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We are a newer troop with not much experience in how to handle the swimming portion of ranks. 

2 of our scouts earned the swimming MB last year at camp. The camp let us know that the work on the MB can be used toward their ranks.... pass the beginners and full bsa swim test, etc. So what do you do in a year like this one when there is no summer camp? I can't see holding scouts back from earning rank because we are not going to camp and swimming.

In addition, we have one scout who absolutely hates swimming in lakes. He freezes up. I have a pool and have seem him spend hours playing in it, jumping in, etc. I am not sure he can do laps, but the difference I have seen between lake and pool is great. (He was here for non BSA fun)

So, Is it possible for the scouts to swim in my pool for the rank requirements? I will have to take some kind of training first I imagine? (Safe swim defense?) Who needs to be here to verify the work has been done satisfactorily? Anyone else besides the SM or do we need a certified lifeguard or BSA trained individual?

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I talked to my wife who is a swim coach about this and does our swim tests.  She says that most backyard pools aren't big enough to realistically conduct swim tests because on the amount of time spent in the turns.  She suggest finding and open neighborhood pool or YMCA pool to conduct the tests in. You still need to abide by the Covid restrictions for your state so you might need to schedule times to keep it the scouts distanced.

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27 minutes ago, mashmaster said:

I talked to my wife who is a swim coach about this and does our swim tests.  She says that most backyard pools aren't big enough to realistically conduct swim tests because on the amount of time spent in the turns.  She suggest finding and open neighborhood pool or YMCA pool to conduct the tests in. You still need to abide by the Covid restrictions for your state so you might need to schedule times to keep it the scouts distanced.

This is a very valid point.  Here in VA pools CAN open with those restrictions. Our neighborhood pool did, but many others are closed all summer, including all county pools.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, karunamom3 said:

In addition, we have one scout who absolutely hates swimming in lakes.

Some kids don't like to swim in anything but a filtered, chlorinated, tiled, heated swimming pool.  They don't like the feel of nature.  They can't stand having the weeds touching their feet.  I tend to think that this is what scouting is all about.  Getting outdoors.  Learning to not be so squeamish about the natural world.

Yes.  I know.  The rules allow the scout to be tested in a swimming pool, and I am not suggesting that we impose our own requirements on the scout.  I just have the feeling that this scout, and many others just like him, are really missing out on the scouting experience.

 

Edited by David CO
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Talk to various local pool officials. There has to be a way to make it work. Kids who can't swim pose tremendous risk of death.

I met my requirements in a pool, and it opened acres of lakes to me, including a Great one that my family swims and boats in regularly.

Most state parks are open, and many have ideal lanes for swimming. But face facts, instruction is an intimate affair. Your scout may have to wait out the year.

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Talk to your district, council advancement chair, or roundtable commissioners.  You are not alone in this I'm sure.  Our council pool is open during this time and it can be done if you want to drive an hour.  Best bet is let the district and council folks consolidate an event for other units too.  This seems too easy to do collectively.  Have the council help you with this from a bigger scale.  If you only want your piece taken care of, do what the previous posts mention.

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Thanks everyone for all of the great points on this topic! I appreciate your advice.

On 7/5/2020 at 2:20 AM, David CO said:

Some kids don't like to swim in anything but a filtered, chlorinated, tiled, heated swimming pool.  They don't like the feel of nature.  They can't stand having the weeds touching their feet.  I tend to think that this is what scouting is all about.  Getting outdoors.  Learning to not be so squeamish about the natural world.

I do agree. This scout in particular really is not fond of nature, bugs, outdoor camping, etc. I have seen him blossom in many of these areas which is great, but lake swimming will be tough. He went in last year, but wouldn't go over his head.

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22 hours ago, Double Eagle said:

Talk to your district, council advancement chair, or roundtable commissioners.  You are not alone in this I'm sure.  Our council pool is open during this time and it can be done if you want to drive an hour.  Best bet is let the district and council folks consolidate an event for other units too.  This seems too easy to do collectively.  Have the council help you with this from a bigger scale.  If you only want your piece taken care of, do what the previous posts mention.

Our council doesn't have a pool, but this is a great idea! Thanks.

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We used pools all the time in the winter for swimming test. YMCA many of those times, but we used private pools as well. 

Swimming test at summer camp can be intimidating even in a pool. In fact, I think lakes are easier because they don't get so crowded. We've had scouts who are very comfortable in neighborhood pools panic at swimming test because it goes fast with a lot of scouts swimming at once. Typically they get retested the next day or two with no problem. We've also had a few non swimmers learn and get their "swimmer" ranking before they leave camp. We try to have a day at the pool so they can use their newly earned ranking and skill with all the other scouts.

My advice for the uncomfortable scout is to get him comfortable at least with jumping in the pool and floating on his back. Many young scouts have never jumped into a deep end of a pool before their first summer camp. And Strangely, I've seen more scouts fail the floating part of the test than the swimming. 

Barry

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31 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

We used pools all the time in the winter for swimming test. YMCA many of those times, but we used private pools as well. 

Swimming test at summer camp can be intimidating even in a pool. In fact, I think lakes are easier because they don't get so crowded. We've had scouts who are very comfortable in neighborhood pools panic at swimming test because it goes fast with a lot of scouts swimming at once. Typically they get retested the next day or two with no problem. We've also had a few non swimmers learn and get their "swimmer" ranking before they leave camp. We try to have a day at the pool so they can use their newly earned ranking and skill with all the other scouts.

My advice for the uncomfortable scout is to get him comfortable at least with jumping in the pool and floating on his back. Many young scouts have never jumped into a deep end of a pool before their first summer camp. And Strangely, I've seen more scouts fail the floating part of the test than the swimming. 

Barry

I've had several scouts, including my own son, who were much more afraid of open water than a swimming pool. It's tough when you can't see beyond the surface.

Doing a test under pressure can have the same result, I'm sure.  I try to tell them this isn't like a school test. You can keep trying until you succeed. There's no penalty for not succeeding the first time.  We just want you to be capable in the water so you're safe.

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I'm more inclined to stress the ability to swim now as a scout rather than in a year or much later.  A couple of reasons: 1.  They can accept a challenge to learn a new skill rather than staying in a comfort zone.  2.  Won't be looked at different as a non-swimmer (it happens).  3.  Opens doors to MB that are water-sport types.  4,  Can participate in any water activity with scouts.  5. And probably the most beneficial:  is a lifesaving skill that will last a lifetime in any location, any time, and may save someone else's life.  On a personal note:  I would stress ability to swim over bike riding any given day, and tiger scouts can do a bike riding activity.   

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To turn this on the funny side, like the pike on the wall.  It made me think how fast a mile swim or open water test would be near my units.  We have gators in the rivers and could make scouts violate the "no wake" zone to finish.

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2 hours ago, Double Eagle said:

I'm more inclined to stress the ability to swim now as a scout rather than in a year or much later.  ...

That works for 95% of scouts, thus the requirements for 2nd and 1st class rank. But, for some scouts, getting them to take on some basic instruction in the non-swimmer's area is the best you'll get.

Then there's that 1% of scouts who could knock the req out in a pool any day of the week, but they've got it in their heads that the sign-off won't be worth it unless they muster up the courage to cover those 100 yards in that lake, and it takes for years to beat down that demon.

We don't really know what kind of scout @karunamom3 is dealing with. But regardless, adding urgency to a problem that isn't urgent generally makes things worse.

Like I said, my kids had to contend with a lake, Great Lake or an ocean nearly every trip. One grandpa was a VFD chief and had seen plenty enough tragedy. So, Swimming and Lifesaving were at the top of the ticket of every youth program we considered. But not all parents are putting their kids in those kinds of situations. Other things are more important. Find out what those things are and build on those while the kid builds up courage for aquatics.

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