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SeattlePioneer

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

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Q: What constitutes a jump? How much air should be required? Is a step off the side sufficient? Is a hop okay? I expect an Eagle Scout should be capable of diving off the cliffs at Acapulco...should I protest if a swim test is administered without a 136 foot jump?

 

What about feetfirst? Does an amputee need to seek an exception? Do both feet need to hit the water at the same time, otherwise one foot is first and the other is second?

 

A: READ THE HANDBOOK!

 

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Seattle Asks :

"are those who would pass someone as a swimmer who will only jump into water as deep as they are tall saying---"

There is not one single person on this thread who said that they would only have boys jump in water as deep as as they are tall. You do seem to like to embellish.

"1) This is the standard we expect of Eagle Scouts"

Eagle is a rank, with it's own requirements to meet in order to earn it, just like Tenderfoot, Life & all of the ranks in between. The "standards" we expect boys to meet are the same for all ranks. They are called the Scout Promise & Law.

"2) A person who is in a canoe, rowboat or powerboat shouldn't be expected to be able to jump into water if called upon to do so unless the depth has been measured in advance and found to be no deeper than the boy is tall?"

There's that embellish thing again. Except that now you are being downright silly. So, since you insist on being silly, you are the one who stated that boys must only be allowed to jump into water where they can not touch the bottom at all. So I guess that means that you would be the one pre-measuring the depth of the water. I still can't figure out how you would decide on the perfect depth for each boy though. Maybe keep tossing them in until they don't come up any more?

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OK, Seriously now folks, I can understand Bob W's frustration. I also agree totally with him.

 

After taking a peek in the Handbook, I realized that it would make no difference at all if the water was 1/2" over a boy's head or 20 miles over his head.

 

Yup, that's right, no difference. There is no difference because, according to the BSA Scout Handbook, if done properly, the boy should not even get his face wet.

 

You see, as Bob mentioned, the boys are supposed to be learning SKILLS. That is what we are trying to do here, right. Teach these boys all kinds of different physical & life skills.

 

The SKILLS we are supposed to be teaching the boys, that we are testing for in 2nd Class requirement #7b, are:

 

1) Jumping into deep water

2) Starting to swim after entering the water

3) Swimming on the surface

4) Stopping swimming

5) Turning in water

6) Restarting swimming

 

Six different skills that we are supposed to be teaching these boys. How to enter deep water is one of the skills we should be teaching. According to the BSA Handbook, this is a very specific skill, with a very specific way that it should be taught. Beginning with jumping into waist deep water & ending by having learned how to jump into water over his head in such a way as to land on or near the surface ready to begin swimming.

 

As his skills improve & he learns more strokes & techniques, the swimming requirements for 1st class will reflect that.

 

So, as Bob W said, it's not just about completing requirements, it's about teaching & learning SKILLS.

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That's fine in theory, Scout Nut, but it just begs the question. Tuesday the SM checked his own boy and another off on the second class swim requirements by allowing them to jump into water barely over their heads, with the boys coming to the surface by pushing off from the bottom.

 

During the summer camp swim test, one boy refused to jump into deeper water and the other had to be hauled to the surface.

 

The problem is that these boys do not have the swimming skills you describe, but conducting the swimming test allows that fact to be disguised.

 

 

 

Seattle Pioneer

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It does not really "beg the question". What it does is illustrate the fact that just about every poster on this forum, & just about everyone else out there in BSA-land is woefully ignorant of the fact that these are the skills they should be teaching & testing the boys for.

 

If we were just doing a test to see if indeed a boy can actually swim and not just walk, or hop, on the bottom, then I would have no problem with boys pushing off from the bottom to get back to the surface. However, swimming ability is not the ONLY skill we should be testing for.

 

What we need to do is stop quibbling over how deep is deep & make sure our boys are learning the correct skills.

 

Even after a requirement has been signed off, the boy should still be practicing the skill often. The next time we are at a pool or lake with the boys we can do a mini training showing them the proper way to enter deep water.

 

It makes me wonder just how many other skills we are shortchanging the boys on because we are to busy to read the handbook & it has "always" been signed off this way!

 

 

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Now that the skills have been explained, I fail to see the difference. Yes, we have to read the book, but all answers are not to be found in the books.

 

The reason we are called leaders is that we are supposed to use our JUDGMENT.

 

I would require a boy be able to jump into water substantially over his head.

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Someone far wiser than I am once said "better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt"....well, here I go again, removing all doubt.

 

I understand the logistics behind the thought that 5'6" of water is a depth over the head of a Scout who is 5'4" (or a Scouter that height, like me :)) But in my head I always figured that the water was meant to be deep enough for you to be able to into feet first safely...without hitting bottom quickly and getting hurt.....9 feet was always my mental number. How does one jump safely (even feet first) into water that is just barely over their heads?

 

At that point too, in the requirement as presented it doesn't say that PFD's are banned...so one could use a literal interpretation to suggest that a boy who does the swim in a PFD should pass, which I don't believe is the spirit of the swimming requirement.

 

I think there are some adults who are in too much of a rush to get their Scout to the next level that they play with the requirement to get him past it so that they (meaning the adult) can have the glory of having a "insert choice rank here" Scout.

 

My own Scout doesn't swim well, passed the 2nd Class swim test after a lot of work and has formulated a plan to be able to pass 1st Class next summer. He doesn't want any exceptions made for him and would be horrified at the thought of tweaking things so he could pass sooner. He jumped in for the Beginner's test just like everybody else...hated it....but finished it on his own. He called me at home to tell me that...you cheat your boy when you "dumb down" a requirement.

 

IMHO

Michelle - P102

 

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ScoutNut states that "Even after a requirement has been signed off, the boy should still be practicing the skill often. The next time we are at a pool or lake with the boys we can do a mini training showing them the proper way to enter deep water."

 

While I agree with the first part, I am scratching my head at the second. Teach him the PROPER way AFTER signing off??? Do I misunderstand???

 

And, ScoutNut, no, it DOESN'T seem like everyone is "woefully ignorant" of the skills that need to be taught. What the discussion point here is not what skills should be taught but the literal interpretation of those skills, specifically how deep constitutes over the head. Again, what is the INTENT of the 2nd class requirement? Is it to get a 2nd Class scout used to simply getting his head and face underwater or is it to get a 2nd Class scout used to jumping in to water, no matter how deep?

 

Answer these two questions for me (anyone).

 

(1)In the requirements for Canoeing, boating, and other "deep" water activities, are 2nd Class scouts allowed to go out alone or with other 2nd Class scouts if they have passed the Swimming requirement in question?

 

(2) By passing the Swimming requirement, is a 2nd Class scout allowed to go into the deep end of a pool without a PFD? Off a diving board?

 

In my experience, which parallels my opinion and interpretation, "over your head" means water deep enough that which does not allow you to consistently bounce above the surface of the water. This is to be sure that the boy can help himself should he find himself in water that is "too deep".

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It does not matter what rank a person is to be allowed access to swimming areas or boats. It matters whether or not they can pass the first class swim test. If you cannot pass the swim test you cannot go in the "swimmers" area at a waterfront or go in a canoe (unless you are with and adult lifegaurd). This applies equally to someone who hasn't earned the Scout Rank yet as it does to an eagle scout.

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I only mentioned 2nd Class in my questions to cover any possible requirement differences due to rank.

 

But given your explanation, meamemg, I take that to mean that if a Boy Scout passes the Swimming requirement in question, no matter if he jumped feet first in water a few inches over his head or water 9' deep, the answers to both of my questions in my last post are "YES". If that is true, then, as a leader passing the boy on his Swim test after he was able to jump in water a few inches over his head, would you feel comfortable letting that boy out on a canoe or in the swimmers area on the waterfront (which I presume is deeper than a few inches over his head)? Would the boy feel comfortable??

 

That should drive the interpretation and the administration of the skill. If the INTENT is for the boy to be comfortable enough in deep water to fend for himself or help others, allowing him to pass the test without experiencing that type of situation is wrong.(This message has been edited by Cubmaster Jerry)

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In my opinion, under BSA rules, it would be a MINIMUM requirment for a scout to pass the swim test. If he were to jump into water a few inches over his head, then I would say BSA policy would allow a leader to let him come on the trip. However, the leader of a trip can decide to increase the minimum requirments. I would recomend and encourage a leader not to allow as scout who can only meet this literal interpritation of the requirments to come on a trip. But if they decided to let him come, I would say he would still be operating under proper procedures (not violating G2SS, except maybe the use common sense part)

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Three pages on what constitutes "water over your head"? I must be sick, but I'm going to join in this debacle.

 

I tend to agree with the folks who have addressed the spirit of the requirement vice "the letter of the law". Since passing the test qualifies a Scout to be classified as a swimmer, the administrators have a responsibility to ensure that the test is conducted in a manner whereby the results are meaningful. If the boy is allowed to push off the bottom of a pool to get to the surface in short order, then something is wrong. The purpose of the test is being circumvented and allowing the boy to qualify as a swimmer would be reckless.

 

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"During the summer camp swim test, one boy refused to jump into deeper water and the other had to be hauled to the surface.

 

The problem is that these boys do not have the swimming skills you describe, but conducting the swimming test allows that fact to be disguised."

 

This is why summer camps do swim tests for all campers at the beginning of the week - a Scout (even a Scouter) may be able to pass a rank required swim test, or may have been able to earn the swimming merit badge but that doesn't necessarily mean he has the skills to swim in a lake. The scout may have been able to overcome the swimming challenges for rank or the swimming merit bage just enough to be able to pass. The summer camp staff is conducting their test for classification and safety purposes - and, at least in my experience, aren't testing a whole unit en masse but one or two boys at a time, so they can keep a close eye on the boys and yank them from the water if needed. They are conducting these tests to try to avoid having to yank a boy out of water the boy can't handle when the swimming area is crowded and busy. Just as a chef might tell a scout that just because he earned the cooking merit badge, that doesn't mean he can cook, an aquatics staffer assumes that just because a scout has passed the swimming merit badge or his rank requirements, that doesn't mean he can swim. Even scouts and scouters who are known to be very strong swimmers are re-tested every year - when I was 14, I swam the mile swim at camp every day for 13 days, one day swimming it twice (without stopping between miles) - the next year I was required to take the camp swim test, just like everyone else - and the camp aquatics staff was the same staff as the previous year, and remembered my mile swims. Frankly, I wouldn't have had it any other way.

 

If the boy refuses to jump into the deeper water during the swim test, he gets an uncolored tag, and is only allowed to "swim" in the beginners area (in my summer camp, thats about 2 feet maximum) - this rule would hold true for a star member of a swim team back home who has no fear of deep water in a pool but can't bring themselves to jump into lake water as for a rank beginner.

 

CalicoPenn

 

 

 

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Perhaps we can zero in on an interpretation of the requirement that will respect both the letter and the spirit. The requirement, again, is "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. "

 

Perhaps more people would agree if we stopped talking about the specific depth and simply said, "We interpret this to mean that you have to be able to enter the water and level off without pushing off from the bottom." If you're doing the test in a pool, you can see if the scout is pushing off from the bottom. If you're doing the test in a murky lake, I submit that it doesn't make as much difference, but that you can still tell the scouts the expectation. I think several posters are right in emphasizing the skill that we are trying to teach, but I do think the test should match the skill as closely as possible.

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First, just a couple points of clarification.

 

Dan, in depth does not necessarily mean deep. For example, replacing over your head in depth with over 8' in depth, may make the statement more understandable to you.

 

Msnowman wrote, But in my head I always figured that the water was meant to be deep enough for you to be able to into feet first safely...without hitting bottom quickly and getting hurt.....9 feet was always my mental number. How does one jump safely (even feet first) into water that is just barely over their heads?.

 

It is actually quite safe to jump into water that is not as deep as a person is tall, especially in a pool where the bottom is flat. Jumping into water that is half as deep as a person is tall is not much different than jumping off a small stepping stool.

 

If I took the test in under 12' of water, I'd probably go to the bottom and push off to surface instead of swimming to the surface. But I'm lazy and that's the simplest and quickest way to get back up and start swimming, at least for me.

 

SWScouter

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