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Baloo's Bugle




Circle 10 Council

As a general rule, every boy likes water as long as it isn’t in a bathtub.  Swimming is one of the best sports that a boy can be involved in.  It is one of the few sports in which every muscle in our body is exercised.  This activity badge is designed to get a boy well-grounded in basic water safety procedures and help him learn to swim.  Through learning to swim, each boy will gain a sense of self-achievement, as well as gaining a life saving skill.

Make a sincere effort to be trained in the BSA “Safety Afloat” program. Information can be found in the Cub Scout Leader book.  If that is not possible, try to find someone who is trained to attend the Webelos meetings to cover this badge.  Possible places to swim include city park recreation departments, Camp Wisdom pool, or a pool at a family residence.  Remember to provide lifeguards.  Get permission slips for the outings and file a tour permit.

Each Scout needs to know and understand about the buddy system.  Sometimes it helps to let them know that when they become Boy Scouts the buddy system it still required at the council camps, and that if the big boys do it, it is important for them to prepare and follow that instruction.  It is also wise for them to know that to save someone they do not need to jump in.  Reach, Throw, Go can be followed.  It is discussed below. Boating can be taught at a regular den meeting instead of at a pool or other water facility.  Try to have more than one type of personal flotation device, PFD, for them to see.  They need to know that different PFDs can help different sized people, and to know which is best for their respective sizes.

Rules For Safe Swimming

It should be safe, hazard-free, and well marked-off.

There should be a lifeguard or adult with water-safety training keeping watch from the “shore.”

Establish and follow “pool” rules.

Maintain good discipline.

Teach the buddy system and its importance.  Enforce the system with frequent buddy checks.

Ability group the Scouts.

Teach rescue methods.


This technique for staying afloat indefinitely may give confidence to boys who fear the water and don’t believe they can float.  The steps are:

Relax completely.  Be lazy.  With lungs full of air, float face down with back of neck on the surface. Let arms and legs dangle at rest. Rest for 3 seconds.

Extend your arms forward slowly.

Raise your head to the surface; exhale through your nose and mouth.  Your shoulders should stay underwater.

Keep your head straight. Push downward with your hands to keep your head above water. Inhale slowly.

With your lungs full of air again, drop your head forward and assume rest position again.  Rest for 3 seconds, then repeat steps again (Increase rest periods for up to 10 seconds as you become more adept.)

The first thought of most boys when they see someone in trouble in the water is to rush to his aid.  Quick action is important, but other methods are safer:

If you can Reach the person with any object at hand, then this is the first choice.  Your hand, leg, fishing rod, branch, pole, anything that’s long enough for him to grab and strong enough not to break while you pull him to shore. Just make sure you have a good grip on something secure so you’re not pulled into the water.

If the victim is further out, Throw a rope or a ring buoy with line attached.  Or throw an inflated inner tube, a boat cushion of anything else that floats.  Any object that will support the victim will do.  Then you can encourage him to kick his way back to the shore.

If there’s a boat or any other small craft nearby, get into the water quickly.  Row out to the victim and have him hold onto the boat as you tow him to safety.  Always approach a victim stern-first in a rowboat.

Only if there is no other way, and if you have confidence in your ability, should you Go into the water to attempt a rescue.  It takes a strong, experienced swimmer, well trained in water-rescue methods, to save a drowning person.  You may be safer and wiser if you go for help.  If you attempt the rescue, carry a towel or shirt in your mouth.  When near the victim, toss him one end of the towel or shirt and tow him to shore.  If he grabs you, take a big breath; submerge until he lets you go.


Pack Pool Party


A fun idea for a pack meeting is to place the boys’ awards in zip lock bags, you may want to double them with something to weight the bag down, toss the award into the pool and have the boys dive in to retrieve his award.  Other ideas can include adding floating items to the water that the boys need to retrieve, such as throwing in plastic-sealed frozen Popsicles, or an oiled watermelon, which can make great refreshments.


Inner Tube Strength


Inner tubes are great muscle-builders.  It’s possible to get used bike tubes; try them for these limbering-up exercises:

Cut the tube’s circle in half, and then loop it behind your hips, gripping the loose ends with both hands.  Keep your elbows at your sides and stretch the tube forward as far as you can.  You should do this eight to ten times.

If you have two bike tubes, loop both of them around as upright pole, then lie face down and slip each foot through the loops of rubber.  Pull against the tube, one leg at a time, with tubes resting just around the heels. A-half dozen tries at this exercise will do as a start.  You can increase the number of “pulls” after a week.


Floating Exercises

Some boys may not be able to swim yet.  Floating exercises can help overcome fear or unfamiliarity with water.

Turtle Float

In waist-deep water, take a deep breath.  Reach down and wrap arms around knees.  Hold the knees.  Your body will bob to the surface and float.

Jellyfish Float

In waist-deep water, take a deep breath, reach down and grab ankles.  Hold ankles.  Your body will bob to the surface and float.

Prone Float

After doing the turtle float, extend arms and legs.  The next step is to add a swimming kick to move through the water!


Crossroads of America

This activity badge involves water fun. Some boys may be good swimmers, but others may need considerable help. Encourage them to practice anytime. Start with a fun water game. Play the games suggested or ones your boys may think of.  Observe the boys carefully and determine who may need help and encouragement to be better swimmers.

If you have non-swimmers, find a certified instructor to teach them. See "Cub Scout Water Fun, No. 3220, for instruction ideas and steps. Have this person instruct and demonstrate safety rules and rescue methods.  Have boy’s practice towing a buddy with a pole and throwing a rope and towing a buddy after he has grabbed the rope.  Have boys practice methods and procedures.  Give each boy a chance to practice.

If the boy learns to swim, teach them boating fundamentals, he will have completed two individual sports that are required for the Sportsman badge.  But he must be able to know the rules, know the equipment and demonstrate to a reasonable degree that he can do this.  Do not expect perfection, if you know your boys, you can know if they are doing their best.


Suggested Den Activities
Crossroads of America


·         Make a simple buddy board and have buddy tags for all the boys.  Insist that they are used each time they go swimming; each boy is responsible for his buddy.

·         Take your den swimming and classify the boys according to swimming ability.   See how many can pass the 100-foot requirements.

·         After your boys are classified, play some water games and observe the boys carefully.  Determine which ones need help and encourage them to become better aquanauts.  If you have no non-swimmers, get another father to help you.

·         Have someone demonstrate the use of mask, tins, and snorkel.  Have boys take turns using the equipment, or have them use their own.  Start off with fins and show them the difference in speed with and without them.  Have the boys practice seeing in the water with the masks and learning how to breathe.

·         Next, the boys try the snorkel in shallow water (learning to breathe) before venturing out where the water is deeper.

·         Have the boys learn the basic rescue methods. Have them practice a reaching rescue with a shirt, pole, or by throwing a rope, ring buoy or other lifeline.

·         If a rowboat is available, have boat safety methods and rowing techniques demonstrated by an expert.  Give the boys a chance to practice these methods.

·         Explain how to set up a safe swim area and then have the boys set one up.

·         Have someone tell the boys about "How to Help Yourself if in an Emergency."


The three basic rules: don't panic, think and save your strength.  Explain what you do in case of cramps, currents, undertows, under water obstructions and how to use clothing for flotation.

Today, swimming and water safety go hand in hand and it is important that all Webelos Scouts can swim but are water safety conscious.  Being at home in water is self-defense against water tragedies.  With more pools being built each year and with easier access to swimming areas, boys need this skill!

The aquanaut requirements are simple and are the most important of all Webelos requirements as lives depends on them.  Swimming is one of the skills that once learned, lasts a lifetime and provides excellent exercise.  Read the pages on this activity in the Webelos Scout Book, and then get your boys into the water. The Aquanaut badge is designed for good swimmers.  Before attempting to do any games for this badge, it is important to not that all Cubs should be aware of all safety rules regarding swimming and boating.  They should swim in a well-supervised area with permission from their parents.

One of the main points of this badge is to teach safety rules.  These rules will be found at every Scout waterfront.  The rules may not particularly impress a Webelos Scout this year at the neighborhood pool where he swims daily, but next year at summer camp, their value will become apparent to him.


Rules For A Safe Swim
Crossroads of America

1.  Secure adequate facilities.

2.  Teach the Buddy system.

3.  Maintain good discipline.

4.  Follow pool rules.

5.  Teach rescue methods.

6.  Use a qualified instructor


Safe Swim Spots
Crossroads of America

The best place to swim is one that has qualified lifeguards.  If there is "no" supervision, always make sure you go with a buddy, never alone.

Weeds - It's pretty creepy to swim through weeds as they can get tangled in your legs and cause trouble.  If you get trapped, don't struggle...take it easy with slow movements to free yourself.

After Dark - Don't do it, ever!

Current - Sometimes you run into these in rivers.  It's best to stay away from them.  If you are caught, don't try to swim against it, swim the flow and diagonally until you reach the shore.

One of the things that should always be used with any water activity is the Safe Swim Defense Plan.  There are eight factors involved:

1.  Qualified Supervision: A responsible adult in complete charge and has water safety

The following are some good beginner's games: Catching ball in shallow water, Passing water ball while standing in water, Tunnel ball--passing ball back and between the legs, Cat and Mouse (cat outside circle), mouse inside, Spoon and Ping-Pong ball relay, Kickboard race for 10 to 25 yards, Relay race in shallow water. Have a swimming game of “Horse” for the swimmers.  Leader calls out a stunt.  Swimmers performing it remain in the game -- others are eliminated.

Examples: Swim with one arm out of water (sidestroke), Swim on back with both arms out, Duck dive (surface dive), Log roll (arms and feet extended, roll the body), Front somersault, Pendulum float.

2.  PHYSICAL FITNESS: Every boy should have a physical examination each year.

3.  SAFE AREA: Marked-off swimming area.  Not more than 3 1/2 feet deep for non-swimmers; shallow water to just overhead depth for beginning swimmers; and water not over 12 feet for swimmers.  The total swimming area should be checked out for any dangerous objects hidden in the water (glass, cans, deep spots in shallow areas, rocks in diving areas, etc.)

4.  LIFEGUARDS ON DUTY: Two who are capable swimmers stationed ashore with life lines such as 100 feet of No. 5 sash cord).

5.  LOOKOUT: Someone who can see all swimmers from shore.

6.  ABILITY GROUPS: Divide Webelos Scouts into non-swimmers, beginners, and swimmers.  Make sure each group stays in its area.

7.  BUDDY PLAN: Pair every boy with a buddy in his own ability group.  Make sure each buddy understands that he is to be on constant lookout for his buddy and vice-versa, and that they are to stay near each other at all times.  Buddies join and raise hands together every time they hear the call "buddies."  They check in and out of the water together.

8.  DISCIPLINE: Be strict but fair.  Play no favorites.  All Scouts and parents must understand the need for obedience to the instructions of swim leaders.

Study about the water pollutants in the lakes and rivers in your area, and their effects on the uses of water for consumption and recreation. One of the things that should always be used with any water activity is the Safe.


Gathering Activity
Crossroads of America

Water Safety

For each statement, circle the correct answer, Do or Don't.

DO DON'T             1. Show off in the water.

DO DON'T             2. Dive into strange or shallow waters.

DO DON'T             3. Go in swimming right after eating.

DO DON'T             4. Have your family physician tell you of any problems found in your fitness checkup.

Towel Relay Rescue Race
Crossroads of America

Divide group into two teams.  Station one boy from each team on the shore.  Give him a bath towel.  The other team members stand in shoulder-deep water, facing the shore.  On signal, the boy on shore runs into the water, heaves an end of the towel to first teammate, and pulls him to shore.  Boy just rescued jump back into water and rescues next boy, etc.

Cork Retrieve
Crossroads of America

Assign a small area of the poolside to each player.  Scatter a dozen or more small corks or blocks of wood on the water close to the far side of the pool.  On signal, each player dives into the pool and brings back corks one at a time and places them in his assigned area.  The player who I retrieves the most corks wins.


Bobbing For Apples
Crossroads of America

Surely you have tried this at Halloween...but it's much more fun in the swimming pool.  The only change in the rules is that the boy must grab onto the apple from underneath the water.


Frog In The Sea
Crossroads of America

This is a ideal pack game that can be played in a yard or in shallow water.  Players form a circle around five 'frogs' who sit with their feet crossed.  The players in a circle skip (if on land) or walk (if in the water) close to the frogs and try to tap them on the head as they repeat the words, "Frog in the sea, can't catch me".  The frogs try to tag the players without rising or uncrossing their feet.  If a player is tagged, he changes places with the frog


Simon In The Water
Crossroads of America

When leader prefaces a command by saying, “Simon says", each player must follow instructions immediately.  If he gives a command without saying "Simon says" no player may move.  Commands

Shallow-Water Scavenger Hunt
Crossroads of America

Place a number of objects (all different) in shallow water and then line up the boys on the water's edge.  Call out a specific object that is in the water ... flat stone, golf ball, piece of brick, etc.  The boys then go into the water to try to find that object and return it to the leader.

Neckerchief Slide-Life Preserver
Crossroads of America

On a piece of Styrofoam about 1/2" thick, draw a 3" circle and cut out.  From the center of the circle, remove a 2" circle.  Loosely wrap cord around edge of Styrofoam and bind in place, as shown, with red "Mystic" tape.  Print "Cub Scout" on one side and "Pack No." on the other.  Insert and glue ends of a piece of white chenille into back for ring.



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