GPHA Photo Challenge: How are You Staying in SHAPE?

How are you finding ways to stay in shape this summer? We hope you’re getting outside and getting fit, and we’re hoping you’ll share your adventures with us to help inspire others to do the same.

The SHAPE Program is a Georgia initiative aimed at improving the fitness of our state’s young people. Recently, the Boy Scouts of America Troop 973 from Conyers, Georgia carried the SHAPE flag on a 100-mile backpacking expedition through the backcountry of Philmont in New Mexico. Their destination was the Boy Scout high adventure ranch near Cimarron, NM on the historic Santé Fe Trail.

GPHA member Scott Maxwell, a troop advisor, saw the adventure as a way to express GPHA’s support for SHAPE, while at the same time conveying the program’s “get exercise” message on a peer-to-peer basis.


Maxwell sent in the above photo of the troop and the flag, and in response, GPHA is issuing a photo challenge. Send us photos of your most compelling, unusual, competitive or strenuous activity with the Shape logo in it for posting on the GPHA site. GPHA will also share the photos on our Facebook page and during a slideshow in the next conference.

“GPHA is thrilled with the emphasis Gov. Deal and Comm. 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.”

DPH Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald recognized Maxwell and the Scouts’ efforts on behalf of SHAPE at the July DPH Board meeting.

According to Maxwell, the real challenge of the Philmont adventure was not linear miles hiked, but vertical feet climbed. During the 11-day trek, the Scouts climbed numerous mountain peaks, including Mt. Baldy (12,441 ft.), Mt. Phillips (11,736 ft.) and Comanche Peak (11,303 ft.).

In addition to hiking, the Scouts stopped briefly at various program camps where they loaded and fired black powder muskets, climbed spar poles a la utility linemen, tried their hand at blacksmithing and did a service project helping to create a new (less steep!) trail in the 216 square mile Scout reserve. And, while probably not the recommended public health practice, troop members swallowed their toothpaste for 11 days as a safety precaution. Spitting it out could easily attract bears to camp!

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

So show us how you’re staying in SHAPE this summer! Email your photos and stories to, and then look for them to be posted here and on our social sites.