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Cub Scouts belt loop and pin
Requirements seek to educate kids on appropriate gaming and time management

Many technophiles out there were probably in the Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts as kids. Traditionally, getting badges and awards in the Scouts meant you had to learn about topics like knot tying, camping, climbing, archeology, and yes – even computers. The Boy Scouts of America is now offering a new award for participants that is something many kids have become obsessed with today.

Kids in the Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts can now complete the requirements in family, den, pack, school, or the community environment for video games according to VGA Chartz. To earn a Video Games belt loop, the scout has to follow three steps which include: explaining why it's important to have rating system for games; creating a schedule with an adult that has time for chores, homework, and gaming; and leaning to play a new game that is approved by a guardian.

Scouts can also earn an academics pin after they earn the belt loop by completing five (out of nine) additional requirements. The requirements include: 

  1. With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.
  2. Compare two game systems (for example, Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and so on). Explain some of the differences between the two. List good reasons to purchase or use a game system.
  3. Play a video game with family members in a family tournament.
  4. Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.
  5. List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.
  6. Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.
  7. Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.
  8. Choose a game you might like to purchase. Compare the price for this game at three different stores. Decide which store has the best deal. In your decision, be sure to consider things like the store return policy and manufacturer’s warranty.
  9. With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system.

It's is definitely an interesting move to incorporate video games into Cub Scouting and we're sure that the scouts will enjoy this new endeavor which should help to keep scouting relevant in today's society.  

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Not cool
By RjBass on 4/28/2010 10:53:03 AM , Rating: 5
I posted about this on my Facebook page just a few minutes ago. As a Boy Scout leader I am pretty upset they did this. We have a hard enough time keeping cell phones and potable video games out of their hands on camping trips when they are supposed to be working on their real merit badges.

Don't get the wrong idea, I love video games, as do my kids, but there is a time and place for everything, and I don't feel as though the Boy Scouts is that place.

RE: Not cool
By Brandon Hill on 4/28/2010 10:58:07 AM , Rating: 3
Eagle Scout ('98) checking in. I tend to agree. Even though I did earn the computers merit badge (and roughly 70 others) as a scout, most of my time was dedicated to the outdoors and learning about other "non-tech" stuff.

Getting me involved in the Cub Scouts (my mom was more involved in this) and Boy Scouts (my dad was involved in this... and astonishingly at 60 is still working with my same troop to this day) was probably one of the single best things my parents ever did for me growing up.

RE: Not cool
By Anoxanmore on 4/28/2010 11:04:59 AM , Rating: 4
Looking at those requirements, I see nothing wrong with adding it to the merits.

Kind of obvious that the cub scouts would want to keep with the changing times, and keep children interested.

RE: Not cool
By xler8r on 4/28/10, Rating: -1
RE: Not cool
By Anoxanmore on 4/28/2010 11:16:20 AM , Rating: 4
I see a lot of critical thinking along with emphasis on teamwork in those requirements.

The critical thinking being a key one, plus how to be a mentor by teaching someone older how to play a game.

RE: Not cool
By xler8r on 4/28/10, Rating: 0
RE: Not cool
By bighairycamel on 4/28/2010 11:32:44 AM , Rating: 5
You're telling me kids and parents already research game ratings and choose age appropriate video games?

Did you RTFA? This badge isn't about just playing video games. It's about making responsible decisions and being a smart consumer, with a little technical merit thrown in.

RE: Not cool
By Anoxanmore on 4/28/2010 11:38:16 AM , Rating: 2
I do not agree, children do not do all of the above, let alone on their own without some prodding in life.

Perhaps it is because I am younger than you (more than likely) I can see the value of incorporating this into current cub scout activites and requirements.

The only one they may do[on their own]is the set up of a video game console, and that is debateable.

After all cub scouts is for younger children.

RE: Not cool
By xler8r on 4/28/2010 11:50:48 AM , Rating: 2
Ah, eyah, I get it. I kept thinking of it as Boy Scouts which is an older crowd... makes sense for the kiddies i guess....

RE: Not cool
By Anoxanmore on 4/28/2010 11:59:01 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, the people above us were talking about boy scouts and I only see this being implemented in cub scouts. :)

nod nods

RE: Not cool
By RjBass on 4/28/2010 2:48:21 PM , Rating: 1
Yes but most Cub Scouts eventually become Boy Scouts. With the Cub Scouts promoting video game use for scouting that is going to spill over into the Boy Scouts which may then create a problem when are trying to get our tents pitched and get the fire going so we can eat. Now instead they will all be playing video games and not getting any work done.

RE: Not cool
By bodar on 4/28/2010 3:33:31 PM , Rating: 2
Then part of the badge requirements should teach the kids when it is and isn't appropriate to play games. Finish your work first and then play games. No brainer there. Isn't scouting supposed to teach life-skills and responsibility?

RE: Not cool
By Anoxanmore on 4/28/2010 3:46:00 PM , Rating: 3
I would hope that is part of natural parenting... not something someone needs to join a club for.

RE: Not cool
By MrBlastman on 4/28/2010 3:55:00 PM , Rating: 1
Scouting is definitely not a club. It nurtures and teaches a way of life. Some of my best friends I still talk with to this day I first met many years ago in Webelos and Scouts.

RE: Not cool
By Anoxanmore on 4/28/2010 4:08:04 PM , Rating: 2
Scouting is a club.

They are the very definition of a club, two of them in fact.


a group of persons organized for a social, literary, athletic, political, or other purpose:
an organization that offers its subscribers certain benefits, as discounts, bonuses, or interest, in return for regular purchases or payments

It is the parents responsibility to teach their child when to play games vs work, not a clubs.

RE: Not cool
By lightfoot on 4/28/2010 4:11:32 PM , Rating: 3
Scouting is definitely not a club.

Think of it more like day care for teenage boys. Teaching them the things that they need to know, but the parents are too lazy to teach.

RE: Not cool
By MrBlastman on 4/29/2010 9:15:55 AM , Rating: 2
Hardly that at all. In fact, my troop encouraged parents to be active in it and several dads were. Unless you've been through the program, there's no real way you can comprehend it.

RE: Not cool
By lightfoot on 4/29/2010 12:51:37 PM , Rating: 2
Back to the original point: Scouting is not a replacement for good parenting, but it can be used as a compliment to good parenting.

RE: Not cool
By Xenoterranos on 4/28/2010 3:36:16 PM , Rating: 2
Another Eagle scout here (2000)!
Animal Husbandry used to be something that a lot of kids did "by default anyway" waaaaay back in the day. There's also Chemistry, electronics, engineering, Computers... all of these show that scouts is not just about camping and telling stories. It's supposed to expose you to some of what the world has to offer beyond your daily life and what you can give back to the world in return. There are many walks of life, and thus many merit badges. Why tell a budding game designer that he can't tie his hobby in with scouts? I think it's awesome that scouts continues to change and remain relevant.

RE: Not cool
By Lord 666 on 4/28/2010 11:25:38 AM , Rating: 3
While I am also a fellow Eagle Scout as well (1995), I feel it is a good thing to keep the program relevant and based on the requirements, its a good first step in time management and finding the pros/cons of products. Sometimes life's lessons are best sugar coated and video games is a good way. In general, the current program needs more focus on real life skills. Maybe even introduce a blogging badge/medal.

Agreed about Scouting being a huge impact on my life as well. My parents got divorced and my mother put my brother and I into the program to keep us out of trouble. Definitely have to say it worked for me, not so much for my brother. I went all the way to Eagle, my brother didn't and later had legal problems. Sure, we still dismantled toliet bowls in camp and moved them and other McGyver type stuff outside of Scouts (read my earlier posts about BB guns, sterno, and police scanners), but looking back Scouting was the single most influencial thing that kept me from going to the Dark Side. Definitely have to say it gave me some skills that earned me leadership positions including CTO.

God has blessed me with two daughters (5 y/o and 1 y/o) and no sons. So my current question; should I enroll my oldest in the Girl Scouts program? Noticed a cookie selling station in our local mall and started talking with the adult in charge. I questioned their business sense when they only accepted check or cash, but not setup for credit cards. I only know of one friend that went to Gold Award and not too familiar with their program.

RE: Not cool
By FITCamaro on 4/29/2010 12:06:13 AM , Rating: 2
My sister has her Gold Award. The quality of Girl Scouts honestly is tied to the troop (or whatever they called) you get into. My sisters wasn't bad. But my mom tried to stay active in it even after my sister was done and ended up leaving. Parents didn't want their daughters doing anything other than sitting around doing nothing but crafts. Many balked at the idea of their little girl getting dirty while camping.

So it just depends. But yeah I agree with you about Boy Scouts being a positive influence. As I say below, I also got my Eagle. My brother did not. He's now 24, delivering pizza, no degree, just getting off a DUI that he mostly got out of but not entirely (had a breathalyzer tester in his car for a year), and wrecked two cars before that. Starting to get his life in order finally though. But of course he had issues other than not completing Scouts.

RE: Not cool
By ekv on 4/29/2010 3:29:53 AM , Rating: 2
I apologize, but you're moniker "Lord 666" has irritated me for a while now. I haven't said anything and try to keep an open mind, but now you write "God has blessed me with two daughters ..." which is well and true. "Lord" and "666" don't exactly belong together, if you know what I mean. I hope I'm not out-of-line in asking if you could explain your user name.

Btw, I'm not married -- still looking for the right gal -- and hence can only vaguely mention the Girl Scouts do not have much in the way of Biblical values like they used to. So FIT's comments are much more ... um, fitting. Apropos. To the point. Etc.

RE: Not cool
By Lord 666 on 4/29/2010 6:59:05 AM , Rating: 2
There is some history involved with it, but the point is the putting two seemingly contradictory ideas together with some other references.

Started with my brother and I playing Halo on PC when people could use any name. Back then, I used Colon Cancer and my brother used Lung Cancer. This way, when we killed someone, it said the opponent died of some illness. When XBL came around (the black xbox), since the Cancers were already taken, we needed to pick other names. So we both started using a Lord variation as a Star Wars reference, especially since the prequals were fresh out. Lord 666 is still my XBL tag, but my brother has since slightly modified his. Before you mentioned it, was considering about changing it, but don't agree in principal on having to pay to change my XBL tag. Plus, have been a DT/AT member since 2005 and using Lord 666 since then.

1. Lord - Star Wars reference. As noted before, I did flirt with the Dark side from time to time, but never fully went.

2. 666 - Enough said. But in the context of XBL, there are a lot of other 666's out there. Never have been a devil worshiper, but if you look at any of my playlists, definitely have some dark music on them.

With my marriage and the birth of my first daughter happening after the XBL tag, I have since seen the Light Side once again. Guess God works in mysterious ways and hope that answers your question.

RE: Not cool
By ekv on 4/29/2010 3:38:08 PM , Rating: 2
...the opponent died of some illness
So that was you! j/k 8)
God works in mysterious ways
True. Been there done that. I suppose the Light, aside from being the truth, is less complicated, more straight-forward and easier to defend, etc.

RE: Not cool
By nafhan on 4/28/2010 11:28:15 AM , Rating: 2
Interesting, I also became an Eagle Scout in '98. I think this is fine for the Cub Scouts, as it's relevant to personal development. There are quite a few life lesson or research type badges that really don't have much to do with the outdoors. Also, this might get a few more parents to pay attention to the video game rating system, which would be great.
I was never in Cub Scouts, but in Boy Scouts there are merit badges for all kinds of random things including Coin Collecting and Dentistry. So, again, this is not completely out of place.

RE: Not cool
By MrBlastman on 4/28/2010 12:51:27 PM , Rating: 2
I'm also an Eagle Scout ('93) and for some reason I'm actually a little hesitant about this badge. I'm an avid gamer myself (compete at pro level in Team Fortress 2), have held championship titles in QuakeWorld Team Fortress, StarCraft and MechWarrior (2,3 and 4) and despite my passion for the medium, or, sport--I somehow have trouble connecting video gaming with Scouting.

Granted, this badge is for Cub Scouts and Webelos, they are a younger bunch, typically badges that you earn in Scouting relate to real world skills that can be applied and used even as an adult in some form or another to better yourself or others (Scouting _is_ about also helping others), video gaming I'm not sure fully fulfills this role. While there might be badges for things such as swimming, canoeing, rowing, archery, shooting etc., there are no true "sports" badges such as tennis, soccer, baseball, football etc. I struggle with what category to put video gaming in actually but sports is probably the closest I can come up with.

When I was in Scouts (wayyy back in the day), portable gaming was a novelty (there was the Lynx and the Gameboy had barely been around) and nobody ever thought of bringing such a device on a camping trip or even summer camp. All of our activities were centered around the outdoors for the most part (and an occasional visit to a military base/museum/space museum) and oriented around helping other people or spending time with our peers. Seldom did any activity involve encouraging solo time.

And that, I suppose, is where the merit in this award might be--its encouragement of playing with a parent or friend. The responsibility portion dealing with ratings I don't think will have much of a benefit. Most kids think--rated "R!" It must be really cool! At least, when I was a kid I know I did.

What is the point of this rambling mess of a post? Only to express that I'm hesistant to accept this as a reward but, the way they went about adding this to the program seems to be well thought out and accomplish goals that are in line with the tenets of scouting. If I had anything to add to it--it would be some sort of challenging or competitive goal such as a high score (or beating a game) without cheating, or participating in an online gaming league and perhaps teaching their den how to compete in said game.

Scouting has to be kept relevant and I think this is a way to do it. I got my Computing merit badge in the 80's and had to write a 5000-line program to do it, so a little challenge in the video game belt loop could be a good thing.

RE: Not cool
By Lord 666 on 4/28/2010 1:24:02 PM , Rating: 2
Back in the day, I became a legend in our troop when I demonstrated how to play NES on a Citizen portable b/w TV by connecting the antenna to a double prong antenna TV connector. RC Pro Am was playable and we proved it on a trip.

Granted our Scout leadership mostly were high level AT&T engineers, so we had a different kind of flavor of activities combined with the outdoor type stuff. We also had a phase of pure paramilitary when the Scout Master (active duty Major in USAF) took us on several trips to McGuire AFB and West Point invitational with the cadets. Those were great times either way.

RE: Not cool
By MadMan007 on 4/28/2010 9:41:45 PM , Rating: 2
I think this is taking it a bit too far as well. Unlike even the non-outdoorsy/survival badges this one isn't really teaching much. And it's got consumer whore-ism built in "List good reasons to purchase or use a game system."

RE: Not cool
By ekv on 4/29/2010 3:48:42 AM , Rating: 2
I wasn't in Scouting, though wish I had followed through. My older brother was an Eagle Scout [something like '78]. I support the Scouts and what they stand for. I support them financially, though wish I could afford a higher level of support.

I realize I'm an outsider, however let me suggest that this badge is an opportunity to emphasize time management. Time mgt. is a real-life skill and important, even critical, to one's success. E.g. in college, where there are many novelties tugging at one's newly limited-amount-of-time.

Another point would be that I've seen several Eagle Scout projects having to do with improving a park -- like cleaning up a heavily littered area and keeping it clean for 6-12 months. Similarly, with what little gaming I've done, I was rather impressed with the potty-mouths on 13 year olds annihilating me in Halo [which I kind of consider my badge of honor 8] Would it not be possible for Scouts to be a force in cleaning up the ethos, if not the actual language ? Maybe I'm not expressing that too well, but can you see what I mean?

RE: Not cool
By FITCamaro on 4/29/2010 12:01:33 AM , Rating: 2
With you dude. Eagle Scout here.

Boy Scouts is supposed to get kids away from video games and crap like that so they can learn useful lessons, and potentially skills, in life. You don't know how much having my Eagle Scout has mattered in getting a job. At least initially out of college and for internships. I had taken it off my resume at one point before I graduated and got my internship at NASA. I mentioned it to my boss there one day and she told me to put it back on, because its both an achievement to be proud of and it shows an employer your character and gives them an idea of your sense of commitment.

RE: Not cool
By FITCamaro on 4/29/2010 12:11:04 AM , Rating: 2
And got mine in 2001. Man that seems like another lifetime ago to me.

RE: Not cool
By Lord 666 on 4/29/2010 6:30:46 AM , Rating: 2
Definitely keep it on your resume. For one position, having it on my resume was the ice breaker with the Director who was also an Eagle. After the third round of competitive interviews, when I walked into his office that was first question; please recite the Scout Oath and Law. Did both without issue and nailed the job. Interview after that was mostly small talk.

Even more interesting is right after I got married, rented a house and the landlord was heavily involved with his local Troop. Somehow we started talking about it and told him I was also an Eagle. He said if I could prove it, he would heavily discount the rent. Went and found my gold membership card and showed him getting the discount. Since then, still keep that card in my wallet.

What it shows teamwork, good character, and the ability to see a long project all the way through. Judging from the responses on this thread, the 1% of Scouts that earn their Eagle is well represented on DT. Goes back to a suggestion I had with Apparition on somehow spinning DT into a job network for IT/Engineering/Technology.

That being said, there should be a site or forum for Eagle scouts that has the ability to verify the credentials, even on Linkedin or Facebook.

RE: Not cool
By MrBlastman on 4/29/2010 9:27:34 AM , Rating: 2
I'd absolutely keep it on your resume, it is something to be proud of that so few people accomplish. I've always heard positive things about it when I have interviewed in the past for jobs and you never know, the guy doing the interview might just have his also.

Humorous and worth mentioning: It is also worthwhile to keep your Eagle wallet card with you. My brother was once pulled over for speeding and the cop walked up to his window to ask for his license and registration. My brother took out of his wallet both his license and his eagle scout card. The cop looked at them both, walked back to his car for a moment, then came back and handed them to him. He told him to move along and to keep his speed down.

So yes, there are good reasons to keep it with you at all times.

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