Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Re: Old topic - Physical Fitness
Re: Old topic - Physical Fitness
Fri, 26 Feb 1999 09:54:53 -0500
Bob Nix re-raises interesting and important issues regarding Personal
Fitness MB now that it is a "stand-alone" requirement for Eagle Rank.
Let me first back into my response, for this is a convoluted path.
Under the National BSA Advancement Policies and Procedures, #33088A, Pg.
21, when a Scout is using the Alternative Merit Badges for Eagle Scout
Rank: "8. When alternatives chosen involve physical activity, they must
be approved by the physician." YET, "5. The candidate must complete as
many of the requirements of the required badge as his ability permits."
- this being BEFORE the application for alternatives is submitted.
So, what you have here is a progression where a Boy with a KNOWN
permanent physical disAbility (and for the moment let's not argue
whether a weight situation is permanent) must first fail to meet a
requirement WITHOUT approval or supervision by a physician BEFORE BSA
insists that a physician's approval is necessary.
In a letter dated February 17, 1999, Joe Glasscock wrote, in part, "All
merit badges and advancement requirements are supervised by the
Advancement Committee....To make recommenddations to the committee, you
may call or write John Dalrymple...at the National Office."
Glasscock went on to say that they "...are in the process of rewording
the alternative rank requirements...and reviewing the alternate merit
Note: the Application for Alternate... #58-730, has been out of date
since 1996 (?) when Agribusiness and Consumer Shopping MBs were dropped
as MBs, let alone the sole recommended alternatives for Personal
However, the extant #58-730 can be used for guidance at your Council
level since there are over ten alternate MBs recommended when Personal
Fitness was NOT stand-alone.
The Advancement Committee meets next in May, so I'd advise y'all to
write your concerns. That is one way to deal with:
> >From a different perspective, is it fair to expect that one required merit
> badge could require more than a year of intense effort to accomplish? Is
> this appropriate? When do we make an exception to the requirements, when in
> an extreme example, the requirements are simply not rational?
> I believe in the rules; mostly, I follow them. I also believe in
> compassion. Help me find a way to guide this Scout to Eagle; to lower an
> unreachable barrier.
Note: the aforementiond policy also says: "7. The alternate merit
badges chosen must be of such a nature that they are as demanding of
effort as the required merit badges."
> What are the Scout's options? Anything short of a Doctor's letter? Would a
> doctor actually write a letter excusing a Scout when there is no physical
> impairment except weight and a family history of zero fitness?
First, I wouldn't prejudge what a doctor might or might not do, but if
the boy's condition is determined to be a permanent disAbility
(hereditary?) then any future physical activities WILL need a
physician's approval. My own view has been that there are many
legitimate paths on the Trail to Eagle, unless you believe (as someone
recently suggested) that we are developing "Stepford Scouts".
Now, Paula Amnott wrote in response:
> Perhaps the doctor could be temporarily signed up as a MB counselor, and
> he could sign off on the boy's requirements.
Now, that is a conflict of interest if I've ever heard one! ;-)
Nevertheless, any Troop would be fortunate to have a physician volunteer
to provide more global guidance.
Paula went on to write:
> I haven't read the exact requirements, but from what I have heard, I
> think they are too regimented. One person's fitness is not fitness by
> another person's standards, if that makes any sense.
> If it were up to me, I would adjust the requirements to _personal_
Unfortunately (?) that isn't an option. And, Personal Fitness MB is the
ONLY required MB, that I can think of, that removes judgement from the
Counselor as to whether the Scout has "done his best" and relies solely
on charts (Requirement 7).
BTW Paula, there is no such thing as: "just a CS mom". Cubs, and their
parents are important - that's where it all can begin. We'll look
forward to continued contributions. For any youth (how's that for
advanced hoping) in CS of whatever, we'd like full participation and a
seamless transition into Scouting regardless of any permanent
AND, for those of you who would like to contribute, or seek guidance, we
are recruiting at the Working With Scouts With disAbilities Website:
For those of you interested in getting more involved in Scouting for the
disAbled, there is this summer's training course at the Philmont
Training Center - June 20-26, 1999. As your Council to recommend your
participation, and push your Council to have an active program
addressing the needs of Scouts (and Scouters) with disAbilities..