Is snacking smart, drinking right and moving more a priority in your Scout unit?
It should be. And it’s time to get the patch to prove it.
The Boy Scouts of America, in collaboration with Healthy Kids Out of School, has launched a new edition of the SCOUTStrong Healthy Unit Award.
Originally a pilot program in the northeast, the SCOUTStrong Healthy Unit Award is now available nationwide in a new edition. More than 9,400 Scouts earned the original version of the patch. That includes units in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
How do you earn the patch? It’s easy, fun and — most of all — good for you and your Scouts! Read on for details.
Who can earn it?
The patch is for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturers. You can earn it as a den, troop, pack or crew.
How do you earn it?
Practice three healthy principles during your meetings and/or gatherings, creating a new norm. Just follow the 3-6-9 plan:
- Snack Smart: Eat fruits and vegetables for snacks when snacks are provided at three meetings
- Drink Right: Have water over sugary beverages at six meetings
- Move More: Enjoy 15 minutes of physical activity at nine meetings
Best part is, the three healthy meeting practices align with many existing Scout requirements and awards.
For example, the Cooking merit badge. A Boy Scout could provide his troop with a healthy snack that he prepared and mark off that requirement while also helping his troop earn the SCOUTStrong Healthy Unit Award.
Why should you earn it?
Leaders who have already earned the SCOUTStrong Healthy Unit Award have seen more physical activity in their meetings, seen Scouts enjoy eating fruits and vegetables for snacks, and made water the easy choice for Scouts.
Many leaders have found the patch changed how they run their meetings and had a positive impact on their Scouts. Some said their Scouts were more focused after completing the challenge.
What are leaders saying?
Sandy Smith, Pack 8, Katahdin Area Council in Bangor, Maine: “My Tiger Cubs are really engaged and trying new things and that is what Cub Scouts is all about. It’s a part of our program and we [all 15 families] are committed to it. The biggest hit was the fruit and vegetable tasting. Kids tried new ones, learned to identify them, and then saw them as part of a healthy plate.”
Ed Benyon, Pack 51, Sam Houston Area Council in Houston: “This award has been the catalyst for positive change to our den lifestyle.”
Brooke Zufelt, Pack 688 of the Grand Canyon Council in Mesa, Ariz.: “Once we were done working on the award, the boys were begging for some of the fun activities we had done, like obstacle courses and tag.”
What resources are available?
There’s a ton of great content available on the SCOUTStrong Healthy Unit Award page. Such as:
- Customized tracker for each level of Scouting (Tigers through Boy Scouts), in order to track your unit’s progress toward earning the patch.
- Ideas for active games, healthy snacks and activities to get Scouts on board with the healthy practices.
- Resources for Scout parents or volunteers that introduce the patch and provide ideas for easy and healthy snacks to bring to meetings.
What’s new about this award?
I blogged about the first version of this award back in 2014. The new version of this award has two big differences:
- The patch has been redesigned.
- Instead of sending your completed tracking form to the Healthy Kids Out of School team, you’re now on the honor system. After completing the requirements, you may print the certificate yourself and buy the patches yourself. Speaking of …
What do I do once my unit earns the award?
Which councils have earned the award?
This is the list as of April 21, 2015. If your council is on here, join the fun! If your council isn’t on here, be one of the first to earn the award in your council.
The SCOUTStrong Healthy Unit Award was developed in partnership with Healthy Kids Out of School, an initiative of ChildObesity180 at Tufts University. Regional funding for Healthy Kids Out of School is provided by the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation.