Georgia SHAPE Travels to New Mexico

Georgia SHAPE extended its reach beyond state lines this summer when Boy Scout troop no. 973 from Conyers, Ga., carried the SHAPE flag on a backpacking expedition in New Mexico.  The troop hiked nearly 100 miles through the backcountry of Philmont, the Boy Scouts’ high-adventure ranch near Cimarron, N.M. on the historic Santa Fe Trail, from June 23 to July 3.

Scott Maxwell, legislative liaison for the Georgia Public Health Association (GPHA) and an advisor for the troop, saw the trip as a way to express GPHA’s support for SHAPE while promoting the program’s focus on physical activity and fitness on a peer-to-peer basis.

“GPHA is thrilled with the emphasis Governor Deal and [Georgia Department of Public Health] Commissioner Fitzgerald have placed on encouraging young people to exercise regularly,” Maxwell said. “Hopefully, when kids see other kids getting in shape and having fun doing it, they will want to get off the sofa and into the game, whether it’s hiking, sports or some other exercise routine.”

Maxwell said the real challenge of the Philmont adventure was not the miles the troop hiked, but the elevation they climbed. During the 11-day trek, the scouts climbed several mountain peaks, including Mount Baldy (12,441 feet), Mount Phillips (11,736 feet) and Comanche Peak (11,303 feet).

The troop not only hiked and climbed extensively, but did so while carrying 50-pound backpacks, each with about 11 pounds of water.

Maxwell said the trip was a great example of some of the fun, thrilling ways people can be physically active.


“It was a fantastic adventure that we hope will motivate others to get up and get moving,” Maxwell said. “But I must admit my feet are killing me.”


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