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Renax127

Requirement Sign Off

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I've fournd that good reference skills are invaluable when it comes to taking the BS out of the BSA.  It's amazing what you hear -  "the boys can't take a hke around summer camp without two adults"; "sheath knives are banned in the BSA"; "alcohol stoves are against GSS"; "SM's need to sign off on all requirements"; "you need to pass the swim test to go on a canoing trip" -- the list of myths goes on and on.

 

And for the record, hedgehogs and beavers look very different.   :D

You need to pass the swim test to go on a canoeing trip, unless it's flat water and you are in the canoe with an adult who has passed the swim test.

 

From G2SS, Safety Afloat.

 

3. Swimming Ability

Operation of any boat on a float trip is limited to youth and adults who have completed the BSA swimmer classification test. Swimmers must complete the following test, which must be administered annually.

 

Jump feetfirst into water over the head in depth. Level off and swim 75 yards in a strong manner using one or more of the following strokes: sidestroke, breaststroke, trudgen, or crawl; then swim 25 yards using an easy, resting backstroke. The 100 yards must be completed in one swim without stops and must include at least one sharp turn. After completing the swim, rest by floating.

 

For activity afloat, those not classified as a swimmer are limited to multiperson craft during outings or float trips on calm water with little likelihood of capsizing or falling overboard. They may operate a fixed-seat rowboat or pedal boat accompanied by a buddy who is a swimmer. They may ride in a canoe or other paddle craft with an adult swimmer skilled in that craft as a buddy. They may ride as part of a group on a motorboat or sailboat operated by a skilled adult.

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I simply told him he would have to learn this stuff or accept the possibility of standing around watching a loved one die because the ambulance took too long getting there.  Some of the adults and parents felt that was a bit harsh to tell an 11 year old.

 

As a Scouter (and Parent) who is frequently accused of using over-the-top hyperbole to make a point, this made me laugh.

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I don't agree with that approach as I accept the model of "once it's awarded, it's awarded."  However I will say that I think the hurdle to have things awarded is often too low.  I'm focused on the cubs now, but the general low standards theme is the same.  Too many times I've seen kids get recognized for something they never should have earned.  For example, if the requirement says "demonstrate" then the scout should have to demonstrate and not just be there as someone else talked about something.

 

That's where training your Instructors and limiting who can sign off comes in. In our unit only a small group of guys can sign off. It is the same group of scouts who teach the skills to the new scouts. They use the EDGE method for everything. The rule is: If you cannot show proficiency you don't get signed off. Usually it takes a full year or more for the new scouts to really learn the skills, but when they learn it the skill usually stays learned. ;)

 

Now, where folks of good conscience may disagree is in how the requirements are applied. For example take this SC requirement: "Demonstrate how a compass works and how to orient a map. Explain what map symbols mean."

 

Some units will teach this once and as long as the scout can show how to orient a compass, maybe know the compass parts and show how to orient a map, they will pass him.

 

In my unit the Instructors use EDGE. The scout learns how the compass works. They learn the parts of the compass and what they are for. They learn not only how to orient a map, but how to orient a compass on a map, find their location and find a path from Point A to Point B. They learn the map symbols too. They then follow EDGE and have to literally teach it back to the Instructor. At the end of the session there is a Q&A. Usually we have a troop meeting a week or so later where we hid pizzas or something else in a near by park and the patrols must use their map and compass skills to find the stash. The new scouts are usually the guys using the map and/or compass.

 

[getting up on soapbox]

 

Some may consider our method overkill, but when it comes to core scouting skills (navigation, camping, water safety, first aid, pioneering, cooking, citizenship, survival, etc.) these are life skills that should be learned well and practiced often so that when you need to call upon them they are there. Quizzing Timmy once on how to use a map and compass (or carrying his ten essentials) will not help him when he's lost and needs to draw on these skills. Here is a tragic case in point. A series of misjudgments led to his death. A sad case which I believe could be prevent by hammering home to everyone (scouts and adults alike) that being outdoors requires training and preparation. 

 

[\getting down off soapbox] 

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I remember when those not classified as a Swimmer had to ride with a certified lifeguard. I remember not going to summer camp, hence not taking the annual swim test, one year. The troop had a canoe trip planned and I had to ride in teh canoe with a 16 or 17 year old Scout that I certified as a YMCA lifeguard. :rolleyes:

 

Me personally, if I had a non-swimmer or beginner swimmer, I rather have them with a 16 or 17 year old certified lifeguard than an adult who can barely pass the swim test.

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This is different than advancement.   BSA advancement rules are a promise to the scout.  G2SS rules are the minimum for safety expected by BSA.  I, as a unit leader, can add more if I believe it necessary.  If people protest, either they can go elsewhere or I can give up responsibility for the unit.

 

Swim test not required for canoeing.  Who would have thought ... 

 

 

 

Agree on the unit lead adding safety requirements beyond BSA. My brother's district had a fatality year back due to safety afloat issues. Adding a few common Coast Guard rules would have prevented that boy's death.

 

Swim test is sort of required. You need to know every Scout's (and adult's) ability. Unless they have taken a swim test you don't know their level. I guess you could assume anyone not having taken a swim test is a non-swimmer....but then you need a lot of "swimmer" adults to chauffeur them around. ;) We do a test every year prior to our canoe trip. Anyone who doesn't pass or does not take it is classified non-swimmer.

 

 

 

Actually, the Firem'n Chit does not require the scout to start a fire. 

 

Murphy's Law says that they won't be able to start a fire when they need to, but will easily start a fire when cooking. ;)

Edited by Mozartbrau

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Pargolf:   Not so crazy..  WRONG!  I would hope someone in that Troop, the Committee, the Commissioner, someone , would take the SM aside and remind him that   "A Scout is Trustworthy"   and that , according to the training he must have had ( sometime in the distant past) ,  he is not really following the BSA standards. 

 

If the Scout can't tie a bowline, the fault must be addressed in the training in his Patrol or Troop, NOT in his BoR.  Patrol competitions,  camping trips (where bowlines are needed), even asking the Scout to demonstrate the knot for his buds, to hone the skill and keep it "useful",,,,but once he has passed it , he has "passed" it.

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SSScout, totally agree. This was a while ago and I do know if they still do it or not. I didn't know that this was wrong until I changed troops and took training so I was the newbie. However, when I did mentio this stuff to leaders that were still in the troop it didn't matter. This was one of those troops where the CC and a lot of the committee had been with the troop for years and years and they were "large and in charge" so to speak. Again it has been quite a while since I have spoken to people in the troop so I hop things have changed.

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Oh no... I didn't mean to create a controversy!  On the swim test, that comment was raised in the context of using two person canoes on lake and in the context of new cross overs not being able to go at all because they hadn't passed the swim test last summer at camp.  Our solution was to require parents to accompany the new scouts (some of whom were better swimmers than the adults) rather than telling them they can't go period.  Sorry for the confusion on that.

 

I agree that Troops can set their own saftey rules in excess of G2SS, but too often adults go with rules they think are mandated by BSA because that is what their troop followed 20 years ago or what someone told them during training.

 

Ultimately, the best approach is to understand what the BSA limits are and then make a reasoned decision of any further restrictions that are necessary.

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I have done whitewater canoeing for 25+ years with scouts of all ages and swim ability.  All canoes are two-manned.  Unless there is an odd number, then either the strongest canoeist goes solo or a non-swimmer gets to enjoy the scenery.

 

All boys, whether they are swimmers or not, undergo training on canoes prior to the trip.

 

Each canoe has one experienced canoeist in the rear and a less or no experienced canoeist in the front.  The non-swimmers are always with a swimmer adult or their parent.

 

The reason for the newbies in the front of the canoe is to give them experience with the canoe and basically provide ballast for the canoe to keep the front down.  This is how one of my boys earned the nickname "Box-O-Rocks" when he dumped me in the drink.

 

The whitewater river I use has only 1 and 2 level rapids and is pretty much knee to waist deep in the rapids areas. 

 

Two experienced kayakers always go with the group because they have the speed and agility to react quickly if necessary.  Block and tackle, sheath knife and hand-axe also accompany the float.

 

Know your limits and the limits of the group and adjust accordingly. 

 

Have I had boys spill in the rapids?  Yep.  Have I seen  empty 17' canoes come down the rapids end over end?  Yep.  Have I had to cut boys out of a canoe that got tangled in gear?  Yep.  Has anyone been killed?  Nope.  Seriously injured?  Nope.  Injured at all?  Nope.  Gotten soaked and scared half to death?  Yep, but then that's what makes it an adventure.

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Oh no... I didn't mean to create a controversy!  

 

LOL....no worries. There's no controversy. There would have been had the swim test instructor been non-heterosexual.  ;)

 

[i kid, I kid, but you guys know it's true]

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As a Scouter (and Parent) who is frequently accused of using over-the-top hyperbole to make a point, this made me laugh.

 

I don't see this as hyperbole at all.  It is the truth.  It's why scouting teaches first aid and life saving skills - to be able use them as necessary.   I know what you're getting at here, but reality is first aid skills do not earn a comedy badge.  I think it's good that the scouts hear what the alternative is to not learning the skills.  It many cases there is no second chance.

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Oh no... I didn't mean to create a controversy!  On the swim test, that comment was raised in the context of using two person canoes on lake and in the context of new cross overs not being able to go at all because they hadn't passed the swim test last summer at camp.  Our solution was to require parents to accompany the new scouts (some of whom were better swimmers than the adults) rather than telling them they can't go period.  Sorry for the confusion on that.

 

I agree that Troops can set their own saftey rules in excess of G2SS, but too often adults go with rules they think are mandated by BSA because that is what their troop followed 20 years ago or what someone told them during training.

 

Ultimately, the best approach is to understand what the BSA limits are and then make a reasoned decision of any further restrictions that are necessary.

 

 

Unless the water was too cold, I would have run a quick swim test. Doesn't take more than about 15 minutes or so. 

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First time I went canoeing with my son (on a Troop visit) they had him ride with me despite me asking if he could ride with one of the scouts. Anyway, we managed to dump the canoe within 500 yards, we were in a spring and he wanted to see the bottom so leaned WAY over and I reacted ... um ... a little too strongly the other way. 

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Rule #1 in a canoe.  If you want to see the bottom up close, just lean over and look down.  :) 

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