So the Boy Scouts of America made news recently by adding a Video Gaming belt loop/academic pin to the list of achievements that can be earned by scouts. As a proud former Boy Scout I am a little disturbed by this; I know it has been a while since I was a Boy Scout but what happened to getting badges and sewing them to the uniform (for the record my mother sewed all of my badges not me)?
Seriously, I am having a hard time understanding how the organization that promotes outdoor activities will now promote an indoor activity like video gaming. To be fair the Video Gaming badge is more than just playing PS3 or XBox 360. To earn the belt loop and academic pin Scouts will have to meet the following 12 point criteria:
Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts may complete requirements in a family, den, pack, school, or community environment. Tiger Cubs must work with their parents or adult partners. Parents and partners do not earn loops or pins.
Complete these three requirements:
1. Explain why it is important to have a rating system for video games. Check your video games to be sure they are right for your age.
2. With an adult, create a schedule for you to do things that includes your chores, homework, and video gaming. Do your best to follow this schedule.
3. Learn to play a new video game that is approved by your parent, guardian, or teacher.
Earn the Video Games belt loop and complete five of the following requirements:
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.
Again I give the Boy Scouts credit for making this more than just playing video games, but still! I look at this as an attempt to draw kids to the Boy Scouts; and I can understand that. In today’s society kids are not looking to learn how to tie a slip-knot or learning the scout honor. Kids are more worried about getting the high score on some video game or jumping online to play anyone in the world in a game of MLB 2K10. Unfortunately we are losing contact with each other, I remember the Boy Scouts being about learning to work as a team and enjoying the company of other kids that were a little different from you.
The Scouts also opened a different world to an urban jungle kid like myself; being in the Scouts allowed me the opportunity to go camping for the first time. That is an opportunity that a kid like me would have never had open to me if not for the Scouts.
Maybe I being to critical of this issue, one of the good things about this is that it does promote the interaction between parent and child; and that is important. I will be honest, I don’t remember everything I learned in Scouts but I do remember the good times. I will never forget the time I spent working with my dad building my car for the “Pinetown Derby” or making a kite for the kite flying contest. When I think back to those days I swear my dad had more fun than I did, LOL.
With all that said I guess I can give the Boy Scouts a break, I just hope they can find a way to balance keeping up with the times and keep traditions alive.
One thing I can’t let go is this whole “Belt Loop” business, WTH is that about???
Before I forget, shout-out to my Cub Scout Den Mother Mrs. Truncali! She always took the time to make sure Troop 555 had everything we needed. She also opened her home to the kids to work on their projects, thanks again Mrs. Truncali!!
If there is something to be said, “Its On Broadway” to step up and say it!!!