RiverWinds Community Center, NJ


BSA SCUBA Merit Badge

BSA1The RiverWinds Community Center in West Deptford Township is proud to be able to offer the BSA SCUBA Merit Badge to scouters in the Delaware Valley. Our SCUBA Merit Badge Counselor, Jim Kupper, is registered through the Old Colony District of Southern New Jersey Council. He is a *Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) certified course director, and a specialty instructor for Nitrox, wreck diving, deep diving, and night diving, along with eleven other specialties. Aside from his involvement with DAN, the Divers Alert Network, and his work as a CPR, AED, First Aid, and Emergency Oxygen Administration instructor, Mr. Kupper has over fifteen years experience as a SCUBA instructor, has certified hundreds of people in the sport, and owns Ocean Spirit Aquatics, an LLC dive shop in West Deptford Township. Learn more about OSA at Ocean Spirit Aquatics.com.
*PADI is recognized by the Boy Scouts of America as an accredited provider of SCUBA education.

Scuba merit badgeABOUT THE BADGE 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. Unlike many other merit badges, the SCUBA Diving critical prerequisites, knowledge, and skills are not itemized in the requirements nor adequately covered in any BSA document. The requirement to earn Open Water Dive Certification means the scout must, while completing the badge at RiverWinds, meet training requirements set by outside agencies (PADI) and must supplement the material in the BSA pamphlet with an entry-level SCUBA Diver manual; PADI literature is provided while at RiverWinds. All phases of SCUBA instruction – classroom, pool, and open water training – comply with minimum training standards for entry-level SCUBA certification adopted by the American National Standards Institute and/or the United States Recreational SCUBA Training Council. The Boy Scouts of America acknowledges these standards by limiting SCUBA instruction only to instructors trained through, sanctioned by, and in good standing with a recognized SCUBA agency. Merit Badge Counselor Jim Kupper meets and exceeds these requirements in all aspects, following training protocols established by PADI, which may provide limitations or special provisions based on medical conditions, age, or other factors. For scouters under the age of fifteen, this will include restrictions for maximum depth, buddies, and supervision ratios.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM The RiverWinds Community Center is able to provide a comprehensive program in which participants are able to obtain all necessary instruction, classroom, pool, and open water instruction, gear, and literature, all from one source. Badge completion and certification take place over the course of six total days: Day 1, at RiverWinds, includes an approximately ninety minute Orientation, where participants learn about the course, obtain their Crew Pack, receive medical forms, and contribute to roundtable discussions regarding First Aid, the SCUBA Diver’s Code, aquatic ecosystems, and career opportunities in the SCUBA industry. Days 2 through 4, also at RiverWinds, are combination days in the classroom and 12’ Lap Pool, where scouters enter the water to learn basic skills and return to land for theory later in the day. Days 5 through 6 are held at Dutch Springs outdoor recreation facility in Bethlehem, PA, as students complete their four open water check-out dives in the quarry. Camping amenities are available to scouters or troops who wish to take advantage of the services on site. Individual scouters and/or troops have the option of enrolling in one of RiverWinds’ pre-existing SCUBA programs in order to complete the badge, or, as time, space, and instructor availability allow, may elect to set up private instruction.

PROGRAM FEES SCUBA in an intensive, multifaceted, multi-facility program with fees for different portions of the activity. A $355 per participate fee is paid in advance and in full to the RiverWinds Community Center in order to enroll in the program, which covers all classroom and pool sessions, the BSA SCUBA Merit Badge Pamphlet, and all SCUBA equipment rentals. An additional $375 is required to complete the four check-out dives at the quarry, including the two-day admission to Dutch Springs.. If scouters/troops elect to camp overnight at the quarry, the facility charges $15 per night. The total amounts to $726 per scouter. As a high adventure sport with an emphasis on safety, these fees are costly; RiverWinds has done everything possible to provide the best, safest program to scouters at the lowest possible price. After extensive research, prices have been set in order to ensure that fees are lower than any other SCUBA certification in the DelawareValley, though there is an understanding that the cost is still a significant investment on behalf of the participant. Scouters and troops are encouraged to fundraise during the calendar year and complete their SCUBA Merit Badge and certification during late spring or early summer, as a capstone activity as the weather and water warm. Scouters and troops are responsible for the purchase of the actual badge for their uniforms. Scout Masters should also furnish Blue Cards for all scouter participants.

 Scouters ages eleven* through eighteen may participate. Parents, siblings, and friends also have the ability to complete their SCUBA certifications alongside scouters, though their participation is not separate from any additional information, skills, or activities exclusive to advancement requirements. All participants, and in most cases, their parent(s), must have signed a Agreement and Release of Liability through RiverWinds, as well as a completed Merit Badge Counsel Request Form completed by their leader or scoutmaster prior to their admission into the program. Other documents such as medical forms are provided by the Merit Badge Counselor at Orientation and must be completed in full prior to the first in-water class.
© Boy Scouts of America and the RiverWindsCommunity Center
*Eleven year old scouters may participate in smaller group settings. Call for details.
Advance Notice Required