SDI Members Encouraged to Explore Opportunities with BSA Scuba Programs
At a time when many scuba training centers are challenged to recruit new customers, Cris Merz says “Scouting and Venture Crews offer an exciting opportunity for those motivated to pursue it!”
Merz, National Sales Manager for Scuba Diving International™ (SDI™) of course is referring to the Boy Scouts of America endorsement of scuba diving as a Merit Program.
“There is some misconception among North American dive pros and store retailers that introducing Scouts to the special skills and adventure of scuba is limited to only to members of one professional diver training agency,” Merz explains. “This is not the case. Boy Scouts of America stipulates that participants presenting its Scuba BSA program and award may be active instructors in good standing with ANY RSTC member organization; which of course means SDI members qualify!”
Merz also points out that NOW are a very good time for motivated SDI members to approach your local BSA chapters and offer the program to local Scout Troops and Venture Crews.
“The 2010 BSA Jamboree is a very special event and will take place this July in Virginia. This new merit badge will be introduced at that Jamboree to thousands of scouts and scout leaders at that event. So if you are in the business of offering safe, basic scuba instruction through SDI now is the right time to start introducing your local BSA troops to you, your staff and facility.”
SCUBA INSTRUCTION FOR BOY SCOUT MERIT BADGE
What the Scuba BSA Merit Badge represents to Scouts and Requirements
The Scuba Merit Badge is a brand-new challenge for BSA intended to introduce qualified Boy Scout, Venturing, and registered adult participants to the special skills, equipment, and safety precautions associated with scuba diving. This program also encourages aquatics activities that promote fitness and recreation, and provides a foundation for those who later will participate in more advanced underwater activity.
The Scuba BSA experience contains two parts — Knowledge Development and Water Skills Development. During the first part, participants learn basic dive safety information and overview skills to be used during their water experience. The Water Skills Development session introduces essential dive skills, such as mask clearing, regulator clearing, and alternate air source use. The Scuba BSA program is conducted in clear, confined water by an instructor certified by diving organizations recognized by the BSA.
Completion of Scuba BSA requirements sets the stage for additional training, but does not qualify the participant to dive independently, either in confined water or open water environments.
Who can teach the Scuba BSA
All scuba instruction must be conducted by recreational diving instructors in good standing with a scuba agency recognized by the Boy Scouts of America and approved by the BSA local council.
Counselors for the Scuba Diving merit badge must be registered with the Boy Scouts of America and be approved by the district/ council advancement committee. (This is the step that SDI members must undertake proactively.)
Like other merit badges, the Scuba Diving merit badge has been developed to teach and train youth in a manner consistent with the overall goals and values of the Boy Scouts of America. The merit badge counselor should be fair and consistent when presenting and evaluating the knowledge and skills specified by the requirements. None of the requirements may be modified or omitted.
Unlike many other merit badges, the Scuba Diving critical prerequisites, knowledge, and skills are not itemized in the requirements nor adequately covered in the merit badge pamphlet. The requirement to earn Open Water Diver Certification means the Scout must meet training requirements set by outside agencies and must supplement the material in the merit badge pamphlet with an entry-level scuba diver manual.
All phases of scuba instruction—classroom, pool, and open water training—must comply with the minimum training standards for entry-level scuba certification adopted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the U.S. Recreational Scuba Training Council (RSTC). The RSTC is recognized as the ANSI Accredited Standards Developer for recreational diving instructional standards. The BSA acknowledges those standards by limiting scuba instruction only to instructors trained and sanctioned by recognized scuba agencies.
What Scouts must do to earn this Merit Badge
Typical Schedule and Course Topics for SCUBA Merit Badge Program SCUBA Course
Session 1(Pool)Introduction to:
Session 2 (Pool) Skills development
Session 3(Pool)Skills development
Session 4 (Classroom) Dive Planning
Session 5 (Pool) Skills development
Session 6 (Pool) Skills Evaluation
Session 7 (Classroom) Final Exam