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jps

Swimmer test

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Youngblood, respond or not, I accept that we all are concerned about water safety. I don't see how you could conclude that I am not if you had completely read some of my earlier posts. I am also concerned with fairness. If you and AquatDir were identical (don't worry your secret is safe with me), then you at least would be consistent with each other. You have to admit, where different people and practices are applied to the waterfront, there are also different levels of safety associated with them. That is where standards and regulations are important. This whole thread, in some sense, was started on what some would characterize as a trivial subject, unlikely to take a prominent place in the annals of waterfront safety. But as the thread developed, I seem to disagree with you in my contention that clear, unequivocal safety and performance standards are needed. I could be wrong. But if we are in agreement on the basic standards, why not on something like the intepretation of 'swim aids'? All I am asking is for unequivocal wording so the boys are treated in an evenhanded manner. I attempted to demonstrate this need by poking holes in your and AquatDir's logic. It was pretty easy. If you can't further defend those positions, then by all means, don't respond. But the whole mess would go away if the regs were simply changed to provide greater clarity. You clearly have the interest, why not make the attempt, then, to make the regs clearer? I look to the pros like you guys to do these things. Otherwise they are left to people who either don't have the interest or else they don't have the knowledge.

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Let me make sure I understand something.....we are talking about Boy Scouts here, correct? From age 11 to 18? Just curious, how often do you find a boy in that age range who is terrified of being in the water without a noseclip and goggles? If they are that terrified, I would think they wouldn't want to get in the water in the first place. Just what is so scary about water in your nose and eyes? What am I missing. The main question is this, out of 1,000 swimmers, how many panic if they don't have a noseclip or googles? 1, 2 or 100? The people I know that use them is because they find water in their nose and eyes uncomfortable, not because they are afraid. No different from me preferring wind pants over jeans because they are more comfortable, not because I fear cotton. I'd think a kid would be more paniced by his boat capsizing than whether he had his aids on. Put in a position of having to swim for their life from the middle of the lake, I think they'd really care less whether they had goggles on or not. Again, if they are truely afraid, why would they get near the water in the first place?

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Good points kwc57. I suspect we are talking about a very few boys here. However, as joining ages get pushed every younger, these situations are more likely to occur.

 

A word about civility. Nobody doubts the good faith and interest in safety of anybody who has chimed in on this thread. I have found the viewpoint of the two qualified aquatics directors particularly interesting since these are people we do not hear from very often. Be all that as it may, everybody should lighten up. You'd think we were rehashing the gay issue in post no 21,427.

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KWC57, quite right. I have never seen anyone that afraid unless there was 'gator nearby. H'mmm, well, maybe a few women...let's see that was the time a snake was hanging in the branches...so many fond memories.

Eisely, civility it is. 10-4

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packsadle, sorry about the quote misunderstanding. i am writing in a cyber cafe at 20 min time limits and the post didnt click till my next computer visit. i'll admit i have been getting into this discussion and it may have caused me to be a bit hasty. i however stand by the things i've said. this was the orginal post:

 

I am working with a scout who insists that he needs to wear a nose plug and goggles when swimming. (This is a work in progress, and I am quite aware that the goal is to not depend on these aids.)

 

However, several of my esteemed fellow scouters insist that the scout can not pass the swimmer test while wearing them. They refer to past experiences at summer camp, during which the testers told the scouts they can not wear goggles or noseplugs. I ask them to quote me chapter and verse of the requirements that states he can not wear the goggles and nose plug when taking the test.

 

its been established that noseplugs or goggles have not been directly banned from the swim test. so, the arguement is under what rule, regulation, guidline, whatever can i not pass that scout. what i have been trying to make clear is that i am obligated to that scout and the scouts around him in the pool, to make sure he will be ok without those aids. the scout in the original post insists on wearing them. again, we go to the situation at hand. is he insisting because he's scared. well, we really dont know. maybe he's just stuborn. IF the situation was he was scared without them, THEN we have a problem. we can prevent this problem, however, before it becomes a safty issue by giving the boy beginner and working with him.

as adult leaders in charge of boys i dont think we should get all hoped up on what each regualtion says word for word so much as what is the safest thing to do. of course, this doesnt mean breaking rules or making new one as we go. it simply means training adults to know how to make a judgement call when needed. the sad truth is that there are some people out there who will make the wrong call or an unfair call. well, thats the trust your putting into the staff at summer camps and the adults who take your kids camping. when at camp this summer, by all means make sure your scouts are being treated equally, but if you know your scout is going to panic in the water without those goggles(or any other situation along those lines), dont fight it just because its not in a book somwhere. you could be putting him and others in danger.

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AquatDir, A couple of years ago, I found and greatly enjoyed a cybercafe in Slovakia (it had a really tacky Elvis theme at the time). Being the only American in town at that time was kind of fun but I sympathize with the 20 minute window you have. I wonder that you were able to cram some of your responses into that amount of time.

I also sympathize with your conundrum as an aquatics director as well as the care you are exercising with the boy you mention. As I told Youngblood, I see unclear regulations as a source of confusion and argument. I think clear, specific regulations leave less to interpretation...especially by the persons you mention who seem to want to argue this or that. I also see clear, unequivocal regulations as more capable of being applied in a fair and evenhanded manner. I think your job would be easier if you didn't have to argue these points, wouldn't you agree? It sure would require less time in cyberspace.

 

There is one more thing, Bob White will pounce if anyone suggests that regulations are not to be followed exactly, no more, no less. And boy, does that guy know them. Just a friendly warning.

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I am amazed that a simple question generated so much passionate discussion...but pleasantly so. I think we can all agree that safety of our young charges is the #1 priority in any Scouting function. As one who has conducted swim checks every summer, taught swimming, lifesaving, BSA Lifeguard, former Red Cross WSI, yada, yada, yada, I have to side with the aquatics experts here. To quote the G2SS which was found in a previous post, "The swimmer must be able to cover distance with a strong, confident stroke. The 75 yards must not be the outer limit of the swimmer's ability; completion of the distance should give evidence of sufficient stamina to avoid undue risks. Dog-paddling and strokes repeatedly interrupted and restarted are not sufficient; "

 

Obviously, the term, "strong, confident", is subjective and up to the expert conducting the evaluation to determine. I don't know how BSA could make it more specific. So, to me, the Scout who cannot swim without the use of "aids" such as goggles and nose clips, and comes up sputtering, clenching his eyes closed so that he can't see where he's going, thus interrupting his stroke because he can't breathe with proper rhythm (i.e., stopping in mid-stream to get his composure), then he fails the test in my pool. He did not meet the requirement. He is not swimming in a "strong, confident" manner. And I'll be happy to work the rest of the week with him to get to that point. The scout may shed a few tears and the Leader may have a few words with me, but when the scout finally does get that buddy tag colored in, it's a much more satisfying accomplishment.

 

I do the same with BSA Lifeguard candidates...you'd be amazed how many show up for class with their Swimming and Lifesaving MBs on their sash that can't make a decent stroke across the pool. I don't run a "gimme" program. Go back and learn to swim first, then we'll talk about becoming a Lifeguard.

 

 

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Word up scoutldr. the guys arguing agains my points seem to be taking a logical approach. i entered this discusion thinking we were trying to answer a real question, not some hypothetical mumbo-jumbo. currently the BSA does not actualy use the words goggle and nose plugs so people like you, youngblood, and myself must evaluate the guidlines, as well as each boys swimming ability, the best we can so that everyone in our program has a SAFE, and fun time.

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packsadle,

yeah, my job may be easier if the rules simply said no earplus, goggles and such. i mean, i could simply produce document for an angry scoutmaster. but you know what, its not so hard as is. in my aquatics area, like it or not, no person who NEEDS those aids in order to do the actual act of swimming will be givin a swimmer buddy tag. go ahead and poke holes in this statement. i'm sure theres plenty of places to do so. i'm not really concerned about writing a flawless argumenmt here, i dont need to, i know my job come summer time as well as my priorities. i know i have the safty of everyone in my area at the top of my list with fun being a very close second.

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Ok, Scoutldr, I'm still curious and the question remains unanswered...how do the YMCA and Red Cross address the issue? Evidently you have had some experience there. At this point the only way I see to remain consistent would be if there was simply an across-the-board ban on goggles, clips, and other items at all times, even after test-passed. That probably would help with the litter problem as well, not to mention lost-and-found.

AquatDir, I think the logic is important because consistency is important for safety. Suppose one director at one camp allows the 'aids' while another doesn't. Under all the arguments I have heard, these two can't be equally safe...one is safer than the other. As a leader I am interested in evenhanded treatment of my boys but I am also interested in safety first. And I see consistency in the policy as a way to satisfy both of my interests. A simple, flat, ban would do it for me. I injected the health issue more as a point of interest, the risk is very small except for persons with weak immune systems.

 

Oh yeah, and at the end of the week, it would be that much less for the boys to try to find and pack.

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Anyone contact the parent(s), guardian(s), about this scout that has the problem?

 

Just a thought. Yes, Safety first. That is one of the reasons we tip the canoe ( under a controlled situation) first without a PFD and then with a PFD.

 

yis

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AquatDir and Youngblood,

 

I understand your position and respect the job you do. I have been a scoutmaster for a dozen years and carried the BSA Lifeguard certification almost as long.

 

I must agree with Bob White. Go to the Guide to Safe Scouting and read the section on Classification of Swimming Ability. The word aids appears twice and assistance once. In each of these occasions, they are refering to the ability of the person to either start the initial stroke, change strokes or turn. They describe aids as things like easing into the water, using a ladder, the bottom, the dock, etc.

 

The intent of the test is to determine whether the person can demonstrate an ability to swim continuously without aid. I think you interpretation is tortured at best.

 

Please, go back and read the material. The boys taking this test do not need undue stress or unwarrented requirements added. If they can swim effectively and confidently with or without goggles and clips, they are a swimmer.

 

As for the original question from jps. The Guide makes it clear. Read it and share it with your fellow scouters. If the staff at the beach is wrong on a policy, it would not be the first time in my experience.

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I will ask this question once more. I address this question to anyone in opposition to AquatDir and my policy on the issue. If you discover that a boy cannot pass the swim test unless he is wearing goggles and a nose clip, are you going to classify him as a swimmer and permit the boy to participate in all aquatic activites(boating, sailing, waterskiing, swimming in crowded areas, etc...) at camp?(This message has been edited by YoungBlood)

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No.

 

I would let him do the test with the nose plugs & goggles. I would then tell him he needs to complete the test without the nose plugs & goggles.

 

I have never run into this situation in Boy Scouts. Cubs yes but Boy Scouts, no.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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