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SeattlePioneer

"Jump into water over your head in depth..."

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The swimming requirement for 2nd class reads:

 

"Demonstrate your ability to jump feetfirst 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. "

 

 

I've always presumed that meant you had to jump into water deep enough that you could not touch bottom and use it to get back to the surface.

 

Last night at a swim at a public pool, the Scoutmaster interpreted that literally, allowing some boys (including his son) who had failed to pass the swimming requirement at summercamp because they were unwilling to jump into deep water, to pass the requirement. Scouts were permitted to jump into water scarcely deeper than they were tall to complete the requirement.

 

Does that sound like a correct interpretation of this requirement?

 

 

 

Seattle Pioneer

 

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'Over your head' means over your head, which would include scarcely over your head. Off the top of my head, I would say your SM's interpretation is fine.

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Requirements are meant to be taken literally and not interpreted however you want.

 

If you change "water over your head" to "water deep enough that you could not touch bottom" you are adding to the requirements & that is not allowed by the BSA.

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I agree...if a scout is 42 inches tall, then 43 inches of water is all that is needed. I think the intent of this requirement is to demonstrate that the scout can initiate forward momentum from a stationary position, without the aid of a dive or running start. Simulates falling overboard or off of a pier. We want to see how the scout handles himself in the water....presence of mind, etc. Deeper water is preferable...but not required.

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Well, interesting ideas. But does this give a Scout a guarantee that he will only be asked to jump into water an inch deeper than he is tall?

 

Suppose he is asked to jump into water that is nine feet deep, as was done during the swim test at summer camp. Does he get to bargain with the person doing the testing over the depth of the water he is asked to jump into?

 

It seems to me that being able to come to the surface without the aid of pushing off from the bottom is a basic test of being a beginner swimmer. Or even a "swimmer" since the same test is required of First Class scouts.

 

How would you feel about an Eagle Scout who said, "Yes, I'm a swimmer of course, but I'll only jump into water that's no more than six feet deep."?

 

 

 

Seattle Pioneer

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Technically, everyone is correct. A quarter inch over your height is over your head if you are standing flat footed in the pool. Common sense tells me that jumping feet first into water over your head means jumping into water where you can't touch. I know the requirement doesn't say this, but when has that stopped the BSA from stating things the way they do. Who remembers all the controversy and discussion in the G2SS about "may not" allow tobacco and whether or not that means prohibited or not? Who has not as a kid stood in water almost over your head and bobbed up and down to poke your head out long enough to breath? As long as you can touch and bob, you are not demonstrating that you can handle water where you could not touch and safely swim yourself out. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the requirement doesn't say it. What does common sense tell you the requirement is for though?

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"Does he get to bargain with the person doing the testing over the depth of the water he is asked to jump into?"

 

Of course not. But he should also not have to keep moving out further & further from shore until you are convinced that there is no way he can ever touch bottom. Unless you take everyone out to the center of the lake, there are boys who will be able to touch bottom when jumping into 9 feet or 12 feet or even more. My son is over 6 ft tall, 220 lbs & could easily touch bottom at 12 ft & push back to the surface. Heck, in 2nd grade he could jump into the deepest end of the pool and hit bottom. What does the scout have to do to convince you that he is deep enough that there is no way he can touch bottom?

 

The requirement states "jump feetfirst into water over your head in depth". It does NOT say to keep moving the boy into deeper & deeper water until the adult has decided he is deep enough.

 

The intent is to see if a scout can swim & not just walk along on the bottom. If the scout is "bobbing up & down" he is NOT swimming & should not pass the requirement.

 

 

 

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You know, with Swimming merit badge in the "Aerobic Group" with Cycling and Hiking, with only one of the three being required for Eagle coupled with a scouts ability to choose Lifesaving or Emergency Preparedness for Eagle its entirely possible those scouts will never have to swim again after they have passed their first class swimming requirements. The aims of scouting is not to produce the next Michael Phelps, but to develop men of charactor, citizenship and personal fitness, all of which can be done without an aquatic lifestyle. Now, I beleive a scout loses a lot if they can't swim, they can't canoe etc, but my thoughts of what an Eagle Scout can do isnt important, all that matters is the requirments are met.

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I've always thought the point of the exercise was (1) to see if the Scout was comfortable letting his head go below the surface, and (2) to see if the Scout can initiate forward motion, ie, swimming, without relying on a push from the bottom of the pool. I've seen swim tests done in pools that weren't quite deep enough for a few of the taller scouts, and they were simply told to keep their knees bent so that they don't touch the bottom before they start swimming. Maybe it's a stretch, but sometimes you have to make do with what you've got available. The point has been made to me by some Scouts that putting your face in isn't that important because you're actually taught in lifesaving to swim in a "face out of the water" position so that you can control the rescue better and see what you're doing.

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So the Scout is 42" tall & the lake is 8" deep. That's over his head. So is 42.1". The requirement is over his head. Makes no difference how much over his head the water is. And it really depends on where the badge is being taught. As long as the water is over his head & he jumps in, that part of the requirement has been met.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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What does the requirment mean when it says

in depth

It seems that some of you are saying 1" over the head is in depth.

Or are we just going in ignore the part that say in depth?

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Well there is 'depth', 'length' and 'width'. Depth = deep. It must be deep enough to cover your head. What else could depth possibly mean?

 

As far as putting your head under water...not required either. It is possible for some to jump feet first and barely get the top of their heads wet by keeping arms and hands horizontal to the surface of the water. I believe the Handbook has pictures that demonstrate this technique.

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I have never given this one much thought. I have thought that depth means deep. At summer camps I have visited, the swimming area has been at least 10 feet deep. After thinking about this I would not sign off of the requirement if the water was only 1" over a scouts head.

My reason for this is the I take depth to mean the swimmer should not be able to save himself if he cannot jump into water over his head and be able to swim after jumping in, without bounching off of the bottom. I would say a minuimn of 3 feet over the swimmers head. I would not want to sign a scout off of the requirement if he cannot save himself if he fell into a lake that he cannot bounch off of the bottom or fell out of a canoe.

 

A scout can canoe without passing the swimming requirement. He just has to be in a canoe with a BSA lifeguard.

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When it is a decision of literal vs. intent, I always side with intent. Speaking from experience, it is difficult to write instructions that cover all of the bases. Ask yourself what is the intent of the task and go with that. It may be that it is the same as the literal translation and it may not.

 

In particular difficult translations, follow the lead of Council.

 

Jerry

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When you've been to summer camp and been given the Scout swim test, wwhat have the Scout lifeguards used as a requirement on this issue? Have you seen lifeguards who carefully measured the depth of the water to be sure it was only slightly deeper than the Scout was tall, or have Scouts been directed to jump into water that was significantly deeper?

 

For those who believe in a literal interpretation of this rule, have you offered to correct the lifeguard's misinterpretation of this rule, or would you do so in the future?

 

 

This summer, when the troop was given the swim test, the adults and boys were directed to jump into water in the deepest portion of the beginner's area, which should have been around nine feet deep. One Scout refused to take the test because he wasn't comfortable jumping into water that deep, and a second boy jumped in but had to be hauled out since he didn't seem to be coming to the surface on his own.

 

Should I as an adult leader have protested administering the swim test in this way?

 

 

 

Seattle Pioneer

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