Scouts-L Mail Archive for October of 1998: Re: Personal Fitness
Re: Personal Fitness
Bruce E. Cobern
Mon, 5 Oct 1998 17:28:39 -0400
> From: Tony Preus <APREUS@BINGVMB.CC.BINGHAMTON.EDU>
> Date: Monday, October 05, 1998 5:27 AM
> Reply to Tom Lynch concerning Fitness:
> Why should 7:10 in the mile be the acid test of whether a boy is
Its not. It is, according to the requirements for Personal Fitness merit
badge, the acid test for the aerobic fitness of the Scout vs. the 50th
percentile of the population in a particular age category. The other two
tests required in PF test flexibility and muscle strength.
> I have a boy in the troop who can beat nearly everyone in New York at
> the mile SWIM, but I have serious doubts whether any amount of
> get him below 8 minutes in the mile RUN.
Well, I'm not sure that I buy the statement that, even with practice and a
concerted effort, he will never be able to reach that standard. Again,
for a boy who joins at approximately 11, he has 7 years to develop his
aerobic conditioning to the point of being able to achieve that goal.
Frankly, I think in most cases it would be a case of the youth not wanting
to make the effort, as opposed to his not being able to meet the standard.
I also believe that most of what I am reading and hearing is a case of
overreaction by adults. My experience with the last 20+ years of changes
to the advancement program is that once you tell the youth what is
expected of them they take it in stride and rise to the challenge, however
high we might place that bar. However, I believe that on the local level
individual cases can be dealt with on an exception basis.
> If Fitness is going to be stand-alone,
> we need to think of sufficient alternative ways of demonstrating
> to be able to deal with the great diversity we have among scouts.
Well, one method is to look at the complete set of standards put out by
the AAHPERD, the organization whose standards we are using. I have not
seen them, but I am told that there are three different choices for the
aerobic portion of their fitness standard. The other two options are
swimming and cycling, although if the one web site I looked at is
accurate, I don't believe they have standards for these activities until
age 13. As I have said in several posts, at least one of which went to
the list, I, as an advancement chairman, would have no problem with any of
my PF counselors substituting one of the equivalent measures of aerobic,
flexibility, or muscle strength fitness for the one specifically listed in
the mb pamphlet. My personal opinion is that the reason the BSA only
listed one of the options was to prevent massive confusion had they listed
the full list of options. So, as long as the replacement was acceptable
to the organization that wrote the original standards (AAHPERD), I would
have no problem with it being used.
> constructed differently, and I'm not just talking about weight, as you
> to believe. One boy runs like an antelope - and has trouble passing
> merit badge, because he tends to sink lower in the water; another
> a fish - and also runs like a fish (well, I exaggerate, but you see
> mean). You can have a boy who will hike for hours in the mountains and
> even breathe hard, but will max out at 3 or 4 (real) pushups (that was
> 45 years ago). I don't actually believe that 7:10 in the book really
> the 50th percentile for the mile run among 14 year olds - that's
> problem, presumably reparable.
Well, the PF merit badge book uses the 1980 percentile scores compiled by
a national organization that deals specifically with the subject, so I'm
not sure I would want to claim that their levels are somehow out of whack.
They HAVE published more recent charts which, unfortunately, indicate
that our youth are LESS fit than they were 18 years ago, so the 50th
percentile scores have come down, but only slightly. I'd love to see us
have enough boys in Scouting working on their PF merit badge so that these
rankings start to climb, steadily and rapidly. We would then know that we
are having a positive impact on the fitness of the youth of our nation and
on its overall health.
Enough. I don't want to bore everybody on the
> list with more of this.
> Tony Preus
Bruce E. Cobern
Advancement Chairman, Founders District, Queens Council, NY