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Troop1Mom

Personal Fitness merit badge question

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I am new to being a merit badge counselor and my 14-year-old son (my 3rd merit badge Scout) and I have encountered a problem with his fitness plan. The problem is he is so dedicated to a very specific exercise program to help him achieve his goals as a baseball player, specifically to put on weight so he can throw harder/faster while preventing injury to his elbow.  He is so serious about this; he does not want to do any aerobic exercise that will compromise his desire (it’s a need in his eyes, which I understand) to gain weight/muscle.  He knows cardiovascular fitness is important for lifelong health. I suggested a jog once/week and he views that as too much- even brisk walking was a problem for him.  He is a kid who wants to hike the tallest mountains when we take him and he does it with ease- this isn’t a matter of laziness.  He also brings up the point that running isn’t good for your joints. Another issue that we talked to his doctor about is that he seems to have a muscle tear that happens every time he does sit-ups, also an exercise that isn’t the healthiest- can we substitute planking for sit-ups?  Any word of BSA changing that requirement? 

My son told me he’s going to talk with his Scoutmaster (basically “firing” me!) about finding a different merit badge counselor.  He’s having some difficulty seeing that we can’t make exceptions- or am I being too rigid?  

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Why are you counseling your own son?

You KNOW he knows every button of yours to push. 

Merit badges are a tool of the ADULT ASSOCIATION METHOD. Let someone else counsel him. 

Now, as to his fitness plan... have him do 5 sets of 10 x 100 yard sprints, 3 times a week. That the distance from shallow left field to the wall.

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Well, of course I now see the challenge in counseling my own kid, but I had asked if it was allowed, it is convenient, and it was going great until this issue. I appreciate the baseball-related running exercise.  I doubt he’ll buy into it because running = weight loss, but he’s going to have to compromise to meet the requirement.  He’ll have to do some cardio in PE so he’ll likely get enough in to improve his mile run time, but he won’t know for sure what activities they’ll be doing in order to incorporate it into his plan.  I suppose he can consult his PE teacher. 

Thank you!

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Stick to the requirements...no more no less.  Has he actually read the MB pamphlet?  The program is for the scout to improve in each of the original exercise tests...if he doesn't due to a poor exercise program...No MB.  

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12 hours ago, Troop1Mom said:

Well, of course I now see the challenge in counseling my own kid, but I had asked if it was allowed, it is convenient, and it was going great until this issue.  ...

 

Yes.  It is specifically allowed and no unit or district should be putting in place rules that state otherwise. To do so is to put up obstacles to the scouts advancement and is a disservice to the scouts. 

From the Guide to Advancement, rule 7.0.1.4:
"Approved counselors may work with and pass
any member, including their own son, ward, or relative.
Nevertheless, we often teach young people the
importance of broadening horizons. Scouts meeting with
counselors beyond their families and beyond even their
own units are doing that. They will benefit from the
perspectives of many “teachers” and will learn more as
a result. They should be encouraged to reach out."

So, yes, it is specifically allowed. But no, it's not really a good idea...

The explanation really gets to the heart of why the "adult association" method is so important.

As a merit badge counselor, I have twice worked with and passed off my own son --- but in both cases it was in the context of a unit merit badge class in which my son was part of a larger group open to every scout in the unit. In that case, it would have been stupid to have said that if my son was doing exactly the same activities alongside his fellow scouts, and I signed off requirements for all those scouts, that I couldn't also sign off for him. That would make no sense and would be unfair.

However, as a rule, I will refer him to another counselor or sign him up for a class at summer camp, even if I am an approved counselor for a badge.

By the way, a previous scoutmaster once told me that the reason it was better to work with another counselor wasn't that Dad might be too easy on his own kid, but rather, Dad might be tougher on his own kid than he would on somebody else. I think that is often true.

 

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14 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

By the way, a previous scoutmaster once told me that the reason it was better to work with another counselor wasn't that Dad might be too easy on his own kid, but rather, Dad might be tougher on his own kid than he would on somebody else. I think that is often true.

It’s absolutely true. I took a group of youth who needed citizenship in the nation through it in my sons troop. I would not do the counseling for record, but I made damn sure he knew the answers.  

He uses it even now, in political debate, as a starting point. It’s amazing what understanding our Constitution does to shut a blowhard know nothing up. 

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Irrespective of the MB reqs, no training program that I have seen says no aerobic activity. At the very minimum, high intensity training for short intervals will do the job. Such as those wind sprints.

However, the elephant in the room seems to be a teen with visions of grandeur. This is common. I remember wanting to gain weight as well, some 45 years ago because I wanted to play college football. Good thing I didn't put my eggs in that basket. Anyway, it could be your son needs to get his training wisdom from someone with more expertise. As in not the internet and not his friends. A kid that focuses on building muscle could turn to supplements that might be bad in the long term. 

Also, if he tears a muscle when doing a sit up he has other things to worry about. Sit ups are bad for the spine, not muscles.

I'd suggest finding someone that really understands sports medicine, training, etc, and have your son talk to them. That keeps you from being the bad guy and your son will learn something.

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6 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

Yes.  It is specifically allowed and no unit or district should be putting in place rules that state otherwise. To do so is to put up obstacles to the scouts advancement and is a disservice to the scouts. 

From the Guide to Advancement, rule 7.0.1.4:
"Approved counselors may work with and pass
any member, including their own son, ward, or relative.
Nevertheless, we often teach young people the
importance of broadening horizons. Scouts meeting with
counselors beyond their families and beyond even their
own units are doing that. They will benefit from the
perspectives of many “teachers” and will learn more as
a result. They should be encouraged to reach out."

So, yes, it is specifically allowed. But no, it's not really a good idea...

The explanation really gets to the heart of why the "adult association" method is so important.

As a merit badge counselor, I have twice worked with and passed off my own son --- but in both cases it was in the context of a unit merit badge class in which my son was part of a larger group open to every scout in the unit. In that case, it would have been stupid to have said that if my son was doing exactly the same activities alongside his fellow scouts, and I signed off requirements for all those scouts, that I couldn't also sign off for him. That would make no sense and would be unfair.

However, as a rule, I will refer him to another counselor or sign him up for a class at summer camp, even if I am an approved counselor for a badge.

By the way, a previous scoutmaster once told me that the reason it was better to work with another counselor wasn't that Dad might be too easy on his own kid, but rather, Dad might be tougher on his own kid than he would on somebody else. I think that is often true.

 

I definitely feel that I want to ensure that no one thinks I went easy on my own kids.  It’s nice to have 2 Scouts doing the PF mb at the same time so they can do their pre- and post fitness tests together, and check-ins, too, if they choose.  My son started with a friend, so it was convenient for that reason as well as the most recent previous mb counselor wasn’t keeping in touch well.  

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