Scouts better be prepared to lose weight
Posted July 16, 2013
White Oak, N.C. — Boy Scouts of America has instituted rigorous health requirements for anyone attending the group's national Jamboree, being held for the next nine days in West Virginia.
Hundreds of Scouts nationwide were barred from the Jamboree, which is held every four years, because they are overweight or in poor physical condition. Anyone with a body mass index – a measure of body fat determined through height and weight – of 40 or higher was ineligible for the event, while those between 32 and 40 had to provide additional information to medical staff before being allowed to attend.
Scouting officials say the new requirements are needed to fulfill the "physically fit" portion of the Boy Scout motto and to challenge youths to be more active at a time when childhood obesity rates in the U.S. are soaring.
Members of Scout Troop 755 out of Mount Olive, who were working out at Camp Bowers in Bladen County Tuesday, said they welcome the higher physical standards.
"You definitely need to show other people that it's good to be healthy and promote being healthy," said Tryston Best, 16. "When you think of a Scout, you usually think of someone physically fit, physically active.”
"You've got to walk everywhere," said Jimmy Brown, 14. "You've got to deal with it."
The West Virginia site features mountain biking trails, ropes courses and a required 3-mile trek up a mountain during the Jamboree.
"They have really changed their focus from sit-down merit badges to stand-up action sports," camp director Matthew Bull said, calling the switch "the perfect move for scouting in the 21st century.
"The X Games have become so mainstream that, if we don’t change and update the things we do, we’re going to lose boys from scouting," Bull said.
Camp Bowers focuses on personal fitness, he said, noting all meals are approved by a nutritionist.
"I think all these boys (in Troop 755) would be able to go to the Jamboree," he said.