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The September-October issue of Scouting magazine is the work of some brilliant people. Excellent job in presenting the many aspects of Scouting. When I started reading this, I could not put it down. The new format and wealth of information in this magazine is, hands down, the best magazine I get. Keep up the great work.

Brad Wright
Goshen, Ind.

Thanks for the great-looking and revamped Scouting magazine. What a pleasure to read; it has page after page of great articles and pictures. I especially like the new sections on gear and camp cooking (Dutch ovens). This “new” magazine has the look and feel of an organization that is proud to be on the cusp of celebrating its 100th anniversary, while maintaining the tradition of concentrating on sound, great program guidance.

Frank Ross
Jacksonville, Fla.

I just skimmed the “new look” of Scouting and liked it very much. I liked Bob’s comments on obesity. Leaders need to consistently set the example, and I need to heed his words.

The “What I’ve Learned” column in your Roundtable section is very much appreciated. It’s a great way to see what happens in the real world and how folks deal with kids and adults. This is the way to retain and gain members. Use best practices, have fun, focus on the kids … it works.

Hab Butler
Parkesburg, Penn.

I just received my September-October copy of Scouting and read it from cover-to-cover. In fact, I have picked it up several times since and looked at articles again. I think this is the best issue I have seen, and I have been reading Scouting for many years. So much useful information, and I really liked the new format.

Otto Tennant
Campbellsville, Ky.

Excellent job on the most current issue of the magazine. There is a lot of information I can use to make plans for future outings.

Jeff Falk
Geneva, Ill.

Change is good! I’m not even up to the centerfold staple, and I’ve taken away more good info from the “new format” issue than any other Scouting magazine. Thanks for listening and giving us stuff we can actually use!

David Dipietro
Sussex, N.J.

I have read hundreds of Scouting magazines throughout my tenure as an adult volunteer. This September-October issue is the absolute best.

I wish I were young enough to be a Scoutmaster again, just to be able to use all the neat ideas it contains. On behalf of all those young, lucky guys, thanks for a great job!

Andy Sabol
Jacksonville, Fla.

Classic Lit

Thank you for the item regarding books by G. Harvey Ralphson (“Good Read”) in your current issue. I’ve had a number of his books for more than 30 years and still find them fascinating. Some of the conduct would be considered highly inappropriate now, but it’s neat to see where the Scouting movement was back when they were written.

John Dominik
Savage, Minn.

Who Moved our Tree?

The Wawona Tree was in Yosemite National Park not Yellowstone National Park as your story (“This Old Patch”) stated. There are no Giant Sequoia trees in Yellowstone.

John Mack
Abingdon, Md.

You're right. This answers the age-old question: "If a tree falls in Yosemite National Park, but we call it Yellowstone, will readers make a sound?"

The Right Fit

The article “Fat Chance” is part of a good start. A great follow-through aid would be a simple computer app that would be a reminder to do the good things suggested in the article: exercise, stretch, move, etc. It could even give an example of the exercise. Something like this could have a real impact on physical fitness nationwide.

Scott Foresman
Del Mar, Calif.

I have maintained an exercise regime for many years that was a major factor in my ability to attend Philmont, the Florida Sea Base, and Northern Tier, along with other high-adventure activities and regular Scout camp-outs. Keeping fit has to be emphasized in every unit. One way I did that was to challenge the entire troop, Scouts and adults, to beat me at all five physical fitness tests in Tenderfoot requirement 10. Everyone had 60 days to prepare, and then we conducted the tests at a troop meeting before our annual troop picnic.

Anyone who could beat me got a special dessert at the picnic. The Scouts learned that this wasn’t as easy as they thought and that you should never underestimate your opponent, even if he is 59 years old. Boys like challenges, and this was certainly one that got their attention. I recommend that every troop (Scouts and adults) challenge themselves to do these five tests once per year.

Francis W. Kearney
Tucson, Ariz.

As a registered dietitian, certified personal trainer, and Scouter, I applaud Chief Scout Executive Robert Mazzuca for aggressively bringing to the forefront the importance of healthful lifestyles and challenging all involved in the BSA, including leaders, to become more physically strong. Any of us who truly live the Scout Oath and Law recognized the seriousness of their words. These are tenants to live our lives.

As a Personal Fitness merit badge counselor, I have witnessed first hand the positive changes in many Boy Scouts’ lives while working with them. Many have become advocates of healthful lifestyles long after completing the merit badge. The Scouts also recognize that they are able to participate in and actually enjoy more fully the troop’s outdoor activities. Many times, the Scouts end up completing additional merit badges that involve physical fitness, reinforcing the importance of health.

The outdoor activities that are a central theme in Scouting are the catalysts to inspire Scouts and Scouters alike to become more physically strong.

Thank you for placing such emphasis on health and how we as Scouts and Scouters can make a positive impact on the health of our Scouting units, communities, and country.

Fran Bevins Williams, RD, LD, CPT
Richmond, Ky.

Although I agree that today’s Scouters definitely could use more exercise and to lose quite a bit of weight. I disagree with the published weight standards. According to your standards, I am out of shape.
I am 68 inches [tall], but I weigh 210 pounds. Yet my body fat is 16 percent. I exercise 3 to 4 days a week at the gym, and I am an endurance rider (long-distance horseback riding)—along with being able to throw around 100-pound bales of hay. Even the military, in which I served for 20 years, has become smarter on standards of fitness than a height-weight chart.

So now what the Scouts have done is effectively reduce the chances for boys to participate in high-adventure camps because their leaders don’t meet a height-weight standard but may in fact be physically fit.

If this is to be the standard for Scouting, where physical fitness is extremely important, start at the top and lead by example. Perhaps Scouting needs a physical fitness test. Can’t pass, can’t be a leader.
That should really expand the knowledge base for our future Scouters.

Keith Rae
Hereford, Ariz.

My physical exam with the new medical form was a big awakening for me. I have always been fairly active, but I was beyond the maximum [weight], and thus was not qualified to go on the high-adventure events with my now 14-year-old Scout. Talk about motivation!

I have lost 35 pounds since June and have another 25 to go for my goal. I am below the disallowed weight for my height, and I will be revisiting my doctor to update my medical form with my new weight.

Key to my weight loss was understanding the calories of the food I was eating. Did you know that a bagel could have twice the calories of a doughnut?

I used the “My Plate” food and exercise tracker on the Livestrong Web site (livestrong.com). This immediate feedback on the foods I was eating (or chose not to eat) has made all the difference.

Mark Bauer
Del Mar, Calif.

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November - December 2009 Table of Contents