Scouts Honor: Video Games Will Do Good Things

Boy Scouts i i

The Boy Scouts of America recently announced that Cub Scouts will now be able to earn a new video game activity pin and belt loop. Though many have questioned the new addition, Scout leader Daniel Williams says catching up to technology isn't a bad thing for the Boy Scouts. Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images
Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America recently announced that Cub Scouts will now be able to earn a new video game activity pin and belt loop. Though many have questioned the new addition, Scout leader Daniel Williams says catching up to technology isn't a bad thing for the Boy Scouts.

Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Daniel Williams is an Eagle Scout and Boy Scout leader from Madison, Wis. He has worked as a juvenile justice social worker and currently writes for Scouting News.

As an Eagle Scout and venturing crew adviser I get excited when I hear about new Boy Scout badges that incorporate technology. It's hard to turn a corner without seeing the latest cell phone, GPS unit, video game system or laptop. Why should scouting hide from these new technologies?

One of the latest additions to the Cub Scouts that has been raising eyebrows is the video game belt loop and activity pin. Scouting's mission is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetime. And, if you read the requirements for the video games belt loop or activity pin, it can aid in doing just that. Scouting will always introduce kids to the outdoors. But that doesn't require excluding new frontiers of technology — especially when they can can pose as an opportunity for lessons in responsibility and academics.

The video games awards are like any other award in Cub Scouts or merit badge in Boy Scouts; it introduces Scouts to an activity in a safe and educational manner. We already know kids play video games. Why not make sure they understand the rating system, how to set limits, and include their parents?

There are actually two different video games awards for Cub Scouts, a belt loop and an activity pin.

Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams Courtesy of Daniel Williams hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Daniel Williams

The belt loop has three requirements: one that asks Scouts to discuss the importance of a rating system for video games; one that has them set a schedule for game play that doesn't interfere with chores and homework; and one that has them learn to play a new game that is approved by their parents.

The activity pin has nine requirements and includes comparing gaming systems; playing a game with family members in a family tournament; playing a game that will help practice math or another skill that helps in schoolwork; and comparing the prices for a game at different stores. Seems like a reasonable list of requirements that allow families to get involved together and teach kids about including video games at a reasonable level in their lives.

The video games awards are just one of the many new Cub Scout awards that debuted this year; disability awareness, family travel, nutrition, pet care and photography are a few others.

As you can see, the new subjects cover a wide variety of activities — encouraging Scouts to broaden their scope of activities that can be fun and educational. New and evolving interests among young Scouts shouldn't reach a limit when it's under the proper guidance.

As society changes to embrace more and more technology at a younger age, the Boy Scouts will be right there teaching the life skills that complement the technology. An organization can't survive for 100 years if it isn't doing something right!

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