repetition that you become proficient enough to feel comfortable doing it when it wasnt planned.

 

SeattlePioneer's approach is the one I find more fun and effective.

Beavah, I couldnt agree more.

 

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Yah, sorry scout_father, I'm afraid yeh got the neurology research wrong, eh?

 

Beavah: No need to be sorry. Youre the one who has it wrong. Youre just commenting on one aspect of the research. I am aware of the learning issues you describe, and believe the science behind them; but that doesnt have anything to do with judgment and impulse control. That is a different area of the research that you are ignoring. Maybe Harvard researchers and physicians Urion and Jensen arent as knowledgeable as the real cognitive and neroscientists that speak with you, but Ill give them the benefit of the doubt.

 

Da notion that kids lack impulse control is an excuse we've developed for our poor parenting and teaching. If it's biological then it's not our fault, and we can keep right on with what we're doin' or even make it worse, rather than confront the consequences for kids of our own choices.

Fortunately, the U.S. legal system disagrees with you.

 

As for your comment, A lad who can drive a car at 16 is certainly capable of operating a canoe at 14.

I never said they werent. It is notable however, that sixteen year olds with all their phenomenal learning capacity have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

 

We use youth as assistant Canoeing MB counselors and lifeguards and whatnot at camps across the country.

I have never heard of an assistant MB counselor, but I do know the youth do all these activities at camps and have no problem with it as long as the safe swim and safety afloat rules are being followed.

 

personally I just haven't had the issues that scout father describes

Im glad youve never experienced a time where a really good boy does something so out of character, so out of the blue, so nonsensical that it creates a problem. Ive only experienced it a couple times and it caused some problems but nothing that we couldnt resolve.

In the grand scheme of life we usually spend a very limited amount of time with other peoples children. Because of this we will probably rarely see the manifestations of this difficulty. It does not preclude the kids from doing things in scouts. It does not preclude giving kids responsibilities and having expectations of them. It is however one of the reasons why kids have adult supervision. It is a reason that kids arent allowed to do certain things. But because this exists, as remotely as it might manifest itself, a non-swimmer who is uncomfortable in the water should be with an adult.

 

With all that said it doesnt matter what either of us thinks because the Boy Scouts already have the situation covered. Also, we will never agree because we view the science of the brain differently.

 

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Hey Beavah: I didnt plan on posting back to back but I didnt realize I hadnt posted my earlier response to you the other night so I wanted to put it out there. (I do them in Word then cut and paste) Sorry about the back to back to back posts. thanks

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Yah, no problem with the back to back posts, eh? And no problem with not understandin' me. Yeh won't be the first. I talk with a funny accent. ;) I spun off the bit about teenage neuroscience since it seemed like an interestin' separate topic that other folks might want to jump in on, so my thoughts on it are over there.

 

I reckon that's the big difference in terms of viewin' water or other outings, eh? If yeh begin with the assumption that poor judgment is biologically inherent in young people, then that will determine a lot of the way yeh think about and treat young people.

 

For example, you assume that impulse control is somethin' that yeh can't manage through instruction, discipline, mentoring and youth leadership. I disagree. I have never had any problems at all with youth impulse control in water sports in many decades of doin' an awful lot of paddlin' and sailing with kids. Leastways, no more than adults on a per-person basis. At best guess, the per-person incident and injury rate for adults has been higher than for youth.

 

I think what yeh might be mistaking for poor impulse control is actually just the normal process of trying to learn. Young people are willing to try things more readily, and make mistakes, where adults are not. Is it poor impulse control for a young lad to try a new snowboard move and crash? Or is tryin' new moves and crashing an essential part of learning? How many adults do yeh know who do the sort of snowboard aerials that kids can do? ;)

 

I still remember way back when we used to hunt wooly mammoths and I was a young lad drivin' with my dad. I did a "boneheaded" move and turned left in front of oncoming traffic. Near miss, no bent metal, thanks mostly to the other driver. Now yeh could say that I lacked impulse control and just suddenly turned left, which I'm sure is what it looked like. And yeh could say that I had sat for a lecture-demo on left turns in drivers ed, as I'm sure I had. But da truth of the matter is that I hadn't learned from the lecture when and how to apply da rules, and it wasn't impulsive at all - I just didn't yet know where and what to look for in that circumstance. I'd been drivin' for a while, but hadn't yet encountered the busy intersection with a truck in the opposite left turn lane partly obscurin' fast-moving through traffic. My brain hadn't yet learned which signals to prioritize, and I wasn't lookin' in the right place. In fact, if yeh did an fMRI study, I'm sure yeh would have found different signals goin' on compared with an experienced driver.

 

The point, though, is that had nuthin' to do with age, and everything to do with experience. The issue isn't 16 year old drivers, it's drivers in their first year of driving experience. In fact, in areas like college towns where yeh get older inexperienced international drivers people tell me they're worse than the 16 year olds. ;) It also had nuthin' to do with what I was taught/lectured, it had to do with being taught is not the same thing as having learned. Learning requires that the learner be able to do and perform, not sit and watch.

 

And if yeh did an fMRI study of an adult novice snowboarder vs. one of these teenage young upstarts, you'd find very much more well developed neural responses and structures in the teen, eh? Because real learning changes the brain, not vice versa.

 

So I believe "impulse control" is an instructional and discipline issue, and that if yeh address it with better instruction and learning you will find that the problem will go away. Young people can and do manage non-swimmers on river trips safely and reliably all the time.

 

Beavah

 

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I gotta say, "I don't know" is a Cub Scout answer for why a boy did something stupid. If we're letting Boy Scout aged boys get away with that answer, then we're setting the personal responsibility bar way too low.

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"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. "

 

Not sure how long you've been here 5year, but the gates on Horseshoe are open... almost always are this time of year to cut evap from the lakes, so the Bartlett watershed is > 100 sq miles, instead of 50 or 60. With so little actual soil in that watershed, there's a big percentage of straight runoff.

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Beavah: This response has nothing to do with debating our beliefs. We disagree and nothing will change that. I did want to clear up a couple things:

 

My difficulty understanding you isnt based on how you speak. It is based on your shoddy citation. Your replies can be confusing at times because you address things that were neither said nor implied.

 

The only assumptions being made are by you, with your comments on what MRI machines would find in your various examples. I agree with the current neurological science, and act accordingly.

 

By your logic one has to experience something before they can make a proper judgment about the correct action. I hope you arent one of those have to learn everything the hard way people, because I know a few and they sure make life tough on themselves.

 

Beavah I do appreciate you spinning the teenage neuroscience off to another thread. It will be interesting to read what others think. I just wish you had not skewed the premise to be more in line with your thinking. I never used the term incapable. And the implication you add only serves to influence peoples reaction to your view.

 

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JMHawkins: What do you propose to keep Boy Scout aged boys from getting away with the I dont know answer? How do you handle it when that is a kids response?

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I agree with the current neurological science, and act accordingly.

 

Let's be careful about gettin' too far out there, eh? How many original journal articles on cognitive science or neuroscience have yeh read in the last year? ;) Close as I can tell this is an active area of debate in the field, and so far the overwhelming body of evidence is on the other side. As is the notion of a youth-led, patrol-method scouting program.

 

I never used the term "incapable"

 

And yet when I suggested that with some discipline and instruction kids could in fact control their impulses and safely manage non-swimmers, you disagreed. Either they can or they can't. If they can't, then the word for that is "incapable", isn't it? If their brain structure doesn't afford them that ability, the word is "incapable", isn't it?

 

You're correct, though, in that as I mentioned we've seen this argument before in da forums, and there's an extent to which I and others respond to the general argument because we've heard it before. That is our fault. In that case, though, I'd suggest that rather than comin' back with the ad hominem stuff, come back with a clarification. "I believe their brain structure allows them to do this but not that.".

 

In any event, I never intended this to be a big debate. Yeh just said a couple of things that struck me (as a long timer with a lot of experience in the area) as being somethin' of a safety and best practice issue, so I thought it was worth mentioning. A Scout is Helpful. Yeh are always free to ignore the thoughts or advice of me or anyone else on da forums.

 

For me, though, to answer Engineer61's oft expressed concerns about BSA leaders, I would never take kids down a river corridor if I didn't believe they were perfectly capable of impulse control. Because passing a swim test is really a low level of swim ability, and swimming ability is no proof against current and hazards and other stuff. If yeh can't keep a non-swimmer safe in a canoe with a youth BSA lifeguard then yeh probably can't keep a young swimmer safe in a canoe with another young swimmer.

 

Beavah

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A lot of times, I think that "I don't know" is actually the most honest answer. People will often rationalize all kinds of things as the reason that they are doing something, when in fact that isn't the reason at all. Marketers know this very well - people will give one reason for buying a product (e.g., taste), but the actual research will demonstrate that they are swayed by all kinds of other things (packaging, advertising, product name, etc).

 

If the answer "I don't know" appears to be a real answer and not just a way of avoiding answering, then I think I'd be happy with it.

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