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Cub Scouts Take Polar Plunge

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I have nothing for admiration and respect for the Cub Scouts and their leaders efforts to do something positive by the extreme cold they endured!!! :)


According to ScoutNut, "It seems, from an article in the Minneapolis Start Tribune, that the event organizers did not want them wearing their Scout shirts because of the risk involved of the shirts holding the icy water against their skins, and freezing solid. The recommended Plunge Wear is something tight fitting like a wet suit.


However, the Pack's leaders wanted everyone to know that they were Scouts, so they had the boys, and the leaders, wear their Scout shirts anyway. "


It is in the failure to follow the event organizers guidance that I have issue.

I have now seen the video and now would not choose to operate it the way they did but see no violation of any Scouting rules. Other, than the Scout Law for the reason I have already mentioned.


I however, am impressed and appreciative of the cold they endured in order to help someone else - that is indeed in the Spirit of Scouting!

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Steve, once they put the scout uniform on and identified themselves as scouts from a specific Pack they made it a scout unit activity, and as such must adhere to BSA policies and regulations...even if the event itself is not theirs.


And while they do not appear to have violated any Safety Regulations, if they identified themselves as Scouts when raising the money for their leader then they did indeed violate BSA policies regarding fundraising and uniform usage.



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Bob is so wrong once again!! This was done to benefit a sick leader, not the unit so technically it was not a fundraiser and not subject to BSA rules. The fact they put their scout shirts on after the event was over is irrelevant. Bobby learn the difference between lending a helping hand and earning money to go to camp. Everything is not as black and white as Bobby seems to think, even the rules on fundraising.

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So if I take my Den to a Basket Ball, Football, or any sporting event. It is then a violation of BSA Policy. Or if my den is also a baseball team they can't wear their uniforms.


I doubt it.


I think that bickering about rules is a Scout Adult specialty. The bickering and fighting takes place not only on this site but on every single scout website I have visited. Really sad. The people who are truly helpful have left years ago, leaving a group thumping the rule book and GSS2.


Anyhow steve.....thanks for the info, I think it is a good idea and what scouting is about.



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And while they do not appear to have violated any Safety Regulations, if they identified themselves as Scouts when raising the money for their leader then they did indeed violate BSA policies regarding fundraising and uniform usage.


If they requested to do this & their Council Executive Committee approved it, no BSA policy was violated.

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I have lived in many places in my time. Cold, hot, freezing whatever, wherever. Michigan, England, Florida, North Dakota, Minnesota, wherever, your body does adapt to the temperatures you are used to. The boys are from Minnesota. Whether they filed a tour permit or not isn't such the problem or that council allowed it.


I personally would NEVER submerge my body into freezing water. I don't even like cold water in the summer time. The older we get the harder it is for us to get used to certain temperatures and deal with them.


The parent's of the boys knew what they were doing. The leaders did not take them out behind anybody's back. The boys parents knew what they were doing. So what if they wore their uniforms? They weren't in the water for hours or even minutes. I'm sure that the parents had plenty of things in place to make sure the boys got warm again after their plunge.


The video shows an adult jumping in with two boys, and carefully supervising BOTH boys! He made sure the one had hold of the pole before he stopped to help the other get under the rope (which I don't understand what purpose it serves). The other adult jumped in with what appeared to be his own son and was completely responsible for him. Alas, the buddy system. The water only appeared to be up to the "fathers" hips. Maybe 3 to 4 feet maximum. (The first group of men swam most of the length so it was hard to get an idea from them). There are THREE ladders at the end of the "pool". All 3 ladders appear to be 4 foot ladders with about a foot of the ladders sticking out of the water. The part of the lake they were on couldn't have been much more than 3-4 feet deep. PLUS--living in these places previously, I'm not sure the weather has been cold enough yet to freeze deeper portions of the lake.


All in all, I don't think any violations were made here. Would I do it? HECK NO! Just my 2 cents...whatever that's worth.

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"It seems, from an article in the Minneapolis Start Tribune, that the event organizers did not want them wearing their Scout shirts because of the risk involved of the shirts holding the icy water against their skins, and freezing solid. The recommended Plunge Wear is something tight fitting like a wet suit.

I found this while searching for information on Lake Minnetonka, MN. It is the flyer from the Polar Plunge. Nowhere on this flyer does it say a wet suit. In fact it says, "A single layer swimsuit"

On It & In It - Run On and Jump Into Lake Minnetonka

This is the way to start the New Year right! Make your first New Years resolution to join your friends and fellow ALARCers for the traditional On It & In It Run and Jump into Lake Minnetonka. After that, all of your resolutions will be a snap!


What: The 18th Annual Jump into Lake Minnetonka


Who: All ALARCers and friends are invited to participate.


When: January 1, 2008Run begins at 9:00 AM, then we return for the jump at 9:30 AM sharp!


Where: Bayview Event Center on Lake Minnetonka, Excelsior, MN



$15.00 per Person for the Dive

Plus $10 if you would like the New Years Brunch at the Bayview. Please register online so that we can get a general count.

Plus $15 for our great long sleeve t-shirt commemorating your dive! Please register online so that we can get a general count or purchase yours on race day on a first come first serve basis.


Registration: Two Ways to Register:

Register online atActive.com(preferred). On line registration closes at midnight on December 30th.

Complete and print the Printable Registration Form and bring it with you to the event along with your payment.


When you register, indicate how many, if any previous dives you have done. This will determine what ranking you are (see scale below).

No. of Completed Jumps

Your Current Ranking


0 Guppy 1 Minnow 2 Walleye 3 Northern 4 Muskie 5 Barracuda Five6 Barracuda Six 7 Barracuda Seven 8 Barracuda Eight 9 Barracuda Nine 10+ Shark

All participants will receive certificates commemorating the jump and specifying their standing in the traditional fish hierarchy!

Schedule: THE RUN AND JUMP WILL BEGIN AT 9:00 am. However we urge you to be on site by 7:30 am to allow time for registration, changing clothes and dive marking. You may warm up however you like, but we suggest you do so before the jump.

At approximately 9:20 we will assemble for the jump. The divers will go in order of rank. Sharks are first, then Barracuda, Muskies, Northern, Walleye, Minnow and Guppies. Your ranking will be marked on your shoulder before the dive.

Rules: Participation in this event is at your own risk! VERY IMPORTANT You must wear running/tennis shoes! No sandals, flip flops, or bare feet. You must go in hand-in-hand with at least one other person and you must not let go of your partners hand until you are ready to come out of the water.

Tips: Wear a single layer swimsuitmulti-layer cotton shorts can be very cold. Bring a big warm towel. Bring warm clothes and a change of shoes for after the jump.




This was done to benefit a sick leader, not the unit so technically it was not a fundraiser and not subject to BSA rules. The fact they put their scout shirts on after the event was over is irrelevant.

BadenP: I can see why you could've been put on ignore by certain people. If you followed the first link at the start of this post then watched the second video clip where the reporter told mostly of the scout portion, you will see that the boys did, in fact, raise money as a PACK. There were signs in windows in town and the boyscarried signs that said, "Pack 116 is taking the plunge for Dar", while they solicited money. So now let me enlighten you on a little bit of BSA policy (which is taken right from the Money Earning application):


7. Will the fund-raising project avoid soliciting money or gifts? The BSA Rules and Regulations state, Youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money for their chartered organizations, for the local council, or in support of other organizations. Adult and youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money in support of personal or unit participation in local, national, or international events. For example: Scouts and leaders should not identify themselves as Scouts or as a troop participate in the Salvation Armys Christmas Bell Ringing program. This would be raising money for another organization.

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Good day all,


I'd like to take this opportunity to respond to some of the questions/accusations made in this thread. First and for most I'd like to thank those that have shown support what our boys did and why. Also, I'd like to thank those that have asked the "hard" question, and to this I wish to reply. Also, a quick note, I was made privy of this forum by a parent from my den who stumbled across this conversation. She was so taken back by some of the comments that she contacted me right away and sent me the link. I only just joined minutes ago so that I may respond to some of the questions/accusations and possibly shed light on what and how the event came about.


First off, I'm the fella who organized the event. It simply started off as a den activity which I thought my recently awarded Bears would enjoy. What a great way to make the transition from a Wolf to a Bear than to do it by participating in a "Polar Bear Plunge"! When I first suggested it to my den/parents, the boys were all for it, the parents, not so much. Shortly into the planning stage though it was suggested that if we indeed were going to do the plunge, why not have the boys jump for a cause. What better cause then to jump in behalf of our Assistant Cub Master who had recently been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.


So, since I'm somewhat new to scouting myself and not familiar with all of the policies and regulations, I involved our Pack #116, Gateway District and Central Minnesota Council by presenting the idea to them and obtaining their blessing. The Pack left the decision to the District/Council, as this was their first...come to find out it was the same for the District/Council. Actually, their first response to my idea was, Why?????. Upon explaining the chain of events that brought it about, the research I had done with the event organization, ALARC. One quick interjection here, the Star Tribune took my comments out of context. Yes, it is true, when I first spoke to ALARC about our boys making the plunge I did ask if we could wear our uniform. They said it would be best if they didnt, as yes, when the shirts become wet they would stick to their bodies. I then explained to them the significance of wearing the shirt, that it would identify the boys for whom they are and why they were doing the plunge. The saw no real hazard and simply suggested that we have folks set up at the end to get those shirts off quickly. So, as you can read, we didnt go against them, they saw the reason for our request and approved it. Also, if some of you watched the many videos of that mornings event, there were many who wore some sort of extra clothing or costume to make themselves stick out of the crowd. So it isnt a rule, but a suggestion on whether one can or should wear additional clothing in addition to their two requirements, that being a swimsuit and ten-a-shoes. Also, it was because of our story of why the boys wanted to wear their uniform shirts that ALARC took it upon themselves to involve their resources and bring in the many news media that covered our story. By the way, that led our den activity to be boosted up to a Pack level event, however, we didnt have much time to make it a pack level event, as we were only notified a couple days prior to the event of ALARCs doings. As I said, I had originally set it up as a den activity a month prior to the event, so we had time to properly plan, get training, and approval for the event. In case someone started reading that this was a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants operationit wasnt.


But alas, Im getting ahead of myself. As I said, I researched the event. I spoke with organizers, which have been hosting this event for nineteen consecutive yearswith no accidents. To ensure that this is a safe swim event, as stated by Bob, the area was set up with safety in mind. The water started out at roughly 4-1/2 feet to five feet of water, where the rope draped across. Once beyond the rope the water level quickly jumped to 3-1/2 feet and tapered upwards to 3 feet of water where the ladders were in place. They had rescuers in proper attire should the need arise. They also had two EMT vehicles on site along with a dozen qualified divers/cold weather rescuers. Two of them you could see walking along side with drag poles assisting those that chose to be towed through the event. Also, prior to the event commencing, when they first cut the hole in the ice the day before, they had a diver check the bottom of the dive site to ensure that there were no obstacles lurking in the murky path. To ensure that the icy hole didnt freeze over and leave jagged icy edges, a boat motor was set in place to keep the watering churning to keep it from re-freezing. Also I took the safe swim defense course online, which was a provision I needed to meet to properly fill out a tour permit, which I did do and was approved.


Yes, this event isnt for everyone, but as discussed by others, here in Minnesota we are a little more hearty for the colder temperatures. It is not uncommon on days following a long cold snap of sub zero temperatures that you will see us standing outside in our T-shirts or skiing down slopes with nothing more on then pants, shirt, scarf and cap. I know it is hard to phantom. But to put this in a little more perspective, in the early to late fall when the temperatures dip into the mid fifties, youll see everyone running around in heavy jackets hunkered down trying to keep warm. But by mid winters end, a fifty degree day and youll see sun bathers out!


Once again, Im not saying this event is for everyone, but a lot of thought, preparation, and safety was considered before we took the actual plunge. Personally, and I was the fella who jumped in with the two scouters, one my son, and the other one of the boys is from my den; but I really never got cold. It could have been that I was on a natural high that day. But I really never got cold. My assistant den leader, who cant even take a luke warm shower, said the same. Now not everyone reacted the same, but no one really had a chance to get that cold. Yes, one of the boys, actually it was Dar Durants son, Jesse, who made the comment, I knew it was going to be cold, but I didnt think it would hurt! He himself said hed do it again. Anyway, we had them out of their shirts and inside a warming hut within minutes of the event. Actually, the boys all have said they do it again next year. At this point and time, about half the pack has said the same. Well have to see. To follow upthe two boys that started the jump are WEBLOS IIs and as previously mentioned, one of those boys is the son of the fella we jumped for. The fella that jumped after me is my assistant den leader, and he jumped with his son. The next up was one of my den parents and his scouter. He was followed up by our Cub Master and his son and the Committee Chair and her daughter. All and all we had seven scouts jump and four leaders with one additional parent and sibling. Yes, the buddy system was used throughout the event. Yes, we got permission to only wear the shirts. They were in full uniform for the early morning interviews. But minutes prior to the event commencing, we switched into our swimsuits and approved shirt only. We also had every other button un-buttoned so that we could quickly get them out of their shirts upon rising from the icy waters at the end. Yes, we had council approval for obtaining pledges. The Durants had a cancer fund that was created for their benefit, that was what the news media ran. That cancer fund is outside of the pledges the boys obtained from friends and family. We did not go door to door and solicit money, so we are not in violation of the fundraising BSA rulesat least the way I interpret them and the way the Council approved the fundraising. So once again, we were not in violation of that either.


So, as Bob has pointed outwhat BSA rules have we violated? One person referenced seven possible violations, but chose not to state what they were. Not sure how I can respond to that. I need to know what those alleged violations are to see if whether or not we were in violation or not. As to the comment about the young lady who passed out from the shock of the water. Sadly, one can pass out from many different things. The boys were waiting in eighteen degree air temperature minutes to the plunge, waiting for our turn. The water is at 32 degreesplus or minus. It has to be at least 32 degrees or it will be ice. And actually, it is slightly warmer than 32 degrees, as it is the lower air temperature that causes the ice to form. Anyway, in all actuality, the water was warmer then the air temperature. So it wasnt as big of a shock to the system as would have been if you are standing in seventy or eighty degree air temperature and jumping into 32 degree temperature water.


Once again, I appreciate all of the comments, both good and bad. I hope my comments will shed some light on how the event came about, the preparation that was involved, and the safety swim measures put in place to ensure it was a fun and pleasant activity for those boys that participated. And yes, at this time, it is an event that is being planned as a repeat. Some of you, by the comments youve made, wont like to hear that. But, well, sorry, I cant make everyone happy. Im only trying my best to do what is in the best interest of our scouts and to ensure we live by the mottos from the scouting program and those Ive learned from my military back ground.




Lawrence J. Swanz


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Lawrence, thanks for the reply. It is great you took the time to join this forum and give us the background information about the event. I still think it was great what you and your pack did. Keep up the good work...

and Happy Scouting!

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I felt compelled, as a lot of the arguing that was taking place on the thread was due to "assumptions", and I figured I could answer a lot of those "assumptions" and set the record straight.


Anyway, it was a great time, one we hope to repeat in future years. With that being said, we are in hopes that we will be celebrating his remission...


Lawrence J. Swanz


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Lawrence...first welcome, and Kudo's to you and your boys on a great effort. I feel it not only was for a good caused but showed that these boys are of as hearty stock as any other Minnesotan.


I really feel that the BSA has become so risk adverse that there seems to be a no-no for just about every event you can think up. Being close to the Canadian border we avail ourselves to Scouts Canada events once or twice a year. They have events for the Scouts that would give some of the hand-wringers on this forum the vapors!


All the best for your colleague and keep us up to date.


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Thanks...we are proud of what the boys achieved...facing their fears and jumping into what they new was going to be dark, cold, murky waters...but they did it because of their Assistant Cub Master. The boys still talk about the event...and are still pretty pumped about it all!


Lawrence J. Swanz


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