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Boy Scouts say No to Fat Leaders

Boy Scouts say no to fat men
Boy Scouts say NO to the Bro-zeir.

I came across which is about the Boy Scouts of America placing a new weight restriction on counselors or parents who wish to take part in "high adventure" hikes. The new restriction? If your fat, you can't.

First thing, I am an Eagle Scout, so keep in mind I was in scouts, I did all those crazy hikes, got the crazy merit badges, helped old ladies cross the street. I've also take part in a few high adventure hikes. What counts as a high adventure hike? According to the news article, it's being 30 minutes away from a hospital by ground transportation, which would technically make almost all of my scout meetings "high adventure," as I grew up on the cross roads of Nowheresvill and Cowcud, USA.

Anyway, the scouts have decided that "obese people" probably should not be taking part in, you know, mountain hiking, or being more than 20 yards from a defibrillator. And this story is basically about how outraged people are about this. One quote from the site follows:

'"This is nuts," one poster wrote. "Guidelines are welcome, not mandatory policy. Risk and ability to participate should be a matter between the boy/parent and trained medical staff, not an arbitrary table." '

The point many seem to be making is that the risk is the parent's. If they feel they can do it, and their doctors think they can, why not? I'm gonna start answering this question with a quick story.

When I was still active in the scouts, I went on a camping/hiking excursion into the Adirondacks of upstate New York. Being the forward thinking scouts that we were, before we decided to tackled the Gothics (one of the higher mountain peeks in the area), we figured we didn't need to check a weather report. I mean, who needs them? We're scouts after all. We use leaves.. and mud and sticks and stuff for our forecast... and mystic sorcery. Anyway, we get to the top of this very tall mountain peak and it starts to hail and lightning. We had to get off the mountain as quickly as we could, down steep, muddy and obstacle ridden terrain.

Could you imagine trying to do that if you were 300lbs? What if that 300lb man were to fall and break his leg, or became incapacitated in some way? Yes, boy scouts are trained to build stretchers out of logs and shirts, but the stretched needs to be able to support 300lbs. You don't need a scout for that you need a freaking engineer.

And even if you build something that can support this man, who's gonna carry it? A hike could be around 20 some miles long. Are you really gonna be able to carry that much weight 20 miles? Let me tell you, after about 10-20 miles, a 50-70 lb back pack starts to feel mighty heavy on your back, I can only imagine carrying a 300lb blob on a stretcher. You would probably end up damaging your shoulders.

Look, the thing to remember about this is that Scouting is for the scouts, not the leaders. This is their opportunity to go out, go on hikes, learn skills, this is not about you living vicariously through them. This is not a family outing.

The boy scouts have that famous motto, "always be prepared." When you go out, you hope nothing bad will happen, but you need to be prepared in case something does. So if you have a 300lb man with you, you need to assume that something may happen to him. He may have a heart attack. Can you perform CPR, most likely breaking this man's ribs, while his son watches on? Could you carry this guy out of the woods if something bad were to happen to him?

Perhaps instead of being angry at the scouts for imposing a "ideal," you should actually try to make sure you are in physically acceptable shape. If you can't bring yourself to do what it takes to make it to 230lbs, then should you really be wondering out in the wilderness anyway?

And if you still really, really want to go camping with your kid, why does the scouts have to be involved. Why not just go camping. That way you can go out, and the scouts won't have to worry about families suing them if something bad were to happen to you.

Just something to think about.

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