New Tidewater Council Website!

Tidewater Council has updated the layout of their website!  Please review the following notice from the Council office regarding this change:

The Tidewater Council has one of the oldest electronic presences on the Internet.  In fact, it dates back to somewhere in the mid 90’s.

The first website space was first provided by the Virginian-Pilot and Pilotonline.

The council then moved to a new web address and the current:

The first website was set up and maintained by Eagle Scout Kerry Sipe.  The newest version was created by Tidewater Eagle Scout Jeremy Balch.

Jeremy is looking for feedback on the new website.  There is a feedback link on the website that you can communicate directly with Jeremy.

Before you give feedback, remember that the Boy Scouts of America has many official Scouting sites that has detailed information on many subjects.  The purpose of our website is not to duplicate the efforts of the national organization but to provide local information on the programs and issues of our local Scouting program.

Content for the site will be generated by volunteers at every level of Scouting.  We urge all our district and council committees to make sure they are using the website properly to give proper and correct Scouting information to our current volunteers, youth members and future members.

The challenge of any website is that information must be relevant, timely, consistent, and easy to find.

Scouting does a lot and its forever changing.  As it should!

Popcorn Training Event

The Three Rivers District will be hosting Popcorn Training to get ready for the 2014 Popcorn season.

The training will be held on Saturday, July 12, 2014, from 10:30am – 12:00pm at the South Norfolk Memorial Library. The library is at 801 Poindexter St, Chesapeake, VA 23324.

The Library is easy to access from 464. Take the Poindexter exit away (opposite) from the Jordan Bridge. Be careful the right lane is a turn only lane and you are going straight. The Library is in the rear of the building at the corner of Bainbridge Blvd. and Poindexter, to your left when you exit from 464.

Space is limited to 40 people, so sign up quickly!

Please reserve your space at

Helpful Tools for Making Your Troop’s Annual Program Plan

Now is the best time of year to gather all of your troop’s youth leaders and registered adults to create your annual program plan for the next 12 months. There are some helpful new tools and checklists to use from BSA.  Please visit

One of the 3 key elements of all successful, strong, and quality troops (and an indicator of a potentially successful year) is the troop’s annual program plan and planning conference according to a research project done by the Eli Lilly organization.  Having and SHARING a good annual troop program -planned a year in advance – with all families in the form of a calendar can result in retaining and attracting more families.

Just as an aside, the another key element of successful troops identified in that study is TRAINED adults!

If you have questions about creating your troop’s annual plan, please contact your unit commissioner.  If you are not sure who your unit commissioner is, you can find the full listing here.

Swimming Merit Badge Changes

This is an excerpt from the May 2014 Advancement News Newsletter (the newsletter can be found in its entirety, here):

A new edition of the Swimming merit badge pamphlet is scheduled to be released in time for this summer camp season. The new requirements give counselors a greater ability to teach Scouts the correct stroke mechanics and, keeping the spirit and intent of the badge intact, continue emphasizing basic water skills along with surface and elementary diving. Some previous requirements such as snorkeling and competitive swimming options have been removed.
The updates will enable Scouts to learn the strokes correctly, in good form, and with proper breathing tech-nique. The goal is to  learn to swim with greater ease and efficiency. The new changes will also ensure the safety of Scouts.
The revised pamphlet, featuring new colorful illustrations, will be a great resource for Scouts and counselors alike. It will be available soon for purchase at local Scout shops and through In an effort to support council advancement committees’ and camp staffs’ planning and preparation, the new requirements are provided below.
1. Do the following:
a. Explain to your counselor how Scouting’s Safe Swim Defense plan anticipates, helps prevent and mitigate, and provides responses to likely hazards you may encounter during swimming activities.
b. Discuss the prevention and treatment of health concerns that could occur while swimming, including hypothermia, dehydration, sunburn, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, muscle cramps, hyperventilation, spinal injury, stings and bites, and cuts and scrapes.
2. Before doing the following requirements, successfully complete the BSA swimmer test: Jump feet first into water over the head in depth. Level off and swim 75 yards in a strong manner using one or more of the following strokes: sidestroke, breaststroke, trudgen, or crawl; then swim 25 yards using an easy, resting backstroke. The 100 yards must be completed in one swim without stops and must include at least one sharp turn. After completing the swim, rest by floating.
3. Swim continuously for 150 yards using the following strokes in good form and in a strong manner: front crawl or trudgen for 25 yards, back crawl for 25 yards, sidestroke for 25 yards, breaststroke for 25 yards, and elementary backstroke for 50 yards.
4. Do the following:
a. Demonstrate water rescue methods by reaching with your arm or leg, by reaching with a suitable object, and by throwing lines and objects. Explain why swimming rescues should not be attempted when a reaching or throwing rescue is possible, and explain why and how a rescue swimmer should avoid contact with the victim.
b. With a helper and a practice victim, show a line rescue both as tender and as rescuer. The practice victim should be approximately 30 feet from shore in deep water.
5. Do the following:
a. Float face up in a resting position for at least one minute.
b. Demonstrate survival floating for at least five minutes.
c. While wearing a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket, demonstrate the HELP and huddle positions. Explain their purposes.
d. Explain why swimming or survival floating will hasten the onset of hypothermia in cold water.
6. In water over your head, but not to exceed 10 feet, do each of the following:
a. Use the feet first method of surface diving and bring an object up from the bottom.
b. Do a headfirst surface dive (pike or tuck), and bring the object up again.
c. Do a headfirst surface dive to a depth of at least 5 feet and swim underwater for three strokes. Come to the surface, take a breath, and repeat the sequence twice.
7. Following the guidelines set in the BSA Safe Swim Defense, in water at least 7 feet deep*, show a standing headfirst dive from a dock or pool deck. Show a long shallow dive, also from the dock or pool deck.
* If your state, city, or local community requires a water depth greater than 7 feet, it is important to abide by that mandate.
8. Explain the health benefits of regular aerobic exercise, and discuss why swimming is favored as both fitness and therapeutic exercise.

Per Guide to Advancement, topic, the Scout has a choice about using the new Swimming merit badge requirements immediately. When merit badge changes are introduced after the January release of the Boy Scout Requirements book, the Scout has until the following January 1 to choose whether to use the old requirements or the new ones. If he begins the merit badge with the old requirements, he may continue using them until he has completed the badge unless a deadline is announced by the National Council. Any Scout beginning the badge on or after January 1, 2015 must use the new requirements.
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