Over the three days of Scout Camp this year, I witnessed a few things that really made me think about the Scout Camp Program, the Scouts & Parents and myself. First off, let me say that I am not in shape. I however would outlast some of you if we were stuck in a snow cave for several days without food. That being said, I am working on myself. I do have bad habits of drinking soda and not eating good. Most of this comes from being on the road all the time for my real job. Another part is my history of eating junk food.
However, when we were at Scout Camp this week, I got introduced to the Trading Post. Yes, I have seen them before and Elliot has gone in and bought stuff. However, this year was much much more than years past. I saw parents giving kids $20′s bills and they go running in. Kids come out with fist fulls of Airheads, Candy Bars, Sodas, Slushies and other things. Yes, some bought shirts, and walking sticks. Some had Gator Aid and water. But that wasn’t the norm. I gave Elliot $5, but I also took much of the candy and reserved it throughout the camp. I regulated it. What I did not see was healthy food, besides water and Gator Aid.
The biggest upset to me was that Breakfast was at 8am. Trading Post opened at 7:30am. I saw kids eating Candy, Slushies and offering candy bars to others. Now, at breakfast they had Trix, Coco Puffs and Cinnamin Sugar Toast Crunch. Guess what Elliot had? Yup, all three cereals with Chocolate milk. Now, as a boy with ADD/ADHA, that really was not a good thing.
With the latest promotional push from the Boy Scouts of America of being Fit, I think that having trading posts filled with candy really does a disservice to the kids who go to camp. With all the rank requirements and even a Beltloop on Nutrition, it is wierd that a Camp would push all of this into the kids. I think that the BSA Camp Program needs to earn both the Beltloop and Pin:
Complete these three requirements:
- Make a poster of foods that are good for you. Share the poster with your den.
- Explain the difference between a fruit and a vegetable. Eat one of each.
- Help prepare and eat a healthy meal of foods that are included in a food pyramid. (With your parent’s or adult partner’s permission, see http://www.mypyramid.gov.)
Earn the Nutrition belt loop and complete five of the following requirements:
- Make a poster that shows different foods that are high in each of the vitamins. Using your poster, explain to your den or family the difference between a vitamin and a mineral and the importance of each for a healthy diet.
- Read the nutrition label from a packaged or canned food item. Learn about the importance of the nutrients listed. Explain what you learned to your den or family.
- Make a list of diseases that can be caused by a diet that is poor in nutrition.
- Talk with your school cafeteria manager about the role nutrition plays in the meals your school serves.
- With an adult, plan a balanced menu of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for your family for a week.
- Make a list of healthy snack foods. Demonstrate how to prepare two healthy snacks.
With an adult, go grocery shopping. Report to your den or other family members what you learned about choosing good foods to eat.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not mind having candy in moderation, but to make it available before and after dining hall hours is not acceptable.
Granted the real candy police needs to be the parents. Which, as I have said giving kids $$$ and letting them go is not correct.
The one good thing about this Camp is that the Cooks really did work with the Scouts that had food allergies. A few boys in our Pack have them and there were no problems. The other thing that I liked is that normally on any Scout Weekend there is a starch with a starch with a starch. Ugh. This was different. There was a spaghetti night, but that was it.
This experince at Scout Camp and along with recently watching the Food Inc Movie , really make me realize that if kids are going to grow-up healthy, WE need to make a bigger effort to get them good food and habits.