Re: 2nd & 1st Class Swimming Requirements
Calvin H. Gray (405geezer@IGG-TX.NET)
Wed, 24 Sep 1997 14:36:10 -0400
Blaine A. Jackson wrote:
> Your committee is doing these scouts a great disservice. You are also
> potentially creating a dangerous situation for the scout.
> I was in charge of swimming checks for our Jamboree contingent. Since
> all scouts must be 1st Class to go to Jambo, I assumed that they could
> all swim. Luckily, one scout told one of the scout Life Guards assisting
> me that he could not swim before he jumped into the water. His SM had
> signed his 1st Class rank advancement without any swimming requirement.
> Had there been an accident, I am sure that I would have been sued; and I
> can assure you that the SM would have been a part of the law suit.
> I do not think that this requirement should be waived without a medical
> or physicological reason, from the treating medical professional.
In my opinion, a far greater disservice is done when a boy is "held
back" because he can't pass the swim test. When this happens and his
peers begin to advance and he doesn't, the usual result is that the
Scouting program has lost another boy.
There is really no reason for this as the BSA has structured the
advancment program so a boy can, in certain situations, attain Eagle
without even getting wet. In addition to giving the Troop Committee the
ability to waive the 2nd & 1st Class swimming requirments, there are
alternative badges for the "Eagle Requred" Swimming and Lifesaving
Now don't get me wrong...I believe Scouts should learn to swim and
during the past 11+ years all of ours eventually have. One summer camp
requirement we have is that each new Scout must take part in an aquatics
badge or activity during his first trip to summer camp, unless there is
a special medical or emotional situation that prevents this.
We take part in a lot of water related activities including whitewater
rafting, sailing and canoeing, and we make sure the boys have earned the
Swimming badge before they take part in these activities.
But should you hold a new Scout back for six months or a year because he
can't pass the 2nd Class or 1st Class swimming requirements? I don't
think so. As I believe I stated in my original post, every boy in our
troop who received a waiver has eventually learned to swim.
During my years as SM, I've seen several boys who were extremely afraid
of the water. There was no way these boys could pass the 2nd Class or
1st Class swimming requirements when they joined the troop. So we
"waived" the requirments and worked with them so they could learn to
swim. Eventually, they did but it took a few as long as two years.
So my advice is to use common sense when dealing with the swimming
requirments. Work *with* the boys not *against* them!
Calvin H. Gray
Scoutmaster, Troop 405
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City