Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Out of shape Scout
Out of shape Scout
Thu, 3 Jun 1999 20:22:57 EDT
A Scouter has a really obese kid new to the troop with a great attitude but a
scarily bad physique. He's frankly worried about the kid's safety at camp.
What to do?
Well, here's my take. Having had a kid (my own) who at 13 was 5'10" and 295,
I have some personal experience.
1) MD has cleared the kid for activity. That means that even if he's huffin'
and puffin', he will probably be OK. You are right to observe him closely for
overheating and underhydrating. You are also right to let him finish at his
own pace (see (2).
2) Kid has a great attitude. GO WITH IT. It can't be fun for him, he knows he
looks awful and he knows why, but by gawd he's out there trying his
damnedest. Praise him for it. Stay with him. Keep letting him do his best to
push himself. Every success *is* a success.
3) See if he can do two weeks, or even three, at camp. Three weeks of regular
exercise and no regular access to a full refrigerator WILL get him in better
shape than when he started. Once he begins feeling and looking better, he
won't want to go back. Success feeds on itself to grow-- give him EVERY
chance. Besides, BSA summer camp is a lot cheaper than "fat kid camp." And he
can earn some MB's and get some successes there too.
4) See if you can hook him up with some other older kid who has been there,
done that. You wouldn't recognize my kid now--- he'll never be svelte, but at
16 and Eagle (when the papers come back from National, any day now!) he is
almost 6'3", 245, and looks fabulous (and is strong as an ox). Your fat kid
can be an inspiration to another fat young kid when it's his turn.
You may have a kid who has just decided that he doesn't want to be a fat kid
anymore. Sometimes it happens. Let him know you know how hard he's working,
keep an eye on him, and praise him for his hard work. But don't take it away
I useta be an Eagle...
'The staff is old and feeble, and we can sing no more,
So we're getting out of Gilwell while we can!'