scouts-l Mail Archive for February of 2000: clarification on swim test
MAJ) Mike Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle (blackeagle@POP3.SCOUTER.NET
Wed Feb 09 2000 - 22:07:29 CST
Patty asked me to forward this followup; I haven't read my mail in a few
days (I have had a very busy work schedule, and for the past four evenings,
it was all I could do to come home and sleep. Good thing that its a *new
My apologies to Patty for the delay in forwarding her followup:
Thank you for all your input. I tried to be careful in my post but from
the responses I can tell that I wasn't as thorough as I might have been.
The posts have hit on our two concerns:
The Scout was signed off...is it right to take it away?
The person who signed was NOT given that authority. She is a MB counselor
but signing off on requirements wasn't ever discussed.
The boy in question is about 11...with the troop less than a year. The
mother, in preparation for her son's 1st summer camp last year (with less
than 2 months since crossing over from Cub Scouts), lined up the swimming
instruction. The MB counselor worked with several boys and at the end
shared with me how she *knew* these boys NEEDED to pass this swimming stuff
b4 they could attend summer camp. This was not the case. She heard this
from *someone,* either the mother or the boy.
The SM and I had no idea the MB counselor signed off in the book. She has
been a MB counsellor for several years and has never checked advancements.
As a matter of fact, in the swimming MB she asks the SM to verify that the
Scout knows the specifics for swimming requirements at each level because
she is unfamiliar with the Tenderfoot, 2nd class, and 1st class requirements.
In our troop either the SM or one of the ASM has signed off on all rank
advancements. Not even camp staff have signed because a ASM has always been
there to verify, so he signs.
The signature from the MB counselor in the handbook is 2 days before the
camp swim test. The boy didn't even come close to passing the swim
test...not even 1 length of the area in the lake.
Further, in the SM Handbook (copyright 1990), on page 97 under the section
called Step 2 - The Scout is Tested, I quote: "How is a Scout tested? Ask
first how he is not tested. Testing in Scouting is not a formal period set
aside in which Scouts dutifully take their turn.....<snip>....as a leader
Rather it is a leader who has spent a weekend camping with the troop (and
observing), saying, "By George, I think he's got it!"
....<snip>....Boy Scout advancement is a program in which a Scout's
progress is the natural outcome of his regular Scouting activities. When a
leader recognizes that a Scout has mastered a given skill and satisfied a
given requirement, he will tell the Scout so -- and record his achievement.
"Who keeps track of Scouts' advancement progress? An assistant Scoutmaster
does for new Scouts...."
We, the SM and committee, still feel the ASM was right in removing the MB
counselor's signature. We are talking 2 days and not able to swim. The
mother has now turned to district staff for help.
We REALLY appreciate the comments. But honestly, the ASM doesn't have a
"serious power problem." The ASM offered to accompany the Scout to the
waterfront on 2 additional occasions to re-take the test during their week
at camp. The boy refused. The ASM warned that he NEEDED to pass the BSA
swimmers test for 1st class. The boy still declined.
We HAVE repeatedly suggested to the family that the boy take some lessons.
There is no hurry to get 1st class. He will be proud when he finally passes
the test. It's a character building thing.
But the mother wants him signed off NOW.
Your further comments are welcome.
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
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