Scouts encouraged to play videogames

Next time you’re playing Team Fortress 2, pay attention – that scout could be a real Boy Scout, earning a real badge!

That’s right, Boy Scouts of America have caught the videogame bug. But it’s not just a case of “play a few rounds of TF2, get a reward” – in keeping with the Scout ethos, the new Video Games awards (a pin and a belt loop) aim to promote the “proper way” to go about gaming.

As with all other activities, Webelos Scouts, Cub Scouts and Tiger Cubs may complete certain requirements in a “family, den, pack, school or community environment”, and the Tiger Cubs must work with their parents or adult partners (who, it must be added, do not earn loops or pins).

Requirements for the Video Games Belt Loop

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.

The Scouts’ new
Video Games belt loop
Requirements for the Video Games Pin

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.

The new
Video Games pin

So – what do you think? On one hand, this feels like it goes against the notion of outdoor activities that the Scouts have always stood for. But on the other… this is a pretty big acceptance of videogames in our society! I particularly like the educational aspect of it – it’ll teach parents and children that games aren’t all about shooting people in the face.

From where I’m standing, it’s a step in the right direction – and it’ll be interesting to see if other international scouting associations follow suit.

(Incidentally, with its Mature rating in the US, I kinda doubt that Team Fortress 2 will make the ‘appropriate’ list for too many little Scouts – but it was a gag I couldn’t ignore!)

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