Personal Fitness: Little/no improvement after 12 weeks

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Personal Fitness: Little/no improvement after 12 weeks

Postby Barrie » Thu Oct 16, 2014 3:29 am

First posting in this forum so excuse any noob errors!
I have a Scout who completed all of the written/discussion requirements of the Personal Fitness merit badge but the assessment results after his 12 week exercise program were, in all but one case, worse than before.
The requirement says "After the 12th week, repeat all of the required activities in each of the three test categories, record your results, and show improvement in each one." which suggests that he should have shown a better result in at least one of the exercises in each of Aerobic Fitness, Strength and Flexibility; maybe even in every single exercise (depending on how you read it).
It seems that, through the merit badge, BSA is trying to instill in the Scout that committing to and completing a regular exercise program will show results (my guess is that some boys may not do much exercise in the intervening weeks but, by pure determination in the final assessment, or by sandbagging in the first assessment, manage to improve their results - but that's for another discussion). Given that there is a very clear objective standard to meet ("show improvement") I'm not seeing much wiggle room...

When a Scout shows almost no improvement - and even shows deterioration - is it right to ask them to redo the 12 week program? As tough as it is on the Scout, that's my instinct right now.

Thoughts?
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Re: Personal Fitness: Little/no improvement after 12 weeks

Postby Mrw » Thu Oct 16, 2014 8:42 am

I would give him an opportunity to retake the tests with me watching so we could determine if he really tested to his best. And then make a plan for him from there to make some improvements.

This is presuming there is not a medical reason that he could not and will never be able to improve.

This is not Cubs, and so "do your best" is not the standard. If the requirement is to show improvement, then that is what he should do. No more, no less.
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Re: Personal Fitness: Little/no improvement after 12 weeks

Postby Bill Pitcher » Thu Oct 16, 2014 8:04 pm

I fully agree with Mrw. No improvement in ALL areas, don't sign the blue card. Even if there is a physical handicap, requirements can be altered for rank, but not MB's. If there is no physical restrictions, you may find he has VERYet strong thumbs from video games!
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Re: Personal Fitness: Little/no improvement after 12 weeks

Postby RMM » Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:18 pm

I would agree that not signing off the Blue Card at this time may be appropriate. However, this is due to an assumption that the Scout had room to improve at the beginning tests. I have had two scouts that had minimal room for improvement that I did sign off the Blue Cards for completing the MB. Both are athlethically gifted, and had an intensive workout program while completing the MB. Both were playing football (running back and wide receiver). The wide receiver is at a D 1 School running track (hurdles). It was hard to show much improvement given the level of physical fitness they started with. So I would keep in perspective.
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Re: Personal Fitness: Little/no improvement after 12 weeks

Postby Barrie » Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:48 pm

Great point. In this case there was definitely room to improve.
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Re: Personal Fitness: Little/no improvement after 12 weeks

Postby Nuts4Scouts » Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:24 am

I am assuming that you are the Merit Badge Counselor for this badge?

Why is it that you took the entire 12 weeks to discover that there was a problem?

First of all, the Scout is supposed to use the results of his initial tests in aerobic fitness, flexibility, muscular strength, and body composition, to design his OWN 12 week program that highlights areas he felt he needed to improve in.

The Scout is supposed to keep a log of his activity in his fitness program. Also, he is supposed to be re-taking the aerobic fitness, flexibility, and muscular strength tests every TWO WEEKS, and recording his results.

As the Merit Badge Counselor, did you only see him once at the beginning of the 12 week period, and then not again until the end of the 12 weeks? Did you look over his log at any point during the 12 weeks, or only at the end? Have you discussed the log entries with the Scout? Have you discussed what went wrong in the fitness program HE DESIGNED?

I would not have him "redo" the entire 12 week program. I would FIRST work with him to see if/how his program needed changing to better meet his needs. I would then check his progress every 2 weeks, until his tests show the necessary improvements.

The final part of requirement 8 is also, in my opinion, very important - "Discuss the meaning and benefit of your experience, and describe your long-term plans regarding your personal fitness." This discussion might help him to better focus on his fitness program, and understand why it is important.
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Re: Personal Fitness: Little/no improvement after 12 weeks

Postby jr56 » Mon Oct 20, 2014 3:38 pm

I agree, I think a review of the scout's fitness program with him, and some suggestions with a follow up reassesment in 2 weeks would be a good course of action. Maybe he has not been diligent in following his program? A 2 week retrial might be the incentive he needs.
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Re: Personal Fitness: Little/no improvement after 12 weeks

Postby Barrie » Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:33 pm

Hold on with the caps lock there Nuts4Scouts, no need to shout ;-)

Yes I'm the merit badge counsellor.
Yes he wrote a fitness program and it appeared to be adequate, if it was followed.
Yes we met every 2 weeks to retest.
The results over the 12 weeks were generally heading in the right direction, not dramatic improvements but each exercise showed some improvement a couple of times over the course. This was pretty typical for the majority of the group (we had 8 Scouts doing the merit badge at the same time): a couple of Scouts had all results improve consistently over the 6 follow up sessions but the majority had results which were occasionally better in some exercises but, by the end, were improved in most, if not all exercises.

The final test for this particular Scout was somewhat of an anomaly in that all but one of the test results got worse. Continuing the course wasn't possible logistically, and in any case the merit badge doesn't suggest that the Scout should just continue the course until they get the result they need.

Given the responses I've had so far I'll ask him to repeat the 12 week program, we have another one coming up soon. It won't do him any harm and I'm sure the learning will be well taken.

Thanks for the input all.
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Re: Personal Fitness: Little/no improvement after 12 weeks

Postby Nuts4Scouts » Sun Oct 26, 2014 1:46 pm

BIG difference between shouting and emphasis! ;)

So this Scout was showing improvements at the interim tests.

According to his charts he was following his fitness program.

Then, at the very last check-in he tanked all but 1 test? That is not simply an "anomaly". Did you have a heart to heart talk with this fellow to see what was going on?

You state that
the merit badge doesn't suggest that the Scout should just continue the course until they get the result they need
.

It also does not state that the entire course must be re-done if the final tests do not show improvement.

It simply states -

After the 12th week, repeat the three tests, record your results, and show improvement in each one.


Note, there is no mention that only 1 testing is allowed after the 12 weeks are completed.

You go on to state that you will ask the Scout to repeat the 12 week program because you - "have another one coming up soon". Another what? Another 12 week program?
Why must the Scout wait for your program? He already has his own program in place. Why must he wait on your program to continue?
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