Aims of Scouting – Fitness
Specific examples of fitness in the BSA programs:
Fitness and the Aims of Scouting
The aims of Scouting are character development, citizenship training, personal fitness (both mental and physical), and leadership development.
With childhood obesity on the rise, the importance of teaching youth about fitness and nutrition is greater than ever.
We all need to be aware of the physical abilities of our Scouts, no matter what the activity. This is especially true when spending a week at camp when conditions like allergies or asthma can have a negative impact on a Scout’s experience. In extreme cases they can become life threatening. Read more.
So how are physical and mental fitness is incorporated into the Scouting programs offered by BSA?
Below are shown just a few ways that fitness is promoted in the various levels of Scouting. And it is important for all of us Scouters to set a good example and to try and improve our own fitness also.
How does your unit incorporate fitness into its program? Put your ideas in the comments at the bottom of this post.
- Cub Scouts learn the importance of good nutrition
- Age appropriate outdoor activities help Cubs stay fit
- These Scouts play lots of active games to burn off energy and develop coordination
- Many Cub Scout adventures encourage physical activity
For the Fun on the Run adventure, Lion Cub Scouts learn about healthy habits including the importance of making good food choices and getting enough rest.
For the Games Tigers Play adventure, Tiger Cubs and their adult partners learn about teamwork while playing games. They also explore how active games and nutritious food keep us healthy.
For the Running with the Pack adventure, Wolf Cub Scouts play catch, practice balancing, play a sport, and explore other physical skills. They also learn about the importance of a balanced diet.
For the Bear Picnic Basket adventure, Cub Scouts make their own cookbook. They also learn about nutrition and prepare meals in a kitchen and outdoors.
Webelos explore how to stay fit while working on the Stronger, Faster, Higher adventure. They learn about the importance of warming up and cooling down. They do some basic activities to stay fit and try to improve their results over a 30 day period. They try a new sport, run a fitness course, or teach others active games.
Webelos learn about meal planning, budgeting, and shopping while working on the Cast Iron Chef adventure. They also prepare a nutritious meal and make a cooking fire.
BSA has a Cub Scout pack meeting plan called Cub Cafe related to health, nutrition, and fitness. “As Cub Scouts, we are personally committed to care for our minds and our bodies. One way we care for our bodies is by what we feed ourselves. By choosing Cub Café as a theme, we can emphasize healthier choices, thus reinforcing our commitment to care for our bodies.”
BSA has a Cub Scout pack meeting plan called Backyard Fun related to the goals of health and fitness. The Backyard Fun meeting plan features ideas – games, group activities, songs, and more.
BSA offers supplemental pack program ideas for each month. One of the older Cub Scout themes for the value of Health and Fitness is a Destination Parks theme.
- Physical fitness requirements must be met throughout the rank advancement program
- Scouts BSA learn about topics such as drug and alcohol abuse, bullying, and internet safety
- The Scouts BSA program encourages young men to continuously work to improve their minds and bodies.
- A challenging outdoor program provides the opportunity for lots of physical activity
Scouts who are working toward the rank of Tenderfoot learn about nutrition and basic exercises to stay in good shape.
Scouts working toward 2nd Class rank must be physically active at least 30 minutes each day for five days a week for four weeks. They must keep track of their activities. They must also participate in a substance abuse prevention program.
One of the requirements for the 1st Class rank is for Scouts to be physically active for 30 days.
Scouts learn to keep themselves healthy while working on this merit badge. They explore nutrition and exercise. They develop an exercise plan and carry it out over 12 weeks. They also find out about careers related to personal fitness.
Scouts learn about food safety, nutrition, and cooking techniques while working on the Cooking merit badge. They also have to plan , prepare, and cook meals at camp, at home, and on the trail. The Cooking merit badge is required for the rank of Eagle.
Scouts learn how to stay physically fit while working on the Athletics merit badge. They explore the importance of nutrition, warming up, and cooling down. They test their skills in selected areas such as sprinting, jumping, swimming, push ups, pull ups, basketball shooting, football kicking, soccer kicking, or weight training.
The Fitness and Nutrition program feature is listed in the Sports program features category, but fitness and nutrition are important for everyone, whether involved in sports or not. Topics include the Get FITT principle, the My Plate Way, Body Mass Index (BMI), and measuring flexibility with a sit and reach box. There are sample troop meeting plans and sample ideas for a troop outing or activity related to nutrition and fitness.
While doing the requirements for the Sports merit badge, Scouts learn how playing sports can keep them physically fit. They find out about the importance of training and how to do it safely. Then they demonstrate what they have learned by playing competitive individual sports or team sports.
It’s right there in the Scout Oath: “… to keep myself physically strong … ”
When changes were made to the Scouts BSA rank requirements in 2016,
- Venturers develop physical fitness through sports and high adventure activities
- By interacting with other young adults in a safe environment, Venturers learn to develop healthy personal relationships
- By seeking guidance from adult advisors, Venturers learn how to make responsible choices concerning drugs, alcohol, and dangerous behaviors which young people are exposed to in their daily lives.
To complete this elective for the Venturing Ranger award, Venturers must learn about staying fit and develop a program which they will carry out for eight weeks. They must also share what they learned with others.
While working on the Quest Award, Venturers learn about the importance of healthy eating habits and physical activity. They learn the importance of participating in sports, either as individuals or as a member of a team.