Re: Swimming req. 2nd & 1st class
Amick Robert (amick@SPOT.COLORADO.EDU)
Thu, 8 Aug 1996 18:54:57 -0600
The swimming requirement is present for a very good reason. Many deaths
due to drowning occur throughout the world, most of which are needless.
This clearly is a tough problem, but one which should take extra attention
to convince the parents of the importance of teaching their child
to swim. It is unrealistic to think that by avoiding any exposure to
water for the rest of their lives, they will not be in danger. There are
just too many circumstances,( whether driving, boating, or even walking
near a body of water) where unanticipated events can result in
falling in the water. Just as it is important to know first aid, so too,
is it important to be able to swim well enough to save your own life.
Overcoming fear of risks and having the "tools" and knowledge to save
their own life is one of the greatest gifts Scouting can impart to youth.
There are plenty of excellent Red Cross and other Water Safety programs
which can effectively teach a Scout to swim, and to overcome the fear of
water. The biggest hurdle is simply that of "selling" the parents on the
idea. If you can get them to at least talk to a water safety instructor
who is experienced and skilled in these areas, and to show them how
learning to swim may very well save the Scout's life in the future, you
probably have done a much greater service than you can imagine.
Having taught swimming and lifesaving for the Red Cross to Scouts for many
years, I can appreciate the challenge of overcoming the parents
objections. Often they are more difficult to convince than the Scout.
However, the satisfaction that comes
from seeing Scouts who previously were terrified of water, actually learn
to overcome their fears and become confident and comfortable in the water
is quite a "high."
The really great satisfaction comes in seeing some of the former
non-swimmers actually get into competitive swimming, diving, lifesaving,
or become instructors themselves; or just learn an enjoyable and
relaxing sport for their own personal fitness and well-being. This truly
is the "paydirt" that we all put our time in Scouting to bring about. It
is well worth the extra effort it takes to "sell" the idea
initially, and is quite possible, but you have to be persistent and
Bob Amick, Explorer Advisor, High Adventure Explorer Post 72, Boulder, CO
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City