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StillLoomans

Prerequisites For Mbs At Summer Camp.

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Trying to figure this out. A scout wants to take the Lifesaving MB. The camp prerequisite says he needs the Swimming MB first. The Swimming MB is not a requirement for the Lifesaving MB.  Parent says it's adding to the requirements and not allowed, and wants me (Advancement Chair) to push it with the camp. While I don't feel the need to jump just because a parent says to, I'd like to get this squared away in my own mind. 

 

The situation seems similar to pre-requisites at MB colleges and the like that call for scouts to be a certain age, for example, 14 years old, to do more complex merit badges like Personal Management. It's a way to make sure the scout is ready for the work. My thought has been that merit badge counselors have discretion on who they chose to work with, and that applies here. 

 

What say you?

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I see it as the camp trying to do a good job, and protect themselves from getting a poor swimmer into a class where he can't complete the requirements.  Since it's a camp 'prerequisite', it's not adding to requirements because the scout was never approved to start the badge.  MBCs are not required to teach to every scout.

 

If the scout is a strong swimmer and can prove it, perhaps you can ask the camp to allow him to take Swimming and Lifesaving during the same cycle.

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Don't think it matters what we say. The camp has this as a pre-requisite most likely for safety reasons. I have seen camps say no one without rifle/shotgun MB can go to the range.

 

I think your inclination is correct: Call the camp and talk to the director. In the end they are the ones who will make the decision.

 

IMHO, I think it is silly NOT to have Swimming MB be a pre-requisite for Lifesaving MB.

  • Upvote 1

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Let me clarify, again. I don't think the prerequisite is out of line. I am not interested in fighting the prerequisite. I want to understand why such a prerequisite is not adding to the requirements for the merit badge for my own understanding. I'm looking more at the general issue than the situation with just this scout.

 

JoeBob, I agree except the Lifesaving MB requirements already seem to consider your points. Not quite the same as the Swimming MB, but the first requirement weeds out poor swimmers.

 

 

1. Before doing requirements 2 through 15

a. Complete Second Class requirements 7a through 7c and First Class requirements 9a through 9c.

Second Class requirements 7a through 7c

7.a. Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe swim.

7.b. Demonstrate your ability to jump feet first into water over your head in depth, level off and swim 25 feet on the surface, stop, turn sharply, resume swimming, then return to your starting place.

7.c. Demonstrate water rescue methods by reaching with your arm or leg, reaching with a suitable object, and by throwing lines and objects. Explain why swimming rescues should not be attempted when a reaching or throwing rescue is possible, and explain why and how a rescue swimmer should avoid contact with the victim.

First Class requirements 9a through 9c

9.a. Tell what precautions should be taken for a safe trip afloat.

9.b. Successfully complete the BSA swimmer test.

9.c. With a helper and a practice victim, show a line rescue both as tender and as rescuer. (The practice victim should be approximately 30 feet from shore in deep water).

b. Swim continuously for 400 yards using each of the following strokes in a strong manner for at least 50 continuous yards: front crawl, sidestroke, breaststroke, and elementary backstroke.

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@@StillLoomans, technically they are not adding to the requirements to obtain the Lifesaving MB in that they are not saying you have to earn the Swimming MB as part of the curriculum for Lifesaving. Rather, they are saying at their camp you must take and earn Swimming before you can take the Lifesaving MB. There's a discrete difference.

 

It would be as Philmont required you to have hiking or backpacking before going on a trek. The camp is making this a pre-requisite to the activity and not part of the badge.

 

Still, in the end only the camp and/or council advancement committee can really answer your question as to why this was done. I also think that only national can answer the question as to whether it is additive to the actual Lifesaving requirements or not. People here will offer good opinions, but only national can answer your ultimate question.

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I have had to aggravatingly deal with more than one first year scout parent on this very issue. I'm at a loss to why they want their 11 year old son to earn this badge at their first summer camp. So I can fully appreciate the camp wanting some prier BSA documentable proof the scout is qualified to sign up for the badge before the troop arrives to camp. It saves time and hassle in the long run.

 

Barry

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At one time wasn't having Swimming MB a requirement for Lifsaving? I agree why would a parent want her son to work on one before the other?

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For Lifesaving MB, the scout needs to be a strong swimmer.  Not someone who just passed Swimming MB.

They don't offer Lifesaving to non-swimmers.  Is that adding to the requirements?  Then neither is offering Lifesaving only to proven strong swimmers who have enough time in the water to be comfortable, as evidenced by the Swimming merit badge.

 

'10 -In deep water, show how to escape from a victim's grasp on your wrist. Repeat for front and rear holds about the head and shoulders.'

 

Requirement 10 resembles water polo in actuality, and it looks like they have eliminated the 'approach under the surface and spin the victim away from you' attack method of non-voluntary rescue.  Lifesaving requires a larger body and maturity to deal with frantic victims.  Requiring 'Swimming' is way to age the candidates.  

 

And requiring Swimming improves the quality of the graduates.  Having Lifesaving imparts some other privileges, and responsibilities. 

Edited by JoeBob

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Our camp not only had the pre-requisite of the Swimming merit badge but also something else that insured some age/muscles to the boy, for what JoeBob said.. If you have a 17 or 18 year old trying to pull and 11 year old under the 17 or 18 yo will most likely win as the younger has not matured enough to have the needed muscle mass..

 

The MB counselor (or camp) has the freedom to choose if they wish to accept be a counselor to a scout for a merit badge based on whatever standards they set to assure the scout has the ability to do the MB,  if they personally have the time for it (they may have family matters that are taking up their time for the foreseeable future), even if based on knowing the scout if they personally think the time would be beneficial for either of them (although they may lighten that up by a white lie and tell them they do not have the time rather then saying they are a nagging whining kid they choose not to work with.. Bottom line a MBC is not forced to work with anyone they choose not to. That is not adding to the requirements, it is simply allowing the MBC to feel comfortable with the scouts they work with..

 

The scout is free to look elsewhere for the MBC.. They are not required to take it at camp, or with the person in their troop who teaches it..  Unless this scout is truly older and for some reason has no interest in the Swimming MB but just the lifesaving one, I would not recommend it,  but since the scout is free to find a different MBC you could work with him on a list of eligible MBC's off the district list, and he could call any of them to see if they have no qualms about doing Lifesaving with him before he does the swimming MB.. Still with all of them, it will be up to them to accept the scout or not.

Edited by moosetracker

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  I do remember at one time many of the camps in my area had first year scouts do Swimming MB, for those that could not swim they had instructional swimming. I agtree though that Lifesaving does require one to be a strong swimmer not just comfortable in water. I just think that instead of listing all the swimming requirements for second and first class as they do today, the first requirement at one time simply said earn Swimming MB which includes most of the basic water safety rules and rescues. It also gave the boys a little time to muscle up a little and maybe try Lifesaving their second or third year at camp which did away with little 11 year old boys signing up for Lifesaving the first year. Know some boys who had swimming but never had the strength or ability to complete lifesaving and just went on to do Emergency Prep.

 

  Remember when I was a kid I told my dad that next year I want to work on Lifesaving. He told me that before I even thought about that I needed to come up behind him reach my arms across his chest and carry him back and forth five times in our pool.. Now my dad was a city firefighter and he was tall, like 6'4" Every time dad was in the pool with me we would work on this. At the end of the summer he told me he felt that I now had the strength to do Lifesaving and asked me if I wanted to he would sign me up for the Red Cross lifesaving course at the local YMCA. After the 8 weeks of 3 hour classes each Saturday I had earned my Red Cross Junior Lifesaving Award. Back then this was something you could sew onto your bathing suit like the Mile Swim patch.

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I took the Red Cross swimming sessions from blowing bubbles to Life Saving as a kid.  I was small but the techniques would give a person a certain a mount of "edge" in a serious situation.  As I grew into adulthood, I felt more confident but now that I'm 64 years old, I would need to return to a high degree of technique to offset my loss of muscle over the years.

 

Having the Life Saving MB does not make one a BSA certified Life Guard, but it does go a long way to assist the boys in knowing certain techniques that might be able to be used to rescue a person in trouble.

 

It's a bit like teaching CPR to an 11-12 year old.  There is no way these boys can do CPR on a 200#+ male.  They simply don't have the upper body strength and weight to accomplish it effectively.  Does that mean we don't teach CPR to these boys?  Like Lifesaving maybe we ought to hold off on the First Aid MB until they are stronger too?   Of course we teach anyway.  If they know the techniques they can teach an un-certified adult in a couple of seconds enough to maybe save a life.  Same for the Lifesaving MB.  It has nothing to do with muscle strength.

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So Stosh if you taught the MB you would be happy to accept an 11 yo without the swimming MB behind them, and you as the MBC could make that call, no one stopping you. But, you can not force that decision on another MBC who would not be comfortable in that situation.

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@@StillLoomans, this is not your problem. The camp wants its lifesaving students to earn swimming MB. So, tell mom or dad the boy can either:

 

1. Contact the swimming MBCs in your district to see if he can earn it before camp then earn lifesaving at camp,

2. Contact the lifesaving MBCs in your district to see if he can earn it before or after camp and swimming at camp, or

3. Earn both badges from an MBC in the district, and have dub building catapults at camp, or

4. Earn lifesaving MBC from a district counselor, and forget swimming and earn hiking or cycling instead, or

5. Earn emergency preparedness instead of lifesaving,

 

Leave the adding to the requirements rhetoric in the garbage can with the fiddle used to play "My Heart Bleeds for You."

 

Meanwhile encourage the SM to suss out how much the boy really wants to earn Lifesaving and why.

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 It has nothing to do with muscle strength.

Ummm...  Disagree.

 

An 11 year old student approaches a 16 year old 'victim ' in deep water.  

Victims are encouraged to struggle as that's an important learning element that encourages rescuers to hone their skills to the point that they are comfortable approaching a victim that is trying to stand on the rescuer's head in the water to get to air.

The larger boy, with more years in the camp lake, would surely be able to put a drubbing on the smaller kid.  Possibly to the point that the rescuer needs saving and the younger scout may develop a fear of trying to rescue, and become uncomfortable in the water.

 

Waiting is good.

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