By Melany Gardner
Apr 29, 2016

Utah Scouting professional to compete on “American Ninja Warrior”

Life skills learned in Scouting taught this Scouting professional how to withstand life’s toughest challenges and we’re not just talking about being selected to compete in 2016’s American Ninja Warrior.

David Peterson of St. George, is the District Director over the Zion District for the Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America and has been training for “Amer­i­can Ninja War­rior” since last year. This popular TV show pits contestants against an increasingly difficult series of obstacles that require grit, endurance, balance, and immense physical strength. Anyone who completes the course receives prize money and the coveted title of Amer­i­can Ninja Warrior.

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David Peterson (left) and other Utah contestants to compete on American Ninja Warrior.

Peterson will compete in Oklahoma City May 13 along with three of his “Amer­i­can Ninja Warrior” training buddies, Brian Beck­strand, Jon Stew­art and John Mer­ri­hew, who have also been invited to compete in the competition.They all share a love for extreme challenges, and like Peterson, they’re all former Boy Scouts.

“The Scout Law talks about being brave,” Peterson said. “Sometimes the hardest challenges are the ones you face within yourself. I see the American Ninja Warrior competition as a personal competition.”

Dave Petersen

David training at Beaver High Adventure Base (9,000 ft.).

Peterson said Scouting has helped motivate and also provide him with opportunities to be physically fit. Every summer, Peterson heads to Beaver High Adventure Base, as the camp director.

“There are always camp staff that want to challenge you at the different events and program areas, like the rope climb on the COPE course, rock climbing or races across the camp. So, you have to be ready.”

An Eagle Scout, Peterson credits his early experiences with the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica for instilling in him the persistence to overcome new challenges. Through merit badges, campouts and activities, Peterson learned the value of hard work, resourcefulness and determination; life skills that have prepared him to compete on “American Ninja Warrior,” but also other life experiences  like being a husband and father.

“Scouting prepared me to make a living and provide for my family. For example, a Scout is thrifty. I had to learn to make a budget, go out and talk to people, raise money to attend campouts and pay my own way to go to National Jamboree.”

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David and his family at Beaver High Adventure Base.

Peterson is married with three little boys and a girl on the way. He looks to the examples of fatherly role models for inspiration to overcome challenges.

“My dad, my grandpa, many uncles and lots of great friends have all inspired me in different ways.  My grandpa taught us that we could do anything we put our minds to. He lost his right hand in a farm accident but said, ‘I can do anything except button my left sleeve.'”

Peterson intends to do his best on American Ninja Warrior  no matter what happens in Oklahoma May 13.

“No regrets! You can fall short in many things in life, but Scouting and Ninja Warrior teaches to push harder, dig deeper, and finish strong!”

Melany Gardner2


Author: Melany Gardner | “The Boy Scout” Editor and Marketing Specialist, Utah National Parks Council

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