Yes, there is a Video Game belt-loop for Cub Scouts

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Cub Scout Video Games belt loop If you are reading my gaming blog, then you know that I am a Gamer and a Dad (hence XboxDad.com).  What you may not know is that I am also an active Cubmaster for one of my son’s Cub Scout Pack and an Assistant Scoutmaster for my other son’s Boy Scout Troop, and I was a scout growing up in the 70’s when game consoles just started.  

Over the past few weeks, I have been watching several folks over-react with disbelief or other hysterics, with perhaps the most alarming being folks saying “My Eagle award has lost credibility.”  Frankly, if you measure a lifetime accomplishment as significant as Eagle Scout at the end of what was hopefully a rich scouting career, based on what 2nd and 3rd graders are learning 20-years later – then you may have missed the point.  (am sure this will illicit some interesting blog feedback)

New Belt Loop

Yes, there is a new belt loop to encourage cub scouts (1st – 4th grade) to learn more about video gaming.  Notice, that it is recognized for “learning” – it is considered an Academic belt loop, not a sports belt loop.  So, the emphasis isn’t about playing a video game, compared with going outside for any other game or activity.

There were 13 new loops added in 2010:

  • Disability AwarenessJason and his cubs
  • Family Travel
  • Good Manners
  • Hiking
  • Hockey
  • Horseback Riding
  • Kickball
  • Nutrition
  • Pet Care
  • Photography
  • Reading and Writing
  • Skateboarding
  • Video Games
  •  

    Credit: MeritBadge.org for the list and supporting info

    For the Video Game belt loop, here are the learning objectives:

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Learn to play a new video game that is approved by your parent, guardian, or teacher.

    Yes, the 3rd requirement is to play a new game (that is the carrot for the boy).  Take a look at the other two:

    Learn the Rating System

    Cub Scout age boys (7-11) should be playing games rated E and E-10+.  This is a great way to facilitate an understanding why T and M games shouldn’t be played by cub scouts, unless it is with the agreement of a responsible adult.  Sure, there are T games that are suitable for kids, such as the LEGO series (many of which are listed our XboxDad.com site). 

    But boys this age should not be playing Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Left 4 Dead, or any other M game.

    Play games within a Responsible Schedule

    This creates an opportunity to talk about balance.  Sure Johnny, you can play video games – after your homework is done, your room is clean, and in balance with other activities.   Am I saying that parents have never had this conversation before?  Of course not.  But if your young scout is excited about a little extra bling on their scout uniform because they love video games – they are going to have to learn a little about what games are appropriate and how to integrate gaming into the rest of their schedule (instead of sitting down for 3-5 hours every day after school).

    In the future, if we see a requirement for Eagle Scout in 2020 to earn Prestige rank on Call of Duty 7 or finish Halo 5 on Legendary, then the BSA may have a problem.  What is more likely is that future Eagle Scouts may launch awareness campaigns at elementary schools or cub scout packs on time management or game-appropriateness to local area youth and their parents, with this belt loop as the carrot for sitting through their event.

    The Big Picture for Cub Scouting

    Having had two sons go through today’s cub scout program, I have found that most of the activities for cub scouts are around a few principles:

    1. Have Fun   (this is why the boys’ join)
    2. Learn and model good character
    3. Get exposed to a wide variety of topics, to better learn what interests you
    4. Create new opportunities for families to interact, whether it be building a bird house or playing a video game – instead of the boys watching one TV and parents doing something else, and wondering where the weekend went.

    The Video Game belt loop (and its related activity pin) fit these criteria.  So, there you have it – a Cubmaster-Gamer-Dad’s view of what is another good and timely addition to a program that is celebrating 100 years of growing boys.

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    May 7, 2010 · Jason · One Comment
    Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Lifestyle

    One Response

    1. Kevin Devine - May 7, 2010

      I have to agree with your assessment.
      I am an Eagle Scout and I saw a number of those over-reacting blog posts. Some of them I thought were tongue-in-cheek, but a few seemed serious about this somehow tarnishing the BSA. I’m sorry, but if an organization does not evolve with the times they are doomed.
      What I think is interesting is that the whole “collecting awards” concept in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts is the basis for the Achievements on Xbox Live… So, the two might be more linked than one thinks…

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