A Plea for Unsupervised Access


Getting access to the gym.

A desperate young man contacted me with a plea for help in resolving his situation at the American Community Support Association of New Delhi (see his message below). While I’m not associated with the club, I do have contact with individuals who are. On occasion, I’ll get a message from someone with a situation related to that and other American clubs around the world. I’m always happy to help whenever I can. Usually, I can reach out to the General Manager of the club or the post’s CLO, and, let me tell you, they are always helpful. This time, however, reaching out to the General Manager or the CLO would not resolve this young man’s problem.

The problem is that the young man who contacted me, and anyone else his age and younger, are not permitted to access and use the gym without adult supervision. As someone who is an active runner and weightlifter, I can relate to this young man’s problem. Personally, I need to go to the gym – probably because my wife bakes like a pastry chef.

If we don’t allow our youth to develop healthy life styles early in their lives, they are less likely to develop them as they become adults. Besides, what message are we sending to our children when we want them to be involved in physical fitness, but only when it is convenient for us (us adults) to do so? Nothing, in life, is ever going to be perfectly convenient for everyone at the same time.

Now, on one hand, I realize that there are liability issues involved in allowing just anyone access to the gym at any point in time. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to allow a parent or legal guardian to give permission to the gym and accept responsibility for these young individuals?

If the release of liability isn’t enough, why don’t have training classes for these young individuals? After their training, they could take a test that requires basic knowledge of the equipment, its use, safety guidelines, and simple gym etiquette. If they pass, they gain access to the gym.

What do you think? Can we make this happen soon at ACSA?


Message from Unhappy Club Member
PS: I did not send this to the specific club as they are not available in the link. I also do not want to talk about this to them directly, I want to keep myself anonymous.


I am a 15 year old who attends the American Embassy School here in New Delhi and who regularly goes to ACSA. I have not used my real name in the email, as I want to keep myself anonymous.

I am very dissatisfied with the gym policy that is currently in effect. It allows only 17 year olds and older people to use the gym equipment(younger people can only use it when a parent or guardian is present). I find this extremely annoying, as it forces me to only go to the gym when my parents are available(not very often).

Additionally, I would like to say that by implementing these rules, you are somewhat indirectly promoting childhood obesity. Some kids, especially younger ones(teenagers) feel as though they have a lot of pressure on them to be fit and to have their body look good. By not allowing these kids to use the gym you are forcing them into other less effective methods of exercise and maybe even forcing them to not do any exercise. Some teenagers as well do not like their parents to be there with them when they are working out, as they might feel that their parents are judging them.

As far as safety is concerned, I truly believe that having any adult supervision is enough to prevent accidents. The implemented rules (I believe) are there for safety concerns. However, won’t an employee of ACSA supervising 14-16 year olds using gym equipment be just as effective, or more so, than a parent watching over them?

I am again, very disappointed in these current rules for the gym at ACSA in New Delhi. I believe the minimum age should be lowered at least two years, and the age restrictions should be rethought as a whole.

Sincerely, a very annoyed member of ACSA,






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