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jps

Swimmer test

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This is somewhat off point, but one has to be careful around hot springs too. Lethal bacteria often live in the pools formed by these springs. If one goes in the water, one should be careful to keep your head above the water at all times.

 

As to the original question, I guess that I would cut Youngblood some slack on this. I think we should trust the judgment of those we put in positions of responsibility such as aquatics director.

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Or an anatomy major! If the organism is that infectious, a nose clip won't help...it will enter through the mouth and then go up into the nose, since they are all connected. That would not meet the definition of "safe swimming area" as required in Safe Swim Defense.

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Like I yell to anyone who has fallen out of a canoe, "Don't swallow!". I guess I didn't want to think about the hot springs thing but you're right, Staph city!

 

Scoutldr, I'm not sure that the Safe Swim guidelines can address pathogens unless some gov agency is testing the waters and providing the info. The rate of these infections (amebic) is very low but nice to remember. And these organisms are EVERYWHERE. ASM1, they're out to get you too!

 

Theoretically it would be possible to become infected through the mouth but most concern is about the openings that don't have convenient closing mechanisms (like the nose). But you're right, witnessing one of my boys who needed to throw up a quantity of pizza but kept his mouth clamped shut...yep, mozarella cheese drooling out the nose. Nice.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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As with most threads, we digress....

 

However, it is an interesting point that the safe swim defense guidelines say nothing about being reasonably sure that the water is safe. You are supposed to check the water for obstructions, but I don't think the guidelines say anything about the quality of the water per se. I would not expect leaders to carry around testing equipment that they wouldn't know how to use anyway, but leaders should inform themselves about water conditions before they go on outings where swimming may occur. I know this is what I have done. But the fact that checking with local authorities or other knowledgeable sources is not included in the guidelines is serious oversight. Hey BW, call up your buddies at national and suggest these guidelines be modified.

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I know not all parents are like me, but MY kids had to learn to swim comfortably in deep water without aids such as noseclips or goggles before I let them go out in a boat or to friend's swim parties. It was a parental requirement, not unlike the requirement to do homework or clean their rooms. My reasoning was that a panicked child can manage to drown with a flotation aid on, and a calm one can survive even without particularly good swimming skills. That meant that they had to get over the wet face fear.

 

My three children accomplished this level of competence at the ages of 4 (first son), 2 (daughter), and .... um, about 10(middle son). Kids are VERY different. The middle one still doesn't want to windsurf at age 14. Too much chance of getting dunked. Younger daughter, older son both closely resemble fish.

 

So OK, if the determination is that requiring "no goggles or noseplug" is adding a requirement, I don't see that the counselor has a choice. But I'd sure keep tryiing to get the boy more comfortable in the water, suggest more water activities to the parents, a water park trip for the troop...whatever it takes....

 

Here in South Texas most lakes and rivers have the evil amoebae in them - warm water helps them grow and thrive. We sail, waterski and canoe anyway, but do definitely advise not snorting the water. That said, a waterskiing spill will force water into any number of unpleasant places, so there's a certain level of daredevil associated with these water sports.

 

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Sager scout, good points. I have taken it further when possible, I ask the scouts to jump in the pool with a PFD on so they can see how it feels and why they need to fit it properly. Some of the same skills they need for some of the watercraft MB, but may not have been taught.

 

On the good ship JPS, the family does man overboard drills, abandon ship drills(no great height involved on this craft) and how to run the boat when Dad fell off drill. These are not scout activities, but mostly stuff that I think are important to know. Some of these things I found out how to do the hard way, but everyone involved in those incidents are still sworn to secrecy.

 

JPS

 

 

 

 

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YoungBlood, SagerScout, and JPS all make the same point. Swimming, while a rank requirement, is also an important survival skill. How many people have died needlessly because they didn't know how to swim? I learned to swim at a young age, and we always enrolled our children in swimming classes at the earliest available opportunity. I also like the idea of having scouts going into the water wearing PFDs as a training exercise so they understand the fit, etc. Getting boys to be able to swim to survive means getting them away from goggles and nose clips sooner rather than later.

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When I think of the swim test, I don't think of swimming merit badge and rank advancement. Instead, I think this determines whether or not he is safe to go canoeing, sailing, waterskiing, swimming in crowded deep ends of pools and lakes and etc. It is for that reason that I would have major concerns about any boy who NEEDED googles and a noseclip to pass the swim test.

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I totally agree with youngblood in this. i am an aquatics director and in my area i am responsible for the safty of each child and leader who comes through my camp. lets say we have a scout who passes the swim test with flying colors. althoug he needs those aid which have been discussed. theres no doubt the child is at swimmer level. but, do i feel safe with him playing in the deep end during open swim? i'll tell you what i would do. after this kid passes his test i'd ask him to take off the aids and simply jump in. if he's downright terrified at the idea then you can be sure he will not make swimmer in my aquatics program. safe swim defence and safty afloat were designed so that accidents just dont happen. that however depends on the vigilance of the lifeguards, directors, and adult leaders who run the aquatics programs. if anyone of those people are not totally sure of each scouts level of skill than that person has failed the guidlines put forth by safty afloat and safe swim denfence. if i have a scout who panics when his goggles come off despite being an excellent swimmer with them on then i have a safty issue.

sure, lots of us dont like having chlorine in their eyes. i dont have a problem with this kid wearing them when he's in the pool having fun. but as the qualified supervision at my camp i have to know that if they come off he will be ok.

some of you are saying you dont feel swimming is a survival skill. i firmly believe it is. not only is it important if the scout wants to partake in aquatics activities but it is a skill that builds condfidence. confidence in one self branches out to everything that person does. that aside, if a scout is taking aquatics badges in my camp, he better be able to swim without those aids.

talking about organisms and such, that is just getting away from the topic all together. if we're gonna bring up everyone reason under the sky as to why ear plugs and goggles are usefull aids then we're bringing up a whole new discusion. the duscusion here is, if a child who NEEDS those things should be considered a swimmer under BSA policy. well, its up to the person on charge. in my case, and in the aquatics areas i'm in charge of i'd say no. i do not define a person whoe NEEDS, absolutly NEEDS ear plus and goggles as a strong swimmer.

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As Aquatics Directors you are welcome to be fully responsible for your staff, the safety of the area and the activities that take place there.

 

However, when it comes to advancement, and in this case we are talking about 2nd Class and 1st Class swimming requirements and the Swimming Merit Badge. The Advancement policies of the Boy Scouts of America are specific. No individual or unit has the authority to add to or subtract from any advancement requirement. Your job as an aquatics director does not exempt you from that national regulation nor does it force any scout to do anything other than the requirements in his handbook in order to pass his advancement. What you want to accept as far as a swimmer in the pool or water front areas is between you and the camp director. But you cannot refuse a scout the opportunity to pass his advancement requirements if he wants to wear nose clip and goggles.

 

You do not have to agree with the advancement regulations but you do have to follow them.

 

Bob White

 

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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The test administrator must objectively evaluate the individual performance of the test, and in so doing should keep in mind the purpose of each test element.

 

"Jump feetfirst into water over the head in depth, level off, and begin swimming. . . ."

The swimmer must be able to make an abrupt entry into deep water and begin swimming without any aids. Walking in from shallow water, easing in from the edge or down a ladder, pushing off from side or bottom, or gaining forward momentum by diving do not satisfy this requirement.

This was taken from the G2SS. I guess now you would have to define "without any aids".

 

 

 

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YoungBlood,

For a Scout to be able to go canoeing or sailing at a Scout camp, he must have earned swimming merit badge.

 

EagleWB,

Excellent point. If "without aids" means any aids then I would have to correct my earlier post and state the Scout should not be considered a swimmer unless he can pass the swimming test without the nose plug and goggles.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Bob,

However, when it comes to advancement, and in this case we are talking about 2nd Class and 1st Class swimming requirements and the Swimming Merit Badge.

 

I believe if we go back to the beginning of this thread we will see the question that was asked was whether or not a scout can pass the swimmers test with aids (goggles and nose plug). At no point did jps or I say we were talking about rank advancement. I always spoke of the swim test that is required for determining a scout's swimming ability.

 

Ed,

You are mistaken; swimming merit badge is required to take canoeing and sailing merit badge. However, any scout classified as a swimmer may take part in open sailing and open boating.

 

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i'd have to do some research but as far as i know in order to pass the swim test a scout or scouter must do so in a "strong" manner. the word strong in this respect is up for interpretation. it is the job of the qualified adult in charge to make that interpretation. if a camp only offered pool activities then perhaps a scout who needed goggles wouldnt be such a big deal. but in my case, we have a whole bay in addition to a pool. my instructors can not be within ten feet of each sailboat or canoe. with that said it is crucial that each scout be able to handle the water without his ear plugs and goggles.

i may not be able to add requirements but i can interpret phrases such as "in a strong manner." its important that the person in charge of an aquatics area interpret such phrases in the safest way for their respective activities.

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Bob White is correct on advancement regs but the spirit of that should apply to such activities outside strict advancement. In the past I've had a few boys whose doctors required earplugs for watersports. Under the extraordinary approach presented by AquatDir those boys would never be allowed to participate in any aquatic activities, advancement or not. That would have been wrong. FYI, our camp applies no such extra requirements. As a matter of fact, now that my memory is finally working, this reminds me of a non-BSA-camp director (no lie!) whose personal opinion was that PFDs were only for wimps who couldn't swim. He did not allow anyone in a canoe, for example, WITH a PFD. A rigid policy, yes,...there are some other terms I would use to describe it as well.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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