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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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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?


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