The joy and adventure of a trip to the Fitness Centre!
Look at the children around you. Although we don't like to say it, we figure that fewer than half of the Timber Wolves in our den are in good physical condition. Lets face it, you've got to suspect there's something wrong when adult leaders can outrun and out last 10 year olds. We decided to look closer by putting our Timber Wolves through a basic exercise program during a den meeting one night. And we found we were right - most of our Timber Wolves were out of shape.
We learned something else that night, as well. Judging from their reactions to the program, it seemed that if boys had fun doing it, they would be quite happy to work themselves back into shape. That gave us an incentive to plan fitness into our program, but we needed some expert help. We turned to the fitness instructors at or local community centre and found them eager to help us put together an exciting program.
Several weeks later, one of the instructors visited the den to discuss self-development through diet, exercise and positive mental attitudes. To become fit and strongly physically, you have to be fit and strong mentally, he told the Timber Wolves. The evening ended with a general exercise and stretching program, and the boys had such a great time that they asked for more.
This lead us to our next step - the development of a program using community centre facilities during off hours on a Saturday. We met with the fitness centre manager to set up a pilot program and agreed there would be mutual benefit in arranging press coverage and follow-up photo's for public relations purposes.
The leaders selected 24 Timber Wolves for the pilot program. We had no problem finding volunteers. Everybody wanted to go ! After sending home a letter outlining the details, we were set and, on the appointed day, some of the Timber Wolves were so keen, they arrived at the centre 35 minutes early !
The program started with introductions and ground rules ( no horse play ). We learned the importance of knowing how to use the equipment properly ( you can hurt yourself if you don't ) and wound up with a discussion of healthy living and eating habits. Finally we learned the importance of oiling your joints before beginning to exercise. We also learned how to perform the five Baden-Powell exercises properly as outlined in their Mowgli handbook!
We oiled the joints with a group warm up to music, doing arm and shoulder circles, torso twists, light stretches, sit-ups and pushups. From there, we moved to the art of running, learning how to stretch front, back, and lower leg muscles gently and to get stomach muscles ready with quarter sit-ups. to warm up for aerobic exercise, we did a lap of fast walking before the Timber Wolves launched into a 12 minute run while the other half spent 12 minutes on the bikes or rowing equipment.
After a 5 minute cool down period for the group, we held a question and answer period. Our guide then gave the Wolves a How to Exercise sheet and went through it with them.
We were ready to move to the weights where, after watching weight lifting techniques, the Timber Wolves tried the same actions with light or no weights. They did leg extensions, leg curls, marcey leg presses, push ups, bench presses, chin ups, lat pulldowns, bar and dumbbell curls, and tricep exercises. To round out the session, they worked under supervision, but on their own.
Both the Timber Wolves and leaders had a great time exercising together in small and large groups. Using the gym equipment and support facilities added excitement and, when the session was over, we trekked our sweaty bodies off to enjoy the centre's showers and, a new experience for many of the the boys, their whirlpool and saunas. When we left we felt wonderful !
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