Zacharias Petrou (drzack@EROLS.COM)
Thu, 25 Jun 1998 12:28:57 -0700
Bob Morehead wrote:
> Another Scouter and I have a slight disagreement as to how to interpret
> the 2nd and 1st Class swimming requirements, and I was hoping the list
> could provide some insight........
Before commenting, I would first like to refer to four items of fact:
1. "The Boy Scout Handbook" clearly indicates that any of the requirements for
Tenderfoot, 2nd Class, and 1st Class may be satisfied at any time. Although ranks must
still be earned in their proper order and separate Boards of Review must be held, Scouts
working toward Tenderfoot may also be completing 2nd Class and/or 1st Class requirements
and Scouts working toward Second Class may also be completing 1st Class requirements.
2. The swimming requirements for both 2nd Class and 1st Class do not specifically
require "jumping" into the water.
3. As I reminded the list in a recent posting, any BSA group engaging in swimming
activities (including testing for advancement purposes) must follow the BSA Safe Swim
Defense guidelines. Safety is of paramount concern in any Scouting (or other) activity
and we, as leaders, are bound to apply the requirements of Safe Scouting and YPP first.
4. As I also reminded the list in the earlier posting, advancement in Scouting is in no
way restricted by a Scout's inability, for whatever reason, to swim. BSA has provided
alternatives for the Swimming and Lifesaving merit badges for Eagle rank. 2ond Class
Requirement # 7 and 1st Class Requirement # 9 may be waived by the Troop Committee for
medical or safety reasons.
Swimming, besides being an important outdoor skill, can provide lifelong recreation and
pleasure. As such, it is fitting for us to promote swimming to our Scouts. Our vigor
in promotion, though, should be tempered by safety and reason.
Testing for the swimming requirements for 2nd Class and/or 1st Class presupposes having
first classified the Scout's swimming ability ("swimmer", "beginner", or "nonswimmer"),
provided for specific Safe Areas, and implemented the other six points of the BSA Safe
Swim Defense plan. In the event of a "nonswimmer", a decision needs to be made whether
the requirements should be waived for a medical or safety reason.
In the event the swimming requirements are not waived, the first part of 2nd Class
Requirement # 7 ("Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe swim.") should be
satisfied before the in-water component of this requirement or that of 1st Class
Requirement # 9. Although this may seemingly deviate from item # 1 above, it is an
application of Safe Scouting principles.
When the Safe Swim plan is implemented, the Scout's understanding thereof is assured,
and no waiver of requirements is necessitated, we can move on to the in-water component
of testing. In this context, the 1st Class swimming requirement differs from that of
2nd Class by the addition of three components: 50 additional yards, one additional
stroke (one of the strokes for 1st Class must be a resting stroke), and floating
motionless for one minute. If the Scout passes the 1st Class requirement, he will have
passed the 2nd Class requirement during the process. The 2nd Class in-water requirement
is similar to the "beginner" test for swimming classification except for the addition of
one stroke and the subtraction of jumping into deep water. The 1st Class requirement is
similar to the "swimmer" test for swimming classification except for the lack of need to
jump into deep water. As such, a Scout passing the "swimmer" test has also passed the
1st Class and 2nd Class in-water swimming requirements.
The incremental swimming requirements for Tenderfoot (no requirement), 2nd Class, and
1st Class were developed to allow for and promote improvement over the ranks in the
event the Scout enters Troop as a nonswimmer or a weak swimmer. He has clearly defined
goals to work toward and he receives appropriate recognition for attaining them. Those
with more advanced swimming abilities will be challenged in other areas.
Dr. Zacharias Petrou
City Island, New York
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City