Chris Haggerty, Sierra Vista, Arizona (CHAGGERTY@ARIZBPA.BITNET)
Wed, 25 Aug 1993 20:36:00 MST
BSA did require a person with BSA Lifeguard, Red Cross Lifeguarding (used
to be lifesaving) or YMCA life saving to be with a group to go swimming.
This was very poorly supervised and enforced. I know of BSA camps where
the scoutmaster would sit through a Safe Swimn Defense course and then sign
up and get equipment to take the boys swimming by the dam (where the
water was deep enough they scouts could jump off the rock in to the
I do not have the facts or official positions on this but what I beleive
happened to this rule was this:
Finding people with BSA Lifeguard or Red Cross Life Guarding who are
willing to go camping with your troop is very hard (unless I live in your
neighborhood - I am a Water Safety Instructor Trainer i.e. I teach the Water
Safety Instructors that work at your city pools). Most young adults who
work hard to get Red Cross Life Guarding plan to take that certificate and
apply for a job at the City Pool, YMCA, etc.
Very few of these people are going to go camping with you to baby sit a
bunch of kids in the water for nothing. The BSA Lifeguards you may get,
but they are rare.
The bottom line, many units decided to go do their aquatic activity without
the qualified supervision, because they could not find it. Many justified
this because the scoutmaster now well over 35 was a WSI as a youth. BSA
could not stop it because who is going to tell the scouts they canot go
swimming or boating? Futher who is going to get the over 35 adults to take
Red Cross Lifeguarding? There are not many of us in this group that can
do the 500 yard distance swim, the 25 yard timed sprint and the one minute
of treading water with the 10 pound weight being held above the water.
If some of this sounds easy (it was for me) you should ask several of the
youths who failed to do the teading water part.
YOu can see the problem, qualified supervision is very hard to come by as
defined so the units go with out it. What I would prefer to see is that
BSA require something like the Emergency Water Safety Course for the Adult.
(This is a Red Cross Course nine hours in length and most adults can do
all the requirements.)
When looking at this policy, we should also look at the history of the safe
swim defense. If my mind is working right tonight, SSD was introduced for
the 1937? Irvine Ranch Jamboree. People were paranoid that many scouts
would drown in the Ocean. SSD was impliment for the Jamboree and there was
not even one drowning.
It worked because the guidelines were followed to a T, even though I bet
very few of the leaders had any Red Cross Water Safety training. All this
before Mouth to Mouth and CPR. Not bad!
P.S. to Don I., You do not lose much weight swimming because the water is
supporting your weight. Which is the reason it is the only exercise I can
do with gusto, no stress on my back!
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemmens): "Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw
those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City