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smaster101

1st Class Swimm requirement

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Sounds like he is really unconfortable around water - does he react the same around lakes or streams when the kids are fishing?

 

I would not change the requirements for this boy because of his fear of the water - this is a challenge he needs to overcome.

 

YIS

Quixote

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Wow! I found nothing to disagree with in this thread. The above advice was great and gave me a lot to think about, even though I was not the one with the question.

 

I'd like to build off some of the comments already made. I think we (most parents and Scouters) unwittingly tend to emphasize advancement over achievement. We remind our sons that they "cannot advance" unless they are able to perform a certain skill. Yet, we forget to counsel them on the wisdom of acquiring the skill. What will save a boy's life - the First Class rank or the skill of swimming? Obviously, it's the skill of swimming. I'm sure there's plenty of Scoutmasters that realize this and emphasize it to their scouts. However, I think many of us unintentionally allow ourselves to slip down the slippery slope of advancement, and fall off the path of learning life skills for their own inherent value. In short, I agree we should not overlook requirements for advancement, but we should be more concerned of about the scout's skill deficiency than his lack of advancement.

 

This is not coming from the top of a soapbox. Trust me, I am as guilty as anyone else. It helps to be reminded now and againso thank you to those who contributed to this thread.

 

SagerScout,

 

Nice story. I love kids that overcome obstacles. They inspire me. Be proud of your son, but more importantly let him know that you are.

(This message has been edited by Rooster7)

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No apparent problem fishing from shore, boats, docks, or piers (loves to fish). No apparent problem being in a boat for pleasure (rowboat, motorboat, etc). He was A CIT at CS Day Camp last month and I picked him and others up at a friends house afterwards on evening and he was wet up to his armpits. He said hwe had been in the creek! Blue jeans, army boots and all! Maybe it is just deep water? I have tried to talk to him about what it might be, to his parents and grandparents. But like I said, they obviously condone the bahavior by not bringing him to the swimming activities.

 

We go to summer camp next week and I bet he will stay away from the pool and the new lake and only go to the fishing pond.

 

By the way, I have another scout (new) who doesn't swim (says he has never been given the opportunity), but the lifeguard at the YMCA says he should be able to pass the beginners test in another session or two. I have encouraged him to take swimming lessons at camp, but I thnk he has opted for merit badges so he could be more like the rest of the boys. He tells me that he will be swimming by next month!

 

Yes achievement is important, maybe moreso that advancement. The goals a boy sets in scouting should be his own and not his parents or leaders goals. And achieving being able to swim (even if just for self preservation) to me, is more imprtant than the swimming for advancement.

 

To get back to one of sm101's original questions, I have the same problem with other boys and other requirements (Scout spirit is one of them). And like yaworski implies, you can't promote him just because. He has to meet the requirements for advancement and all you can do is encourage him to achieve the requirements and advance. He will do one of three things, he will eventually advance, he will not advance and be perfectly happy about it, or he will quit. But all in all, I think you would have done your job.

(This message has been edited by scoutmaster424)

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Thanks for all the good advice. It's great to have this forum available to help reinforce our own judgement on these issues.

 

I believe this particular scout's problem is that he hates any sport and struggles from a severe lack of confidence. He is also severly ADD, very bright and also very immature for his age. All this means is that he can benefit more from adhering to the First Class rank guidelenes than "sliding" through them.

 

One additional comment and a story. We had several 2nd class scouts at camp last week that did not make swimmer the first day. They all knew they had to pass the BSA swim test to make 1st class that week, and most of them did it after just 1 swim instruction. One scout however went to beneft swim all week, and did not pass his test until Friday morning. Friday afternoon he was out in the swimmer area and proudly called to me to show me that he made it. That Sunday at our Court of Honor I was telling the parents about some of the achievements for the week. That boy raised his hand and said "don't forget the kids that learned to swim". I brought him up to the front and told all the parents his story of trying until he succeeded. He was very proud of this and I was very proud of him. The moral is that kids get an overwhelming sense of accomplishment when they work for something and succeed, and by advancing them without completing the requirements is doing them a disservice.

 

Sorry this was so long, but I learned something from it and I wanted to pass the story along.

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One more story to pass along. I had a first year scout at summer camp that could not pass the swim test, so consequently he had to stay in the shallow end of the pool all week long and take beginner lessons. He was quite frustrated but it also motivated him. After camp he enrolled in swim lessons and the following year at camp he not only passed the swim test but he also earned his swimming merit badge. I even had one of my older scouts volunteer and help the young scout learn his sidestroke. It was a wonderful experience for everyone, especially for me to see Scouts make a difference in boys lives.

 

Ihawkeye00

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smaster101, thanks for your story. I just let my first-year-scout son read it, and it made an impression on him. See, our troop has an annual Canoe trip down Nebraska's Niobrara river each July, but the boys can't go unless they're "blue" swimmers with the Canoeing MB. Well, his first summer camp came, and he did not get blue swimmer until Thursday morning, on his 5th try.

 

It made him quite thoughtful to learn that he is not the only Scout that can swim, but not pass the test right away. I think that trying again and again made him even more determined, strengthened his resolve.

 

Its great to find opportunities like that to tell our children (and "our" Scouts) how proud we are of them.

 

Thom in Omaha

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Great to see a thread where most all of us are in total agreement! I second the great stories, good advice comments.

 

I had a second year scout try to earn the swimming badge merit badge this year at summer camp. He came to me indignant and told me that "First they would not let me wear my mask and then when I held my nose they said I couldn't do that too!" Boy was he mad. He thought that was totally unreasonable. By the way, some counselors allow wearing the mask (believing it does not aid the swimmer, just helps him overcome his fears) and other do not (if he can't swim comfortably without a mask, he can't swim!).

 

I was told two things by a Council Executive at summer camp. 1) They are reviewing the swimming requirements, not for the merit badge but for 1st Class because many are not able to meet it 2) Rifle Shooting - they limit it to second year summer campers now and the ability to place three rounds at 50 ft in the size of a quarter is difficult for many. they are thinking oflimiting this merit badge to third year campers and up inthe future. I'm not saying I agree with the above, just stating what I was told.

 

Yes, too many are advancement oriented to the extreme.

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I think that a week of Scout Camp with swimming competing with crafts, trips, and any other number of merit badges offered is asking a lot of a Scout to 1) simply get conditioned, 2) get reasonable stroke form, and 3) get practice time in all in 1 week of camp. I was sorry that quite a few Scouts didn't satisfy my first class 150 yd swim. None admitted having prepared for this and expected that if they simply survived the ordeal, it was a sure thing. The YMCA is the largest owner of pools in the USA and have a 12 month program. Most towns have pools and run ARC classes for the Summer. Scouts coming to camp for 1 week need to avail themselves to these programs to build up their muscles and endurance. There is no land equivilant for this without getting fanatical and this is not what this is about. Weak in baseball, running etc.? use your back yard or a park. Swimming for 1st class needs a large 25 yd pool at least. Not too many of us own one and there's the problem. As Scoutmasters we need to follow up on this, get a pool programed for a good length of time for us and use it for practice, not sighing off blue cards right away. And its good defined strokes, just like in the merit badge book and the manual. Dave J!

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Dave J.

 

Aggreed. A week at camp is fine if he is nearly there. Some longer term thing is needed in most other cases.

 

As I thnk I have posted. I have a deal with the YMCA close to here. They provide me with a lifeguard to work with rank requirements for all of my scouts. They do this the first and third Monday of each month for $2 per scout.

 

I have one scout who is learning pretty quick (he really wants it).

 

I wish I could get all the scouts and thier parents to see the value and start coming.

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I wish we had a YMCA pool around to offer a deal like that. The grandparents who miss meetings because the boy doesn't like to swim amazes me. I would go to the meeting, make my son go, tell him to put on his swimming trunks and just sit there and watch. Knowing that after some time he would get caught up in the action and be in the pool swimming.

 

I think there is one pool within an hour's drive of my house that is open to the public. Even then it may be limited to the residents of that county only. I have to call and see. I'll gladly pay an extra fee being an out-of-county resident. Our community is getting the YMCA but will be some time before a pool is built. Most pools in the area are for swim-and-tennis neighborhoods (I'm not in one of those).

 

 

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sctmom

 

Give one of those communities a call and ask them, maybe they would grant you a couple night a month in return for a service project or something.

 

You might be surprised.

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I too, like reading a thread that is consistently constructive. All good advice that I agree with. I may have missed it, but does this Scout have all of the other requirements completed for 1st Class? If not, he has that stuff to work on. Also, as we are hoping for the peer pressure thing (and the younger Scouts to blow past him) and the adult encouragement to kick in, he can start working on merit badges he will need for Star. Although he can't get credit for the other requirements needed for Star until his BOR is signed off for 1st Class, he can at least start working the merit badge programs.

 

anderson

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I realized something very interesting about my son and water. He doesn't really like water. He is terrified of bridges that go over water, terrified of driving down a road that is right next to a pond or swamp. He will not ride any water rides at amusement parks. A couple of years ago he would not ride the Riverboat at Disney.

 

Yet, he went canoeing in a lake that had leeches and snakes! He would not swim at BSA camp but did at 4-H camp. Last fall he went canoeing in a small pond and saw a snake but it didn't bother him.

 

For him it is about CONTROL. In a canoe he feels he has some control over what will happen. Being a passenger on a large boat, he has NO control. At 4-H camp swimming was not a requirement just a fun thing. He was being judged at BSA. He told me he was afraid of the pool slide at first but then got brave and went down it. Then he just couldn't help himself and kept doing it. He's one of those kids who just needs to do water on his terms, with some careful encouragement from friends and adults, and a little extra time.

 

An observation I thought I would share in case you know other kids like this.

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SCTMOM,

 

Excellent point. We just got back from camp. Most everyone took their swim test Sunday night, but myself (SM) another leader, and two Scouts waited til Tuesday morning. One of these Scouts was from a brother Troop, and his SM made me aware of his "history" of taking the swim test. All four of us were ushered out to the test area, and as we were receiving our instructions, I happened to see the horror in his eyes. I wanted to say something, but he jumped in with the rest of us and although he struggled a bit, he made it. There's no doubt he has the abilities, but I agree with you, it's about being in control and being able to take "your" time.

 

anderson

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