Note: all the information below applies to the Lifesaving Merit Badge as well as Swimming. Scouts wishing to take Lifesaving must first complete their Swimming Merit Badge. The LIfesaving and Swimming programs in Glenview cannot be completed concurrently, but can be done in sequence.
BSA’s resident summer camps like Ma-ka-ja-wan Scout Reservation are one of the best ways for scouts to earn the Swimming Merit Badge. During a week-long camp program, scouts will have plenty of opportunity to practice swimming skills, learn about aquatics safety, and demonstrate their mastery.
Scouts who do not attend BSA summer camps, or who simply prefer to spend their camp weeks otherwise, have two main options in the Glencoe area.
- Scouts who are already proficient swimmers (e.g., members of a swim club or team) who do not require any instruction are encouraged to reach out to the Advancement chair to find out if there are any “testing only” sessions coming up. There are a few troops that regularly host these sessions, including Troop 12 in New Lenox, IL. While there is often a discussion of safety and rescue methods, there is generally NO swim instruction at these sessions, so scouts are expected to come ready to demonstrate the requisite strokes.
- Scouts needing practice and/or instruction are encouraged to look into the BSA Tuesday Night Swim program, hosted at the Playdium at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glenview. The Playdium pool at Our Lady of Perpetual Help is humanely warm and there are changing facilities. Carpooling is encouraged. This program does not require advanced registration, nor do the organizers have a website. Many troops and scouting resources pages (e.g., the Illinois Merit Badge Finder) will often publish their flyers when the new dates are announced. The information below is excerpted/lightly edited for legibility from their 2019-2020 flyer:
In general, the BSA Tuesday Night Swim program meets for three sessions of 10 weeks each throughout the school year, with starting dates in mid-October, early January, and mid-March. Scouts pursuing Swimming or Lifesaving Merit Badges attend from 8-9pm and receive extensive, in-water instruction, unless the merit badge counselor requests they attend the Learn to Swim session from 7-8pm to work on skills and or endurance.
- As of the 2019-2020 season, a “dip fee” is $40 for all ten weeks. This very reasonable fee goes to maintain the facility.
- All scouts and brothers and sisters welcome
- At the first week of each session, ALL participants take a swim test for Swimming Instruction. Beginners not wanting to take the test, may simply start at the beginners level. Based on the initial swim test, scouts will be placed in their ability groups
- Please make sure to bring a completed, signed (by unit leader) Blue Card the first night.
- Note: all instructors are volunteers – and more volunteers are always welcome!
Packs, Troops or individuals seeking only Aquanaut, BSA Swim Test or 1st and 2nd Class requirements should make arrangements to come at 8pm any Tuesday Night during any session (never on the first week of session).
Note: The entrance is not easy to find if you have never been there (especially on the first night if you are attending the Winter session). Please click here for a map and photos showing the pool (natatorium) entrance.