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The Physical Fitness Award is a badge of honor presented to scouts and troop leaders who have demonstrated excellence in the field of exercise and athletics in the United States. Participants must complete a series of qualifications in front of their local troops and their leaders to apply for this award. These guidelines test the participants' strength, endurance, will, and knowledge of proper safety protocols that should be used while exercising.
This program was developed and is sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America®. Boy scouts®, Cub scouts®, and leaders are all eligible to receive the Physical Fitness Award. Participants must complete both a physical and an educational component before receiving the award. Before beginning, a certification of health is needed from the individual's primary care physician that attests to his health, strength, and ability to complete each step of the overall process. He can then arrange with his scout leaders to perform the seven benchmark activities that comprise the physical exercise portion of the test.
The seven physical achievements set before participants seeking the Physical Fitness Award are posture, accuracy, strength, agility, speed, balance, and endurance. During the posture test, the scout is photographed while standing and compared with a posture rating chart. Accuracy is measured by asking the scout to throw a softball through a target. Strength, agility, and speed are each measured through sit ups, side steps, and the dash respectively. Balance and endurance are tested by requiring the scout to perform the squat stand and the squat thrust. Exact specifications for each activity may be found on the website for the Boy Scouts of America®, or by contacting a local scout leader.
The educational portion of the Physical Fitness Award requires several teaching sessions between the scout seeking the award and his leader and fellow troopers. The scout must educate his peers on the importance of remaining physically active, and the benefits to health associated with performing daily exercise. He can use his own physical fitness goals, which should address each of the seven areas of physicality, as an example to the troop, and present it for review to the scout leader. He is also asked to explain to his scout leader the different safety precautions that should be taken prior to beginning physical activity, whether at home, in a gym, or in the wilderness. This informational session should additionally address the topics of dehydration and hypothermia, and the ways in which such conditions can be combated.
The Physical Fitness Award is different from the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award. Both programs are geared towards encouraging more activity in both youth and adults through daily physical exercise. The Presidential Award requires participants to dedicate at least 30 minutes to an hour each day to exercising. This routine must be completed five out of seven days for six out of eight weeks before applying to receive the award. This award is a product of the United State's President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, and is not affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America®.