Dive right in as Cub Scouts
spend a month learning about water, our most precious resource. Learn about
marine life. Dens can visit a water treatment facility, local aquarium or fish
farm. Cub Scouts may even want to prepare their own aquarium or fish bowl and
"adopt a gold fish".
This is also an excellent
opportunity to teach our Cub Scouts about water conservation. Don't forget
learning about water safety. Enjoy water games; hunt for shells and experience
all the beach has to offer. Cub Scouts love to get wet.
What could be better than a water carnival complete with
games, competition, and safe swim demonstrations? This would be a great time to
work on the Wildlife Conservation, Fishing, or Swimming belt loop and pin. Have
an outdoor Cub Scout rain gutter regatta race.
Program Helps July, 2008.
When one imagines Boy Scouts camping, there is usually
water in the picture. It may be swimming, a canoe pulled up to a lake shore
camping spot or white water rafting. A boy should be ready to participate in all
these, safely and confidently, as soon as he joins a troop. Cub Scouting
provides an age appropriate, graduated program of aquatics:
§Wolf - Achievement 1h - Swim as far as you can walk in
Swimming is not only lots of
fun but the ability to swim is an important physical skill. It is worth the
effort of every Cub Scout leader to ensure that each of their charges gets the
opportunity to learn to swim.
Check out local community
services like the YMCA, Red Cross etc. for swim classes. Put swimming in your
annual pack plans.
Also when a boy graduates to a
troop he will need to be able to swim in order to fully participate in the troop
Second Class requirement
7b states: Demonstrate your ability to jump feet first into water over your head in
depth, level off and swim 25 feet on the surface, stop, turn sharply, resume
swimming, then return to your starting place. Until they are able to do this
they cannot advance. If a Scout can not swim, there is so much that he misses
out on, troop's trip to Florida Sea base, and other high adventure sites, canoe
trips, white water rafting etc.
If you have never taken your
den fishing, you are missing one of the great joys of Cub Scouting. It's a blast
to take any bunch of kids fishing, especially when you have a place where they
might actually catch some fish.
Longhorn Council runs a
successful Cub Scout Trout-O-Ree in conjunction with the Texas Parks & Wildlife
Junior Angler Education Program
Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and
Webelos Scouts may complete requirements for the Fishing Belt Loop or Sports
Pin in a family, den, pack, school, or community environment. Tiger Cubs must
work with their parents or adult partners
The Cub Scout Leader How-To
Book has some splendid water related activities in chapter 14 that include fish
and other aquatic life.
The Boating Elective in the
big Bear Book has all sorts of skills and experiences for a growing boy.
Operating a rowboat or sail boat are not only adventures, but they also let a
boy discover the mechanics of force and motion.
Cub Scout canoeing is
restricted to council run camping programs to ensure qualified leadership and
safe conditions. If you are lucky enough to have a canoe program in your council
Cub camp, then your boys are in for a great adventure.
For many years, Cub Scouts and
Webelos were not allowed to canoe. My wife Shirley and I had been volunteering
at a local Easter Seal camp where we discovered that children sitting in the
bottom of a canoe were more stable and secure than when sitting in row boats.
Even the most severely disabled went canoeing with us and had a great time. They
just didn’t weigh enough to tip the canoe.
Shirley, an avid canoeist, was
on our council Executive Board and she convinced the leadership to apply for a
program variance to permit us to include canoes at our Council Day Camp where we
had a small pond.. The variance was approved by National and the program was a
great success. We even ran occasional Saturday camps so working parents could
canoe with their boys.
Eventually National included
canoes as a camp program for Cub Scouts, pretty much along the lines of
Safe Swim Defense
Before a BSA group may engage
in swimming activities of any kind, a minimum of one adult leader must complete
Safe Swim Defense training, have a commitment card (No. 34243) with them,
and agree to use the eight defenses in this plan.
Safety Afloat has been developed to promote
boating and boating safety and to set standards for safe unit activity afloat.
Before a BSA group may engage in an excursion, expedition, or trip on the water
(canoe, raft, sailboat, motorboat, rowboat, tube, or other craft), adult leaders
for such activity must complete Safety Afloat Training, have a commitment card
with them, and be dedicated to full compliance with all nine points
of Safety Afloat. [Note: Cubs and Webelos are not
permitted on excursions, expeditions or trips.]
must wear a Coast Guard approved Personal Floatation Device when on the water.
SHAPE \* MERGEFORMAT Cold Water
Even when the weather is warm and sunny, the water may be
cold – and dangerous. Beware of exposing Cub Scouts to water temperature under
60 degrees F. The American Canoe Association tells us that more than half of
the fatal boating accidents in Pennsylvania occur when the water is cold
I have been a canoe instructor with both the American Red
Cross and the ACA. I know, first hand, that cold water can be extremely
Once while attempting to free a stuck canoe, I slipped and
fell into water under 40 degrees F. The current was not fast – less than brisk
walking speed – and the brook was hardly twenty feet wide at that point but I
was powerless to extricate myself. The cold water had effectively paralyzed me.
I could not swim nor could I grasp hold of the paddles that my companions
reached out towards me. I just hung in my PFD and went with the flow until an
eddy washed me close enough to the bank where others could drag me ashore.
Currents and Low-Head Dams
and Webelos should do all their boating on flat water with no
current. Moving water, even a slow current of one or two miles per hour, can
exert enormous force on a child. A boat or raft full of water can weigh over a
thousand pounds and could crush the body of a child caught in its path. Taking
Cub Scouts on moving water is just plain foolish.
For this and other reasons, trips and excursions on water
are not permitted for Cub Scouts and Webelos.
Some notes for current and future
Boy Scout leaders.
situations occur at the many low-head dams common on rivers in just about every
state. These dams are small, ranging from 6 inches to a few yards in height.
They produce hydraulic effects that trap unwary boaters, where escape is almost
impossible. Rescue is difficult and perilous, even for trained personnel.
[low-head dams] combined with the hydraulic current create a nearly perfect
The real danger is that these dams slow the general
flow of the rivers creating an impression of placid, safe waters. Every year
many people, sometimes Scouts, perish in these traps.
Suite101 writer, Alan Sorum,
Manager for the Municipality of Skagway, an Alaska Borough and immediate past
Port Director and Harbormaster for the City of Valdez, Alaska has and excellent
article on low head dams.
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