Jump to content
skeptic

New article online - Too much Safety limits program

Recommended Posts

Gotta keep an eye on National.

 

September Advancement News

"Executive Board approves Limited Exceptions for Certain Swimming Requirements Swimming has been an important part of the BSA program for more than 100 years. For many years, it was necessary for a Scout to complete certain swimming-related requirements or merit badges to advance in rank. Today, advancement to both Second Class and First Class ranks requires completion of several swimming related requirements without allowing for exceptions. Unfortunately, in a few limited cases those requirements have become barriers to advancement rather than the challenges they were meant to be. Of all the individual requirements from Scout to First Class, only the swimming requirements have a resource requirement that can become a barrier to advancement and retention. To complete the swimming requirements a Scout needs access to a swimming pool or a safe outside body of water, which in some locations may not exist or be available within a reasonable travel distance. Geography often makes it difficult for Scouts to get to a place for safe swimming instruction or to be tested for rank requirements. Consequently, those youths have been hindered from advancing and may drop out of the program. Early last year a volunteer task force was established to review the current requirements and make a recommendation to improve advancement opportunities for Scouts in remote locations.

 

After a thorough review and approval by the volunteer program and membership committees, the BSA Executive Board has voted to allow council Scout executives and advancement committees to grant alternative requirements where appropriate. Effective August 1, 2017 the following was added to Second Class requirements 5b and 5c and First Class requirements 6a and 6e:

 

'Under certain exceptional conditions, where the climate keeps the outdoor water temperature below safe levels the year-round, or where there are no suitably safe and accessible places (outdoors or indoors) within a reasonable traveling distance to swim at any time during the year, the council Scout executive and advancement committee may, on an individual Scout basis, authorize an alternative requirement. The local council may establish appropriate procedures for submitting and processing these types of requests. All the other requirements, none of which necessitate entry in the water or entry in a watercraft on the water, must be completed as written.'

 

This exception for alternative requirements is intended to only be used in those limited locations where indoor swimming facilities or safe outside venues are not available or within a reasonable travel distance. This exception must not be used as a convenience to avoid the swimming requirements. Nor does it apply to circumstances where a Scout is having difficulty learning to swim or meeting the swimming requirements when facilities are available. 1. Who has authority to grant the alternative requirements? The council Scout executive and advancement committee is responsible for granting the alternative requirements. They must not delegate this authority to any other group or individual. 2. What alternative requirements are acceptable? That decision is made by the council Scout executive and advancement committee. Local councils are best equipped to make this determination based on any unique characteristics they may face. However, any alternative should provide a similar challenge and learning experience. 3. What is a reasonable travel distance? That is up to the local council to decide. Some geographically large or predominately rural councils face unique travel situations which larger urban or suburban councils do not. For example, councils in Alaska may have several locations where the exception is applicable but metropolitan councils may never have a situation come up where this exception applies. 4. Can the council grant alternatives for all or just some of the requirements? The council may only grant alternatives for the requirements that actually require the Scout to be in or on the water. Those include Second Class requirement 5b and 5c and First Class requirements 6a and 6e. Even if alternatives are approved for these requirements, the Scout still must complete all the other out-of-water requirements as written. 5. Must the Scout complete the out-of-water requirements first? No, although it does make sense to complete Second Class requirement 5a and First Class requirement 6b before doing the other requirements."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see no problem with an Eagle who cannot swim. BSA is making exceptions to everything these days so why not this too. I know guys who suck at camping, cooking, first aid and other required skills so why should swimming be any different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back to the article. It is easy to say if you are not the one who has someone else's sons as your responsibility or if you have not had to deal with a serious injury, etc and had to tell the parents. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We can’t fillet and grill fish for breakfast? There’s really a rule against that?

It may be a summer camp rule--they may not want cooking at campsites or breakfast, but I doubt that it's a National rule.  

 

That said,  I do agree that we are too risk averse, and I think that common interpretations of Leave No Trace (as the Scoutmaster in the article mentions) often limits what we can do.  I think we need to look at the overall safety stance, and reduce the number of rules to a manageable amount.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The best example of this is that it is no longer required that a Scout learns how to swim to advance to the rank of Eagle."

 

Really?  Sure, Swimming Merit Badge maybe an optional required badge (meaning you can earn swimming, hiking or cycling) but in order to become an Eagle Scout, you still have to pass the BSA Swim Test.

 

"I still remember getting blasted at summer camp when a few members of my pack and our leaders went out to canoe at night. Full moon, no wind, we were all in life jackets and all passed the swim test. It was an awesome experience and when we canoed in the waterfront director wanted to kick us out of camp and worse for our leaders."     Did the pack have permission to take the canoes out that night?  If the waterfront director was that hacked off, I think its probably safe to say no.  Your Pack was properly busted - not for canoeing at night but for stealing the summer camps canoes (that's what taking property without permission is called - stealing - not borrowing - stealing).  

Well, it is possible for a scout with disabilities to become an Eagle without knowing how to swim. But that's a rare thing.  I know one of my Tiger Cubs who became an Eagle, worked hard to pass the swim test. He had a fear of  water, and I can remember his troubles as a Tenderfoot and Second Class Scout.  He took some swim instruction, and his dad worked with him, and he eventually go to the point that he could pass the swim test in a pool. Not sure if he could do one in a lake, bayou or pond. That was part of his fear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) Times change. People change. Expectations change.

2)  Yep, if you are disadvantaged sufficiently, you can earn Eagle thru "alternative" requirements.  A wheel chair bound Scout should be  denied Eagle without  a blink? Not very Scout-like to me... 

3)  My Eagle did not include a Service Project.  But then, I learned Morse Code and had to identify constellations.  Things change.

4)  Are today's Scouts too protected?  Possibly. Depends on the Scoutmaster and the helicopter mom that packs the kid's backpack. And the kid that let's her do it.

5)  Are today's Scouts encouraged to hunt and kill animals?  Only if they have a parent that enjoys such and teaches the Scout such.  Scoutson once trapped, butchered and served up a rabbit to his Troop.  His buddies thought it was not as good as the burgers in the other Patrol, he said.  I had nothing to do with it, but thought , wow...  He raised rabbits in 4H (barn had 35 rabbits in it at one point. Mini Rex.  Won some ribbons.)

6)  I know Scouting began in a desire to help make boys more able to be good soldiers. I would like to remind folks that later in his career B-P voiced the hope  that the international brotherhood of Scouting would foster not so much better soldiers for their countries but a more peaceful world.  I often pray that humankind might finally learn from their past mistakes.

7)  Skills, independent thought and confidence in one's judgement, ability to make one's way in the world , either the wild part or the more civilized part.  These are what I found I wanted for Scoutson.  Despite the modern limitations, I think he gained a good deal of all that.   

1. True.

2.  True

3.  yes

4.  That is so true. As an ASM, besides shaming the parents (which I did), I could never get some of them to not pack their Scouts' bags for weekend camp.  As to me, I never once helped my own two sons (both Eagles) pack for camp, other than telling them things like "cold front coming through, better be dressed for it" or "50% chance of rain, remember your rain gear."  My wife did help them pack for Summer camp, their first time, but didn't do it after that.  

5.  I agree that BSA isn't particularly advocating killing animals, but at least in the Fishing MB, killing a fish (either directly or by proxy, for the fish cleaning requirement) is required.  Same with requirements for Fish and Wildlife management.  

6. Yup.

7. I agree totally.  I think that's the strongest lesson that BSA teaches, if the program is followed correctly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I embellished the title.

 

Nearly every day, I wish my sons and my scouts had the Scout program, scouts, and leadership that I had as a youth.

 

Can we reclaim program elements that have been lost? Or will a shelter scout program take hold, maybe scouts will become iscouts where "i" is for inside, internet, and insured?

 

My $0.02,

That would be a shame. The new rank advancement requirements, though, seem to be against the idea of iscouts.  More camping is required for the T21 than before.  The newish Cooking MB requirements were also in the right direction.  Personally, I found the Troop my boys Eagled in is a much better Troop with better program and leadership than the one I was in in the late 1970s.  I'm glad my boys got a better program.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of the scouts I have mentored in the last 40 years just love to learn "woodsy" stuff.  Trail signs, snares, stalking, ( the old kind) fire by friction, felling trees so they fall where you want them to,building different types of fires,which plants they can eat, and the like.   Its not in the books any more so I hold optional classes on camping trips for them as want to learn    No patches or awards.  but I rarely have less than half a dozen scouts every time.  

 

I have had a few scouters tell me that boys don't want or need such skills in 2017.  So if that is true, why are the scouts so proud of their new found skills?

 

Well I gotta go. I have a class or two to teach this afternoon.  I am leaving my light weight backpacking tent and LEDs at home, and am  taking my canvas tent, some deerskins,candle lanterns, and my boy scout sheath knife.

 

Oldscout

Of course the boys don't need those skills, for the most part.  They don't need Boy Scouts at all.   I think a good subset would want those skills.

 

One time another ASM and I were talking about how we could make dishwashing in the patrols easier and more efficient.  Conversation went on for a while, and the most important thing came into my head.  We weren't there to make it more efficient or easier. We were there so the boys could figure out how to make it more efficient or easier (or not, they could do it the hardest most inefficient way).  Our job was to allow the boys to camp, so they could figure things out.  

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see no problem with an Eagle who cannot swim. BSA is making exceptions to everything these days so why not this too. I know guys who suck at camping, cooking, first aid and other required skills so why should swimming be any different.

Except for the disabled, I do think that Eagles should be able to swim to the level we currently require (which, IMHO, is minimal.).  I also think they should required to camp, cook, do first aid, etc. at a certain minimum level.  If I were running the rank requirements, I would personally add 100 nights of camping to the Eagle Requirements (I would allow, however, multiple long term camps to count for half of it).    The true Eagles in my Troop had met that requirement.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK lets say 100 nights.  In the troop I work with it would take a youth 4 years to meet this requirement.  As a unit wee normally have 10 weekend campouts a year and one long term camp. (Summer Camp) which is 26 nights a year.  So for a youth to meet this requirement he would have to have the long term camp all 4 years and could only miss 2 weekend camping trips over a 4 year period to meet this requirement. 

 

Yes it is doable but I feel like it would be over kill for a youth that has met all the other Eagle requirements.  .

Edited by ValleyBoy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Throw in some week long adventures (NYLT, hiking trips, sea base, philmont) it is doable. We had a number of boys get 130+ while doing other extra circulars in High School.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I would personally add 100 nights of camping to the Eagle Requirements (I would allow, however, multiple long term camps to count for half of it).    The true Eagles in my Troop had met that requirement.   

 

 

Throw in some week long adventures (NYLT, hiking trips, sea base, philmont) it is doable. We had a number of boys get 130+ while doing other extra circulars in High School.

 

Yes it is doable but I do not feel like adding 100 nights of camping as an additional requirement for the Eagle Scout rank is in the best interest of the program.  Since I have been involved with present troop we had had 4 youth Earn the rank of Eagle Scout. and I would say that each one of them had 100 nights of camping if you counted every night they attended with the troop,  Every night during Summer Camp.  Every night on an OA event (2 Eagles), National Jamboree (1 Eagle) and Phimont (1 Eagle).  Then again each of these 4 youth were in the program since they met the age requirement to join the troop and earn completed there last Eagle requirement just before they turned 18.. 

 

Our scout that attended the National Jamboree during his Jr year of High School missed both weeks of Band Camp since they at the same time as Jamboree.  Also our Troop has never had over 10-15 active youth at any given time over the last 10 years  and we usually have to work out Troops camping schedule around our 4 active Adults work and family schedule.  We will only schedule a camping trip if we have 3 adults due to the fact that sometimes something can come up and one of the adults will not be able to make the camping trip..  Also due to our jobs the SM and I are usually on call for our work and have had to leave during a camping trip.  Due to this most of our weekend camping trips are within 25 miles of our hometown.     

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK lets say 100 nights.  In the troop I work with it would take a youth 4 years to meet this requirement.  As a unit wee normally have 10 weekend campouts a year and one long term camp. (Summer Camp) which is 26 nights a year.  So for a youth to meet this requirement he would have to have the long term camp all 4 years and could only miss 2 weekend camping trips over a 4 year period to meet this requirement. 

 

Yes it is doable but I feel like it would be over kill for a youth that has met all the other Eagle requirements.  .

 

So make it 75 instead.  That way it takes four years with a 75%  attendance rate.  Of course "we" can choose any number we want, because I don't see any possibility that it is going to be increased from 20.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×