What is the SCOUTStrong PALA Award?
Leaders familiar with the SCOUTStrong Healthy Unit award know that this special series of activities fit perfectly into the den setting. You can incorporate healthy snacks, water, and physical activities into just about every adventure and easily earn this special award as you go. In particular, my den enjoyed the Quiz Calensthenics so much that I found ways to work that game into our adventures, and even into Pack meetings, over the years.
Just as perfectly as the Healthy Unit Award fits into face-to-face Scouting, the SCOUTStrong Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) suits the long distance Scouting we’re all participating in today. If you visit the link above, you’ll get a detailed packet of information, including suggested physical activities and healthy eating ideas.
Scouts and adult leaders can earn this award by meeting a daily activity goal of 30 minutes for adults, and 60 for kids under 18 for at least 5 days out of the week. They should do this for six of eight weeks, and focus on a new healthy eating goal each of those weeks. How about making half of your plate fruits and vegetables, or eating seafood during the week? Sounds pretty straight forward!
Just about any physical activity counts (they note that excessive video gaming is off the list), and that Scouts who need to swap out walking for other physical activities can do so by meeting pedometer requirements (for example, at least 13,000 steps a day for boys between the ages of 6 and 17). There are also around 100 or so suggestions on a special Activity List that you can do to fulfill your activity goals, from aerobics to snowmobiling (scuba diving and hang gliding are also on the list, for those Scouts who are a little more adventurous).
The SCOUTStrong Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) packet also includes a PALA Activity Log that makes keeping track of your physical activities and healthy eating goals a snap! All families have to do is send me a scan of their log and I’ll enter it into ScoutBook. When we meet again, I’ll be proud to award those Scouts with their new SCOUTStrong PALA patches!
The first point on the Program Launch Tips is to LEAD BY EXAMPLE! They suggest a strong web presence where leadership can encourage Scouts and their families to follow their lead “in pursuit of PALA.” Well, I loved that, and since my Pack leans very heavily on social media, I knew exactly what to do to.
Where in the World is my Cub Scout Leader?
The Scouts in my unit have their pick of countless county and State parks that offer up endless miles of hiking trails and outdoor activities. My family and I just about live in the outdoors, choosing one local park after another to keep us active and healthy. If the sun is out, we’re out!
So when I found myself sitting on a park bench last week, wondering how I would lead by example, I realized I already was That’s when it hit me! Why not post videos from different parks each week, providing hints to my Scouts about my location, and challenging them to visit the park and post photos of them following in my footsteps in the comments.
“Where in the World is my Cub Scout Leader?” was born. My first video published this week…
The intent is to get as many of my leaders to create videos as I can, posting them every few days to social media and showing our Scouts that we’re out and about, staying active, and finding ways to a be healthy and strong. Upcoming videos will include a call to action:
- find the park and post a photo of your family doing jumping jacks
- find the park and post a photo of a geocache you found there
- find the park and collect a bag of trash
- find the park and go on a scavenger hunt
- find the park and tell me about an animal you found there
(I edit my videos using the free DaVinci Resolve 16 video editor by Blackmagic Design.)
Rank-Specific Scavenger Hunts
Check out my post, Cub Scout Activities: SCOUTStrong PALA Rank-Specific Scavenger Hunts, for free downloadable PDFs for everyone – Bobcat thru Webelos.
It’s more important than ever that we show our Scouts how to be healthy and active. This particular award is so perfectly suited for this special time, and it’s another great opportunity Scouting has provided us with to stay connected. In pursuit of PALA, your Scouts will look to you for inspiration! Give them something to work toward – keep it simple, make it fun.
Yours in Scouting,