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Thread: Water Activities with Cubs

  1. #1
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    Water Activities with Cubs

    Hi,

    I run a Cub section which is part of an active Sea Scout group with a waterside location and a fair amount of equipment. Sounds great doesn't it? Well sort of... While our Scouts and Explorers spend most of the Summer term on the water, we've really struggled to arrange water activities for the Cubs. There seems to be an attitude among some, that water activities are more suited to Scout age and above. However, all the water sports centres around us start kayaking, sailing etc. from age 8. So, given we're part of a Sea Scout group, parents naturally expect we'll do some water activities with the Cubs, and it's disappointing to say we don't.

    Clearly the main stumbling block is getting permits for the Cub leaders, which is going to take considerable time and money. So before going down that path, I'd really like to hear what water activities people run successfully for Cubs. Particularly those who run the sessions themselves and do it on a regular basis. What works well with Cubs? How many Cubs do you manage to get on the water in one go, and how many qualified leaders does it take to supervise them?

    Bell boating looks like one of the easier options, in terms of having a reasonable number of Cubs on the water in one craft under the supervision of one leader. The BCU qualification doesn't look too hard to get either. But I'd also be interested in whether people manage to run kayaking, canoeing or pulling sessions for their Cubs?

    Thanks in advance!

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    Senior Member Cottsyboy's Avatar
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    Hi, I've not got such easy access to water such as yourself but have ran kayaking and canoeing sessions for Cubs quite easily. We use the local Scout Canoe Fellowship who charge 100 per day, which works out roughly at 5 per Cub for bbq etc afterwards. Are you planning to do water activites as part of your weekly meetings? If so suggest to your GSL and fellow instructors to help to do this. Their is no reason why Cubs should be denied these opportunities just because we do it at scouts attitude. You could even try asking a local canoe club to come along and help out.

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    Senior Member Rikki01's Avatar
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    We are a Sea Scout Group and our Cubs are in the water every week throughout the summer. Canoes, kayaking, raft building, capsizing (for those that are comfortable with it) are what we mainly do. After negotiating with the Scout Section this year we are also doing Sailing Stage 1.

    We regularly get 20 Cubs out on the water with about 5 Leaders.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    No real reason why you should not get Cubs out on the water.

    Assuming "safe" waters ( i am not going to say Class C) you need to look at the suitability of the equipment and the physical strength of the Cubs.

    Kayaking can be very frustrating for Cubs who struggle with co-ordination, directional stability, size of boat and I would be very wary of making kayaking something that Cubs felt they HAD to do. Rafted up gamjes have limitations.

    Canoeing, you can pile them into a boat. You can put an adult in a boat and away you go.

    Sailing, again, a couple of Cubs as crew and a Leader as a master.

    Rafting, well you can have lots of fun with a few barrels poles and ropes.

    We have a couple of windsurfers, stripped down to just the boards. They can pratt aboput on them, try stand up paddleboarding etc..

    Supervision is the challenge. And my remit as a L3 Kayak coach is 8 on the water ( technically that is only in kayaks) So I could, inj theory, have eight, and eight per qualified leader. BUT, with Cubs, or Beavers, I would have perhaps One adult to four Beavers/ Cubs, and ask some of my more experienced kayakers to come and help keep the perimiter, chase the rogues and generally help manage the chaos. Remember though, that those more experienced kayakers, if under 18 years of age, still count in your ratio. So, One leader, five Cubs and three Explorers would be a 1:8 ratio.

    Can you not ask your Scout leaders to assist? My Scout team used to run kayaking for Beavers and Cubs...
    Ewan Scott

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    Thanks very much for the helpful comments so far.

    We have managed to provide the occasional kayaking session through external providers but that cost us around 15 per Cub, so clearly too expensive to do regularly. I was really wanting to build regular water activities into our summer programme, so it's great to hear that others are managing to do that. It should be easier to persuade people in our group that this is possible if other groups are already doing it successfully.

    Bushfella - as you say, the main challenge is supervision and how to make this achievable with the leaders available to us. We're on a B1 section of the non-tidal Thames, so pretty gentle when we'd be wanting to go out, but still enough flow to cause problems for those who can't actually move effectively. I take your point that canoeing may be easier than kayaking, particularly for the less able Cubs. But most options seem to require a small Cub:Leader ratio.

    Which leads onto the main problem of getting enough leaders, and getting them suitably qualified. The Scouts already have trouble getting enough qualified adults for their meetings, so we can't expect them to help us too on a regular basis. I've had a quick look at the BCU coaching qualifications and it's going to take a fair amount of time and money to get us to that level! How do other groups manage it? Does the group cover the whole cost of getting Leaders qualified, or expect Leaders to contribute too? Any tips for good places in the London/Surrey area for getting BCU qualifications?

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingstonCubber View Post
    Which leads onto the main problem of getting enough leaders, and getting them suitably qualified. The Scouts already have trouble getting enough qualified adults for their meetings, so we can't expect them to help us too on a regular basis. I've had a quick look at the BCU coaching qualifications and it's going to take a fair amount of time and money to get us to that level!
    Sounds like the scout leaders helping you get out on the water, leads to some of your leaders being qualified and returning the favour. Short term pain for longer term gain..... If you can sell them that line you may bypass the "cubs are too young" mentality for long enough to get it rolling.....

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    Its clearly not easy - you have a relatively small pool of people in any locality that are willing to give up their time to be Cub leaders, and then within that group you'd need to find enough that are interested enough in watersports to spend another night of the week getting their skills up to a point where a permit is possible. Its not just watersports - the same applies to any form of adventurous activity which requires a permit. I have a background in mountain walking etc and used to lead groups in Snowdonia pre Lyme Bay when paper qualifications became essential rather than just experience and common sense. Whilst I still have an interest in that sort of thing, I don't (due to family commitments) have the time now to get my skills back up to that sort of level and once qualified keep active enough to remain current in experience. I'd happily take my own kids up a mountain knowing they'd be safe with me - quite rightly no-one else is likely to trust me with theirs without the proper qualifications - be that ML awards or a permit.
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    Sea Scout Leader richardnhunt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingstonCubber View Post
    Any tips for good places in the London/Surrey area for getting BCU qualifications?
    Surrey scouts water activity club (SSWAC) - www.sswac.co.uk
    Albany centre
    Thames young mariners

    For pulling - 14th Richmond

    Just be aware that it's never a quick process to get your own quals up to that standard. Be realistic about what you want to get to - not to limit ambition but to prevent disappointment

    -

    In terms of the OP - we provide Canoeing, kayaking and pulling for our cubs, plus the occasional taster session on sailing

    Our cub musters are not at our water activities centre

    Rich

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingstonCubber View Post

    Bushfella - as you say, the main challenge is supervision and how to make this achievable with the leaders available to us. We're on a B1 section of the non-tidal Thames, so pretty gentle when we'd be wanting to go out, but still enough flow to cause problems for those who can't actually move effectively.
    That flow is a real issue for you. We take beginners out on a local lake with, ostensibly, no current. But the wind, even on a calm day can set up some unexpected currents, and with a light breeze, someone can drift a good couple of hundred metres in 10 minutes. On a river... that becomes a real issue even at low flow rates when you have "non-paddlers on the water".



    I take your point that canoeing may be easier than kayaking, particularly for the less able Cubs. But most options seem to require a small Cub:Leader ratio.

    Which leads onto the main problem of getting enough leaders, and getting them suitably qualified. The Scouts already have trouble getting enough qualified adults for their meetings, so we can't expect them to help us too on a regular basis. I've had a quick look at the BCU coaching qualifications and it's going to take a fair amount of time and money to get us to that level! How do other groups manage it? Does the group cover the whole cost of getting Leaders qualified, or expect Leaders to contribute too? Any tips for good places in the London/Surrey area for getting BCU qualifications?[/QUOTE]

    BC has recognised that it has set the bar too high for what is essentially have-a-go paddlesport. So it has introduced a new qualification

    https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/c...aches-leaders/

    Of course, I am not up to date with TSA rules on kayaking any more, but I understand that to get a Permit some Counties are demanding L2 Coach qualification. In which case BC is too late with this new set of Awards. But take a look and speak to your local Watersports Advisor, who should be aware of this by now.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



    www.upperdearnevalleynavigators.org.uk

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    Quote Originally Posted by richardnhunt View Post
    Surrey scouts water activity club (SSWAC) - www.sswac.co.uk
    Just be aware that it's never a quick process to get your own quals up to that standard. Be realistic about what you want to get to - not to limit ambition but to prevent disappointment
    Thanks Rich, both for the advice and the note of caution.

    I'm aware this will take time. At the moment I'm just working out what might be possible, and what we should aim for. I guess after that, if we decide to get qualified ourselves it'll probably be a 2 year process.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingstonCubber View Post
    Thanks Rich, both for the advice and the note of caution.

    I'm aware this will take time. At the moment I'm just working out what might be possible, and what we should aim for. I guess after that, if we decide to get qualified ourselves it'll probably be a 2 year process.

    Depends where you start from on how long it will take in paddlesports. Be realistic about the time scale.

    You need to get to your two star - which includes two disciplines - usually closed cockpit kayak and open canoe.Starting from scratch that can take a year on its own for some people ( I don't buy into the Star training and test in a weekend concept).

    You then need your FRST not always easy to access, but you might have better luck locally than we do.

    Then your L1 Training, practice and assessment.

    A period of experience, and gaining your three star award and then your L2 training , practice and assessment. So, to get to L2, if that is what is required, I'd say three years if you are really keen.

    But you might want to look at the paddlesport Leader awards I linked to earlier. They are by far more useful for most scouting purposes than a coaching qualification - but I don't know if TSA has authorised them yet.

    Do talk to your County Advisor. My wife and I became L1 Marathon Coaches because that was all the experience that we needed to play about on flat water. Scouts would not recognise it and forces us to do whitewater kayaking so that we could take kids out on a canal! - Happens we now take them out on rivers and play on gentle white water.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



    www.upperdearnevalleynavigators.org.uk

  12. #12
    Sea Scout Leader richardnhunt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Depends where you start from on how long it will take in paddlesports. Be realistic about the time scale.

    You need to get to your two star - which includes two disciplines - usually closed cockpit kayak and open canoe.Starting from scratch that can take a year on its own for some people ( I don't buy into the Star training and test in a weekend concept).

    You then need your FRST not always easy to access, but you might have better luck locally than we do.

    Then your L1 Training, practice and assessment.

    A period of experience, and gaining your three star award and then your L2 training , practice and assessment. So, to get to L2, if that is what is required, I'd say three years if you are really keen.

    But you might want to look at the paddlesport Leader awards I linked to earlier. They are by far more useful for most scouting purposes than a coaching qualification - but I don't know if TSA has authorised them yet.

    Do talk to your County Advisor. My wife and I became L1 Marathon Coaches because that was all the experience that we needed to play about on flat water. Scouts would not recognise it and forces us to do whitewater kayaking so that we could take kids out on a canal! - Happens we now take them out on rivers and play on gentle white water.
    But they don't need to get to L2

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by KingstonCubber View Post
    Thanks Rich, both for the advice and the note of caution.

    I'm aware this will take time. At the moment I'm just working out what might be possible, and what we should aim for. I guess after that, if we decide to get qualified ourselves it'll probably be a 2 year process.
    Happy to help where we can
    Rich

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    Senior Member Shaun's Avatar
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    For a scout permit you either need to be a L2 coach or have an assessment. So your local Activities could help you get to where you want to be. I suppose they could limit the permit to a particular stretch of water, etc.


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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richardnhunt View Post
    But they don't need to get to L2

    - - - Updated - -
    I refer you to - Assessment checklist for kayaking (AC120919)

    Which, of course, does allow for assessment, but one still needs all the basic requirements that would be met by holding an L2 qualification. Shaun is in West Yorkshire, which has for as many years as I have been involved, insisted on L2 with very few exceptions.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



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    Its a pity you didn't come to the sea scout conference that Richard Hart organised a few weeks ago.

    be positive, there is lots you can do. YOU DO NOT NEED ANY QUALIFICATIONS! with the right support you only need to gain enough skills to be safe on the waters you are intending to use. A helpful assessor can get you underway, with some training its possible to have a limited permit that allows you on water you are familiar with.

    All sections can do every activity. Its what the adult thinks it should looks like that becomes the problem trying to teach beavers low brace is never going to work!!. we have kayaked with the beavers, yes the boats are to big, but they splash about and we surround them with adults and they love it. Rowing is easy this is where we get a few parents in the boats as well, and we play at pirates, lots of water fights etc.

    try to get your leaders not to be section specific, just because they are a scout leader doesn't mean they are there just for the scouts. Maybe try the way run, we have leaders and then we have other adults who provide the water activities, there is some cross over, but it works ok.

    Also contact people like Jay Thompson, there is a real recognition in the movement that they need to solve the lack of permitted leaders. (the average age of a permit holder is 55!!) so you are getting involved at the right time.

    yes you will hear lots of myths, you will run into a lot of us old ones who have faced lots of problems with permits etc. But trust me it is doable and it doesn't need to be as hard as you think.
    Paul Austin
    Kent Scouts SASU Water team
    G0AXQ, intrests in Scouting, Cycling, Hiking, anything on the water. seeing the young people achive.

  16. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Rover For This Useful Post:

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