Online SCUBA Pre-Camp Training

All participants of BTSR SCUBA programs are required to go online to watch the SCUBA safety video, and participants of the Open Water Diver Certification must complete the online SCUBA education classes as well. These courses can be completed over time, instead of in one sitting. Please click the SSI button to enter the online courses.

SCUBA & Aquatics Programs

BTSR will offer two different SCUBA programs during the course of the summer. This has been an exciting addition to our programs, especially since the participants will get to dive at a favorite hot spot of divers from all over the state: Balmorhea State Park!

SCUBA 2Scouts will have the opportunity to earn the SCUBA, BSA award during any of the eight weeks of camp. Those Scouts and Venturers wanting a little more training will be able to earn their open water diver certification during the weeks of June 27-July 3, July 11-17, and July 25-31. Read on for more details about each of these exciting programs!


Our instructors are certified by PADI, who recently signed a letter of support and is an official business affiliate of the BSA. They teach lessons throughout the year from their dive shop in Balmorhea, TX and know the park very well. Their expertise and experience will make for a great learning experience for all participants.


The dives for both SCUBA classes will take place at the largest, spring-fed, freshwater swimming pool in the United States! The San Solomon Springs swimming pool at Balmorhea State Park was constructed in 1934 and has been a hot spot for SCUBA enthusiasts from all over the state. The springs, which flow approximately 26 million gallons of pure artesian water per day are a constant 74 to 76 degrees year round! Visibility ranges from 80 to 100 feet, and the depths range from several feet to 26 feet in the deepest portion.

Underwater, you are able to clearly see the host of aquatic wildlife that calls the springs their home. You can catch glimpses of two endangered species, the Comanche Springs Pupfish and the Pecos Gambusia. Also for your viewing enjoyment, you can watch the antics of the soft shell water turtle, crayfish, Mexican Teteras, and large channel catfish. This facility is truly a SCUBA paradise and will make for a great adventure during your stay at BTSR!


scuba.jpgThe new SCUBA, BSA diving program lets you experience the thrill of diving under the supervision of a certified instructor at Balmorhea State Park. This program is offered during all 9 weeks of camp, and has a maximum size limit of 12 participants. During your adventure, you’ll learn about equipment and safety during the three classroom sessions (3:30, MTW at the pool). On Friday, you will learn skills in the water and will even head off on an open water adventure. All participants must be 14 years of age or older. Any participants under 18 MUST have their parents fill out the swimmer release and SCUBA release forms found on pages 60-63. These are BSA, park, and instructor policies and CANNOT be circumvented!


The cost for instructor time, air, and equipment is only $75 for this course. Participants will earn the new SCUBA, BSA award. This introductory course will also count towards instruction time for open water diver certification if completed within a year. Remember this class is limited to adults and youth 14 years and older. Participants MUST be classified as swimmers! We will need adult leader assistance in shuttling the group to and from the state park, which is only 20 miles from camp.

SCUBA Open Water Diver Certification (PADI)

BTSR will offer SCUBA Open Water Diver Certification for Scouts, Venturers and Leaders ages 14 and up. This will be a five-day course, conducted every afternoon at the beautiful San Solomon Springs at Balmorhea State Park. The course has been very popular and will now be offered during three weeks of camp.

  • June 27 – July 3, 2010(Week 3)
  • July 11-17, 2010 (Week 5)
  • July 25-31, 2010 (Week 7)
  • Others as needed. Minimum 6 participants required.

Each participant will be required to complete the bookwork portion of the class before coming to camp. This takes approximately 8-10 hours to finish the 5 chapter online course. At the end of each chapter is a review of the materials that must be completed, printed, and brought to camp. NO EXCEPTIONS!!! At camp, the first SCUBA class will be a review of that material as well as a test that will complete the required classroom work.

The next 4 days you will complete the 5 confined water dives and 4 open water dives required for the diving certification.  Remember, ALL participants must also fill out all of the Balmorhea and SCUBA forms found on page 81-84.  We will need adult leader assistance in shuttling the group to and from the state park, which is only 20 miles from camp.

At the end of the week, participants that complete all dives and requirements will have earned their open water diver certification!  Also, new for 2010, the SCUBA merit badge will be earned by all youth participants.  Be the first in your Troop to get this BRAND NEW merit badge!


SCUBANEW DISCOUNTED FEE! Open Water Diver Certification will now cost only $425 per person. (Was $525 in 2008!) This will include ALL food and base camp fees, ALL supplies needed for the course (dive gear, air, park fees) as well as instructor fees. You do not have to bring any masks, fins, wetsuits, air tanks, etc., unless you choose to bring your own personal supplies. You are not required to purchase any of your own equipment. Once you pre-register and pay for the course, you will receive a training package that you will begin using before coming to camp, which requires completion of online training and brining the completion certificate. Also as part of the package, you will receive a 6-month subscription to Dive Training magazine, and your own personal dive log book.


Click here for the SCUBA Program Forms (PDF Format)

Click here for the Pre-Camp Swim Check Form (PDF format)


Units may elect to take swim tests before arrival at BTSR. This is a great way to save precious time on that first day of camp set up! The following are the requirements for pre-camp swim tests:

1. Tests must be performed in accordance with BSA Swimming test standards.
2. Tests must be performed by a certified Lifeguard. (BSA or American Red Cross)
3. Tests must have been completed within 90 days of unit’s arrival to BTSR.

The information and forms for pre-camp swim checks can be found on pages 57-59 of the Leader Guide. Please use only this form to record the results of the Troop’s pre camp swim check. Please ensure you have all necessary signatures and copies in order to validate the test. Copy form as needed. Submit to Aquatics Director upon arrival to BTSR.


Scouts taking the swimming merit badge will be required to bring long pants (preferable jeans) and a thick, long-sleeved, button-up shirt to complete the clothes flotation requirement. Scouts may share clothes, but please make arrangements before coming to camp to have these items available!


A free swim for all camp participants will be held on Monday through Thurdsday afternoons from 3:30-5:00 pm. (Camp lifeguards as well as BSA Lifeguard participants will staff this swim.)

Troops may also make reservations with the Aquatics Director to have a swim time for the Troop. These are held outside of the regular program schedule as not to interfere with merit badge classes. This would be a great time for your Troop to enjoy the pool and also practice your Safe Swim Defense. Any Troop wishing to make a reservation MUST have a leader that is certified in Safe Swim Defense. (This class is offered every Monday) Only one BTSR staff member will be present, but only as an observer. They do not serve as lifeguards as this is the Troop’s responsibility in using the Safe Swim defense correctly. These times are limited and do fill up quickly, so contact the Aquatics Director early in order to get a spot. These are filled on a first come, first served basis. Some Troops may share a swim time in order to allow everyone a chance to participate and to ensure adherence to Safe Swim Defense policies (share lifeguards and lookouts).


All Participants must be 14 years of age or have completed the 8th grade in order to participate. This program is intended for the older Scout that has “been there and done that.” Due to the extensive requirements and training time, the class takes all day and leaves little time for any other merit badges. Participants must be classified as a swimmer and hold current certification in basic CPR. Adults are encouraged to participate in this program as well.


These certifications will be offered for adult Leaders on Monday at 11:20 am at the Pool. The Aquatics Director will give training. Troop wishing to hold a Troop swim must have leaders certified in Safe Swim Defense.


Instruction and conditioning for the Mile Swim award will be held at 6:00 am daily at the pool, except for Friday when class will be at 3:30. All participants must be classified as swimmers before attempting to begin this course. Participants are required to attend the conditioning laps daily. The actual mile swim test will be held on Friday. (Adults or youth may participate.) The following requirements must be met each day prior to swimming the mile.

  • Sunday – 100 yards (complete swimmer ability test)
  • Monday – 200 yards (100 any style + 2 fifty yd. Sprints)
  • Tuesday – 300 yards (150 any style + 3 fifty yd. Sprints)
  • Wednesday – 400 yards any style
  • Thursday – 800 yards any style
  • Friday – 36 laps – 1800 yards any style


Snorkeling will be held at the pool at 9:30 & 2:30 daily. Participants must be classified as a swimmer before attempting this class. You may bring your own snorkeling gear or use the camp’s. Some masks and goggles will be available in the camp trading post. Adults or youth may be certified.

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