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 Post subject: Death inAlgonquin Park
PostPosted: July 7th, 2017, 12:13 pm 
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Now, how could this happen again??
It boggles my mind!
Did any of the "adults" have enough canoeing experience?
How could a non-swimmer end up in the water without a PFD or a life jacket?
Where did they exactly go into the water, at a beach, or a rocky shore with a sudden drop-off (it was Big Trout lake)?

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/s ... -1.4193573

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PostPosted: July 7th, 2017, 1:11 pm 
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Doesn't say he was a non-swimmer. He was also "swimming" not canoeing according to the article


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PostPosted: July 7th, 2017, 2:43 pm 
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Several experienced swimmers drown every year - barring detailed information there is never a good reason to assume that a drowning victim was a non-swimmer. In this case the students were required to pass a swim test prior to the trip.

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PostPosted: July 7th, 2017, 4:29 pm 
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There is not enough information yet to know what happened, but as a guy who regularly takes kids this age out on adventures like this, I hope that details will be released so that we can all learn from it.

But you know what? Sometimes kids this age just take off on their own when nobody is looking. Or a small group of them. Just about any Scout leader will tell you they have experience with this. And there really is no practical way to stop it except to stop going on these adventures. And I really hope that does not end up being the end result here.

As far as being prepared - this was a high school Outdoor Ed class so my guess is that they were better prepared than an average Scout troop doing the same thing. Or at very least as well prepared.


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PostPosted: July 7th, 2017, 4:36 pm 
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OK the article says there was a lifeguard watching when it happened - so it was not the case that the kids just took off on their own. Sounds like basic human error and most likely "Drowning does not look like drowning" ( http://mariovittone.com/2010/05/154/ )


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PostPosted: July 7th, 2017, 7:16 pm 
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alan.mckay wrote:
OK the article says there was a lifeguard watching when it happened - so it was not the case that the kids just took off on their own. Sounds like basic human error and most likely "Drowning does not look like drowning" ( http://mariovittone.com/2010/05/154/ )


That was an excellent article Alan.

Here are my unorganized thoughts:

I have been in uncomfortable situations in the water. I blame nobody but myself. I'm an adult.

Far to often (if not always) people want somebody they can blame for a bad accident. It is easier to accept if they have somebody else they can throw the responsibility on rather than accepting it was theirs or the person in the accident that made the critical mistake.

People want somebody to pay for what happened.

Far too many people don't accept personal responsibility.

As Canadians we like our lawyers fat and rich.

Victim mentality has become a pandemic in Canada.

Now I would say that the parents should have known if their child could swim or not and if they would be safe swimming on their own. I think it's bad practice to swim as long as there is somebody there to rescue you...as in not a swimming lesson scenario. It seems to me that this outing was not to learn how to swim. It was based on the children already knowing how to swim.

But I am a firm believer in the school system making sure that all children are treated equally and that their living situation not dictate personal growth or education or opportunity. So in that respect I personally assume that parents are irresponsible and that the school system take on the role of equality and that all children be given a fair chance at life...whether that's education, job prospects, food, hygiene, sports, etc... .I'm a firm believer that the school system helps correct bad parenting because lets face it......there are a lot of bad parents out there, or parents out of touch with their children, or parents who simply cannot provide for their children adequately. It is best to group all children together and therefore avoid inequality or depending on parents at all. A kid cannot choose their parents and THAT is where the school system comes in.

I am not putting the blame on this poor child's parents. I already assume the parenting is flawed and that the school system is there to give equal opportunity if the parents cannot ensure that themselves.

I also think the parents should not put the blame on the school because lets face it, it's their children and they should know if they can swim adequately or not.

So not blaming the parents. Not blaming the school system that already has to step up to flawed parenting.

I see this as first being incredibly sad. I feel terrible for the young boy. I don't blame him either. He is a kid and only as responsible/knowledgeable as his education parental or schooling.

I don't think banning extracurricular wilderness activities is the answer. In fact we need more of them, and in every school, regardless of family income, family dynamics, demographics, culture etc... .

So without blaming the parents, lifeguards, school, child, I personally think it should serve as a lesson...and yes I know there have been numerous lessons served up.

If you live in Canada, you should be able to swim. That skill should not be expected from parents. The school system will need to step up more and step up in every school in Canada. Proper swimming lessons should be taught to all students....I thought there were actually swimming badges that people (youth) can earn. That would be excellent. And even more excellent if schools offered it.

While this should be made available (enforced) to all children in all schools I think an even greater emphasis should be put on "new Canadians". It seems that a lot of immigrants struggle with swimming and end up in trouble simply because they couldn't swim in their country of origin. And I am not saying this was the case here at all. I speak generally. And not racially either. The last couple of drownings in my neck of the woods have been with "new Canadians".

I am a FIRM believer in putting more money into the school systems to ensure equal learning opportunity to all children (teens too) regardless of family income, culture, demographics etc.... .

If Trudeau can hand over 10 million dollars to a single terrorist I think he can put more money into the education system.

All children should have equal opportunity in life. Canada could step up and set the benchmark!

So in closing, rather than looking for someone to blame in this situation, let's learn from it and build a stronger education system and not put the focus on this particular school.

PS - maybe the only way of ensuring that a youth drowning doesn't happen is by swimming lessons AND wearing a life jacket always in these outings. Hell...I almost never swim without one these days and I grew up on the water.

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PostPosted: July 7th, 2017, 8:31 pm 
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My thoughts on your thoughts :-)

Learning to swim is not the answer. Kids need to be able to assess their own ability. My older 2 boys are 13 and 15, and while both can swim they are not strong swimmers and they both know it. They have been around water since the were 2 and 3, and since that time they knew enough to wear a PFD when playing in the water. Even today both of them do it in most circumstances. And I have seen lots of other Scouts do the same.

Plus, if you can swim you cannot necessarily swim in all circumstances. At our camp back in June I had to rescue a young Scout. He had just moved up from Cubs so I did not know him well. The others were jumping off a small 6 foot cliff into the lake and he wanted to as well. I quizzed him about his swimming ability and both he and his brother assured me he could swim - so off he went. Something about the jump shocked him. At first I thought he was just joking, but then I realized he was going under for real so I jumped in and pulled him ashore. Later in the camp he demonstrated that he was indeed a good swimmer. There was just something about that jump that shocked him.

I could see the lifeguard in the story being in a similar situation. But I had the advantage that I was standing up above and looking down on the boy - looking him straight in the eyes from only 10 feet away. From the shore this person may not have had that advantage. They may not have realized until it was too late that the boy was going under.

It is a terrible situation. I go back to my original comment that we all need to know more details so we can learn from this.


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PostPosted: July 8th, 2017, 10:41 am 
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Relying on kids to know their limits can only be applied if someone has taught them basic swimming safety/swimming lessons. Keep in mind prospector that you are a good parent and teach your kids how to swim and swimming safety and they grew up around water by the sounds of it. Lets keep in mind that many if not most of the families in big cities (ie Toronto) do not get out much in areas they can swim and when they do these drownings very easily happen. Most parents are not like you. Will not teach their kids swimming safety. Are ignorant to wilderness outings involving water because they have not been on such outings themselves. We can greatly decrease these drownings by making sure the next generation can swim/have swimming lessons. They will in turn more likely teach their own children swimming safety/how to swim and therefore increase the margin of safety along with schools. This is where the school system needs to step in but in this case personally I don't see the benefit of blaming this particular school for stepping up and trying to teach kids how to swim and giving them an outdoor opportunity. Based on the article there seems to be inconsistencies in these lessons. Focusing on this school alone is a mistake. Instead the school system as a whole should reevaluate it's swimming lessons/outdoor education. I also think that with these sad drowning's the school system could really step up and have swimming lessons in all schools because there is a problem with kids not knowing how to swim and/or not understanding swimming safety.

So again who should be responsible for teaching children water safety/how to swim. The parents? No - I made my argument clear in my first post. The school system? Yes! Why? Because children cannot pick their parents but almost all children in Canada must go to school. So right away if schools had a mandatory swimming class this should greatly decrease these sad drownings.

Knowing more about the situation? We will only know so much...this is made even more clear with the one student's memory of the incident...knowing is not 100% clear.

What we do know and I think is enough is that: A) This school offered an outdoor education class/outing. B)This school offered a swim lesson of some sort. C) A drowning occurred. D) No life jacket was worn.

What I personally took away from this incident was: A) All schools should offer outdoor education classes involving water/camping. B) There needs to be a standardized swim lesson that all schools teach. C) Lifejackets save lives... .

From my own knowledge: I had a family member drown in 4 inches of water. I know of several incidents in my area where if the drowning victim knew how to swim they would have been fine. An example: The young teenager was standing with his friend on shore, stepped into water that was over his head, sank to the bottom and could not swim up so he drowned. That is a swimming issue entirely and it was completely preventable. A life jacket would have saved this person. Swimming lessons would have also saved this person. The school system could step in and make that opportunity to learn how to swim available/mandatory.

The issue with making this happen is money.

Our idiot Prime Minister clearly has plenty of our money to spend so why not put a fraction of that money into the school system and make swimming lessons a reality for all children. That is a tax expense I have no problem with at all.

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Last edited by Sam82 on July 8th, 2017, 11:03 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: July 8th, 2017, 10:42 am 
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Sorry for the redundancies in my above post.

Also, Prospector I can appreciate your post and I am in no way shape or form arguing with it. Just throwing in what I think based on my experiences. If more people like us cared about swimming safety particularly with children these drownings would occur a lot less.

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PostPosted: July 8th, 2017, 10:53 am 
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I think it's a bit early to be speculating as to what went wrong in this case. It sounds like reasonable measures were taken by the school but nothing is ever 100%.

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PostPosted: July 8th, 2017, 11:10 am 
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I would say that wearing a life jacket would prevent all of these drownings but Prospectors "circumstances are different" thought comes into play here. You can wear a life jacket but if you fall into water unconscious even a life jacket won't save you. Safety around bodies of water should be included in swimming lessons.

Children:
Life jackets + Swimming Lessons = a lot less drownings.

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PostPosted: July 8th, 2017, 1:04 pm 
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dehydration promotes cramps,,
many people are dehydrated and do now know it, the weather this week in central ontario has been the best (hottest )so far this year. many people will just not drink the lake water.
my son went all the way up through scouts canada. each summer he would take the canoeing courses that were offered and that in included canoe/kayak tripping.
the first session of every year, late in the month of may ,the kids had to jump into the cold lake with there clothes on, just to give them a feel for the water temps and the weight of the wet clothes. good experience,, life jacket use mandatory for all!!
the way that i read this is that there were only two campsites used between 33 kids, 5/6 adults plus volunteers.
just a tragic shame,,,


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PostPosted: July 9th, 2017, 1:59 pm 
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I've been taking kids on canoe trips for a couple of decades now. We almost always have a lifeguard amongst them. I'm always uncomfortable when they swim. I think from now on lifejackets will be mandatory for swimming with my club. I just makes sense.


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PostPosted: July 9th, 2017, 2:16 pm 
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Great article "Drowning does not look like drowning", I learned something today. Thanks for that.


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PostPosted: July 9th, 2017, 4:02 pm 
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RHaslam said
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I've been taking kids on canoe trips for a couple of decades now. We almost always have a lifeguard amongst them. I'm always uncomfortable when they swim. I think from now on lifejackets will be mandatory for swimming with my club. I just makes sense.


When I am only solo trips and it is hot, If I swim to cool off and get clean I wear my PFD.

Jeff

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