We had another very long day at the 2012 BSA Aquatics Workshop. We had very in depth discussions on Kayaking, Swimming and Lifesaving merit badges, BSA Lifeguard, Boy Scout Advancement and Specialty Awards (including Scuba BSA, Snorkel BSA, and Kayak BSA), and Cubs Aquatics and Project 411. After dinner topics included BSA’s Connection to US Boating Agencies, Personal Watercraft and Sea Scouts Update. The attendees provided great input, discussion, personal experiences, and interaction on all of the topics.
The Kayaking Merit Badge presentation was made by lead author Richard Thomas. It is very new, released this past spring , and no revisions are expected in the near future. There is also a Kayaking BSA Award. Like scuba diving, this activity will continue to have the award as an introductory, experiential program and the merit badge as skill accomplishment program.
The Swimming Merit Badge discussion was lead by Pat Noack. Pat was essentially gathering feedback and input from the people who teach this in the field. One of the key elements of the discussion was identifying the target age for this merit badge. There was wide consensus that 11 and 12 year olds are the target as this is one of the first merit badges earned by most Scouts. With that as a basis for the rest of the review, I got the feeling that the requirements might be eased a bit in the future.
Dr. David Bell lead the Lifesaving Merit Badge discussion. There will be some changes involving distances and other details, but the program will probably not change much. Roy Fielding, our guest speaker from the previous evening and ARC Lifeguarding expert, was very impressed with the skills taught in this merit badge. (That’s a good thing.)
Bill Hall and Cal Banning lead the discussion on BSA Lifeguard. The certification will probably be reduced to a two year validity to conform with industry practices. Some other changes are likely based on the science that was brought to the table by Roy Fielding.
I have taken some time to review the exiting Scuba BSA pamphlet. I originally thought the needed editions amounted to deleting a skill. I am now on a quest for a major rewrite. Most of the substantive material is still applicable. But the photos and some verbiage need to be replaced and a few skills need to be removed. Brad Smith and the folks from PADI will be a tremendous help and the new product will be much improved over the 2002 first edition.
CUBS AQUATICS AND PROJECT 911
Dr. Jay Fox lead this discussion. Bearing in mind the Cub Motto, “Do Your Best”, each rank in the Cub program will likely require the Cub “attempt” an aquatics skill. The primary concern is the perceived lack of swimming facilities. The attendees, most of who sit on their council Aquatics Committee, were challenged to take the lead and find the needed resources including pool facilities and qualified aquatics personnel. Municipal pools, high school and university pools, Scout camp pools, YMCAs, and even motel pools were discussed as venues.
The Weather Channel will match your donation to the American Red Cross. I donated Thursday. Now it’s your turn. There are a lot of Americans who are hurting. Some of them are former Florida Sea Base staff members. Please chip in if you can.
The weather at the Florida Sea Base looks very nice. Gentle breezes, highs in the upper 70s, lows in the upper 60s (nice sleeping weather), and a verly slim chance of rain. The Reynold’s Training Center is very nice. And many of the attendees are within driving distance of home. But several have expressed interest in having the 2014 Aquatics Workshop at the Florida Sea Base again. They all have “Keys Disease”.
Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director #39713