If you've ever survived in the wilderness equipped with only a flint striker, a knife and a blanket, rappeled off a bridge, braved class three rapids, or hiked Mount Kilimanjaro—you might be tougher than one local boy scout. But don't get your hopes up.
17-year-old Keegan Rice spent five weeks in the Sierra Nevada Mountains last summer testing the skills he's learned in scouting while participating in the National Geographic Channel's new series "Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout."
There were no cozy trailers on the set of this program. Instead, the contestants slept on the ground in tents after days of intense high adventure challenges. But this scout felt prepared for the task.
"I didn't really face too much that I haven't experienced before," Rice said.
After 7 years in scouting, Rice, an Eagle Scout with Silver Palms, has logged 137 nights of camping, hiked over 396 miles, spent 10 days at the Philmont Scout Reservation in New Mexico, sailed in the Caribbean twice, hiked Mount Washington twice, and hiked to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest free standing mountain in the world.
"We have a very high adventure troop," Rice said. Rice is a member of Simsbury Boy Scout Troop 175 and is a junior at Simsbury High School.
Experiences he's gained in scouting helped him compete on a team of his peers against a team of adult competitors in events that tested their survival skills, athletic ability, leadership skills, and their ability to work as a team.
"Boy Scouting certainly isn't what it was when I was a scout," Bill Rice, Keegan's father, said. Rice was able to spend three weeks watching his son compete while his wife, Michelle, spent the entire five weeks with Keegan in California.
"This show really is a glimpse into what scouting is like now," Rice, now 51, said. "Hopefully it encourages more kids to join scouting."
Keegan was one of 12 scouts selected for the program following a series of casting interviews over the phone and video interviews on Skype. He was selected initially for the first three episodes and then he was flown back to California for an additional two episodes. The first season will have only six episodes.
"It was really a cool experience," Rice said. "We were doing all these challenges and in the heat of the challenge you don't even notice the cameras."
If the show continues for a second season, Rice said he's prepared for more high adventure skill tests.
"If it gets picked up again, I'm one of the scouts who will come back for a second season."
The first episode of the pilot season of "Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout" will air on the National Geographic Channel on Monday March 4 at 8 p.m.