Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Re: New Scouts and Merit Badges (long)
Re: New Scouts and Merit Badges (long)
Jeffrey B Lukens
Mon, 22 Feb 1999 16:45:59 -0600
Jim Peterson <kupete@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU> wrote (in part):
>I know each troop/council is a bit different. I will, however, CONTINUE to
>maintain that EVERY scout should take Swimming MB and should enroll his
>first year at camp!
I will have to disagree with you here Jim. I was the Waterfront Director
for the past 2 years at Camp Mattatuck, and before that I spent 6 years as a
waterfront staff member. All too often I saw first year scouts try to take
Swimming Merit badge, only to receive a partial. What was the main
requirement missed you ask, well most of the time it was properly
demonstrating strokes, and surface diving. I am not saying that first year
scouts cannot complete the badge, but in my experiences 30% or so do not.
When Second Year scouts come to camp and take swimming merit badge, most of
them do complete it.
I can't explain why this happens, but we suggest to scoutmasters to counsel
their scouts away from taking swimming merit badge their first year. Now
some scoutmasters listen, and some don't...we will never prohibit a first
year scout from taking it, but if they do, they normally end up spending
their whole week at the waterfront trying to learn the proper technique to
do the different strokes.
The biggest complaint from scoutmasters at our camp regarding the waterfront
was the fact that we actually made the scouts learn the strokes, while
according to them "the other camps we have been to just make sure they can
swim" Our biggest compliment was that we actually TAUGHT scouts how to
properly do the strokes. (incidentally, in the 8 years I have been there,
there have been NO water rescues, or emergencies on the waterfront)
As always, this is just my observation on what has happened at my camp, and
from what I heard second hand about other camps. Your mileage may vary.
Jeffrey B. Lukens
Eagle Scout Class of '92
ASM, Troop 5 Middlebury, CT
Connecticut Rivers Council
Camp Mattatuck Staff, 1990-1998