Too Fat to Jam?

too-fat-to-jam-text

As I’m laying here with my husband, on a blanket, watching our kids play in a beaver pond and getting a kick out of watching how much fun they’re having, I can’t help but feel a little sore for the heftier boys of the Boy Scouts of America, as they too could be splashing in some mountain water, catching fish and frogs with their bare hands; but because they have a BMI of 40 or more, they were denied acceptance into a Boy Scouts’ adventure dream – Jamboree. 

You can read CNN’s full article, here – it hurts my heart.

You see, I used to be one of those kids. I had a BMI that qualified me as overweight. In fact, had I weighed just ten pounds more, I would have been considered obese. We already know that people are concerned about childhood obesity, so this post isn’t about weight. It’s about the fragile self-esteem of young people.

My spirit was scarred by my vicious high school soccer coach who constantly taunted me because of my body – he publicly stated that I was too heavy, and felt that my best position was bench warmer. I only got to play in games after the threat of losing had passed. Could I blame him for seeing me as a liability to the team’s winning streak? No. But I gave it all I had and I was willing to try – he didn’t have to humiliate me. I started despising myself. I blamed all of my failures on my weight, and began throwing up my food as a result of the stress. It was hell. I needed help.       

So when Deron Smith, the Boy Scouts of America’s director of public relations explains the exclusion of the boys with high BMIs by stating “This policy is not meant to keep anyone out at all, and it’s just to make sure that they’re safe, we offer thousands of summer camp experiences (that) do not have this requirement.” I couldn’t help but wonder if these leaders took into considered protecting the chubby child’s confidence.  True, rock climbing and zip-lining might not be suitable activities for a child who’s weight exceeds safety limits (and if you’ve ever been heavy, you don’t need someone to tell you that it’s not safe for you – you most likely already know), but those weight-restricted activities were not the only adventure options at Jamboree.

It states right on the Jamboree website that there is “something for everybody.” Yeah, unless you’re somebody who exceeds the BMI limit – then you can’t come.

ADVERTISEMENT

This seems like a mistake.

As I said above about my freshman soccer season – it was hell – and continued to be such for years, until I was saved by a choir teacher and a tennis coach. They gave me the opportunity to participate in something I hadn’t done before. I found that I was good at both. I was inspired to do something that was both physically and emotionally healthy. I learned to be happy again.

The excluded fat boys could have been inspired at the Jamboree. They could have proved to be excellent shooters or archers. They could have earned merit badges. They could have discovered that hiking or mountain biking or swimming was something they loved to do – they might have committed to doing it even after Jamboree was over.

Do you feel that the BSA was right in their decision to place a BMI limit on attendees? Or do you think they were wrong?

What do you think?

Too Fat to Jam?

Melanie Denney lives in the smallest of towns, with her two little darlings. She has a Bachelor's degree and happily works as a full-time mother and a freelance writer, specializing in sociology and recreation leadership. ... More

Tell us what you think!

1 comment

  1. nichole says:

    thats actually a tough one, because on one hand, its not fair to those kids who have weight issues to disscriminate against them like that, and im sure being unable to go because they are over a certian bmi will cause some emotional issues for them. but also, thinking about it, it could cause the same, and possibly more issues, if they were in line to go do the wight restricted stuff, and have the adult incharge, tell them infront of their friends, that they are not allowed to be on this or do this because of their weight. i mean, as teens and adults, those of us over weight, will generally not attempt to do something that our weight makes unsafe for us to do… but a child isnt going to think like that, and want to go on the ride with his friends, but then have to deal with the humiliation as theyre told they cant go on it with the others because theyre a few pounds too much. i can see how its good, but also how its bad…. i really just feel bad for the kids excluded tho……

Advertisement
[x]
×

EverydayFamily.com Week-by-Week Newsletter

Receive weekly updates on your pregnancy or new baby’s development as well as Free Stuff, Special Offers, Product Samples, Coupons, Checklists and Tools you can use today, and more from EverydayFamily! Plus all new members are entered to win FREE diapers for a year! Receive weekly updates on your pregnancy or new baby’s development as well as Free Stuff, Special Offers, Product Samples, Coupons, Checklists and Tools you can use today, and more from EverydayFamily! Plus all new members are entered to win FREE diapers for a year!

Due Date or Baby's Birth Date


By clicking the "Join Now" button you are agreeing to the terms of use and privacy policy.

Send this to a friend