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When Beers approached the BSA, Medlicott

explains, “There was a back and forth over time about how we would demonstrate what Scouting is today. Protecting the brand is critical, and it made us a little nervous to talk about a reality show.” Beers figured there were others who regret having

quit Scouting prematurely, and he concocted the show as a way of helping such men come to terms with their Scoutus-Interruptus. One of those men is Mondello, 44, who has been

a Scout leader ever since he signed his now-teenage son up to be a Cub Scout. Mondello had left the Scouting program early himself, “basically because I met a girl who didn’t think it was cool. It was kind of a shame.” When he heard about the show, he submitted a

video of himself “climbing trees, mowing the lawn, shooting a BB gun—just a bunch of stuff that I thought would imply that I was active and I was capable.” When he went for his audition in Studio City, north of Los Angeles, he wore his Scouting uniform. (“People were giving me a lot of strange looks”, he explains.) “I hon- estly didn’t know why I was there until I sat in that chair with the interviewer. We started talking about my Scoutmaster, and I got really emotional. I think I almost cried, and she started crying. I thought, ‘I never realized this was dragging on me this much.’” Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout? offers Mondello,

and men like him, a shot at redemption or a chance to be embarrassed on national television. Or, maybe even—given the nature of reality TV—both.

As shooting commences at Brush Creek and the

Scouts and adults meet one another, the Scouts greet their elder combatants with a playful take on the classic military cadence call: “I don’t know but I’ve been told/I am young and you are old.” If they sound cocky, they’ve earned it. “I wanted a supertroop of Scouts,” says Beers. In casting the Scouts


A former Marine and longtime Hollywood stuntman (G.I. Joe, The Expendables, Black Hawk Down), CHARLES INGRAM has even dabbled in acting (opposite Bruce Willis in Tears of the Sun) and has hosted other nonfiction series: He also swam with sharks for the Discovery Channel’s Great White: Appetite for Destruction and survived an attack on his inflatable boat during production. Of his latest gig, he says, “I feel blessed to have this job, to be

honest. To do a show where there’re morals and values and ethics, with guys who are elite but don’t step on their fellow man.” Ingram’s also grateful that the producers took a chance on a

guy who’s not exactly a household name. “They gave me a shot at it, and we’re all having fun,” he says. “I

used to be so intense. It took 15 years in the entertainment busi- ness to kind of get me to have a personality.”


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