Scouts know the value of health and fitness – and now, with the SCOUTStrong Healthy Unit Award, they can show they’re committed to this value at meetings and gatherings. This award centers around three simple, healthy practices: drinking water instead of sugar-sweetened drinks, eating fruits and vegetables for snacks, and engaging in physical activities at meetings. These three practices help Scouts establish lifelong habits.
“This award has been the catalyst for positive change to our Den lifestyle,” said Ed Benyon, Pack 511 of Sam Houston Area Council in Texas.
Pack 511 Scouts are among the nearly 9,500 youth and leaders across the country who achieved the first edition of the SCOUTStrong Healthy Unit patch, launched as a pilot in March 2014. Leaders have enjoyed success not only with helping their Scouts achieve the award but also in maintaining the healthy practices as an on-going part of their meetings.
“Our Den parents have become more aware of the food they provide at our Scout activities, not just Den meetings. The Scouts are excited for things like fruit, veggies, and hummus that have become our norm,” Benyon said.
Cubmaster Brooke Zufelt, Pack 688 of the Grand Canyon Council, in Mesa, Arizona said, “Once we were done with the award, the boys were begging for some of the fun activities we had done, like obstacle courses, tag, and the crab walk.”
Incorporating at least 15 minutes of physical activity into the weekly meeting is a key part of the award. Whether it was an active game during the gathering or an active break in between activities, leaders saw many benefits to Scouts moving more during meetings.
“Doing physical activity really helped the boys shake off some of their energy, especially after a long day at school,” said Lynn Dellmuth, Pack 191 of Nashua Valley Council, in Winchendon, Massachusetts.
Both Scouts and leaders who achieve this award can take pride in setting a standard for healthy meetings. If you’re interested in leading a SCOUTStrong Healthy Unit, find materials for the award – including ideas for physical activities and healthy snacks – at www.scouting.org/scoutstronghealthyunit.