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1st Class Swimm requirement

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My son just went to summer camp convinced he couldn't do it. Our Scoutmaster and another Assistant Scoutmaster swam alongside him this helped his confidence and he made it 3/4 of the way his first try. They took him out of the swimming merit badge and got him into instructional swim. A good teacher taught him the side stroke and before the end of the week he went on his own and took the test and passed. He was so proud to tell me about it. How about a swim party at a leaders house or community pool to help them?

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Back from Summer Camp (review will soon be in "So, what camp?).


The scout that was learning quick took swim lessons at camp and was able to build his confidence to a much higher level. He seems to have the notion that if he isn't good at something he isn't doing it. He did that at the rifle range. He didn't want to go because he wasn't a good shot. When we finally got him started, he spent all his free time shooting (as well as swimming). As his confidence builds, he will do it. We just have to keep telling him that if he trys and falls short, it is not a failure, if he doesn't try, he fails.


The scout I have that won't swim found himself wanting to do canoes and kayaks, but couldn't. I think his attitide is softening up.

We might get him swimming yet. By the way, he does work on his other requirememnts and merit badges, but he doesn't have much to overcome with those.

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If you find a solution to this, please let me know. We have the same situation in our troop. We have a 12 year old boy who is not afraid to fail, he is just scared to death of the water. He will not go in the water. His parents seem to think that if swimming is a requirement for boy scout advancement, then boy scouts should teach him to swim. It's a shame really, because this boy is an awesome young man with tons of energy and talent.



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Joining the consensus, this requirement cannot and should not be waived. Private lessons might be an answer to whatever the issues might be. This boy will gain more by passing the requirement than by sliding by.


To say nothing of learning an important survival skill.

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True story - I had a new scout several years ago who could not swim. He did NOT attend summer camp his first two years because of this and did not advance. He was even seriously considering dropping out. But he finally enrolled in our District's Swim Class. He learned enough to pass his second and first class swimming requirements, went to camp every year after that, earned his Eagle award and now in college and an active ASM.

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We had the same problem at summer camp. This young man did not pass his swimmers test. He would go to free swim, but would not work on his skills. So I notice this was going on, had a talk with the pool director and explained his concern with the water. The older staff got together and became a cheerleading team everyday he showed up to swim. The last day we had discussed it at camp he and his buddy head off to the pool. He had decieded to take the swimmers test one last time. The other boys in our troop deceided that it was important that he pass the test, they skiped there regularly scheduled class, went to the pool, climbed in and became sideswimming cheerleaders. you have seen his face when everyone all 20 showed up at the pool to cheer him on. It was a kodak moment and when he got the job done it was like a big party atmosphere. His face was smiling from ear to ear, the staff let us swim for a while longer and all the boys just keep on congratulating him. Maybe you should talk with the SPL and get a litle postive peer pressure going . It might just do the trick, it did in out case.

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I agree with Mike -


"Not advancing doesn't mean automaticaly mean a diminished scouting experience."


I don't understand this big push to get boys to first class within their first year of scouts - what the heck are they supposed to do the other 5 years? why do so many of the adults put this big pressure on them to advance, advance, advance? It's like we don't consider them "real scouts" unless they are first class?


some boys are ready and interested themselves in acheivements and advancement - if so - Great!


But when it's parents and leaders pushing them, the boys pick up the competitive atmosphere from them - and then they treat the the lower ranking boys like true "second class" citizens! Personally, that's not very scout-like in MHO.


In our area, 6th grade, being 11 or 12, means starting Jr high as well as starting in a new scout troop. It's a VERY tough year for lots of our boys. Pushing rank advancement when they're not ready is counter-productive.


We have a boy in our troop who is a natural leader. he's now 16 and our SPL - a great kid, organized, Excellent scouting skills, good with the younger boys, has been a den chief for years. He just got his first class last winter - because he couldn't overcome the fear of being underwater. he's been working on his Swimming badge since he started in scouts - the diving stuff bothers him - and still has not completed all the requirements. He continues to plug away at it, when he can. We just came back from a canoing weekend where his canoe tipped, he got dunked, lost his shoes and watch - but came out laughing - and did just fine.


Another kid, My son, is a born fish. He took his BSA test each year at summer camp - no problem - one in a pool, this year in a lake - jumped right in, no hesitation. But when it came time to take his canoe tip test for his Canoeing badge, for some odd reason, he had a sudden fear of jumping in - he didn't like the seaweed in the lake, and it took some coaxing to get him to do it. But if he got accidentally dumped (and he has!) I have no worries about his ability to get out of the water safely.


There are all kinds of reasons why they freeze or "can't" do it. Some days they can, some days they think about it too much and fear overtakes them. The important point is, when they do get in a situation where they must swim to get out - can they?


That hundred yard swim is strenuous - and for alot of these under-developed 6th and 7th graders, it is just too much for them. The test shows that these kids are really not yet ready to go off on their own - they are not mentally or physically ready for it. So why are we pushing them? Would you REALLY want one of those boys out in a canoe or boat in deep water with little supervision? I wouldn't!



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