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Paws For Water

Elective Adventure

Swimming is a great way to stay healthy.  In this Adventure you will have a chance to get wet while you learn the rules to swimming safely. 

To earn this Adventure, you may enroll in and complete a swimming instruction program offered by an accredited instructor OR pass the BSA swimmer test OR complete the requirements below. 

Requirements

Learn about the swimming safety rules that you need to follow.
Rules Relay
LocationIndoor
Energy 4
Supply List2
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts will learn swimming rules through a relay race game.

  • Rules Match Relay game found in Additional Resources
  • Printer
  • Tape

Before the meeting:

  1. Become familiar with the Safe Swim Defense.
  2. Print two copies of Rules Relay. Cut out the rule boxes and the graphics.
  3. Tape the two sets “Rules” to separate areas on a wall space.  Leave enough spacing in between each rule to allow for the “graphic” to be posted.

During the meeting:

  1. Gather the Cub Scouts and adults in the den.  Explain that there are rules for swimming and after the rules are shared, there is a game to see how much was learned.
  2. Review the eight points of the Safe Swim Defense with everyone.
    • “The first rule is to make sure there is an adult who is properly trained oversee the swimming activity, this is called Qualified Supervision. All swimming activity must be supervised by a mature and conscientious adult age 21 or older who understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of those in their care, and who is trained in and committed to compliance with the eight points of BSA Safe Swim Defense.”
    • “The second rule is to make sure that everyone who is going to swim is healthy.  You should never go swimming if you feel sick.  Everyone who is swimming is to have a Personal Health Review. A complete health history is required of all participants as evidence of fitness for swimming activities. The BSA Annual Health and Medical record can be used for this.”
    • “The third rule is to make sure where we are swimming is safe.  A Safe Area means that all swimming areas must be carefully inspected and prepared for safety prior to each activity. Water depth, quality, temperature, movement, and clarity are important considerations. Hazards must be eliminated or isolated by conspicuous markings and discussed with participants. Controlled Access: There must be safe areas for all participating ability groups to enter and leave the water. Swimming areas of appropriate depth must be defined for each ability group. The entire area must be within easy reach of designated rescue personnel. The area must be clear of boat traffic, surfing, or other nonswimming activities.”
    • “The fourth rule is to have Response Personnel or Lifeguards. Every swimming activity must be closely and continuously monitored by a trained rescue team on the alert for and ready to respond during emergencies.”
    • “The fifth rule is to have a Lookout. The lookout continuously monitors the conduct of the swim, identifies any departures from Safe Swim Defense guidelines, alerts rescue personnel as needed, and monitors the weather and environment.”
    • “The sixth rule is for everyone to be placed into an Ability Groups. All youth and adult participants are designated as swimmers, beginners, or nonswimmers based on swimming ability confirmed by standardized BSA swim classification tests.  The swimming area will be marked by ability groups and you cannot go beyond your ability groups swimming area.   Nonswimmers must stay in the nonswimmer area, beginners can go in the nonswimmer and beginner area, and swimmers can swim in any of the three areas.”
    • “The seventh rule is the Buddy System. Every participant is paired with another. Buddies stay together, monitor each other, and alert the safety team if either needs assistance or is missing.  During our swimming time when a lifeguard or adult calls for a buddy check you must exit the water with your buddy and hold your buddy’s hand up.  A count will be done to make sure everyone is safe before anyone gets back into the water.”
    • “The last rule is extremely important and that is Discipline. Rules are effective only when followed. All participants should know, understand, and respect the rules and procedures for safe swimming provided by Safe Swim Defense guidelines.”
  3. Divide Cub Scouts into two groups.
  4. Divide up the rules graphics, as evenly as possible, amongst each team.
  5. Tell Cub Scouts that when you say go, the first Cub Scout in line runs to their “rules” to attach their graphic to the correct rule. Once a group has completed putting on eight rules, check to see if they are the correct ones. If the graphics do not match the correct rule, the group must decide which one(s) are not correct and change them before the other group finishes.
  6. The group that gets all the rules correct first wins.

Rules Match Relay game

Rules Match Relay game key

Demonstrate how to enter the swimming area properly.
Swim Area Safety
LocationTravel
Energy 2
Supply List2
Prep Time5

Before going swimming Cub Scouts learn how to properly enter the swimming area.

This activity is designed to be done before requirement 3 as part of a swimming activity.

Before the meeting:

  1. Locate a swimming area.
  2. Review BSA Health and Medical Form for each Cub Scout.
  3. Review the Safe Swim Defense and secure the proper Qualified Adult Supervision for the activity.
    All swimming activity must be supervised by a mature and conscientious adult age 21 or older who understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of those in their care, and who is trained in and committed to compliance with the eight points of BSA Safe Swim Defense.
  4. A week before the activity remind parents, Cub Scouts, parents, and adult partners of the time, date, and location.
  5. Be aware that unless the BSA Swim Test was conducted, everyone in this activity, including adult partners will be considered non-swimmers and restricted to the non-swimmer area.

During the meeting:

  1. Before entering the swimming area gather Cub Scouts and adult partners.  Have the adult serving as the qualified supervision introduce themselves and show the den where the buddy board is.  Pass out buddy tags to each Cub Scout and adult partner.
  2. Have Cub Scouts and adult partners buddy up and place their buddy tags on the buddy board.  Have the adult serving as the qualified supervision explain how the buddy board works and how to properly enter the swimming area.
  3. Once everyone has entered the swimming area safely.
  4. Demonstrate how to enter the pool. Walk up to the edge of the pool, sit down on the edge, place your feet into the pool, and lower yourself down into the pool.
  5. Go buddy group by buddy group, and have Cub Scouts repeat the entry method demonstrated to them.
Using the buddy system and staying within your ability group, go swimming with your den or family for 30 minutes.
Go Swimming
LocationTravel
Energy 5
Supply List5
Prep Time5

Take your den and go swimming.

Before the meeting:

  1. Locate a swimming area.
  2. Review BSA Health and Medical Form for each Cub Scout.
  3. Review the Safe Swim Defense and secure the proper Qualified Adult Supervision for the activity.
    All swimming activity must be supervised by a mature and conscientious adult age 21 or older who understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of those in their care, and who is trained in and committed to compliance with the eight points of BSA Safe Swim Defense.

During the meeting:

  1. Conduct swim checks to identify ability group for each Cub Scout.  Those who do not take a swim check are automatically considered a nonswimmer.
    • Nonswimmer
    • Beginner
    • Swimmer
  2. Ask Cub Scouts to choose a swim buddy within their same swim ability group.
  3. Complete requirements 4, 5, and 6.
Attempt at least one swimming stroke: front crawl, restful backstroke, or breaststroke.
Swimming Form
LocationTravel
Energy 5
Supply List4
Prep Time3

Cub Scouts will attempt to swim using a specific swimming stroke. Requirements 1, 2, and 3 must be completed first.

Before this activity Cub Scouts must complete requirements 1, 2, and 3.

Before the meeting:

  1. Locate a swimming area.
  2. Review BSA Health and Medical Form for each Cub Scout.
  3. Review the Safe Swim Defense and secure the proper Qualified Adult Supervision for the activity.
    All swimming activity must be supervised by a mature and conscientious adult age 21 or older who understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of those in their care, and who is trained in and committed to compliance with the eight points of BSA Safe Swim Defense.

During the meeting while swimming:

  1. Demonstrate the front crawl.
    • Legs do a flutter kick. To do this, move your legs up and down in the water, pressing down on the water with the top of your foot.
    •  At the same time, reach out with your arms out as far as you can in front of you, one arm at a time. Cup each hand, and scoop water down and back toward your body as your arm goes around in a circle.
  2. Demonstrate the restful backstroke.
    • Start by facing the pool wall, grabbing the poolside with both hands and putting your feet up against the wall, so your knees are bent up between your arm.
    • You are poised and ready to spring away from the wall.
    • Let go of the wall and push hard with both feet. Stretch out away from the wall keeping both arms by your sides.
    • Glide across the water surface maintaining a horizontal position.
    • Introduce using legs to kick. Push away from the poolside with one foot and with your head back, facing upwards.
    • Begin to kick using a relaxed and alternating action, flicking your feet upwards to break the water surface.
    • Your relaxed ankles should enable your feet to kick in a flipper-like action.
    • Finally, introduce arms. Push gently away from the pool side holding a float across the chest with one arm and with the other arm by your side
    • Extend your arm up and over the water with your thumb leading the movement
    • Keeping your arm straight, rotate your hand so that your little finger enters the water in line with your shoulder and arm fully extended
    • The arm pulls through the water to the hip with the forearm and the palm of the hand providing the propulsion.
  3. Demonstrate the breaststroke.
    • Grab the poolside with both hands behind you.  Put your feet up against the wall, getting ready to spring away from the wall.
    • Take a deep breast and submerge your face.  Immediately let go of the wall and stretch your arms and hands in front of you.
    • Push hard with both feet and stretch out away from the wall.
    • For your legs, Push away from the poolside with one foot, looking forward with your chin on the water surface.
    • Draw your knees up underneath you keeping your legs and feet together and…
    • …turn out your feet, exposing the soles to the water behind you.
    • Kick your feet out, around and back together, keeping your knees as close together as you can.
    • As you get used to the action, add more power and acceleration to the movement so that it becomes more of a whip action/
    • For your arms, Push gently away from the pool side with arms stretched out in front and together
    • Keeping fingers together, pull the water around in a small circle, keeping your hands in front of you throughout the movement
    • Allow your hands to scoop around and come together just under your chin
    • Elbows tuck in (this part of the action is easier when practiced without the woggle)
    • Both hands then stretch forwards, remaining together as they return to their starting position.
  4. Tell Cub Scouts to make sure they’re with the swim buddy within their same swim ability group that they selected in requirement 3.
  5. Call each buddy group, one at a time, to attempt one of the styles.
Jump feet first into water that is chest high or deeper.
Jump On In
LocationTravel
Energy 4
Supply List4
Prep Time3

Cub Scouts jump into a pool in chest deep water. Requirements 1, 2, and 3 must be completed first.

Before this activity Cub Scouts must complete requirements 1, 2, and 3.

Before the meeting:

  1. Locate a swimming area.
  2. Review BSA Health and Medical Form for each Cub Scout.
  3. Review the Safe Swim Defense and secure the proper Qualified Adult Supervision for the activity.
    All swimming activity must be supervised by a mature and conscientious adult age 21 or older who understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of those in their care, and who is trained in and committed to compliance with the eight points of BSA Safe Swim Defense.

During the meeting while swimming:

  1. Have Cub Scouts sit on the edge of the pool with their swim buddy within their same swim ability group that they selected in requirement 3.
  2. Call each buddy group to stand up.
  3. Tell them to put their toes on the edge of the pool ledge.
  4. Ask them to jump into the pool feet first and swim back to the edge.
Demonstrate how to exit the swimming area properly.
Getting Out Of The Pool
LocationTravel
Energy 3
Supply List4
Prep Time3

Cub Scouts demonstrate how to properly exit the pool.

Before this activity Cub Scouts must complete requirements 1, 2, and 3.

Before the meeting:

  1. Locate a swimming area.
  2. Review BSA Health and Medical Form for each Cub Scout.
  3. Review the Safe Swim Defense and secure the proper Qualified Adult Supervision for the activity.  All swimming activity must be supervised by a mature and conscientious adult age 21 or older who understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of those in their care, and who is trained in and committed to compliance with the eight points of BSA Safe Swim Defense.

During the meeting while swimming:

  1. Have Cub Scouts stand in the pool, facing the edge.
  2. Have your swimmers grab onto the wall with two hands [please emphasize BOTH hands!]
  3. Put one elbow on top of the edge of the pool.
  4. Bring their other elbow up on the edge.
  5. Pull their body up so that their tummy is laying on the edge of the pool
  6. Have them put their knee on the ledge and push up to a safe exit of the pool.
Print

Safety Moment

Prior to any activity, use the BSA SAFE Checklist to ensure the safety of all those involved.  

All participants in official BSA Scouting activities should become familiar with the Guide to Safe Scoutingand applicable program literature or manuals.   

Be aware of state or local government regulations that supersede BSA practices, policies, and guidelines.  

To assist in the safe delivery of the program you may find specific safety items that are related to requirements for the Adventure. 

All swimming activity must be supervised by a mature and conscientious adult age 21 or older who understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of those in their care, and who is trained in and committed to compliance with the eight points of BSA Safe Swim Defense. 

Before starting this Adventure complete the following: 

  • Complete the BSA Safe Swim Defense training (26 minutes) on my.scouting 
  • Confirm enough adults who will serve as rescuers during the activity to maintain a ratio of one rescuer to every 10 Cub Scouts.  
  • Have buddy tags for everyone who will be in the water, youth, and adults. 

During the Adventure: 

  • Give overview and instruction on the points of the Save Swim Defense prior to the activity. 
  • Provide continuous, qualified adult supervision and discipline during the activity.  
  • When swimming outdoors, ask that all the Cub Scouts apply sunscreen.

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