scouts-l Mail Archive for February of 2000: Memories of Swimtests gone by
Chris Summers (ChrisinHouston@AOL.COM
Fri Feb 04 2000 - 12:47:49 CST
We had a boy in our troop who flat out could not swim. He went to summer
camp in his first year and couldn't pass the test to save him. Everytime we
had a group swim the SM worked with him personally, coaching him along, but
for every stroke he took he seemed to stay in the same place or even go
backwards (really weird!). Throughout they year on campouts where we went
swimming he continued to get lessons from the leaders and other scouts. He
wanted to fit in like them and do the things they did. He wanted to be
The next year at summer camp he finally passed the test at the end of camp
got the signoff for the swimming MB and at the Court of Honor he got a
standing ovation. The year after that he passed the lifesaving MB quickly.
I'm glad we never gave up on that scout. I like to think someday he'll have
the opportunity to teach some kid to swim.
A couple of years ago I took our Council's flat water canoe course and on the
first day we had to jump into Deer Lake at Camp Strake and do a swim test.
That was fine except it was late February and 7AM in the morning and their
was fog on the lake and IT WAS REAL COLD!!! We were a mix of men and women
between the ages of 21 and 70 and I thought for sure the course directors
were going to get to use their CPR training! We huffed and we puffed (keep
in mind that it is February and most of us hadn't been in water since Summer
About half way to the turn around marker my canoe partner and I realized that
the water is only 4 1/2 ft deep. We realized that we could bounce along on
one foot and pretend we were doing a sort of side stroke. Well, we passed
the test and though it may not have been honest, I'd probably do it again.
Moral is, always wear your life jacket or give the swim test in deeper water.
Used to be that scouts going to Summer camp at El Rancho Cima in the Texas
Hill Country took their 1 mile swim test in the chilly Comal river. They had
to swim from the boat docks down the river to the suspension bridge (where we
would take pictures of them from above) and back to the boat docks with water
about 8-15 ft deep and the river about 60 feet wide.
Well, in the last couple of years Risk Managment decided that a pool was
safer, and although I agree, I still have photos of those smiling scouts
floating on their backs under the bridge.
Just some random thoughts...
Chris in Houston