Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Easiest Way To Cover Safe Swim Defense Part B: Qualified Supervision (Part 1)

All of the following items and information come directly from the BSA Aquatics Supervision Manual, Safe Swim Defense materials, Safety Afloat Materials, the BSA Scout Handbook, and finally the BSA Fieldbook. Now that I've covered a introduction and a good teaching tool to use with your Scouts to assist them in remembering all 8 points of safe swim defense. Plus for even those adults who have trouble memorizing or just don't have the time to do so this "SMALLBAD" method works great. Yes the words aren't exactly the same or in the exact order that the BSA has determined but really in reality as long as you remember the 8 points and know that Qualified Supervision and discipline are what makes the SSD program actually work in real life.

Don't get me wrong their are some situations in which SSD causes trouble but ultimately these principles were designed by the BSA National Council Health and Safety Committee to help ensure that the BSA has a record of less injuries or fatalities when youth and adults are participating in aquatic activities. So what do you think about the question of, "Do only the youth have to meet the guidelines and regulations of the SSD program or do these principles apply to both the youth and adults participating in the unit's aquatics program?"

Now even though when looking at this from a wide & general view doesn't mean that adults are completely exempt from following the guidelines and regulations. Yes, its true that theirs a little more flexibility when it comes adults participating in aquatic activities but then again does it accomplish what your trying to accomplish using the Patrol Method and the Methods of the BSA, no it doesn't for several different reasons. First, is the mantra of "Do As I Say, Not As I Do" a appropriate way to act as parents and adult leaders in the Troop. If this answer is hard for you or if you question why this statement is totally disrespectful and inappropriate for a adult to demonstrate, then maybe you really need to look at how you are participating in the Boy Scout program. I'm not giving parenting advice or telling you that you must absolutely change because I realize that I can't change other people but that doesn't mean that saying something like this is totally wrong. If more leaders, adults, parents, and adult community members did not follow this mantra this would lead the young person to wanting to respect you more and be willing to cooperate with you. Again this doesn't give your kid the right to be rude to you as his parent but what it does create is a relationship that is more open and less secretive.

Next, do you know anyone who would be willing to cooperate and follow rules/procedures when their leader is not doing so themselves. Personally for me even if the person had a position of responsibility over me I would not as easily do things as I would normally do because its disrespectful and also it shows that your a "boss" and not a "leader". Yes there's a huge difference in what these two words mean plus these two descriptors easily cause confusion and makes the person of responsibility to subordinate relationship that much harder to when it comes to a change in person or the addition of new people. More or less to sum up this point it isn't about "Kissing Up" to another person to get their cooperation but its about developing a superior to subordinate relationship better and more able to adapt to change. Of course superiors should still maintain independence that allows them to tell the subordinate the way when, and how certain things should be done but what that doesn't allow the person to do is to be rude or give assignments or jobs that you as the superior wouldn't be willing to do himself.

Finally these guidelines are there to protect you and your son to the best of our ability to do so. I only say that this way because promising perfection isn't something that can be guaranteed and for me to guarantee something that something should not be given up on until I've succeeded. Also besides protecting yourself as well you and the other leaders protecting your son you as a adult have a responsibility to other youth in the Troop. Besides personal protection when it comes to injury or harm of a youth it helps to make sure that litigation can't easily been brought against you assuming you follow the appropriate guidelines and procedures as laid out in the safety documentation that is easily accessible for all leaders to see. Finally the last thing to remember is that as a adult in regards to your adult application and Tour Plans you agree to know, understand, and use the safety guidelines set out in the Guide to Safe Scout, the Youth Protection Guidelines, and finally any other documentation that the BSA sees fit to use when it comes to safety in various different activities and programs in the BSA.

To summarize what we were discussing in this post it basically covered why adults should follow the same guidelines to which the youth are subject to as according to the SSD Principles. SSD principles aren't just arbitrary guidelines designed to make life difficult for you as adults but instead their designed to prevent as much as possible emergencies or dangerous incidents to happen when participating in the aquatics portion of the BSA program for Boy Scouts.

During the next post I will be discussing the specific details of what adults should know about the Qualified Supervision point of the SSD program. SSD may seem like its useless or not relevant but in reality it provides a framework on which to build a safer aquatics program. After this upcoming post more than likely I will have finished the Qualified Supervision point and will end up moving to health and fitness concerns or as stated in the "SMALLBAD" system it will be covering some of the major medical and fitness concerns when it comes to conducting aquatic activities that aren't always as important to think about when it comes to participating in other types of activities.

Yours in Scouting Service
Mark West
Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1316, Troop 1616(aka 669), Troop 125
Tustumena District/ Denali District/ Eklutna District, Great Alaska Council
NSJ '05 Youth Participant NSJ '10 Subcamp 7 Youth Staff NSJ '13 Subcamp Staff
WSJ '07 Youth Participant WSJ '11 International Service Team(IST)
Eagle Scout OA Brotherhood Honor Big Horn Denver Area Council NYLT QM Philmont AA '08

If you are paid to do Scouting, you are called a professional. If you are not paid to do Scouting, you are called a Volunteer. If you pay to do Scouting, then you are called a Scouter 

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