Scouts-L Mail Archive for October of 1998: Re: Personal Fitness Merit Badge
Re: Personal Fitness Merit Badge
Sun, 11 Oct 1998 17:23:17 EDT
Greetings to all Scout-Lers:
The ongoing discussion of the physical fitness requirements enumerated in
Requirement 7 of the Personal Fitness Merit Badge have caused me to venture
forth from my comfortable status as a permanent "lurker". This is because I
have read the requirement and the merit badge pamphlet and don't understand
what everyone is upset about. I am wondering if my merit badge pamphlet is
different from what you people are reading. My pamphlet is the 1996 printing
of the 1992 revision which, according to the 1998 Boy Scout Requirements book
is the current edition. When I read Requirement 7 I see the following:
1. It says to "be evaluated above the 50th percentile.........." My
dictionary defines evaluate as "1. to determine or fix the value of" and "2.
to examine and judge" with a synonym of "estimate". Obviously this is a poor
choice of terminology as proven by the ongoing discussion but what this says
to me is that the Scout should be tested to determine whether or not he falls
into the 50th percentile or higher. The text of the requirement does not say
anything about what to do with the evaluation, estimate or determination
obtained. In other words what I think is desired here is information, does
the Scout meet or exceed the 50th percentile - yes/no? It certainly does not
say to me "Below 50th percentile - Stop until you can pass go". Since there
is a question of intent and, because one should always read the entire merit
badge pamphlet for any badge being worked on, I looked to the text of the
pamphlet for guidance and....
2. On page 38 I found nearly a whole page of discussion about evaluating the
physical fitness tests. The whole discussion is very important but two
sentences jumped out at me. The first is the second sentence of the first
paragraph which says, "Any boy who falls below the 50th percentile is strongly
encouraged to improve these areas of physical fitness." It does not say that
the Scout must meet or exceed the 50th percentile in order to proceed. The
second is the third from last sentence in paragraph 2 which says, "The
Personal Fitness Merit Badge does not require improvement, only that you
experience regular, planned exercise and evaluations.".
3. I also noted on page 36 in the discussion of the aerobic fitness tests
that a Scout is permitted to walk at any time during the fitness "running"
My conclusion is that no Scout should be denied this merit badge due to his
inability to test out at or above the 50th percentile nor should any Scout be
required to meet that standard at any point. In fact, any such action is
specifically prohibited by the sentences referenced on page 38. What he must
do is participate in a physical fitness improvement program as described by
the merit badge pamphlet for the prescribed length of time and be retested at
specified intervals. And since the text says that there may not be
improvement in that length of time he cannot be required to improve each time.
This conclusion is at odds with every post I have seen on this list so I would
appreciate it if someone could tell me if I am reading the incorrect pamphlet
correctly, the correct pamphlet correctly or the correct pamphlet incorrectly!
Thank you, Steve Baker, Old Colony Council, Massachusetts