Carmel Valley Boy Scout is youngest in San Diego to receive Navy SEAL Challenge award


Life Scout Arthur Knowler of Troop 713 was the youngest participant in San Diego to receive the Navy SEAL Challenge Fitness Award recently at the San Diego Imperial Council compound, also known at Camp Balboa, in Balboa Park.

Navy SEALs were on hand to supervise the testing and support the Scouts.

The U.S. Navy has teamed with the Boy Scouts of America to create a special patch of honor as part of the SCOUTStrong program. This was the first time the test was administered outside of the National Jamboree during the summer.

Nineteen Scouts from the greater San Diego area met all of the requirements and came out to take the physically demanding screening. Only five Scouts passed the test, making Knowler’s accomplishment as a 14-year-old even more impressive.

The requirements for the award are arduous before the final physical even starts. Knowler had already completed the Swimming, Personal Fitness and Life Saving Merit Badges and had to complete an online assessment regarding the Navy SEALS and naval history.

The minimum physical screening requirements included a 500-yard swim, 50 push-ups, 50 sit-ups, 10 dead-hang pull-ups and then a 1.5-mile run, all completed within time limits and to Navy SEAL technical standards.

Knowler surpassed all of these marks and really enjoyed the entire experience. “There’s nothing like having a real Navy SEAL cheering you on.”

The Navy makes it very clear to the Scouts that these are only the minimum requirements, meaning that a viable SEAL applicant, for example, will do 90 pushups and 20 pull-ups. The Scouts learn how there is always room for improvement and to continue their training. Some missed the mark by only a few reps in one or two categories, but seemed grateful for the experience. They’ll have another opportunity in March to tackle the test.

Knowler is part of an inaugural group of Scouts who bravely stepped up to go first. He’ll now be an ambassador for the program and encourage other Scouts to take the Challenge as it rolls out to other councils. He enjoys running and training with his friends and Coach Lisa Ziemba of EliteKidsFitness in Carmel Valley when he’s not playing baseball and basketball. At Carmel Valley Middle School, Knowler enjoys Honors Math, the engineering elective and ISPE surfing. He hopes to attend Canyon Crest Academy next year.