Swimming MB question

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Swimming MB question

Postby Quailman » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:23 am

My son attended camp at Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch in west Texas. While there he worked on the swimming MB. On his return, I asked if he completed it, and how he did on the requirement that they jump in fully clothed. He told me that they did not make him do that requirement. The reason given was that they were concerned about hurting him when they 'threw him in'. He has cerebral palsy, which affects his coordination, movement and strength in his lower legs.

I have several questions/concerns about this. First, should they be throwing the boys into the pool? The requriement specifically says, "Demonstrate survival skills by jumping feetfirst into deep water wearing clothes..." He said it took four counselors to throw a particularly hefty scout, and a lighter scout flew a great distance when tossed.

Second, why did they sign off that he had completed the requirements when clearly he had not. He worked on eight badges while there, and three list remaining requirements. Why not this one?

Third, his medical form did not list any limitations. He may not voice it, but he does not like getting singled out for special treatment. Why would they have excluded him from this?

Should I contact the council with any of these concerns?
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Re: Swimming MB question

Postby wagionvigil » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:39 am

Might be a good idea to ask a few questions of the Camp Director or program director.
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Re: Swimming MB question

Postby FrankJ » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:48 am

I would go on the assumption that the camp staff was trying to do what for the best even if they were misguided.

They should not require the scouts to thrown in the water since the merit badge does not require it. That is an supervision issue. I would discuss it with an adult from the troop that was at summer camp. (They are not responsible for program or supervision at the class, but they should have a filling on how the camp is run, & if it should be an issue to follow up on.)

He should not have been signed off on the merit badge, but he was and it is technically done. If it were me, I would say take the badge as earned. I would then contact a local counselor & do the clothes requirement.

The singling out bit is going to be an ongoing issue in his life, by those who mean well & those who do not. But you probably already know that. I would talk to the troop management (SM etc) and let them know your sons desires & limitations. Also a good time to talk with your son about being his own advocate. (As must we all)
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Re: Swimming MB question

Postby alex gregory » Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:14 pm

wagionvigil wrote:Might be a good idea to ask a few questions of the Camp Director or program director.


I would write a letter to the Camp Director and Program Director, and request a reply. There are two issues that need to be corrected:L 1) crediting scouts with completed merit badges when all the requirments have not been completed or properly waived (and since no waiver was requested it does not apply in you case), and 2) throwing scouts - what's with that!

My question is where was the Aquatics Director? I have a sneaking suspicion that he or she was involved in throwing people. It's not in the realm of awful, but it does not seem particularly safe either. The Aquatics staff who teach the Swimming merit badge are also the lifeguards, what the heck are they thinking?

Your son sounds like a great guy. It is actually his moral dilemma whether or not to accept the MB knowing that it is only partially completed. Seems like a great teaching momment.
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Re: Swimming MB question

Postby cballman » Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:40 pm

When my boys are taking the swimming MB at camp. I am there in the water with them. Yes I am a BSA Lifeguard. I will make sure no child is hurt or not signed off if they didnt complete any req. I know that sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few BUT sometimes the few just need a little help and encouragement. I know that most camps have ways of doing things but then again we are talking about kids not adults. If I have any problems I will talk to the counsler or the director then and their. If I dont get satisfied then I go higher and most people dont like that but who cares. What I do is for the kids not them.
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Re: Swimming MB question

Postby evmori » Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:45 pm

Sounds like the aquatics staff was a little over zealous!

Being a swimming MB counselor, it bugs me when these requirements are pencil whipped. Even though your son has a disability, he is still required to complete each requirement. This requirement should not have been signed off if it was not completed. I would even go as far as questioning whether any of the requirements were actually completed considering what you have posted!
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Re: Swimming MB question

Postby Quailman » Thu Jul 02, 2009 2:54 pm

He did say that he swam the 150 yards, and retrieved something from the bottom. I did not go through the whole list.

Oh, and he 'dove' in from the side. There's not a requirement for perfect form on the racing dive. He said he just kind of fell forward and pushed off a little. From his description, it sounded like a pretty good effort.

What really bothered me most was that the aquatic staff was hurling the boys into the pool.
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Re: Swimming MB question

Postby E4gle Sc0ut 2 Be » Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:51 pm

Sir, you may need to speak about the throwing scouts into the pool thing, at my summer camp for this req i had to do this: Go into the pool (not thrown in) inflate my shirt and swim a lap in 8 feet of water with my shirt inflated.

I believe that that is demonstrating the survival skill asked for in the merit badge book.
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