Aquatics Program

Some of the most popular activities at camp are swimming and boating. These activities at OSR are conducted at our pool, Great Buck Lake, and Lake Galena. Our large, experienced, and well-trained Aquatics Staff are ready to give you a great experience. If there is anything we can help you with, just ask. We will go above and beyond to help with schedule conflicts or other specific requests you may have. You don’t know until you have asked!  We are very experienced in handling specific water issues your scouts may have.  We will spend any amount of time and energy to help your scout achieve his goals. The Aquatics Director has spent 34 years involved in BSA Aquatics at summer camps and has also instructed at the BSA National Camping Schools.

Pool Policies

  • All participants will be required to shower before entering the pool & also when leaving.
  • The sun can be harmful. Sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before entering. Applying just before entering, will not allow enough time for it to be absorbed into the skin and it will just be washed off. Scouts & leaders who are fair skinned or more affected by the sun’s damage should wear shirts or rash guards.

Swimming MB – 9:15 am-10:30am  M-F

This session is geared for the older scout that that was unable to take Swimming MB in his first year.  Two senior staff members will instruct this session.

Swimming MB – 10:30am-12 noon.  and 2:00pm – 3:30pm M-F

These two separate sessions are for 1st yr. scouts who are in our Dan Beard Program.  Other 1st yr. scouts are urged to attend also. The scouts in Dan Beard will be split into either the morning session or the afternoon session according to their Dan Beard patrols. Those Scouts that are swimmers will work on the swimming MB requirements.  These sessions also offer swimming instructions for those scouts that have not reached Beginner or Swimmer classifications.   As these scouts complete the Swimmer requirement they will move to the MB group.  The Aquatics Director assisted by additional staff will instruct these two sessions.

Lifesaving MB – 9:15am-11:00am  M-F

This badge teaches lifesaving skills. It is recommended that scouts taking Lifesaving have already earned Swimming MB, as those skills are necessary for Lifesaving.  Scouts need to complete a 400yd swim the first session.  The Aquatics Director and additional staff instruct this badge.

Make-ups – 7:30 pm Friday

This is an OSR Aquatics special session.  As scouts progress thru the week there may be requirements scouts are not ready to complete.  This is usually because a scout has never tried a certain skill before, and he just needs a little more instruction and practice to complete.  Scouts will be paired with a staff member for additional instruction and coaching.

It is up to the scout himself to determine if he wants to continue until he completes his requirements or if he feels he is not ready yet.  Scouts who do not complete all requirements will receive a Partial


A Partial is a MB that has not been completed.  The scout will receive a MB card back with a list of all the requirements that he has completed.

He only needs to finish those requirements not signed off.  Partials do not expire until a scout turns 18.  Scouts coming to camp with Partials from previous seasons should see the Aquatics Director early in the week to discuss when they can finish their badge.

Polar Bear Swim 7:00am-7:30am M-F

This activity allows scouts and leaders to swim before breakfast.    Leaders will turn into the Aquatics Staff a list of all those who attend at least 3 sessions.  They will receive a Polar Bear certificate and there are patches too.

Free Swim 7:30pm -8:30pm M  &  3:30pm-5:00pm M-F

Scouts & leaders can come and have fun at the pool.  No requirements except have fun.  You can use noodles and kickboards: or play water polo in the beginner’s area.  As always buddies are needed.

Snorkling BSA 4:00pm-5:00pm M-F

This is not a MB but an Award where snorkeling skills are taught and practiced.  The pool staff supplies equipment.

Participants must be swimmers.  It usually takes an hour to complete the requirements.  Should more time be needed the instructor will let you know when it can be completed.  This is offered every day at 4:00pm.

Mile Swim 4:00pm-5:00pm M-F

The Mile Swim Award is done every day at 4:00pm.  Scouts & Leaders will sign up at the Monday session.  Participants will do required distances each day and swim 1 mile on Friday.

Scouts who are competitive swimmers should see the Aquatics Director on Monday to discuss how to complete the requirements for Mile Swim.

Water Carnival 7:30pm-9:00pm or 9:30pm Wednesday

The OSR Water Carnival is Different!  Numerous water toys and events will be combined in a super crazy event.  SPL’s will get an event sheet at their SPL meeting Wednesday.  This sheet will give you the names of the events and the # of participants required and their Swim classification.

For Example; 5 Man Pile On – 5 swimmers

Each Event will be called, participants from each Troop will come out on deck, and THEN you will be told what the event is!

This makes it hard to plan but allows for maximum fun.

There are Events for all scouts, all swim Classifications, Leaders, and SPL’s.  It involves VERY MANY POOL TOYS!

Swimming & Water Rescue – mornings at the pool

Swimming & Water Rescue is for those Scouts & Leaders who want to be able to run Aquatics Activities for their unit.  It is not a lifeguard course.  This course is a more appropriate course for leaders than BSA Lifeguard.  Sign up with the counselor at the pool and meeting times will be set up.



At OSR we Have 2 Scuba Programs.  Dave O’Donnel of O’Donnel Diving and Adapted Scuba run them.  Dave is certified by PADI as a Master Scuba Instructor.  He has been conducting Scuba activities at OSR for many years.

Scuba instruction according to BSA National Standards CANNOT be conducted by Camp Staff.  It must be conducted by an outside contractor who is A Diving Instructor from an approved agency (PADI, NAUWI, YMCA).  Because of this, there will be a fee.  Which is paid to the instructor.

SCUBA BSA – 5:45pm-7:15 pm  Tuesday or Thursday or Friday

Cost $45

Those scouts, leaders, dads, and moms, who wish to participate will sign up with the Aquatics Director on Monday & pay at that time. 

As the number of participants is determined, the Aquatics Director will determine whether the session will be on Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday.  This has to do with size of the group and Weather conditions.

We can handle a group of 20 each session.  Should the number of participants be smaller days may be combined. Requirements will be completed in 1 session.  Because these sessions need to be conducted around the instructor’s schedule they are over our dinnertime.  Participants will come to the pool at 5:45 pm and will have their dinner at the pool after the session is over.  Dinner will be the same as the dinner in the Dining Hall that evening.  All equipment is provided.

Participants must be a swimmer and have completed and turned in the medical clearance that is in the leader packet.

Discover Scuba  7:30pm the night of Scuba BSA sessions

Cost $10

Discover Scuba is just that, a chance for scouts, leaders, dads, and moms to experience what it is like to breathe underwater.  It is held in the shallow end of the pool to allow for all swimming abilities.  It is also in shallow water due to the inexperience of the participants and their ability to adjust to breathing underwater.  The bubble maker release is also required.  It is also in the leader packet of forms. The participants will put on scuba gear and be able to move around the shallow end of the pool.  Time is approximately 15 minutes.

Hot Tub

OSR has a hot tub at the pool for use by Adult Leaders.  Come down and soak all those aches and pains away in the heat and bubbles.

The hot tub is open anytime the pool is open.

Leader Swim   9:00pm-10:00pm  Tuesday & Thursday

Leaders please take the opportunity to come down and swim or float without the scouts on Tuesday and Thursday evening.  After all you are on vacation!

Lakefront Policies

  • All scouts and leaders using the lake facilities will be required to wear water shoes (old sneakers) during activities. Flip-Flops are not acceptable. Sunscreen should also be applied 20 minutes before activity for it to be effective.

Canoeing MB

#1 – 9:15am-11:00am
#2 – 2:00pm-3:55pm

Teaches all the skills that are necessary to master the handling of a canoe. One of the sessions will require scouts to swamp the canoe.

Rowing MB

#1 – 11:05am-noon
#2 – 4:00pm-5:00pm

Teaches all the skills required to handle a rowboat properly.
One of the sessions will require the scouts to swamp the rowboat.

Kayaking MB

#1 – 9:15am-10:30am
#2 – 10:30am-noon
3# – 2:00pm-3:20pm

Teaches all the skills that are necessary to be proficient in the use of a kayak. Scouts will be required to swamp the kayak at one of the sessions.

Open Boating    


Scouts and leaders may come up to the lake and use all canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards for recreational boating.

Troops may also sign up for Troop Boating in the evening.  See the Lake Director and sign up.

Paddle boarding BSA  

3:30pm-5:00pm  M-F

Paddle boarding BSA is a fairly new program that teaches participants the skills required to be a good Standup Paddle boarder.  This is an award like Mile Swim and Snorkeling BSA.

Paddlecraft Safety 

2:00pm-5:00pm M-F

This training certification is for scouts over 16 and Adult Leaders.

It will give you all the skills and knowledge to be able to run canoe and kayak trips for your unit.  Please Sign up with the Instructor on Monday for all the information on the course.

Small Boat Sailing MB     

Morning – 9:15am-noon M-F
Afternoon – 2:00pm-5:00pm M-F

This MB will be conducted off site at Lake Galena.  Lake Galena is a large Lake operated by the Bucks County Department of Recreation.  If you want to learn how to sail this is the place to do it.  Scouts will sign up at the sign-up board.   The morning and afternoon sessions will be able to handle a specific number of scouts based on boats available. (Usually 6-8).  Scouts will need to be transported to lake Galena (15-20 minutes away. Closer than Lake Nocamixon) for each session.  Please see the Sailing Director For more information