This week the Boy Scouts of America announced a new award for their “Cub” level troopers, for an activity that is seemingly the antithesis of scouting itself, Video Gaming. However, earning this particular achievement is not a matter of killstreaks or sticking with Final Fantasy 13 until it ‘gets good,’ this award requires some real, positive steps towards such things as budgeting your gaming time and money, sharing the experience with your family and learning how video games work.
While this specific award is a belt loop, and an optional academic pin, and not one of the classic Boy Scout Merit Badges, it can’t hurt to speculate as to where this trend toward modernization will take Scouting next and what the young troopers will have to do to earn it.For a Merit Badge in Comic Book Collecting the Scout must:
• Read and generate a critique of an Original Graphic Novel
• Discern a criteria and then organize your, or a friend/relative’s, comic book collection by that criteria
• Organize a drive to donate old comics to local children’s hospitals or shelters
• Optional: Explain to satisfaction of your scoutmaster the plot of Final Crisis, Secret War or other major crossover eventFor a Merit Badge in Convention Going the Scout must:
• Pre-register and plan the logistics of travel, food and lodging in preparation for attending a convention
• Organize and stick to an itinerary of convention events to attend.
• Optional: Design and wear a costume based on a favorite intellectual propertyFor a Merit Badge in Computer Networking the Scout must:
• Learn how both Ethernet and Wi-Fi systems work
• Set-up or diagram a home network system for yourself or your family
• Optional: Torrent the files required for the Literature Merit BadgeFor a Merit Badge in Television Fandom the Scout must:
• Organize a viewing party for your troop and host a discussion of the episode afterward
• Keep a diary in the voice of a favorite character based on his or her action over the course of at least six (6) episodes.
• Optional: Join or create a letter writing campaign to try and save a cancelled TV showFor a Merit Badge in Social Networking the Scout must:
• Learn and understand the effects that Social Networking can have on personal privacy, and how to prevent online bulling
• Create and/or maintain a personal homepage on a major Social Networking site (Facebook, MySpace, or the like) and attempt to ‘friend’ a Scout from a different troop.
• Optional: Achieve at least one “first” in the comments section of an online news aggregator or pop culture digest