Along with introducing you to this month's theme of Health & Fitness, I would like to also take time to tell you about an initiative directed by the Boy Scouts of America to challenge our Scouts -- the ScoutStrong PALA program.
WHAT IS “PALA”?
- PALA stands for the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, a program of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN).
- PALA is designed to motivate participants to be physically active on a regular basis by allowing them to participate in activities they enjoy, as well as improving their eating habits. Earning a PALA is definitely doable by anyone at any fitness level.
What is the SCOUTStrong™ PALA challenge?
In 2011, the Boy Scouts of America aligned with the PCFSN with the shared goal of together promoting good health for America’s youth. The SCOUTStrong™ PALA Challenge, a Scout-specific PALA challenge, is one of the results of this alliance.
Who Can Participate in the SCOUTStrong™ PALA Challenge?
This challenge is for anyone, from students to seniors, but it’s geared towards everyone associated with Scouting from Cub Scouts to parents and just about anyone in between.
How Does the SCOUTStrong™ PALA Challenge Work?
- To earn the SCOUTStrong™ PALA Challenge award, a participant is required to meet a daily activity goal of 30 minutes per day for adults and 60 minutes a day for kids under 18 for at least five days a week, for a total of six weeks. Participants can take up to eight weeks to complete the program.
- The participants pick their activities and strive to reach their goals, logging their physical activity along the way.
- More than 100 indoor and outdoor activities count toward the daily requirement, including walking, running, aerobics, gardening, and canoeing, as long as major muscle groups are engaged at a moderate to vigorous activity level.
- Also, each week the participants will focus on a healthy eating goal. Each week participants should add a new goal while continuing with their previous goals.
- Make ½ your plate fruits and vegetables.
- Choose lean sources of protein.
- Consume more whole grains.
- Consume less salt.
- Choose low- or no-fat dairy.
- Eat more seafood.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
- Eat smaller portions.
Starting the SCOUTStrong™ PALA Challenge will help participants:
- Commit to daily physical activity—and stick with it.
- Commit to making healthier food choices—one goal at a time.
- Set realistic goals to encourage fitness and healthy eating habits for a lifetime.
- Track their progress with either a paper Personal Activity Log (PDF) or by accessing the Online Activity Tracker after creating an individual account.
Participants can enroll and track their progress either online with a free Online Activity Tracker or on a paper
Active Lifestyle Activity Log
- Begin by visiting www.scouting.org/SCOUTStrongPALA
- Use the appropriate dropdown menu to pick the state that the council/organization he or she wants to be affiliated with is located in.
- Use the appropriate dropdown menu to pick the council/organization with which he or she wants to be affiliated. It should take you HERE.
- Click START YOUR PALA CHALLENGE.
- The participant should now be at the PALA page of the affiliated council/organization. They should click CREATE AN ACCOUNT.
- Complete the required fields and click REGISTER.
- Participants will now arrive on their activity tracker home page, which they will see each time they log into their account. From this screen, they can track their activities, join a group, see their award progress, and adjust their account preferences.
- Upon completion of the six-week program, participants will receive a congratulatory email from the President’s Challenge. Participants should print and submit this email to their Scout leader.