Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Easiest Way To Cover Safe Swim Defense Part D: Qualified Supervision (Part 2)

Ok so up to this point about the first principle which is Qualified supervision we covered a introduction to Qualified Supervision what it is and why its important to keep your awareness level high and also to continue further learning about what safe swim is all about. In this next post we will be covering the qualifications of a "Qualified Supervisor: as defined the in "Aquatics Supervision Manual" and why some of these qualifications exist.

We've now talked about what were going to do in the post. Since thats been cover we should list all the the short-hand standard as is found basically in the Boy Scout Handbook. In the handbook this is more or less equivalent when its compared to the brief version found in the aquatics manual. Ok, so heres the overall statement and it states the following:
"All Swimming activities must be supervised by a mature and conscientious adult 21 or older who understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of those in his or her care, and who is trained in and committed to the eight points of BSA SSD."
After covering the overall statement of this first principle of SSD we now come to the exact qualifications that are required to be a adequate qualified aquatics supervisor. Some of these qualifications have already been stated in the overall summary statement this principle is so important b/c in underlies and is a foundational part of SSD in which the other part of the foundation of these principles is Discipline Qualifications include the following:

  1. Understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of youth members in his or her care.
  2. Is experienced in the particular activity
  3. Is confident in his or her ability to respond appropriate in an emergency.
  4. And finally is trained and committed to the nine points of BSA Safety Afloat (SA) and/or the eight points of SSD.

A item worth mentioning is that the person who is the instructor that is confident in his abilities and also knows and understands how to respond to emergencies on an as needed basis does not have to be the same person as the SSD trained adult. Reasoning behind this is for a couple of different reasons including:

  1. Is that the more people you have trained in SSD points makes and allows to have more flexibility your unit is participating in any activities that are covered by SSD points as outlined in the Aquatics Supervision Manual, SSD points, and the Guide to Safe Scouting.
  2. A greater number of adults qualified in SSD leads to a more safe environment when covering activities that are covered by the 8 points of SSD.
  3. Your unit has an increased level awareness for parents who are not going on the outing to make sure we are using the right person for the right role
Mentioning this point of the two different adults allows to have some or all of the above benefits in order to encourage and teach about how Scouts including youth and adults can even outside of scouting become committed to having and knowing how to raise the level of awareness when doing aquatics related activities.

Many people are uncomfortable and are slightly confused on the various levels of training available to youth and adults are able to take depending on what level you are at in the Boy Scouts aquatic program. Basically it ranges from just awareness training all the way up to being able to be a Aquatics Director according to the National Camp School(NCS standards which all Boy Scout owned camps or summer program activities must be certified to on a annual basis. Really the part on the NCS probably doesn't really need to be included to reach my intended audience but I mentioned it just to show that the BSA aquatics program is a multi-tiered program. Plus in addition to that it shows that the BSA has lots of experience when it comes to making sure aquatics activities are run safely and its a key factor in limiting or eliminating the amount of risk possible from these activities.

Awareness training which is the first level of training which is basically designed to help leaders learn and be aware of how the BSA guides Scout Units on how to run aquatic activities. It also introduces to the less experienced parent or leader some of the basic safety reminders that youth commonly forget. 

After that we come to the group of people who are experienced in a certain area of aquatic activities, which even with experience these parents or leaders must realize that the BSA standards are slightly different than how most families would conduct aquatic activities that to them would be considered safe. Really the idea behind training those who have experience is to show and introduce the BSA program guidelines. Along with that its to remind people who have experience in aquatics activities to help remind them of some of the very common safety mistakes that happen in the Scouting environment that they might not have thought of during this type of activity. 

Finally even though youth can not be the overall qualified supervisor they can and should be involved with the planning and executing phases of conducting safe aquatic activities so the youth don't think that you as a adult aren't just rambling on about some pointless sense of safety points. Including them helps them to realize, follow more closely the SSD points, and to be more willing to comply with the guidelines and understand why your telling him to stop or do a certain behavior that would promote a safer environment. 

Beyond this without going into details that aren't really even close to be relevant to this my inclusion on youth when it comes to point one of the SSD principles is that of having to train in aquatics activities, be willing to follow SSD guidelines, and be able to get rank advancement requirements signed off. The focus of aquatic skills development is first taught during Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class requirements  and then in addition when moving through the upper remaining ranks are able to demonstrate, explain, and help to teach safe ways to conduct safe aquatic activities. Another reason behind this thinking of involving youth in the process is allow them to enjoy aquatic activities without having a adult have to interfere on a regular basis to correct a behavior. Finally for the next 2 levels of BSA aquatic training earning these particular certifications and training must be fully trained in SSD.

Well thats it, I know that this probably seemed to take too long but I am one of those persons who wants to thoroughly and correctly pass on information to my followers and regular readers of my blog when it comes to any Scouting topic. Next up in this SSD post series is all about the second point in the official order of principles as laid out by the BSA is that of "Personal Health Review"

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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