Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Re: Swimming
Bruce E. Cobern
Thu, 4 Feb 1999 12:58:23 -0500
> From: jay.thal <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Subject: Re: Swimming
> Date: Thursday, February 04, 1999 12:14 PM
> Bruce Cobern correctly picks up an error in my written comments.
> the error is that I left out a "negative", but it is also that I
> then appropriately differentiate between T-1st and Star-Eagle in this
> tapestry that has been woven from the original thread.
I'll send you a bill for my editing services. :-)
> But, it is also my understanding is that he
> need not have received Swimming or Lifesaving MBs. Nor need a boy
> receive Swimming or Lifesaving MBs to attain Eagle rank.
That is correct. Lifesaving is the only merit badge that has Swimming
mb as a prerequisite.
> And, if waivers are warranted at 2nd & 1st Class, a Scout can
> legitimately go the entire path to Eagle without any watersports
That is absolutely correct. (BTW: Has Jay or anybody else seen a
revised form listing alternative merit badges for Eagle for those with
disabilities? I'm curious as to what they now have as alternatives for
PF, Cycling, and Hiking.)
> My intended point was that Rowboats, Canoes, and Sailboats are the
> preferred "platform" for conducting a water rescue for someone out of
> reach of a pole or a rope rather than going into the water yourself.
> was responding to those who seemingly equate the skills necessary for
> an "in-water" rescue with the rationale that every Scout
> MUST attain Swimming MB.
In water rescues are certainly a last resort. I understand that one of
the reasons that the swimming requirements for the lower ranks were
changed to include and emphasize the reach-throw rescues was because an
analysis of the Heroism Award applications over the last 10 years or so
indicated that, while their efforts were still heroic and worthy of
praise, most of these Scouts appeared to go immediately to in-water
rescue techniques without first attempting any reach-throw-row methods.
Thus, national felt that there was a need to emphasize the
alternatives earlier in the program.
> Frankly, I would consider it foolhardy for any Scout who had not
> received (and passed) Lifesaving training to even attempt an
Given a choice between watching someone drown and attempting to save
him, by any means available, even without formal training, might not be
the preferred solution, but isn't foolhardy a little strong for someone
willing to risk his life to save another?
> I didn't mean to muddy the waters.
But I will. :-) We keep talking about some minimum skill set for
Eagles (or other Scouts). Yet, the three aims of Scouting are
Citizenship, Character, and Fitness. All the rest are just means to
that end. We have methods, which include advancement and the outdoors,
etc. And we have ranks and merit badges as part of that one method.
However, when evaluating the success of our program, shouldn't we
really be looking at whether the program has helped this young man grow
in Character, Citizenship and Fitness? Those are the criteria that
relate to the aims of our program, not whether he can tie a sheet bend,
or even whether he can swim or do an in-water rescue.
I believe that if the public has developed a belief that there is a
certain minimum "skill set" of an Eagle Scout, then it has been misled.
There is (or should be) a certain minimum "character set," using
character to encompass ALL THREE of the intangibles that are the aims
of our program.
Okay, I'll get off the soapbox and put on my flak jacket now. :-)
Bruce E. Cobern