This adventure will introduce Bear Scouts to swimming safety, boating safety, physical development and fitness, skill development, and fun in the water. Bears in nature like to swim and play in the water, and so can Bear Scouts.


  • Learning confidence, knowledge, and skills in and around bodies of water
  • Gaining knowledge and skills in boating safety
  • A Scout is obedient, brave. [Bear Character Compass]

ADVENTURE REQUIREMENTS (Bear Handbook, page 250)

  1. Explain the safety rules that you need to follow before participating in boating.
  2. Identify the equipment needed when going boating.
  3. Demonstrate correct rowing or paddling form. Explain how rowing and canoeing are good exercise.
  4. Explain the importance of response personnel or lifeguards in a swimming area.
  5. Show how to do both a reach rescue and a throw rescue.
  6. Visit a local pool or swimming area with your den or family, and go swimming.
  7. Demonstrate the front crawl swim stroke to your den or family.
  8. Name the three swimming ability groups for the Boy Scouts of America.
  9. Attempt the BSA beginner swim classification.


An overview of BSA swimming and water activities is included in the Appendix. In preparation for any in-water activity, you should complete the BSA online training for Safe Swim Defense. This training outlines how to help lead a safe swimming activity with a Cub Scout pack, Boy Scout troop, or Venturing crew. The training is available at www.myscouting.org.

This adventure comprises two den meetings. The second meeting is a den outing to a pool or other swimming area for completion of requirements 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Identify the location well in advance of the outing and make arrangements with the staff member in charge. Confirm plans with families, including place, time, and transportation. Make sure a tour and activity plan has been submitted, if required, and activity consent forms are distributed, signed, and collected.

You may want to request assistance from a local Boy Scout troop for one or both of the meetings. Troop members include Scouts who have earned different aquatics merit badges and can help teach the Bear Scouts about safety in and around the water. Parts of the adventure, including the den outing, may be easier to complete at a Cub Scout day camp or resident camp that offers access to qualified swimming instruction and boating resources. Many councils have an aquatics committee able to provide guidance, personnel, pool access, and other resources.

See the Appendix for optional den meeting activities, including openings, gatherings, and closings.


To get you started in delivering fun and engaging meetings, complete Den Meeting Plans are available here on the Learning Library for the Backyard Jungle and Games Tigers Play adventures. To obtain Den Meeting Plans for all other adventures, Den Leader Guides are available at your local Scout Shop, online at scoutstuff.org, or as an eBook through Amazon.

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