Welcome to Baloo's Bugle!


Back to Index
Prayers & Poems
Training Tips
Tiger Scouts
Pack/Den Activities
Fun Foods
Webelos Acquanaut
Webelos Geologist
Pre-Opening Activities
Opening Ceremonies
Stunts & Cheers
Audience Participation
Fourth of July
Closing Ceremony
Web Links

Baloo's Bugle


June Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 9, Issue 11
July Theme

A Hiking We Will Go
Webelos Aquanaut and Geologist
  Tiger Cub Activites



Eight Point Safe Swim Defense Plan

The first thing  that should be learned before doing 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

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 lifelines such as 100 feet of No. 5 sash cord).

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

6.  ABILITY GROUPS: Divide Scouts into learners (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.

Aquanaut Hints from 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.

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!

Beginner’s Games

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.

Aquanaut Hints from 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(safe) facilities.

2.        Use the Buddy system.

3.        use ability groups.  Have qualified instructor for the learners.

4.        Maintain good discipline, follow rules.

5.        Ensure all are physically able

6.        Have Lifeguards

7.        Have a qualified adult in charge

8.        Have lookouts

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 though.  If you are caught, don't swim against it, swim the flow and diagonally until you reach the shore.


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.



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.



(This letter was printed in Baloo last June but I felt it was worth repeating)

CPSC Warns: Pools Are Not the Only Drowning Danger at Home for Kids
Data Show Other Hazards Cause More than 100 Residential Child Drowning Deaths Annually


May 23, 2002
Release # 02-169
CPSC Media Contact: Mark Ross
(301) 504-0580 Ext. 1188
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Young children are irresistibly drawn to water, and tragically, about 350 children under age 5 drown in swimming pools each year. But even if you don't have a pool, your young children may not be safe from drowning. At next month's World Congress on Drowning, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will present data showing that about one-third as many children (an average of about 115 annually) drown from other hazards around the home as do in pools.  CPSC has received reports of 459 young children who drowned in bathtubs, buckets, toilets, spas, hot tubs and other containers of water in a 4-year period between 1996 and 1999.


"While many of us are aware of the dangers a backyard pool poses to young children, not everyone knows about other drowning hazards around the home," said CPSC Acting Chairman Thomas Moore. "CPSC is alerting parents and caregivers to drowning hazards that might not be so obvious, to help prevent these devastating losses."



Children drowning in bathtubs account for about two-thirds of the 459 reported drowning deaths in the home.  The majority of these bathtub deaths occur when the caregiver is not present.  In the time it takes to step out of the room to get a towel or answer the phone, a young child can drown.  In at least 29 of the 292 bathtub drowning deaths reported to CPSC between 1996 and 1999, the victims were using bath seats.



Many parents and caregivers may not realize the danger buckets pose. From 1996 through 1999, CPSC received reports of 58 children under age 5 who drowned in 5-gallon buckets.  Even a small amount of liquid can be deadly.  Of all buckets, the 5-gallon size presents the greatest hazard to young children because of its tall, straight sides.  That, combined with the stability of these buckets, makes it nearly impossible for top-heavy infants and toddlers to free themselves when they fall into the bucket headfirst.



Toilets can be overlooked as a drowning hazard in the home. The typical scenario involves a child under 3-years-old falling headfirst into the toilet.  CPSC has received reports of 16 children under age 5 who drowned in toilets between 1996 and 1999.


Spas and Hot Tubs

Spas and hot tubs, typically located near or sometimes inside the home, pose another hazard to young children. CPSC is aware of 55 children under age 5 who drowned in spas and hot tubs between 1996 and 1999.


Other Products

Though not as frequently involved in deaths, other products around the home containing water can be drowning hazards. The most common of these are buckets with a capacity different than the 5-gallon size.  Additional drowning deaths have also involved landscape ponds, sinks, and fish tanks, among other products.



CPSC offers these tips to help prevent young children from drowning:

  • Never leave a baby alone in a bathtub for even a second. Always keep the baby in arm's reach.  Don't leave a baby in the care of another young child.  Never leave to answer the phone, answer the door, to get a towel or for any other reason.  If you must leave, take the baby with you.
  • A baby bath seat is not a substitute for supervision.  A bath seat is a bathing aid, not a safety device.  Babies have slipped or climb out of bath seats and drowned.
  • Never use a baby bath seat in a non-skid, slip-resistant bathtub because the suction cups will not adhere to the bathtub surface or can detach unexpectedly.
  • Never leave a bucket containing even a small amount of liquid unattended.  When finished using a bucket, always empty it immediately.
  • Store buckets where young children cannot reach them. Buckets, accessible to children, that are left outside to collect rainwater are a hazard.
  • Always secure safety covers and barriers to prevent children from gaining access to spas or hot tubs when not in use.  Some non-rigid covers, such as solar covers, can allow a small child to slip in the water and the cover would appear to still be in place.
  • Keep the toilet lid down to prevent access to the water and consider using a toilet clip to stop young children from opening the lids.  Consider placing a latch on the bathroom door out of reach of young children.
  • Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) -- it can be a lifesaver when seconds count.

Swimming Pools

Consumers with residential pools need to be aware of all the safety tips regarding in-home hazards, and also be aware of how to protect young children from the dangers a pool poses.

The key to preventing a swimming pool tragedy is to have layers of protection.  This includes placing barriers around your pool to prevent access, using door and pool alarms, closely supervising your child and being prepared in case of an emergency. CPSC offers these tips to prevent pool drowning:

  • Fences and walls should be at least 4 feet high and installed completely around the pool.  Fence gates should open outward from the pool and should be self-closing and self- latching. The latch should be out of a small child's reach.
  • If your house forms one side of the barrier to the pool, then doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with alarms that produce a sound when a door is unexpectedly opened.
  • A power safety cover -- a motor-powered barrier that can be placed over the water area -- can be used when the pool is not in use.
  • Keep rescue equipment by the pool and be sure a phone is poolside with emergency numbers posted.
  • For above-ground pools, steps and ladders to the pool should be secured and locked, or removed when the pool is not in use.
  • If a child is missing, always look in the pool first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  • Pool alarms can be used as an added precaution.

CPSC offers free publications consumers can use to help prevent child drowning: "Safety Barrier Guidelines for Pools," "How to Plan for the Unexpected,"  "Guidelines for Entrapment Hazards: Making Pools and Spas Safer,"  and "Prevent Child In-Home Drowning Deaths."  Copies of these publications can be obtained here on CPSC's website, or by writing to
"Prevent Drowning," CPSC, Washington, D.C., 20207.
To establish a link from your web site to this press release on CPSC's web site, link to the following address:






clear.gif - 813 Bytes

Materials found in Baloo's Bugle may be used by Scouters for Scouting activities provided that Baloo's Bugle and the original contributors are cited as the source of the material.

Materials found at the U. S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. Website ©1997-2003 may be reproduced and used locally by Scouting volunteers for training purposes consistent with the programs of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) or other Scouting and Guiding Organizations. No material found here may be used or reproduced for electronic redistribution or for commercial or other non-Scouting purposes without the express permission of the U. S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. (USSSP) or other copyright holders. USSSP is not affiliated with BSA and does not speak on behalf of BSA. Opinions expressed on these web pages are those of the web authors.