First Class Scouts are traditionally supposed to be able to handle themselves in the outdoors by them selves. Yeah we met, and unfortunately had, a First Class who was pretty useless camping. But having the basic outdoor skills is one reason for the First Class. The other is an attempt to limit the number of folks going. The section we are going wants groups no larger than 10. We only able to have 5 adults go, so we can not split into 3 groups, only 2.
There is something to the maintenance of fitness at each rank.
Moreover, attention to detail is something I expect from through-hikers. That includes record-keeping. (E.g., small note-book and pencils are required equipment for wilderness excursions.) I'm sorry that E-94's son had a clock reset. But if it was a result of him not being willing to stay organized starting from day 1 after Scout rank, then maybe he needs to think about how that may affect his performance on an adventure.
For my venturers, it's pretty organic. I approve plans based on their commitment to training and sharpening their first-class skills. We have established land-navigation days months in advance, half of them are blowing off that commitment. This directly impacts their vision for independent hiking in wilderness areas. They have to earn the trust of myself and one other adult before we allow them to insert on their own and rendezvous with us in the evening. So, in their case, physical fitness is not the problem (in fact their sports commitments are what's affecting attendance), but map-and-compass savvy is.
Don't get me wrong we'll still hike in the same area, but I'll revise their plan if they don't sharpen the skills as I expect them to.
Anyway, that's how I transition our youth from "be prepared" to "lead the adventure". It's not about some oval patch you earned once upon a time. It's about years later being a first class scout, the concept, not the patch.
So back to E-94's young son. If he goes to his leaders, points out that he blew off the fitness tracking requirement, but did all the others, and has been exercising routinely regardless - including conditioning hikes, and can boldly say that having learned his lesson, he is their 1st class scout, patch pending ... I'd like the leaders to consider scheduling SMCs for at least one or two of those ranks at some point(s) on the AT.