From the Chief: Toward a Fit Future

What’s behind the BSA’s plans for an all-out health and wellness initiative?

PLANNING IS UNDER WAY for a new Scouting health initiative. It’s time for Scouting to take on the problem of an unhealthy younger generation.

I have spoken on many occasions about my concerns regarding the health of our young people. The following words from former U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona should serve as a wake-up call for all of us: “Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits, and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.”

This statement terrifies me. We can’t stand by and let this continue. The BSA is ready to weigh in on this challenge of childhood health as we head into our second century of Scouting.

I can’t share all of the details yet, but here is a sneak preview of what’s planned for this year and beyond.

We have formed a task force to develop and launch a Scouting health and wellness initiative. Its purpose is to promote healthier lifestyles for our young people through the many programs Scouting already offers, as well as with some new ideas we have for getting our younger generation back on the trail to healthy living. This exciting program will be one element of our Strategic Plan, with a specific focus on youth advocacy.

Healthy living, fitness, and overall wellness have always been part of Scouting’s DNA. We also will use this opportunity to review our published program materials, advancement requirements, and performance recognition to ensure they are relevant for today’s youth and the challenges they face.

Our vision for a Scouting health initiative goes well beyond our ranks. We plan to partner with other world-class organizations, bringing experts together to attack this issue and leverage the strength of Scouting, our sponsors, and chartering partners to help get the message out. This combination of knowledge, energy, and resources will be important to the success of this effort.

As America’s largest youth-serving organization, we will not stand by and let this problem escalate. So get ready to gear up for a healthier future for Scouting.


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