Boy Scout Weight Restrictions

By: Ann McIntire Email
By: Ann McIntire Email

An organization which aims to give young boys a place to belong, appears to be singling out some of its members. For years, Boy Scouts of America has had limits on what participants can do according to how much they weigh, but now those rules are being revised and applied to even more activities.

The organization says it strives to teach a healthy lifestyle. The weight requirements will take effect in January and apply to both scouts and volunteer leaders.

The Boy Scouts say the new policies won't prevent anyone from joining a troop or volunteering, but it does restrict them from certain "high adventure" activities.

"It wasn't to limit people from participating, it's more about the safety and well being of everyone," said Matt Hazen, a den leader for Pack 494.

Examples of "high adventure" activities include: caving, horse packing, mountain biking, rock climbing, long hikes or trails, and rafting.

"It's an existing policy that's been in existence for quite some time, and what they've done is they've extended it to cover more areas of outdoor adventuring," said Hazen.

To be "high adventure" activities are described as highly strenuous or taking participants more than 30 minutes away from where an emergency responder could reach them.

The Boy Scouts say those activities are a small portion of their organization, but those who are excluded may see it as a larger problem.

"Put a kid through something like that, joining boy scouts thinking oh this is going to be fun, I'm going to learn how to do stuff, and then you get crushed because you can't do it because you're too big?" said Michael Brennan, a father and former scout.

"Highly straining activities make you fit, so if you want to be fit why not do the straining activities?" added Brennan. "Why keep someone from doing it because all you're going to do is sit there and get bigger anyway?"

Brennan's father, John Timm, feels the same. "I mean yeah, he's a little bit rounder than the rest of them, but show them how to use that weight, you know teach them how to build more muscle underneath that, help trim that out a little."

The restrictions are based on height. For someone who is five feet tall, they must weigh less than 166 pounds. Someone who is six feet tall must be under 239 pounds to participate in the "high adventure" activities.

To see a full weight chart, click here.

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