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Cub Aquatics Program in 2008

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Hello Everyone! I am currently looking for some feedback. I am the Aquatics Director at a Residential Cub Camp in CT (CT Rivers' Camp Tadma), the reason for my post is to get some feedback from everybody!


I would like to revamp the Aquatics Program at camp. I was last Aquatics Director 6 years ago and was asked by my council to come back this year. I remember my program ran something like this...


Sunday - Test day ... nothing to change here


Monday - Lessons Day ... give me some ideas about what I can do here guys. It was just typical every day Non-Swimmer, Beginner, & Swimmer lessons. I want to make this more fun, so give me some ideas!!!!


Tuesday - Junior Lifeguard Lessons. Reach/Throw/Row demonstrations and talk about Go


Wednesday - Game Day - Water Relays, Polo, Cannonball Contest, etc... I want this day to have a bit more structure. Ideas!!!


Thursday - Free Time ... kids choice/mile swim!


Now as far as I know this program is still the norm at camp. It was when I first started there, but I would like to make a change in direction and let the days be a bit more fun, while still educational.


If you have any ideas let me know! I've been a Lifeguard & Aquatics Director at many different levels for a long time and have some ideas, I just haven't put them together just yet. so please any ideas would be great.


BTW is anyone going to be at Massawpie for Camp School June 14 - 20? Let me know!

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Teach scouts to swim.


Too many Cub Scout waterfronts have become Camp Splash - alot of fun but scouts end the week no better swimmers or should I say nonswimmers than when they arrived.


One camp that I attend had two dozen kickboards (used to teach leg strokes) and never used them. No swim instruction was attempted.




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Would you have time to squeeze in some waterfront first aid and safety? Sun protection, hydration, common waterfront injuries, such as cut feet, basic intro to CPR, etc. Buddy system? Intro to Safe Swim Defense?

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Instead of saving the games for just one day, include them during the lessons:


For nonswimmers who are afraid to put their faces in the water, you could start with ping-pong ball blowing contests. In order to move the ping pong ball forward, the child's mouth must be close to the surface of the water. This helps them get used to the water before they finally attempt going under water.


For beginners, I've used hula hoops on top of the water to encourage kids to duck under water, and come up inside the hula hoop. You could play tag in the shallow end, where a child is "safe" while inside the hoop, but they can only stay for 5 or 10 seconds. The hoops that I used did float, but I usually held on to 2 of them so they didn't drift away.


For swimmers any skill taught can then be practiced as part of a race or relay race. The relay could incorporate different strokes, or parts of strokes. 1st kid does front crawl, 2nd does elementary backstroke, 3rd kid does sidestroke, etc. Or, 1st person does kick only, 2nd kid uses arms only.


Sharks and Minnows is a fun game for swimmers. The Minnows start at one side of the pool, and try to swim to the other side of the pool without the shark tagging them. If a child is tagged, then he becomes a shark, too, until only one boy is left. If the kids are really good swimmers, then this could be done in the deep end, and the sharks would get in some treading practice. Otherwise, it should be played where the kids can still touch the bottom.


For non-lesson games:


You could do a greased watermelon contest(small, round one.) This is usually reserved for the nonswimmers or beginners, since they can't participate in the swimming relays or cannonball contests.


You could do water balloon tosses outside of the pool area, but make sure kids know they have to pick up every piece of balloon!


Silly races are always fun. Have the kids "make up" their own stroke, do the corkscrew (alternating between front and back crawl), go feet first, while on their backs (this takes lots of sculling action)


"Dive" for prizes. Kids stand in the shallow end and duck under water to find cans of pop or other items that are water proof. You could use dive rings and give prizes based on the color of the ring.


Good Luck and have fun!

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I know very few 8-10 year olds with the strength and stamina to swim a mile.


I've also never heard of a full week program for a Cub Scout residential camp. Doesn't mean you don't do it... just I've not heard of it...


Can you help out a bit?


What I remember from my swimming lessons oh those years ago is student/teacher ratio. Now, I'm not talking Scout camp... I'm talking lessons Mom and Dad paid for. I don't think we had more than 4 kids to a teacher. 8-10 year olds need lots of eye contact to counterbalance short attention spans...

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I have been involved in the camp for 12 years. So without a doubt, unless I have been in a dream for 12 years...CT Rivers Council Offers a Cub Scout Residential Camp. Tadma has always been 5 days 4 nights since it became a cub camp in the 1970s. Recently we inherited a day camp as well, so I run the aquatics program for them as well.


We have been doing the BSA mile swim for years as well...and only a handful of kids come down to do it (usually around 5 Cubs, usually Web 2s, ultimately get the prized patch), don't under estimate the will of a 9 - 10 year old!


During our program time we divide the packs in half. Half do swimming while the other half does boating and then they switch areas after about 45 minutes at the designated area. 3 swimming areas and a staff of about 10 - 12 guards always gets you to that 4 kids / 1 teacher ratio, including guards watching from the docks as well. Trust me, I run a very safe and fun program area...which is one of the reasons I have been asked to return (not to sound egotistical).


Sorry to sound like I am on the defensive side of the ball here, but I'm just standing up for what I do.

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No, no need to be defensive, I'm just trying to process your experience, and duration of your camp. Around here Webelos Camp is 4 day/3 night, Bear Camp is 2 day/1 night.


I'm also not questioning safety, but as an old (very old) WSI, I'm asking about student/teacher ratio in lessons. I was taught at 8-10 years old you'll have kids out "gathering wool" if you use a higher ratio than 4:1, actually teaching (not guards and supervisors).


Finally, it's not addressed in age-appropriate activities of G2SS (and G2SS does not apply to camp operations), so I have to ask: BSA Mile Swim is a Boy Scout program device, defined in Boy Scout Requirements BSA #33215. I've not known it defined in a Cub program before. What do National Camp Standards say about offering Mile Swim to Cubs?


Again, I'm asking questions because what your Council does is completely outside the box compared to what I've seen area Councils do in my neck of the woods. Thanks for replying! :)

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Sorry if I came off as a little harsh! Typed out words are just typed out words! Hah...anyways.


In terms of the mile swim that we offer the cubs at my camp, it really isn't something we follow as strictly as a BSA Camp would. It is offered more as something fun for the Cubs to do, as we also offer Polar Bear Swim. We do give out the BSA Mile Swim Patch, but by no means do I or previous directors follow the BSA Requirement #33215. As I said before, its just an extra little thing we like to do so the kids can have fun. I've even let beginners and learners in their respected area (imagine the learners swimming the mile, as they walk the majority of it...but they absolutely love being able to participate!)


I imagine my Waterfront is run much differently than BSA Waterfront. We adhere to all National & State Laws, we just have a bit more fun as I see Tadma to be more of an initiation to Residential Camp, plus the fact that I do not have to run Merit Badge Classes. Though I do offer to work with Den Chiefs, Staff Members, & CITs on any given merit badge pertaining to my area.


Does anyone have any ideas what I can do with boating? All I have are rowboats, canoes, funyacs, funoes, & paddle boats that go in circles rather than straight. Please keep all ideas coming!

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I learned to swim under American Red Cross curricula. I recall my swim teachers using lots of games, and they were built right into their programs, from Beginner up to Swimmer (again, their terms, not BSA terms).


Do you have or have access to ARC curricula?

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