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Yah, practically speakin', there's good reasons to at least encourage it, eh? Not just the good example to the boys.


The biggest reason, I believe, is that less-than-fit Scoutmasters sorta discourage and limit their boys' program. Troop programs, even in boy-run units, tend to follow the interest and abilities of the adults. If the adults aren't "interested" in backpacking, it really won't make it on a troop's calendar very often.


So less-than-fit adults tend to yield less-than-excitin' outdoor program. Da troops that are out climbin' and mountain bikin' and backpackin' and whatnot all tend to have relatively fit adults, eh? The others quietly shortchange their boys' opportunities.




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Being physically strong takes some effort and can be measured objectively and observed passively. Fitness takes self control, commitment and perseverance. All worthy scout attributes.


It's easy to just give lip service to other parts of the oath. Fitness is a lifestyle and can't be faked.


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Boys typically join Boy Scouts at the age of 10 or 11. At these ages they are still growing and naturally developing better endurance and upper body strength. For most at this age, the Tenderfoot and other "physical fitness" requirements become easier to do as they age (i.e. most 13 year olds can do more push-ups than most 10 year olds).


Scouters have a much diverse age span. Although rare, a Scoutmaster may be 21 years of age. In my experience, most are in the 40 - 60 year age range. At these ages, physical fitness tends to decline with time; the opposite phenomenon that happens with the Scouts.


That said, as role models, Scouters should still strive to be physically fit. In my own case, I struggle with my weight. I just returned from a strenuous week of backpacking at Double H. I "made it" but keeping up with high school athletes was a challenge for this 51 year old and the altitude didn't help my aerobic capabilities. However, in preparation for the outing I lost 15 pounds, cut my four mile run time by about three minutes and did get in better shape.


I agree that a troop with unfit adults will curtail such activities as backpacking, rock climbing, etc. for the Scouts - not a good thing. We should strive to maintain a basic level of fitness but I don't think a fitness requirement is needed.

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I can respect others views on this subject but I do not agree that thereshould be any requirement. What works for one unit may or may not work for others. In my current unit I am quite happy serving as committee chair and I fill in as needed on select outings as requested. We have SM and ASM's that are far more physically fit than myself which is as it should be. If things were different and qualified adult leaders were simply not available I would have no problem being a SM even though my fitness level is not what it should be. Something that I am currently working on along with my Scout. It is really IMHO up to the CO, whomever they may be to determine what fitness level is needed to present the youth of their organization with the program they deem appropriate.


Fitness is a comparable thing. When I was young I could run a mile in less than 5 minutes; two mile times were less than 11 minutes. In fact during my freshman year of HS we had over 20 runners that ran faster than 5 minutes in the mile. Based on that I think it would have been fair to say that fitness for high school aged males to be the ability to run a 5 1/2 minute mile. I do not really believe this, didn't then and do not now but I think you may see my point. A 7 minute mile might be closer to a mininum mile time of 7 minutes but there is a world of difference in the level of fitness between 5 minutes and 7 minutes. Now-a-days I think I'd be lucky if I could jog a mile in 12 minutes. Just a few years ago I could walk for hours while hunting yet I was still, when compared to the fitness of my youth, at least 40 pounds overweight. I think we owe it to ourselves and the scouts to at least be fit enough to safely be able to handle whatever activity the unit plans. For this reason participation by an adult member of each scouts family should be required. Only then might the pool of adults be large and diverse enough to ensure that the youth have adults that can keep up.

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We don't need a fitness test, but like most have said we need to do our best to be fit.


This thread was spun from a scout who was denied tenderfoot because his SM/ASMs wouldn't sign off on the pullups. I would certainly like to know if every one of those SM/ASMs can demonstrate to the scout how to do it to that standard.

SM: Sorry Johnny, but you can't do a single pullup. You will need to keep trying. You have 4.5 years before you age out. Bulk up man!

Johnny: But Mr Blansten? You can't do a single pullup either?

SM: I'm not trying to get Tenderfoot son, you are. Now go run that 1/4 mile. I'll drive down to the end of the street and time you.

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gosh, sorta sounds like the sorority that kicked out the plain janes and the "fat girls"...


Perhaps, it would work in a perfect world...but in the one I live in -I'll take what I can get...an use the heck out of them!


We have a very fit leader, the SM...(and many very fit ASMs) but he hates Hiking...we also have several others willing to "step in" (sorry) on hiking events...One of these hikers looks to be fifty pounds overweight, has sleep apnea issues and can walk the legs off a mountain goat...Should we deep six him? Personally, I think he is a jewel (in the rough).


We also have an ASM who looks like a wiskey barrel and he is our caving guru...he takes our older boys on some outrageous adventures...again, cause his tummy isn't flat he is a bad example? We have a treasurer who is also on the rotund side but he supports our truck camps and has supported a Seabase effort.


Myself...lost a lunge to cancer a while back and recently had a few heart issues (some solved with a fancy pacing system-some not), so keeping up with hikes is tough but also interestingly, I can still out "canoe" everyone in the troop - solo even, don't know why- but it just is...


Before we do the hypothetical (or hippocritical-sorry again)"fitness" B.S., we should also consider the potential value in demonstrating our ablity as units towards diverse utilization of all of our assets. Which "system" better shows value of all human beings...


Also I wonder which system is more inviting and supporting of the slightly overweight kid that would see either all "terminator" bodies and thusly feels "ugly" or sees that there is, infact, hope that he too can participate in our game with a purpose? And maybe do betterfor himself than becoming a shut-in, couch potato.


Got kind of uncharacteristically mushy there...sorry, don't want to ruin my reputation...



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