Andy’s “Scout Trivia” Question: So you think you’re pretty sharp, do you? Well here’s another “Scout Trivia” question: Before Philmont Scout Ranch was called Philmont, what was its name? (Send me your answer and I’ll publish it in June!)
WHAT’S YOUR “H20-Q”? It’s just about time for Scouts to start taking to the water again – in it and on it. So, this is a good time to review some Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat points. Try this quick quiz (you’ll find the answers after the quiz)…
1. Which of these is NOT a basic objective of Scouting aquatics?
a. To give boys self-confidence and skill in aquatics
b. To instruct boys in care or self, equipment, and others
c. To promote aquatics-related merit badges and advancement to Eagle rank
d. To develop physical strength and coordination
2. The primary purpose of a BSA LIFEGUARD is to…
a. Provide a challenge for older Scouts
b. Provide protection for unit activities outside of camp
c. Train aquatics staff personnel
d. Encourage physical fitness and stamina
3. The ultimate responsibility for the BSA buddy tag system rests with…
a. The boy
b. The aquatics staff
c. The Scoutmaster
d. Answers a and c
e. Answers a, b, and c.
4. When giving a swimming test, the administrator should…
a. Ask the Scout if he can swim
b. Test one boy at a time
c. Keep Scouts within 10 feet of the pier or dock
d. All of the above
5. If the water temperature is 70 degrees, safe water time is no more than 20 minutes.
6. 45 minutes is the recommended time for recreational swims.
7. Type II and IV PFDs are recommended for use in Scouting aquatics.
8. When a unit uses canoes on running waters, a float plan MUST be filed with parents,
the unit committee, and the local council service center.
9. Any Scout may use a rowboat, but only swimmers may use canoes (no exceptions).
10. Everyone who uses a canoe must wear a PFD (no exceptions).
11. The lookout must be able to see and hear all areas and must be a swimmer.
12. A nonswimmer Scoutmaster can be the QUALIFIED SUPERVISOR for a unit swim,
if he or she is trained in the Safe Swim Defense and has qualified assistants.
13. Buddy checks happen generally every 10 minutes.
14. The maximum water depth for swimmers is __ feet.
15. Minimum water depth for diving from a pier, deck, or dock is __ feet.
16. The BSA “methods of rescue” are, in order:
_______________ _______________ _______________ _______________
17. The BSA-recommended lifeguard ratio is 1:____.
18. Hypothermia is…
a. The rapid taking in of oxygen and blowing out of CO2.
b. A low body temperature, specifically low body-core temperature.
c. A high body temperature.
d. What happens to the body following a serious accident or injury.
AND THE ANSWERS ARE…
1. “c” (promote aquatics-related merit badges and advancement to Eagle rank) is NOT
a basic objective of Scouting aquatics. The others – to give boys self-confidence
and skill in aquatics, to instruct boys in care or self, equipment, and others, and to
develop physical strength and coordination – are the reasons for Scouting aquatics.
2. The primary purpose of a BSA LIFEGUARD is to (b) – Provide protection for unit
activities outside of camp.
3. The aquatics staff (b) has ultimate responsibility for the BSA buddy tag system.
That’s not to say that the Scouts and SM don’t have responsibilities of their own –
but someone has to have the “last word,” and that’s always the designated staff!
4. When giving a swimming test, the administrator should (a) ask the Scout if he can
swim, (b) test one boy at a time, and (c) keep Scouts within 10 feet of the pier or
dock. In other words, “all of the above.”
5. It’s TRUE that if the water temperature is 70 degrees, safe water time is no more
than 20 minutes.
6. It’s TRUE that 45 minutes is the recommended time for recreational swims.
7. It’s TYPE II and TYPE III PFDs that are recommended for use in Scouting aquatics,
so “Type II and IV” would be FALSE.
8. It’s TRUE that when a unit uses canoes on running waters, a float plan MUST be
filed with parents, the unit committee, and the local council service center.
9. It’s FALSE that any Scout may use a rowboat, but only swimmers may use canoes.
A Scout non-swimmer can be in a canoe, but ONLY when there’s an adult swimmer
in it, too!
10. It’s TRUE that everyone who uses a canoe must wear a PFD. There are no
exceptions, and the key word is WEAR! (Yup – even when it’s “flat water”!)
11. It’s FALSE that the lookout must be able to see and hear all areas and must be a
swimmer. But this is sort of a “trick question” – Since the lookout never actually
enters the water, he or she doesn’t have to be a swimmer!
12. It’s TRUE that a nonswimmer Scoutmaster can be the QUALIFIED SUPERVISOR
for a unit swim, if he or she is trained in the Safe Swim Defense and has qualified
13. It’s TRUE that buddy checks happen generally every 10 minutes.
14. The maximum water depth for swimmers is 12 feet. Deeper than this can make
underwater rescues potentially too difficult.
15. The minimum water depth for diving from a pier, deck, or dock is 7 feet.
16. REACH-THROW-ROW-GO are the BSA “methods of rescue” in that exact order.
17. The BSA-recommended lifeguard ratio is 1:10.
18. Hypothermia is (b) a low body temperature, specifically low body-core temperature.
So how’d you do? Got 16-18 right? Then you ought to volunteer to TEACH SSD & SA! Got 13-15 right? You probably just need to brush up with a little review reading. Less than 13? Time to take or re-take SSD & SA!
Now, on to some questions…
How does the $25.00 unit recharter fee get allocated? And who pays for the subscriptions to Boy’s Life Magazine—the unit or the Scout’s family? (R.J., Den Leader, North Jersey)
All registration fees and Boy’s Life magazine subscription fees, including the unit rechartering fee, go directly to the National Council-BSA in Irving, Texas. The annual registration fee for individuals is now $10 (this increased for the first time in some seven years to $10 in January 2003) and the Boy’s Life annual subscription fee is $9 (the best value in the world, in my opinion!). The unit rechartering fee is actually $20 per year (not $25) and pays for the actual registration processing that takes place at the BSA National office. Your local council keeps none of this. The National Council puts these funds to use in support of Scouting research, text writing, training course development, high adventure base maintenance and a host of other services provided to all Scouts and Scouters year ’round. On your second question, in most units the overall annual dues to the unit itself will cover the annual registration fee, any group insurance, the Boy’s Life subscription, plus unit activity costs for the year.
I’ve been my Troop’s advancement chairman for some 15 years now, but I’ve never been asked to join the advancement committee in my district. I’m an expert on the BSA advancement rules and I should have been asked to be chairman of the district advancement committee years ago. I’m sure my reputation precedes me, but nobody so much as gives me a call! How do I get these people to do what’s right? (K.S., Troop Advancement Chair)
Hey, every district needs experts, and they also need team players. Would it be true that you’ve taken training for your position, that you attend district committee meetings and other district events, that you’ve volunteered to “teach” what you know at district roundtables and other training events in your council, that you’ve offered your help to the district committee as a whole, in any way that they might need help from an active, involved volunteer? If so, then shame on them for not noticing! But, if you haven’t been reaching out, extending yourself, showing you’re a team player and team supporter, and instead you’re expecting them to take heed of the pearls that fall from your lips when advancement’s the subject, then…well, you know! Scouting is a pro-active movement, and I’d suggest that you might want to become more pro-active yourself. I’d like to hear from you again, after you’ve given this a try!
We’ve got a Senior Patrol Leader in our Troop that we’re having some difficulties with. Lately, he’s become disrespectful of the adult leaders in the troop, doesn’t have the best interests of the entire troop in mind, and has become almost impossible to deal with. Recently, he says he has determined from an unknown source that he is allowed to attend Troop Committee meetings. As Committee Chair, I am not at all comfortable with that, nor are most of the committee members. Are you aware of any official guideline or policy that covers this? By the way, new elections for SPL are planned to occur shortly. (B.M., Committee Chairman, Mendon, MA)
Oops! What happened to “Scout Spirit”? Let’s start with the good news—your Troop does have junior leader elections, and you have a committee in operation and not just a “lone Scoutmaster.” Now, thinking about your SPL, if this attitude and behavior change is quite different and radical from his “former self,” you may be seeing the displacement of a problem that’s happening elsewhere in his life. Has your SM had a conference with him lately? He doesn’t have to wait till a rank advancement for this—he can conference with the Scout anytime at all! I’d sure start there, and ask this Scout about his school life, family life, and so on. This may help explain his current behavior. As far as attending Troop Committee meetings, even if it’s not “in the book,” there’s nothing inherently wrong with having the SPL come to a committee meeting, especially if he’s given a specific role in the meeting. So, why not invite this Scout to attend for the express purpose of delivering a report to the Committee on the Troop’s activities and long-range program? In other words, turn a “demand” into an opportunity for leadership and learning!
Is “Law Enforcement” the only Explorer program available these days? Or, are there other opportunities? (T.T., parent, Mendham, NJ)
Actually, there are a bunch of opportunities for the 14-21 year old – either male or female in Exploring. Interested in the U.S. Customs Department? Here’s a Web site to check out: http://www.customs.gov/xp/cgov/careers/customs_ careers/explorer_ program/ explorer.xml and there are a bunch of others, in Air Exploring, and other careers as well. Get on the Web and go to for a general search.
We have a Life Scout in our Troop who’s decided not to say the Pledge of Allegiance. If he still feels this way when he comes up for his Eagle board, should the board approve him? I note that saying the pledge is one of the requirements to earn the Scout rank. (B.C.)
Whoa! Free speech n’ all that! To get complicated for a second here, how does he intend to live up to the Scout Oath: “…duty to God and my country”? Well, I suppose, if he’s clever, he could say, “Well, I’m ‘doing my best’ to ‘do my duty to God and my country…'” And I suppose that might “count.” But he’s also supposed to be a positive example of Scouting and Scout Spirit! How does he do this? Sounds like a Scoutmaster’s Conference is needed — right away. What’s this Scout’s reason or rationale for refusing? How did he “demonstrate” this, the first time — was it diplomatically, or rudely? Does he perform the salute but remain silent, or does he refuse to salute, as well? Who or what has influenced him? Has he secretly become a citizen of another country? (They’re excused, you know, but I’m joking here.) Personally, I think a conference, to understand (and perhaps counsel) this Scout is the most important thing you can do, and I wouldn’t wait or hesitate. Saying the Pledge, per se, is not a “requirement” for Eagle, but showing Scout Spirit certainly is. And most Troops begin their meetings with this. As far as an Eagle Board is concerned, that’s their decision and I’d not try to predict.
I just found your column and love your advice, but you get a knuckle smack on a recent response to a question about only counseling a merit badge for your own Troop. Your response was that is not allowed. I agree with the concept of being inclusive, but on page 11 of the Advancement Policies and Procedures book it says that you can counsel for just one unit. (S.F., District Advancement Chair, Chicago, IL)
Yup, I’ll take a wrap on the knucks and 20 lashes with a wet lanyard! You’re absolutely right, and I wasn’t! Your were the first, but far from the only Scouter to point out my goof! If a counselor want to handle just one Troop, he or she can do that! But, that said, I’d encourage them to broaden their horizons, for two reasons. First of all, one of the “hidden agendas” to merit badges is for Scouts to learn how to initiate contact with and adult they don’t know. The second is that it’s a lot more fun for the counselor to work with Scouts from different Troops – variety is the spice of Scouting, too! So, thanks for writing, and setting me straight! Keep on reading… and writing, too! After all, I’m “out of a job” if good folks like you don’t ask questions – and keep me straight from time to time!
I’m looking for the First Aid information as it applies to Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers. I’m on Wood Badge staff for our council and this is a staff project we are doing to show the participants how to do their project. What I want to do is show the differences on how First Aid is handled and is different between the three Scouting groups. I have quite a bit of information on this for the Boy Scouts, but haven’t had much luck finding information about the other two groups on the web. Any ideas? (J.B., Troop Advancement & Training Chair, Cuba City, WI))
I’ve done a sort of basic literature search, and I think you’ll want to check out the “Readyman” activity badge for Webelos Scouts. And, if memory serves, there may be a few little items in the Wolf and Bear books — but not a whole lot! Then, I checked out the Venturing Leader Manual and came up with…ZIP! Nada! Not a thing! But, when I found the requirement book for the Venturing RANGER Award, there it was! This rank has significant First Aid requirements, and you’ll definitely want to check it out.
After 15 years of commissioner service in my local council, nearly five years of service as Dean of Support Services for the NY-PA College of Commissioner Science held each year in Syracuse, NY, I’ve been asked to teach a Continuing Education seminar on where I think the role of the Commissioner is headed in the next five years or so. I’ve seen a few changes in the Commissioner’s job description over the years, and can pontificate on the “good ol’ days” with the best of ’em, but I find my crystal ball a little cloudy on Commissioner evolution in the near future. Short of holding a séance and invoking the spirit of B-P, do you have any insights that would help me get through my class? (D.T., Unadilla, NY)
The Redcoats are coming! The Redcoats are coming! Well, you’re asking me to gaze into my own “crystal ball” here, and mine is pretty fuzzy, too! But, in about the same time-line as you, I’ve noticed a few things changing. First, there seem to be fewer and fewer “council cops n’ district detectives” and a “kinder, gentler” Commissioner seems to be emerging. Younger, too, which is a good thing! I’m also seeing more women as Commissioners, and this is good, too! So, where do I see Commissioner service going? Well, some things will remain the same, like helping with rechartering, and making visits, and so forth. But I think the biggest differences in the future will be more philosophical in nature – Commissioners being more “user-friendly,” if you will – more helpful to the units they serve and with less of a “watchdog” mentality. I think this happens when we recruit younger people to the corps and use it less as the “retirement pasture” for our old Scoutmasters, etc. As this happens, there’s something that must happen along with it, and that’s when District Executives stop trying to be the “final answer” when folks “call Council.” When DE’s stop answering every and all questions, and start passing folks over to their UC’s, then we’ll see some major changes! When this begins to happen more and more, the “stature” of the Commissioner will go up, and with it a better “partnership” between units and their Commissioner, and between DE’s and their District Commissioner counterparts. This can be helped when more Commissioner training courses, conferences and colleges run sessions titled something like, “The Professional Staff-Commissioner Staff Connection and How to Grow It,” and then inspire DE’s to attend commissioner training along with their volunteer counterparts.
Have a question or problem? Got an idea that will help others? Send an email to AskAndyBSA@yahoo.com (Include your town and state, please)