During the first full week of July, (as many of you know), I took two swim courses, called Bronze Medallion and Bronze Cross, both falling under the banner of the Red Cross. To dispel the suspense which I’m sure you all are experiencing, as to whether I passed or not …
I passed!! 😂 But for more information, be sure to read til the end of the post!
Arrival. We covered some pretty basic stuff, like the introduction of the handbook. XD My friends were praying for me, and I am so glad they did, because prayer is really what got me through the stress and uncertainty of not knowing whether I was capable of finishing. I certainly had a healthy dose of self-esteem, but I knew I couldn’t do it on my own.
One aspect of the first day which I didn’t expect was the Fitness challenge, which (for Medallion) consisted of 6 lengths of head-up front crawl. I’ve got three words for you all: Ow, my neck! After being thrown off that dramatically, and having a long break, I did my endurance swim in 16.5 minutes, the shortest period of time I’ve ever completed it in. But, I still needed to work on it, to get it done in 15 minutes.
As a homeschooler, I’m not used to the classroom relationships between teens. But in a room filled with ten teenagers, (including my brother), most of them being your average secular teen, (or your average secular Christian), it was a totally new, but still fun, experience.
I made a new friend (we’ll call her Tasha.) Thank Yah for Tasha, because it was so nice to be able to discuss the Bible and our faith, and even to pray together, because we both believed in the One True God. Throughout the week, we shared wisdom and experiences, and Tasha, if you’re reading, thank you so much for being a friend, not only in name, but in deed! 🤗
Today was so much fun; meeting new people, learning new material that I already half-knew, and realizing just how short life is. At the beginning of the week, I already knew how much I’d miss the fun people and the challenging activities we did.
Today was a low point for me. I was frustrated with myself, discouraged because my time for the Endurance Swim still wasn’t where I wanted it – where I needed it – to pass. But I knew that if, after all the prayer, after all the effort, if I simply gave up and told God “If you don’t help me, I can’t do this”, then I didn’t really care that much about it. And I DID care about it – so I kept praying. “God, if you don’t help me, I can’t do this … BUT, I won’t stop trying, just in case You DO want me to pass this.” 😉
Today was the complete other end of the scale. I had a blast.
Reason #1 – No Endurance Swim. 😂
Reason #2 – We got to do Rescue Evaluations, my favorite part! Adrenaline, skill, and lifesaving? Yes please!
We’d covered CPR and AED throughout the week, and today we performed in-water rescues. I might be an anomaly, but I actually L.O.V.E.D. doing ANY kind of rescue. Sure, I got nervous and doubted my skills, but it was honestly comparable to going to a summer camp.
Today we worked on spinals with the pool manager, and did our endurance swim for the next level. I FINALLY NAILED IT! Congratulate me. *Kidding!* 🤣 Seriously, I was SO relieved and grateful to God! As I came up from the next lap I heavily breathed out “Thank You, God!” All the other non-Christians around, probably heard … 😉
Then, of course, there was a TON of eggbeater. I can’t remember too much else about today, so I’ll skip to …
We did rescues alllllll day! (Of course, I was ecstatic!) One of the rescues, the submerged rescue, we rehearsed at the beginning of the day, since everyone was new to it. Being on the bottom of the pool isn’t my favorite thing ever, but it went off smoothly and I was so glad. Of course, you know I passed!
I was confident for this course, but I felt unsure of whether I could make it. I haven’t succeeded so exponentially in something I was unsure of, for quite a long time, and this really boosted my personal confidence in hard work, mental toughness, and, of course, prayer.
During the beginning of the week, before things got more hectic, I chose to spend about an hour in the morning reading the Bible, singing, and praying. I am so glad I was able to do that for at least two mornings during the week, as it fulfilled and prepared my heart, and strengthened me before the stress really ramped up. I am absolutely grateful for the strength I was given to complete this course and have so much fun while I was at it!
I loved the course, and, although how much fun you have depends on your personality and upon the pool you go to, I would definitely recommend other teens who love swimming or fitness, to take this course. My greatest recommendations to those who plan to do the Bronze Medallion or Cross, would be the following;
- Book lane swims at least four times in the weeks leading up to the course. You’ll want to be sure you can complete the time swim qualifications for your area, so see if you can also speak to the lifeguards about their tips and recommendations. I found that the lifeguards at my pool are friendly and helpful – some of them my age are also pretty easy to talk to. Don’t be shy, most people love to be asked for advice!
- Pray about it. The best thing you can do to conquer something difficult, is to ask the One who can do anything, to lend you His strength for a week. 😉
- See if you can obtain a copy of your state or province handbook, and study up a bit before hand. I had planned on doing this course earlier this year, and so I have had my friend’s book in my possession for months, occasionally studying the book. This prepared me more than anyone else in the class, because I already knew the general ideas, the must-dos, the CPR, the carries, and other aspects presented in the course. If you study beforehand, you will not only be able to answer every stumping question, but you’ll feel more comfortable and familiar with the material in what is, for many, a whirlwind course.
- Relax, make friends, and have fun! Whether you’re in a classroom or a pool all day, try to establish good relationships with your torture buddies! During lunch break, my brother and I were able to have some great conversations with the others in our group, getting to know them better, and also, making it less awkward to be spending entire days with them. I miss many of them already. 😉😆
- Practical Tips: Drink a lot of water – Hydrate!! You’ll be in the water most of the time, so it can seem weird to think about needing to drink it, but you will likely be working hard and needing to replenish your water store. Also, bring enough light snacks – nuts, fruit, veggies – in addition to your lunch, to keep your energy up without getting lethargic.
- Practical Tip: Bring at least two towels! I searched up “tips for taking Bronze” before taking my own Bronze, and was surprised to see this as a tip – but it made sense, especially as I observed what happened during my turn at the course! This doesn’t have to cause extra laundry – I just air dried my towel(s) overnight. After all, it’s just chlorine! XD
I hope these tips and my sharing my personal experiences have helped y’all in deciding whether you’d like to take the Bronze courses! Let me know in the comments what y’all have been up to lately – how’s it been? I’m glad I’ve been able to give you a bit of an update on my life, since I’ve been MIA for so long! XD Have an amazing day, everyone!