Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: A swimming experience part II
A swimming experience part II
Mon, 8 Feb 1999 09:22:26 -0600
> You make a very good point. I am still in favor of waiving the requirement
> when a scout can not swim after numerous lessons. There seems to be no
> reason in my mind to stop a scout at Tenderfoot for 4 years. However,
> waiving the requirement for advancement should not stop the scout from
> continuing working on swimming as a skill. In fact you have made a good
> case for keeping everyone on track for getting the swimming merit badge,
> even after waiving the requirement so the scout can continue advancing.
> This is not to say that a waiver should come easy. I have already told the
> list that all resources should be exhausted before saying that the scout is
> really a true non-swimmer.
Of course I don't know the Scout or the depth of what has been tried. My sons
experience that I detailed did not involve holding him up at Tenderfoot for
4 years. For 2nd class the requirement is to swim 50 yards using 2 strokes.
That is just about the beginner swimmer test at summer camp and he passed
that the 2nd year and, as I am about to relate, he passed the actual
requirement before that 2nd summer camp.
I just hate to see a challenge removed with a waver.
An experience I omitted was the accomplishment of the 2nd class swimming
requirement. This will open me up for some criticism but I believe it was
the right way to go.
My son was not the only one afraid of the water (lake water in particular) and
was stuck at Tenderfoot (and I let them be stuck). We scheduled a warm weather
campout at the Slippery falls Boys Scout Camp in Oklahoma. There is a creek
that runs over rocks (hence the slippery falls) and the boys love to romp in it.
After a while doing that, we headed to the lake. There is a boat dock that was
long enough so that a few times up and back would meet the distance.
We had BSA lifeguards, with floats in hand, at the ready. I jumped in
and hovered a short distance away in the water. Our nervous Scouts
slipped into the water (many were afraid to jump) and we told them to use
whatever stroke would propel them forward and get after it! With the rest of
the troop walking the dock along side of them yelling (and I mean yelling)
encouragement all the the way, the boys made it. Okay, so they would stop and
grab the side now and then. And yes they might have gone a bit less than
50 yards and the two different strokes looked a lot alike. But when they
climbed out they I made sure they felt like they had just swum the english
Once again, we used positive peer pressure. I pulled the older guys aside
and told them to yell encouragement (I don't count on spontaneity, but am happy
when it occurs!) and they took it from there.
I think ANYTHING (our "modified" test) is better than nothing (waved). I've
never told my son or his other buddies that way back at 2nd class they didn't
pass a "true" test. No need to, by the next summer they could do it
with ease. So his personal time line was not quite what the BSA's was. He
synced up later on.
Being held up at a rank is mighty good incentive to get over a personal
fear. Like I said, I don't know the boy and its up to you to toe the line
in holding him back without losing him. But I would really, really, really,
try to get something in there for that swimming test.
Overcoming that fear is a character builder and I've heard somewhere that