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April 28, 2010

Cub Scouts to offer video gaming pin

Posted: 12:42 PM ET

Cub Scouts: The term conjures images of kids doing stuff outside – hiking amid nature, tying knots or identifying which leaf will leave you scratching if used for the wrong purpose.

Well, times have changed. In a move that may horrify old-school former Scouts, the Boy Scouts of America has announced it will offer two awards – a pin and a belt loop – to boys who spend hours playing video games.

Yes, that’s right. Just picture a group of 8- to 10-year-olds huddled around not a campfire but a TV, that glowing box of complacency.

Apparently these new awards are geared toward making Scouts understand which games are appropriate for their age group, not just rewarding them for sitting around on their butts playing video games. Scouts also can work towards their pin by playing a video game that "helps you in your schoolwork."

But you still have to wonder if this isn’t a misguided attempt by the Cub Scouts to stay relevant by pandering to boys’ interests. Seems to me the Scouts should be getting kids outside and teaching them practical skills beyond the bubble of their everyday lives instead of how to read the back of a video game box.

It reminds me of some “Star Trek” episode where a civilization has become so reliant on technology that they have no practical know-how and can’t fix it when it breaks - picture Picard MacGyvering a computer with a paper clip so the planet doesn’t explode.

Those of you who were in the Scouts, what’s your take on this? Should today’s Cub Scouts be rewarded for playing video games? What badge or award were you most proud of earning?

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Filed under: Games • Gaming • pop culture • video games


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Nate K   April 28th, 2010 1:00 pm ET

Jeez, I wish they had that when i was in cub scouts :-P

Sounds like they are trying to make themselves more relevant with this generation's youth


Michael Sines   April 28th, 2010 1:00 pm ET

Next they will be calling them "Couch Scouts".


Dan   April 28th, 2010 1:00 pm ET

Yes! Lets teach our children how veg in front of the TV! While we're at it lets teach 'em how to give themselves insulin shots too!

This is what I did when I was in the scouts and this isn't what the scouts were supposed to be about.


max   April 28th, 2010 1:01 pm ET

I was a Scout, and I am currently a gamer. I can see how if done right, this can be a great activity for children and teens.

-Design your own videogame
-Strategy in videogames
-History of Electronic entertainment
-videogame culture
-learn about videogame's impact on delivering education to children
-balancing physical exercise with gaming
-ESRB videogame adult/teen/children rating system and why it is important to follow these rules

Videogames are not the devil, contrary to popular belief. Scouts already have badges for things like computers, radio broadcasting, web design, etc. It's not all campfires and hunting anymore, which is fine.

I approve of this idea, videogames are undeniably a large part of our entertainment in society and if this badge is implemented in such a way that the Scouts take something home from it, more power to them.


New Yorker   April 28th, 2010 1:02 pm ET

My son is a Cub Scout and actively involved in earning belt loops right now through various outdoors, academic, and sports activities. There is no way I will encourage the earning of a belt loop for playing video games. Very dumb move by the organization.


Stacey   April 28th, 2010 1:03 pm ET

My son is just starting in Scouting, and I was horrified when I saw that they offered this award. I, too, was looking to Scouting to teach my son about all of the great outdoor activities that BSA is known for, but this was quite a shock!


max   April 28th, 2010 1:03 pm ET

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/cubscouts/awards/boys/sanda/video_games.aspx

^ List of requirements.

I fail to see what's harmful about this.


Walther Shmit from Oregon   April 28th, 2010 1:04 pm ET

This is absolutely appalling. Will they soon offer a merit badge for morbid obesity? Or how about a belt loop for childhood diabetes? How much time will one have to spend in earning the television viewing merit badge?


max   April 28th, 2010 1:04 pm ET

In other news today: The sky is falling...


Kevin   April 28th, 2010 1:05 pm ET

I can't really comment, since I have seen neither the badge requirements nor the reasons behind it, but I will say that the purpose of scouting is not to instruct kids on how to get by in the outdoors, but to get by in life. Their mission is to make responsible adults out of children.


Francis   April 28th, 2010 1:05 pm ET

My son earned this beltloop two weeks ago. To be factually accurate, the requirement is not to play hours of videogames. Rather, he had to explain the importance of a ratings system, construct a personal schedule, where we made sure that video gaming had its deserved (small) place, and then play a video game.

I don't believe that there's anything wrong to aligning organizations with current trends. The cub / boy scouts have so many activities that are still in the traditional realm of scouting. If this helps boost enrollment and in the end, cuts down video gaming and idle time, then it would be worth it.


Peter Dunphy   April 28th, 2010 1:07 pm ET

This is bad, I'm a Cub Scout leader, I rail at my scouts about video games and encourage outdoor activities, and now this, kids don't need encouragement to sit inside and play more video games.....


weltor1   April 28th, 2010 1:08 pm ET

When i first saw this i was taken back by it. But as a den leader i looked more into it and i actully think it is not a bad idea.


Jason Mott   April 28th, 2010 1:08 pm ET

As an Eagle scout and former Cub scout and Cubmaster, I'm kind of mixed on this. My initial feeling was negative. I also want to check out the requirements.

On the other hand, I can see how it might appeal because it is such a popular activity with boys. Belt loops and pins aren't major awards. In fact, they tend to lean more towards the "fun" side. The belt loops don't have very many or difficult requirements (such as practice soccer skills for 30 minutes). Plus, I suppose the activity could be used to build camaraderie within the pack.
So maybe it's not such a bad thing after a few minutes of thought. Not all badges and activities in Scouts are hiking, canoeing and knot tying.


Kevin   April 28th, 2010 1:08 pm ET

Okay, now I've seen the requirements. The badge seems to be "How to Play Video Games responsibly." It's an illustration of the age old dilemma of parents. How do you use something that kids enjoy, to teach them something?


Bob T.   April 28th, 2010 1:08 pm ET

OMG BSA...what are you thinking? As an "old school" scout who loves technology and has no problem with video games, I think that boys and girls need to put down the mouse and get out of the house. The outdoor activities in scouting help young people learn how to be self-sufficient, to work as a team, and learn about the world we live in. Scouts should be awarded for the number of hours they do not play video games!


Dbie Johnson   April 28th, 2010 1:09 pm ET

As a Cub Scout Den Leader and Committee Chair... I can say that I am not surprised. There are a variety of sport and academic belt loops and pins the boys can earn over and above their rank requirements.

Some are harder than others to achieve, and some are more exciting than others... but something is learned from every one. Just last week my kids earned their Kickball belt loop and pin. What did they learn? They learned teamwork, sportsmanship, setting and following rules, rotating positions (each had to take a turn pitching, catching, fielding and kicking), and strategy. Even our military understands the value of video gaming for training purposes... so why not the Cub Scouts?

Also note- this is a Cub Scout award (1st through 5th grade); not a Boy Scout award. Boy Scouts are still very outdoors-oriented.


fragmaster   April 28th, 2010 1:09 pm ET

New scout pin for pwning noobs and fragging pubbies

BOOM HEADSHOT!


RM   April 28th, 2010 1:10 pm ET

Just more CNN bashing of the scouts and religious organizations... The Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts are the only kids getting outside and doing things, i.e. camping, service projects, etc. CNN is pathetic!

"But you still have to wonder if this isn’t a misguided attempt by the Cub Scouts to stay relevant by pandering to boys’ interests. Seems to me the Scouts should be getting kids outside and teaching them practical skills beyond the bubble of their everyday lives instead of how to read the back of a video game box."

RM


joe   April 28th, 2010 1:10 pm ET

It should also be pointed out that the Academic and Sports belt loop and pin program is a supplemental award system and not the focus of Cub Scouts.

But to those of you who have issues, just read the requirements. It's really about learning to correctly prioritize responsibility and leisure time, including life skills such as creating a schedule, comparison shopping and even installing home electronics. The emphasis is not all about sitting on yer butt.


Alex   April 28th, 2010 1:10 pm ET

This makes perfect sense. What this stub doesn't mention in the slightest is that you earn these pins/loops by actually doing some reading and understanding the material, and doing a short oral or written test.

The goal of this sort of thing would be to encourage an understanding (on a low level, of course) of the societal effects of playing videogames.

Somehow, I don't think they would let the person get the badge by playing GTA4.

I mean seriously, look at this critically before posting that this will promote sitting in front of the TV. This organization isn't nearly stupid enough to pull something like that off.


Karolyn   April 28th, 2010 1:11 pm ET

My son is a cub scout and loves Wii. It may sound a little strange but the truth is that video games are a big part of our kids today. Scouts are not earning badges for playing video games, they are earning badges for understandingthe games and the age ratings and what they mean and what is appropriate and what is not and why.


Gen Y   April 28th, 2010 1:11 pm ET

How much did Sony pay them to use the Dual Shock as the pin art?


MikeinCA   April 28th, 2010 1:11 pm ET

The fact is kids will be subject to video games. It is better that they learn the information presented in the scout requirements than going it alone. All of the people making negative comments have not read the requirements because if they had read the requirements and STILL have the negative comments you would wonder about their parenting ability.


Tommy   April 28th, 2010 1:12 pm ET

Did I miss something? Are the Scouts getting rid of the other 50+ awards that get the kids "outside and teaching them practical skills beyond the bubble of their everyday lives."


SigurJ   April 28th, 2010 1:12 pm ET

I like video games, but seems mind-blowingly stupid to me. Parents used to use Cub Scouts as something to pull their kids AWAY from their TV screens and computer monitors. If they want to be relevant, then they can offer a badge for kids that help make their homes more energy efficient.


Eric   April 28th, 2010 1:12 pm ET

As an Eagle Scout who has a child rapidly approaching Tiger Cub age, I see nothing wrong with this for a few reasons.

First of all, this is Cub Scouts, not Boy Scouts. Cub Scouts are usually the elementary age kids. While outdoorsmanship is important in scouting, many young children in urban and suburban environments don't have the means to make unorganized "outdoor" play a reality. When I was in Cub Scouts, there was a wooded area nearby that I could run around in. 20 years later, it has all been developed into yet another subdivision. I imagine this is a common occurrence. There are no community baseball diamonds or soccer fields near my house.

Second, the requirements do not ask children to sit around and mindlessly play video games, as stated in the post. The requirements move children towards engaging themselves in "active" videogaming. They ask the children to teach others, to evaluate what they're doing, and to properly schedule their time. Playing the games is not the goal of the award requirements; games are just the lever used to open the door for other learning experiences.

This post honestly seems like some knee-jerk reaction to seeing the words "Video game" and "Scouts" together in the same sentence. There's nothing wrong with scouts acknowledging the existence of video games.


LDJones930   April 28th, 2010 1:13 pm ET

If this move helps to continue the scout program, then all the better. The scout program continues to instill the good qualities of a responsible and caring scout and on into adulthoood.


Laura   April 28th, 2010 1:13 pm ET

I'm a mom, and a Cub Scout den leader (Girl Scout leader too). And my Webelo Cub Scout son has already earned both. The article didn't mention that BSA also introduced a Skateboard Activities belt loop and pin as well – which my son has also earned! Technology is cool. Builds math and science skills. I'm glad that BSA is embracing the 21st Century. Did you know that the Boy Scout handbook has an app?? $9.99. Totally cool.


Karolyn   April 28th, 2010 1:13 pm ET

Also.. Scouts is not just about being outdoors and camping anymore. the kids have so manty more options to fill up their times so Scouts is giving them the opportunity to earn how to use their time appropriately. Cub scouts is trying to appeal to the kids interests... all of the kids. This is really a good thing because no matter how many scout meetins we go to and camping trips we go on, my son is still going to want to play video games so it's a positive thing that he learns about them.


Old Bear   April 28th, 2010 1:14 pm ET

Times sure have changed. I don't think we should be rewarding our youth for playing video games. I'd go for a badge about learning computing skills for outdoor activities like GPS or something.


teej   April 28th, 2010 1:14 pm ET

Stupid move Cub Scouts. Aren't kids fat and lazy enough already? Why don't we have a pin for the kid who can put away the most cheeseburgers while we're at it?


jessica   April 28th, 2010 1:14 pm ET

sound like to me they are trying to improve this video game epidemic. Kids sit for hours veggin on the couch playing games that are not ususally approved for their age group. to earn this badge/belt loop you have to make schedules and play games that are appropiate for their age group then teach other people to play. this whole thing relies on the parents, guardians or teacher. THEY approve the game that is allowed to be used for earning the badge. if youthe parents) are so concerned with your kids playing games, dont let them play. and cub scout parents if your worried about this badge/loop only approve a academic game.


Rachell   April 28th, 2010 1:14 pm ET

Well I hope the girl scouts of America pick up on this idea. I could have used a little cover for my gaming when I was a kid! Workin on the badge mom, leave me alone! =P


John   April 28th, 2010 1:16 pm ET

As a current Scout leader (15 years now), I see the BSA moving in the wrong direction over the last few years. Making requirements easier, encouraging them to leave things in the woods (GeoCaching) and now sitting in doors. Scouting has always been a program geared at the outdoors. I've camped in a lot of places and never seen a outlet on a tree. Geeze, next thing you know, they won't even have to show up and get credit...oh, wait, that policy hit last year.


Jim Schultz   April 28th, 2010 1:16 pm ET

I am extremely disappointed by this. I spent many years as a scout and I loved the time spent outdoors, learning about nature and how to be a better person. This is an absolute mistake.

I believe the Scouts are doing this to try and attract new blood into their organization, albeit lazy blood.


jessica   April 28th, 2010 1:16 pm ET

all of you are commenting on this article about the cub scouts. have any of you actually gone to the cubscout website and read the terms of rules of earning this badge/loop? i dont think so. this is alot better then actually letting your kids jsut sit around and play video games.


joe   April 28th, 2010 1:17 pm ET

Cub Scouts has never been about the outdoors and camping. It happens that some adventures do take place outdoors, but Outdooors as a scouting "tool" is for Boy Scouts.

Cub Scouts is about (quoting the BSA website):
1. Character Development
2. Spiritual Growth
3. Good Citizenship
4. Sportsmanship and Fitness
5. Family Understanding
6. Respectful Relationships
7. Personal Achievement
8. Friendly Service
9. Fun and Adventure
10. Preparation for Boy Scouts


ajk68   April 28th, 2010 1:18 pm ET

As a Cubmaster, I was a bit horrified at the last meeting when someone had earned this pin. I had never heard about it before.

In theory in good be a good badge, if it got into the technical aspects of what makes video games work, what careers there are, etc.
I'll have to look at the requirements.


MrSpeed   April 28th, 2010 1:18 pm ET

Wow.
Wish I had this when I was a Cub scout!!!
Back in the early 80's I was in a troop who's leaders were two women who cared more about gossip than they did the boys.

To this day when asked what I learned from scouting I ALWAYS say I learned how to play a mean game of pool and smoke a cigarette with out getting caught. =0)

I look back on that time with utter embarrasment and when I see that movie Troop Beverly hills I laugh thinking that was us only backwards!!!

C'mon scouts, get those kids outside and teach them the basics...
Like how to build a tent and how to survive in nature that way when parents get sick of their fat butts being in front of the TV all day long and we kick them out of the house.... They will know how to survive!!! LOL.


Jason   April 28th, 2010 1:19 pm ET

As and Eagle Scout, I am appalled by this. This is a disgrace to BSA, this is even more a disgrace then them selling out and having all BSA related materials "Made in China" looks like BSA stands for "Boy Scouts of Asia"

Retract this award NOW.. ARE YOU READING THIS NATIONAL BSA???


Julie   April 28th, 2010 1:19 pm ET

My son is a Wolf Cub and I'm his den leader and he has received his Video Games beltloop award. I think you are missing the entire purpose of the award. The world that we live-in includes video games and kids are gonna play them. Why not teach them some common sense about how to select appropriate games and budget their time so they don't spend all day in front of the TV?

One of the requirements is to explain why the rating system is important, which was a blessing to me. Now my son understands why I won't buy certain games for him instead of just saying that I'm a mean mom.

Another requirement was to create a schedule including chores, homework and other tasks along with gaming time. In no way does this encourage boys to spend hours in-front of the TV. Quite the opposite, I think it teaches that we must take care of our responsibilties first and have fun later. Everything in moderation.

I agree with the goal of this award and, because I know the boys in my den already have gaming systems, I'm encouraging them to work towards this award so they can understand the proper way to include video games in their lives. BTW...we spend last night's den meeting geocaching and planning our summer camp-out so scouts is still all about those things too.


Raph’s Website » Cub Scouts gaming belt loop & pin   April 28th, 2010 1:20 pm ET

[...] Yup, and the jokes about Couch Scouts are already flying on some news sites. [...]


California Scout   April 28th, 2010 1:20 pm ET

Videogames are a fact of life these days, both for children and adults. The video game industry has actually surpassed the movie industry in terms of income. Scouts is about teaching life skills, and if they have a badge for learning about responsible gaming, then I say good on them. They are fulfilling their charter of developing children into responsible adults.
Having looked at the badge requirements via max's posted link, I would tweak the requirements a bit, but overall I think they are not only staying relevant to today's youth, but adapting to the real world they operate in, and doing it in a positive way. In fact, I think it should be a requirement for parents to complete the requirements of this badge/belt loop before they ever buy a video game system for their household.


joe   April 28th, 2010 1:20 pm ET

For those of you complaining....

Learn to read.

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/cubscouts/awards/boys/sanda/video_games.aspx

Read the requirements, then make an informed comment. And finally, remember that the belt loops and pins are supplemental awards and not part of the primary rank-based advancement system.


dave   April 28th, 2010 1:20 pm ET

My 8 year old quit Scouts because they "never do anything outside".


Sean   April 28th, 2010 1:20 pm ET

As a recent Eagle Scout, I can say this. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this award. It teaches responsibility and time management, and really it would appear that the only reason it has the "Video Game" tag at all is to attract scouts to try it.

If there are any objections to the "sit inside" element, let me point out that there is already chess and computers awards.


michelle   April 28th, 2010 1:21 pm ET

My kid is a Cub Scout and he earned this pin and belt loop a few weeks ago. My son is in the fourth grade. On 80% of our weekends in a year, we are camping. We volunteer at a local scout camp and my son teaches the older and younger scouts knot tying and fishing. He also shows the kids from the inner city how to set up a tent properly. He earned the badge and pin and he was very excited about being the first one in our pack to earn it. It isn't like it's a bad thing for kids to have some break and enjoy a computer game or tv game once in awhile. It is up to the parent to just monitor their boys and make sure they are actually ouside also.


Lisa   April 28th, 2010 1:21 pm ET

My son is a Cub Scout. He earned this belt loop and pin quickly, as one can imagine since most kids LOVE video games. I think they should make a belt loop/pin for House Chores. Now that would be VERY useful!


Cub Leader   April 28th, 2010 1:21 pm ET

For those of you that haven't read the requirements for the award, please do before leaving a comment. You'll sound more educated. I am a cub scout leader and have read the requirements... the purpose of the beltloop is to teach responsible video gaming. Some kids (and their parents) need to learn that!


Queens Scouter   April 28th, 2010 1:22 pm ET

I have been involved in Scouting for several years now as a Den Leader. My son was a Cub Scout and now is a Boy Scout. I understand were the BSA would see this as a good thing for drawing in new Scouts. Make the Scouts more up to date. But honestly, since the new Beltloop and Pin has come out, I have only seen 1 Cub Scout interested in completing the requirements. It's not just playing the game. Kids today are alittle lazy when it comes to working on any beltloop, even one on video games. I am incredibly happy to say I had 7 Bears complete the Nutrition and Physical Fitness Beltloops & Pins.

The requirements are:

Belt Loop
-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.

Academics Pin
-With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.
-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.
-Play a video game with family members in a family tournament.
-Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.
-List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.
-Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.
-Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.
-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.
-With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system.

In addition to the Video Game Beltloop & Pin; the BSA has also come out with the following new Beltloops & Pins within the last year:

Family Travel, Disability Awareness, Good Manners, Nutrition, Pet Care, Photography, Reading & Writing, Horseback Riding, Kickball, and Skateboarding.


Me   April 28th, 2010 1:24 pm ET

My son is currently a Cub Scout. I absolutely disagree with this. What a mess! How can a video game help in a childs life? Scouts is to help boys learn to become men. Ugh, what a disgrace.


Edward   April 28th, 2010 1:25 pm ET

Wait.. I am an Eagle Scout as well, however, there was been for a long time 20 pins in cub scouts to earn the Heavy Shoulder award. will it now be 21? Or will they remove a pin such as "Fitness" and replace it with this?

Scouting has really gone downhill, Baden Powell is turning in his grave.


Jacques   April 28th, 2010 1:25 pm ET

Speaking as an Eagle Scout, a Dad and a fella who enjoys video games, I can see this as being beneficial – if done right. Credit should go to age-appropriate video games that encourage teamwork, problem solving, creativity, and arts appreciation, and there are plenty. Rock Band and Little Big Planet come immediately to mind.

The key will be in having a badge counselor savvy enough to weed out the chaff. Kids shouldn't get credit for putting in time playing Halo or World of Warcraft.


BOB   April 28th, 2010 1:26 pm ET

Next up: The snacking pin


Marie   April 28th, 2010 1:27 pm ET

Scouting is not about being indoors or outdoors; it's about raising children to be well rounded children who will be able to function as successful mature adults in society. Most boys already spend hoursa week playing video games. Why shouldn't the scouts offer a belt loop and pin to teach the boys about being responsible with and understanding what they are already doing? I went to scout meeting with my brother as a child and I have a son in scouts. The program hasn't changed. BSA has to stay innovative and keep boys enrolled in the program or the organization will not survive. It has to stay relevant to keep kids interested. It is still a great organization with camping, the pine car derby, and Blue and Gold.


Aaron S   April 28th, 2010 1:27 pm ET

I'm an Eagle Scout and love the outdoors, but most people don't realize the aims of Scouting are to teach life and leadership skills; not just camping skills. Here are the actual requirements below- not just about wasting time with a controller in your hand. I see time-management, learning something new (game), communication with parents about appropriateness of entertainment choices, money management and informed purchasing decisions, learning to teach others a skill, and integrating video games with learning. Scouting has been the best youth development program around the world for over 100 years for a reason- as it's founder Baden Powell said- "It's a game with a purpose."

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.

Academics 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.


Rob   April 28th, 2010 1:28 pm ET

This is absolutely terrible news. Gaming is absolutely detrimental to a kid's development and general well being.

It makes me wonder how the Cub Scouts are doing financially and if the greedy, unethical, gaming companies made a donation.


Monty Moose   April 28th, 2010 1:29 pm ET

I'm a Eagle Scout and worked as an Assistant Scoutmaster for 6 years.

It does not have to be one or the other (campfires or games). There is plenty of room in the scouts for a wide range of activities that a wide range of boys can enjoy.

Could working towards this award be helpful/useful to the boy? Let's look at the requirements:

Requirements for the Video Games Belt Loop

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.

(OK, so far the scout has to consider the ratings of games including the idea that some may not be right for him and get adult advice about the right balance between gaming/homework/chores. If ever kid in America did that, I think it would be great)

Requirements for the Video Games Pin
Earn the Video Games belt loop, and complete five of the following requirements:
With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.
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.
Play a video game with family members in a family tournament.
Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.
List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.
Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.
Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.
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.
With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system.

(Well, here we ask the boy to know about comparison shopping, comparing features, and deciding where to get the most for your money. He has to use one of these systems to help improve his schoolwork. And again, he has to work with adults to get their input on his decisions. Valuable tools for later life, don't you think?)

So this award is not "don't go outside, just sit on your butt playing games". It encourages the scouts to interact with parents about an area of their lives that many kids try to keep hidden. Video games are not going away and I see this as an attempt to connect scout and parents and deal with this area in an open and responsible way.


Dan Holiday   April 28th, 2010 1:29 pm ET

There were video games around when I was in scouts, yet no awards for them. Granted, this was in the 80s...the height of Pac-Man and Space Invaders, however I think this is a bad idea.


Brad   April 28th, 2010 1:31 pm ET

I am currently a den leader and committee member in my son's pack as well as Asst Scoutmaster in my other son's troop. The whole point of scouting is to train up the next generation of men and leaders. This does not help.

It always amazes me how excited the boys get when we actively teach them new skills that push them to their limits. Kids instinctively want to be challenged. It is the parents who need to rise up and take their duties seriously. How about a "No Lazy Parent" pin?


Zach   April 28th, 2010 1:32 pm ET

They should be getting badges for avoiding video games an hour at a time. Children today have no idea what real life is about. Why would they go fishing if they can play a fishing game? These games are pulling the energy from our youth that they will need, as adults, to start businesses, run for Government positions, and learn an overall work ethic. With that laziness that technology is pushing them towards comes obesity. Outdoor physical activities are critical for our youth to become healthy, motivated adults.


Tom   April 28th, 2010 1:34 pm ET

Very Sad.... perhaps this is why their is childhood obesity. Kids today have very little social skills, imagination, self reliance etc...nor can they write or spell. Everything is texting, videogames and relying on mommy & daddy to set up play dates. what happened to kids riding their bikes with a group of friends to the stream to fish, or building a fort in someones backyard? kids today just sit inside stare at the TV and play silly games. the future of this country is doomed!!!!


Bystander   April 28th, 2010 1:34 pm ET

No need to focus on first-hand experience! Maybe they can come out with a video game where little scout-avatars get virtual patches for going hiking, climbing trees, and paddling canoes – all without the messiness of actual contact with reality!


Jollyman   April 28th, 2010 1:34 pm ET

But will the Gay Scouts follow suit? Prolly not, they are more health-minded.


Chee   April 28th, 2010 1:35 pm ET

I must say, when I first saw this I was appalled, but I went to the website that Max (thank you by the way) provided and read what it is all about. I think it is a great idea! I agree as well, scouts isn't all about the outdoors, although that is a big portion of it. Any more Scouts is there to help make sure the kids grow up to be responsible adults.

Video gaming, like a lot of things in today's world, isn't always a good thing, but it is a part of our current lifestyle. To ignore it, just tell kids no you can't and keep them away from it, will only make them want to do it. There are great video games out there that teach our kids and not just let them be zombies. If you want to raise responsible kids you need to teach them how to deal with video games, junk food, etc.. and deal with it responsibly.
This badge takes something that can be bad and teaches them how to be able to have it, but how to have it in a responsible way.
I have one son going into boy scouts next month, one who is in cubs, he has earned his bear and will soon be a webelos and two future cubs. I wouldn't mind them getting this badge, because I believe that it will teach them how to deal with it responsibly.


Miss Lisa, Cub Master   April 28th, 2010 1:35 pm ET

This article is apparently written by someone that is not involved with Scouting. Scouting prepares young men for LIFE. Not just the outdoors. The requirements for both the belt loop and pin show how Scouting tries to prepare the Scout for balancing all of their interests and activities, including playing video games.

Requirements
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.
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.
Academics 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.


William McCarley   April 28th, 2010 1:35 pm ET

Like a previous poster noted, review the requirements for the loop and pin before critiquing. Just some of the requirements: learn what is good for your age, budget your time, help assess which expenditures are good AND better, and assist in making a purchase if so deemed.

Nothing in those requirements are any that any child shouldn't be learning about responsibility, monetary value, time management, and budgeting.

The Cubs are NOT getting a badge for playing games... they are getting a badge for learning how to make and evaluate good choices associated with a prospective gaming expenditure.


sanaka   April 28th, 2010 1:36 pm ET

This is the official death of the scouting program.


Lefty   April 28th, 2010 1:37 pm ET

It's one loop/pin achievement, people–lighten up! The list of possible loops and pins cover a myriad of subjects, some academic, some physical, some for fun. Pinning childhood obesity on one Cub Scout achievement is just as ludicrous as saying a child's mentally gifted because he earned the math loop.

If you don't want your child to learn to police themselves when playing games, then fine...don't have them go for this achievement. It's not required that the boys earn it. The author of this article is apparently very jaded towards kids, Scouting, and video games already and poorly informed about the loop requirements themselves.


Hoosur   April 28th, 2010 1:37 pm ET

At least they'll be less likely to be molested by their scout master...


Hellen   April 28th, 2010 1:38 pm ET

So you have all the information when commenting the requirements for this award are:

Requirements
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.
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.

Academics Pin
1.Earn the Video Games belt loop and complete five of the following requirements:
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.


Jason   April 28th, 2010 1:39 pm ET

After reading the requirements, I feel that a scout that would not normally like to play games (there are a few) may get addicted to them, also, there are parents that will not allow their children to play video games, now those children will be excluded from earning all (21) pins, if the parent does not allow them too earn this.

Lisa,
There already is a pin for chores (and other family parts). It's called "Family Member" http://www.usscouts.org/advance/cubscout/worksheets/Family-Member.pdf


CB   April 28th, 2010 1:39 pm ET

I'm a cub scout leader and the LAST thing we need is a video game award. The scouts should have a BMI pin, marathon pin, etc. The idea of scouting used to be to get out and make a difference in your community – not hole up in your house.


Lilfut   April 28th, 2010 1:40 pm ET

Maybe this would've gotten me to stay with the scouts.

To paraphrase the arguments against:
http://tinyurl.com/24gkxj3


Brad   April 28th, 2010 1:40 pm ET

This is a great idea. Scouting is not just about outdoor events. It's about teaching our children the rights and wrongs of life. Teaching your child to be responsible with video games is a step in the right direction.

It's funny. The boy scouts has a cooking merit badge. Is the media saying we are teaching our kids to get fat? What about the pocket knife pledge? Are we teaching our kids to harm? Wake up people. This badge is teaching scouts to be responsible about playing video games and I will surely allow my son to wear his belt loop!


Jayson   April 28th, 2010 1:40 pm ET

Playing video games is actually a great way for developing the eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity needed for things like robotic surgery, and there are games that are educational. I don't think they're going to do away with all of the badges for doing things outside, so what's the problem with having well-rounded boys?

I was a scout, and I've always been both a gamer and an athlete.


3gEagle   April 28th, 2010 1:40 pm ET

I'm a 3rd generation Eagle Scout, I'm in my late 30s, and have two gamer-kids of my own. The teachings of Scouts help to endorse the world outdoors and our community. I'm really open to gaming (we have a few consoles, I grew up on an Atari and then to Nintendo iterations), but this doesn't sit well with me. It's great that the BSA wants to teach gaming awareness, but where does this award fit in with the likes of Swimming, Photography, Geology, or Personal Finance?! If this is the beginning of awards, I am afraid to see what types of Service Projects will be allowed/approved in the years to come. Get outdoors! Climb a hill, dig a hole, ride a bike, leave no trace, weave a basket – anything, but gaming should be left to gaming. Shoot, when we went on our monthly camping excursion, we were barely allowed to bring a Walkman along for the ride. Kids these days (gosh, i sound like an ol'fart) need to understand the benefits of being unplugged.


Kat   April 28th, 2010 1:41 pm ET

This article was rather poorly written and inflammatory. When you actually read the requirements for belt loops and pics you see that it encourages thought and awareness of video game habits, not hours of mindless playing. I like to see that the boys are being encouraged to think and create healthy habits, though so far, none of the 10 boys in my den have been interested in earning it. As Queens Scouter said, it is too much work. They'd prefer the mindless hours of playing they already do, or earning beltloops for skills they don't already possess.


Joe   April 28th, 2010 1:41 pm ET

Absolutely STUPID. Get these kids away from the TV and out in the real world. Do we want a bunch of mal-adjusted, self-centered obese gamers? Or well adjusted, socialized kids who know something about the outdoors, sports, etc.


Todd   April 28th, 2010 1:41 pm ET

I will qualify this comment by saying I am 45 years old, and was a Boy Scout during the 1970s–and as such, have also witnessed the birth and technological progression of gaming technology, from Pong to XBox.

It seems to me that allowing a Video Game 'award' of any kind is counter productive to what awards in scouting are supposed to be about–namely, to make you a better, more well-rounded and civic-minded person who will then go into the world and do good things for the communities you live and work in. And how do video games accomplish this? There simply isn't a satisfactory answer to this question, and in turn, nor is there a satisfactory reason why this 'award' is being established in the first place. Really BSOA–you are kidding, right?


The Truth   April 28th, 2010 1:42 pm ET

As an Eagle Scout I find this appualing. Making a pin for video gaming is pure crap, what are they learning? Its been a long time since I was a Cub Scout, but I do recall the Boy Scouts having a computer merit badge. Thats what they should do, have a computer pin were they learn how computers work and how to use them. Gaming should be just a subtask for that pin. Everything in Scouting is supposed to be educational. There is no education in this, the kids are likely to be more knowledgeable about video gaming then the adults teaching them. So in fact they are rewarding them for something they already know, so what is the real lesson learned here.


eman   April 28th, 2010 1:42 pm ET

Why are people always hating on video games. They are just games! You would think that playing games makes kids explode or something with the way these people talk about them.


Josh B   April 28th, 2010 1:43 pm ET

My parents put me in Scouts so that I would get off the couch and do/learn something. (That's when the first Nintendo was popular).

Stupid idea scouts.

What's next, a social networking badge?


JT   April 28th, 2010 1:43 pm ET

I'm my son's Tiger Den Leader, our boys worked on this when it was colder out, which makes it great for those in the Northern climates when it's harder to get out & do the outdoor types of activities. This beltloop & pin are 1 of 10 new ones, which also include Reading & Writing & Family Travel..

And for the record, the boys just earned their hiking belt loop last night and will continue to work on their hiking pin over the next couple of weeks (along with learning associated first aid – which is not a requirement, but I feel, important to know).


SJ   April 28th, 2010 1:44 pm ET

What is so bad about it? Cubs can earn academic loops/pins for things like chess, geography, math...Look at some of these requirements before you judge, it is not just about playing a game..
For the Loop, you must:
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.

For the pin, you must do all the above, plus things like...
With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.
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.
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.
.With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system.

Yes, there are also some playing & teaching requirements, but also requirements that teach safety, critical thinking, planning, finances, and networking (ever try to talk someone thru setting up the wireless on their xbox?). Like other cub acedemics, great skills for life related to something boys might be interested in.


Lynn   April 28th, 2010 1:45 pm ET

@ Edward...the 20 pins you are thinking about is for the WEBELOS and in no relation to this beltloop and pin. WEBELOS still has the 20 pins and the heavy shoulder award if the boys choose to earn all of them. As an active leader in scouting for many years, I was surprised to see this beltloop but after reading the requirements I still have mixed feelings. Merit badge counselors are not required for this as that is a boy scout position. Parents are still involved with earn this beltloop and it does teach the boys responsibility.
One of the main problems is not getting the boys outdoors and camping, it's getting the parents outdoors and camping with them. We still have a problem getting the Boy Scouts (the big boys) out to camp. As explained many times, Cub Scouts are elementary aged boys (1st grade-5th grade). They are taught about the outdoors and respecting the planet. Open a handbook that these young boys use and you will see what they learn. These beltloops and pins are not REQUIRED for them to earn their rank.


Travis Selleck   April 28th, 2010 1:46 pm ET

I've been an Eagle Scout since 1995. When I read this article, I was a little surprised to say the least. Based off this article, I completely disagree with the "Video Gaming Pin". Boy/Cub Scouts isn't about sitting inside and playing video games. You may think that I have this stance because I do not enjoy video games, but in fact, I play video games nearly every day. I love video games. I just don't see a place for them in Scouting.


randy   April 28th, 2010 1:47 pm ET

Another opinion piece created by an ill informed observer. Look at the requirements another poster linked. This loops teaches creativity, responsibility, and family values which are all at the core of Cub Scouts. It is ONE loop in a myriad of other loops. The Cubs can still pursue the other academic, sports, and outdoor loops (as I have done leading my Tiger Den). What is wrong with them trying to be "relevant" to todays youth? If they stay traditional people accuse them of being too conservative, if they are proactive people say they are too liberal, the BSA can't win. Give them a break... they are doing a good job with youth.


Monica   April 28th, 2010 1:47 pm ET

Dont you think it is more important what the cub scouts are wanting to use to identify with todays generation. If it is important to them, it should be important to us. Well rounded should be more of what we are concerned. Pitty to poor scout who doesn't know how to use a gaming system. It will be a requirement, I am sure in a generation soon to come.


bull7822003   April 28th, 2010 1:47 pm ET

A constructive, white-collar skill set can be gained from "Videogaming" in programming, philosophy, and maybe even marketing–but these are levels beyond just being a user and arguably graduate-level collegiate work. I am very skeptical about what kind of requirements would be behind getting this badge, but offhand I don't think this should be part of the Cub Scout repertoire, but as one poster above pointed out, there are merit badges for "computers" in Boy Scouts (which seems to match my recollection). I can see adding a videogaming element to a "Computing" merit badge at the Boy Scout level, but not at the Cub Scout level and certainly not as it's own objective.


John   April 28th, 2010 1:48 pm ET

No big deal here. Video gaming actually engages your brain. In fact the people here talking about "vegging" out have no idea what they're talking about. "Vegging" out is what happens when you just sit around watching TV.

I also must say that if it weren't for video games, I wouldn't be as strong a reader as I am today.

Plus the emphasis on teaching children to play games appropriate to their age is always a big plus.


Chee   April 28th, 2010 1:49 pm ET

Do you people realize this is a pin/badge you CAN learn, not HAVE TO learn?

They are not removing ANYTHING! they are just adding something to help our children become more responsible. Not all video games are bad and that's what this teaches kids, when it's appropriate to play, and what is appropriate to play.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH TEACHING OUR KIDS TO BE RESPONSIBLE????


Catamount   April 28th, 2010 1:49 pm ET

At first I was horrified that the Cub Scouts would sink to encouraging kids to stay inside and and play video games. After I read the requirements for the belt loop and badge I am convinced these awards will greatly benefit scouts by teaching them many valuable lessons about an inescapable presence in their lives.

The kids are already playing these things. The advancements teach them about responsible choice of games, how to spend time with the family, beginning consumer skills, how to teach another person a skill. The requirement to play one game with a friend for an hour needs to change. The others are great tasks for boys to learn essential skills and values.

Read the requirements before taking a position. I wish I had.


H Grieco   April 28th, 2010 1:49 pm ET

The thought of this horrified me, until I read the list of requirements. It's pretty solid. I've been an elementary school teacher for 7 years, and I must admit- there are some good activities on this list. Everyone should read it before they form an opinion.


Eagle Eye   April 28th, 2010 1:50 pm ET

OMG! There is NO WAY I would reward a boy playing video games. Even if they are educational. Come on, thats what we have parents and teachers for to tell them what games are appropriate for their age group. And if they need help with homework, what happened to asking Mom, Dad, Older brother or sister, or better yet....teacher!

I was both a Boy Scout and Adult Leader. The award I'm most proud of receiving was being tapped out for OA. Nothing beats that experience!!! I'd advise boys to get out there and try it. And if you dont like the Scouts there is always Campfire, and probably more local groups too.


Christian Klump   April 28th, 2010 1:50 pm ET

This is a great victory for me who is both a Boy Scout and gamer. This is a great way for Cub Scouts to get advancement in their ranks. So what if this makes them skip the outdoors for a bit. There just kids! If this was a merit badge for Boy Scouts then I would understand if people are against this because it keeps them away from the outside but these are just kids who shouldn't be out in the wilderness at such a young age. When I was in cub scouts we were basically a urban pack who did activities that were around the community like basketball and bowling. I didn't get into campouts till I was in the Boy Scouts. This is just another way for a young gamer to get passionate about it in Cub Scouts and I am happy that the Boy Scouts of America Corp. can see this as a gateway to new scouts.


Andrew   April 28th, 2010 1:51 pm ET

Like the Scouts – Not so crazy about this idea. What good comes from playing video games? I can't think of anything. Who needs people that know how to play video games? I can't think of anyone. Why not encourage children to learn something useful?


TRH   April 28th, 2010 1:51 pm ET

Cody McCloy the illustrious author of this junk news piece needs to do a TEENSY bit of research before writing his opinion.

It is clear he hasn't read the requirements with his "Apparently these new awards are geared toward making Scouts understand which games are appropriate for their age group, not just rewarding them for sitting around on their butts playing video games."

I for one find this type of headline pandering writing to be nothing short of offensive.

I can't wait for the next headline " BILLIONS DIE"

Followed with:

Apparently, the human body is incapable of surviving to 500 years old, and all people born over 200 years ago are currently dead.

Shame CNN. Shame Cody McCloy.

Do they even teach ethics in reporting any more? Or were you too busy watching TV to attend those classes?


mike kinard   April 28th, 2010 1:51 pm ET

I'm holding my head, and don't know what to think.

As a current Asst. Scoutmaster I understand the need to teach the correct path in relevant subjects, rather than shun the whole thing. But I am very concerned about the anti-health aspects–both physical and psychological.

Perhaps the requirements should also include tests that demonstrate that you have concurrently improved your cardio health–numbers of pushups, time in a 100 yd run, something like that. I'm serious. It might reinforce the idea that this MUST be countered by actual activity.


craig   April 28th, 2010 1:52 pm ET

i work at a cub scout camp at the nature area and teach kids about the woods and the animals and plants that live in it. and one of the things i think scouting is about is being outside but to give a badge that is all about being inside playing video games just dosent seem right to me


relax   April 28th, 2010 1:55 pm ET

Relax. It is just one pin out of many. Maybe they can teach the kids something about responsible gaming, and how it is just one part of a full life. As a scout my son has camped in heat and snow. He has pulled weeds in parks. He has swimming bagdes, and shooting badges, and family life bagdes...

Everything in moderation might be a good lesson.


CC   April 28th, 2010 1:55 pm ET

After reading the requirements to get the pin on the Scouts page, I think this is a great idea. It doesn't encourage excess, and teaches kids to play responsibly. It's inevitable in the high-tech society kids are in these days that they will start gaming, and teaching them these things is a good thing. Although, I'll have to agree on questioning its place in Cub Scouts versus Boy Scouts, though they may have a point in educating them early on.


MJ   April 28th, 2010 1:56 pm ET

Good idea!
Its just 1 thing.. It isn't a whole series of pin/loops that make them sit inside. As a Scout leader, this is acceptable. I would like to see if it expands into the inner working of a video game and possibly the components of how they are created. :))


Chee   April 28th, 2010 1:57 pm ET

Andrew, I can think of many people that video game shave helped. One being a DOCTOR! They used scopes and monitors all the time now. Also there are the armed forces that use simulations to teach them how to fly/drive, ect.. The list of jobs that use video game type manuvers goes on and on.
Do I think it is ok to sit hours upon hours on a game? NO, but it is important in a world that depends so heavily on technology that one knows how to use it too.


Jim   April 28th, 2010 1:57 pm ET

As an Assistant Cubmaster and active Scouter (12+years) i was appalled when i first heard the news of this new belt loop and pin. However, once i read the requirements, my anxiety was relieved. The requirements are aimed at making boys more responsible in their game-playing not make them addicts.
Just a quick history lesseon, the CubScouts started 20 years after the Boys Scouts were started in America. The Cub Scouts are not junior Boy Scouts! They have their own advancement based onthe 12 core principles (stated earlier) of Cub Scouting. Please seperate the 2 in your minds. Otherwise, you make an absolute invalid argument!!!


Adam   April 28th, 2010 1:57 pm ET

Some of the comments left by the uninformed people here make me shake my head in amazement...

"Gaming is absolutely detrimental to a kid's development and general well being. "

"My son is currently a Cub Scout. I absolutely disagree with this. What a mess! How can a video game help in a childs life? Scouts is to help boys learn to become men."

I could go on but these 2 struck me as the most idiotic. There is nothing wrong with a child playing video games. Where the problems occur is when the parents don't care and don't do anything about it, letting video games be the *only* thing in the child's life. Before making more comments such as the ones above, please read the requirements that have been stated numerous times. Also, I beg you to do a little research on the social influence that video games have on our society before crucifying them as something with no value.

By the way, as others have said, this is a single *optional* award for elementary-aged kids. A lot of you are commenting as if they've taken away from the primary focus of BOY scouts (aged 12-18). I was in cub scouts 20+ years ago and can tell you that even back then, we didn't always spend time outdoors. We maybe went on one camping trip every 4 to 6 weeks.


Joel   April 28th, 2010 1:57 pm ET

I'm not a fan of the award and my two sons who are cub scouts will not be earning it. We don't even own a gaming system.

As a Scoutmaster in our boyscout troop, I encourage primarily advancement and outdoor adventure.

This pin and beltloop for cubs just rubs me the wrong way.


Mike   April 28th, 2010 1:57 pm ET

Gaming is for homes, Cub Scouts are for developing social skill, Boy Scouts are for woodland skils.
Eagle Scout in 1976


Scott E   April 28th, 2010 1:58 pm ET

This is why we pulled our son out of scouts. Now more then ever is the time to teach kids about nature and the outdoors. Scouts has become a pin club where you are simply trying to get the must "stuff". It's awful and boring. It why I take my boy backpacking on my own. So he can LEARN something new. To see the world in a fresh way. He already knows how to play video games.


Odie   April 28th, 2010 1:58 pm ET

Wonderful, now they can earn a violence badge at the same time their pack maters are earning abuse points and bigtry points. Jut the kind of clean cut American activities I would want for my son.


again, nothing new here   April 28th, 2010 1:58 pm ET

this award have been available for several months so this is really an old story.

there are many awards for activities that take place in doors that involve expanding a child's interests and understanding of their world. Scout activities do not need to be only about camping and playing sports.


Nick   April 28th, 2010 1:59 pm ET

The more stuff like like this I read, the more I think the movie 'Idiocracy' will sum up our future nicely... Love it!


Mike P   April 28th, 2010 1:59 pm ET

Cub Scouts are for developing social skills, Boy Scouts are for woodland skills, Video Games are for the home.
Eagle Scout, 1976


AnEagle Scout   April 28th, 2010 2:00 pm ET

This is Cub Scouts. Cub Scouts was glorified baby sitting. You don't have to gain any badges to continue your scouting journey to Boy Scouts. This is NOT Weblos, this is NOT Boy Scouts, this is NOT a Merit Badge!! There still is no Video Game Merit Badge.

I am an Eagle Scout, an award only 2% of men actually reach as they are pulled away by girls and cars by the time they can reach this goal. This belt loop is not hurting anything. It does not count as a merit badge on your way to Eagle. Any parent reading this with a scout should understand how meaningless a video game belt loop is at the Cub Scout level. At this age, the boys are awarded belt loops to make them feel accomplished, and to get them accustomed to earning rewards, so what if there's an easy one?

The badge I am proudest of was Lifesaving. It was an intense course, involving First Aid and lifesaving tecniques in deep water. Order of the Arrow Brotherhood Hono is another.

I wish people would understand how much Scouts can help your son grow into a succesful, confident young man, and stop sweating Video Game Beltloops.


Kevin   April 28th, 2010 2:00 pm ET

This badge won't encourage kids to play more video games than they already do. Instead it will teach them to be more productive with their time by being selective in the games they play. Although I am an eagle scout and all about the outdoors, I am still in support of this.

As long as there are no time requirements in the badge and it is about experiences and promoting to think about gaming differently I have no problem with it.


Austin   April 28th, 2010 2:00 pm ET

Unfortunately gaming is becoming the scapegoat for the wider technologization of society. Things like stickball and phonograph records are being replaced by Wii Sports and iTunes right before our eyes and there's not a damn thing you can do about it. But if you see the big picture instead of decrying only one aspect of the wholesale change we're experiencing, you understand that playing something like World of Warcraft is no more a sign of the coming apocalypse than tweeting all day on your Blackberry.


Erik   April 28th, 2010 2:00 pm ET

Videogames are just entertainment. Are the going to give a pin for television and movies too?


Ren   April 28th, 2010 2:01 pm ET

Those critics who are in opposition to this need to re-examine their position.

One of the first "loops" that my son earned as a Cub (and he did this while at the Pack campout) was the CHESS belt loop.

The Chess belt loop has existed for YEARS, and that small fact rebuts all the complaints about the alleged inappropriateness of the Video Game loop.


Pope   April 28th, 2010 2:01 pm ET

SJ, What your describing sounds more like it should be called "how to be a good little shopper badge".... Why not apply that to buying a bycicle (a lot cheaper then buying any video came console) and lerning how to fix it and take care of it. Real exersise and real usful skills while getting your hands dirty, not getting carpel tunnel syndrome and type 2 diabetes….


Matt   April 28th, 2010 2:01 pm ET

People, you need to grow up, as pointed out before, to those that have no clue, there are badges and such for non outdoor things, let me repeat, NON OUTDOOOR...as Max has posted, if this is done just like all the others, then good for them! Scouts isnt just an outdoor thing, its to learn how to be social, you know, how to live in a society, which it seems alot of ppl need to learn how to


Andrew   April 28th, 2010 2:02 pm ET

Cue up the late-night jokes.

A lot of scoffers here, I see. Note, this, though:

LOTS of badges are earned for things that aren't physical challenges. And frankly, video games do "teach" in many ways.

If you're going to stop your son from earning a video game patch, better also check off all those other skills that don't build mind or muscle.

Coin collecting? Fingerprinting? Quick! Collect some stamps. Read a book. Tell jokes. PRAY. THAT will burn off some of the hypocritical crap you've been feeding them.

If your kids are going to play video games anyway -and they should be – they might as well become engaged in them in a way that adds to their understanding of things.


Anon   April 28th, 2010 2:02 pm ET

I'm a 19yo senior in college, and I blame 'intelligent' video games for my ability to read extremely quickly, as well as my ability to stream-line decipher things. So long as kids play games that require a lot of reading, thinking, problem solving, etc., they are doing themselves a service. If you spend your days playing shoot-em-up or beat-em-up or whatever, where real strategy or thinking comes into play, well, you're just having fun like any sport would let you have.

TL;DR, If kids play intelligent games, where a lot of reading is required, they will be helping themselves in the long run.


louie   April 28th, 2010 2:02 pm ET

please look into more than just the news article. I am a scout leader (volunteer) and there are links to view the requirements. the requirements for this optional belt loop/pin involve setting limits and responsible playing habits. they're not promoting being a couch potato. just offering something the boys can learn from, and earn and display.

there's also a belt loop for computer/communications. should we frown on that because it involves sitting? there's a belt loop for bb gun (to be earned at authorized facilities only) that teaches safety and responsible use.

it's hard enough to get the youth involved with beneficial programs. please research before putting down things you're not familiar with.


legolas75   April 28th, 2010 2:03 pm ET

I was in Cub Scouts (received Arrow of Light) and Boy Scouts (Eagle Scout). This does not seem like the way to go. Boys need to get off their butts and gain some appreciation for the world beyond their living room.


Scout Master   April 28th, 2010 2:03 pm ET

This article needs to outline the requirements of the award. If anyone read them, they would understand that the boys do learn valuable things with thess award.

For the Belt Loop

- 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.

For the Pin

- With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.

- 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.

- Play a video game with family members in a family tournament.

- Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.

- List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.

- Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.

- Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.

- 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.

- With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system.


dave   April 28th, 2010 2:03 pm ET

shocking - i trust kids will still get the chance to learn how to hide small bottles of alcohol on camping trips, just like they always have


Ernesto Bozzletalk   April 28th, 2010 2:03 pm ET

my cubmaster taught me to play with my Wii years ago...but alas, I never received a badge. Just therapy. Lots and lots of therapy.


DK21   April 28th, 2010 2:03 pm ET

Old news.
This beltloop and pin have been out for over 60 days.


Brian   April 28th, 2010 2:03 pm ET

I am currently a 21 year-old Eagle Scout who participated in Scouting from the mid/late-90s until 2007 when I went to college, so I grew up during the time that video game systems advanced the most. At first I was skeptical of this award because video games in general encourage laziness, isolation, etc... But then I took a look at the requirements and was very impressed. The awards involve finding the lowest price, teaching others how to play, playing academic games, doing research on the differences between the systems, play a game with friends, and make a schedule to balance your time (my personal favorite). None of these skills are bad at all for kids to learn. Video gaming is another hobby that can be a social experience. So, yes, the Cub Scouts are trying to stay relevant, but they're also putting a spin on it. And what if they came out with a "Board Games" pin? Would there be as much uproar?


Rodney   April 28th, 2010 2:04 pm ET

Whats next, a pin for using a cell phone & text messaging?


Kim   April 28th, 2010 2:04 pm ET

This would have been great for the boy who had nothing to do all summer but play video games since he broke his leg at scout camp!! There is also an internet scout patch that teaches them about computers and probably teaches the parents too. It's only a belt loop, get over it!


MJ   April 28th, 2010 2:04 pm ET

For all the video game pin/loop haters. Do you have the same feeling for the bowling loop/pin, math loop pin, how about ping pong, marbles and painting? Ease up! It just one pin and doesn't mean you have to play 20 hours of video games to earn it. LOL!


louie   April 28th, 2010 2:05 pm ET

@ Pope, yes they have a belt loop and pin for that as well.


Anon   April 28th, 2010 2:05 pm ET

Also, I think the cnn-writer for this is extremely biased. You don't "play for hours" in order to earn the award, you play for one. You must do work and research outside of your home to complete the pin, I don't see why this is a bad thing, at all!

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/cubscouts/awards/boys/sanda/video_games.aspx


KJ   April 28th, 2010 2:05 pm ET

I would rather see scouts earn a technology badge. For Cub's, that would include taking apart a PC and exploring the components, with each kid being involved at various times for assembly during this group activity. 1 meeting, 1 hour, all participating earn the badge.

Boy scouts would have more complicated tasks, and be an individual effort.


Chris   April 28th, 2010 2:06 pm ET

The requirements sound like they will provide scouts with a healthy, thoughtful, and practical approach towards video games. Bravo to the BSA on taking initiative in recognizing that video games surround scouts already, and creating a program that makes games an interactive, family-oriented tool of enrichment!


Greg   April 28th, 2010 2:06 pm ET

My son has just completed his first year of Cub Scouts. When I first saw that this award was available I just laughed. But I read the requirements and, just like every other belt loop/pin, the point is about how to be responsible and thoughtful while you engage in an activity. Of course you don't want your child sitting in front of the TV all day playing video games. That would be irresponsible. This loop at least broaches the topic of moderation in video gaming in a way that rewards a child for actively analyzing the games they play. Regretably or not, this type of gaming is now part of our culture and kids do play them. There is no reason to ignore it.

Interestingly, I haven't heard anybody bemoaning the Chess Pin requirement stating that you play numerous games with other people via computer/Internet.


Aaron   April 28th, 2010 2:07 pm ET

If they want to make a badge more relevant to modern times it should be something based on recognizing different types of technology and what their uses are. I see the path that they are trying traveling down, but it's a little misguided.
Eagle Scout 2002


Susan   April 28th, 2010 2:07 pm ET

My son is a Cub Scout and has recently earned his video game belt loop.

As a parent, I don't mind allowing my son reasonable time to play video games; most boys will play video games whether they are in Cub Scouts or not, so why not offer a belt loop with stringent requirements?

The Cub Scouts don't "encourage" a boy to take up video game playing – it's not something that's required to progress in scouting, so I don't see a problem with offering something that's perhaps more current with what's going on in our childrens' lives.


Craig   April 28th, 2010 2:08 pm ET

I think they should have a Video Game Badge Earned for the following reason:

FOR NOT PLAYING VIDEO GAMES!

How about a Badge for being "GREEN" or a Badge for Number of 50+ page books read?


vinman   April 28th, 2010 2:08 pm ET

you people that are crying about this are probably the same people that buy your 10 year olds Grand theft auto and spend 0 quality time with your kids.
READ THIS
http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/cubscouts/awards/boys/sanda/video_games.aspx

go buy a game and have a tournament with your kids and STOP WHINING

nice job on the link max


B   April 28th, 2010 2:08 pm ET

Thank you SJ. My son has earned this loop and pin and the requirements encourage many things beyond sitting infront of a "glowing box." To earn this he had to:

Explain why it is important to have a rating system for video games.

Create a schedule for you to do things that includes your chores, homework, and video gaming.

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

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.

With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.

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.

Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game

These requirements encourage critical thinking, planned purchasing, moderation, and require the ability to articluate difficult concepts and be able to teach using patience and the ability to break up larger tasks into more managable ones. It also forces the sometimes solitary act of gaming into a family event.
.
Shame on the "reporter" for not doing his homework and actually looking up the requirements before writing about this topic. This pin and loop teach a child many skills that most adults these days are lacking.

I highly recommend this loop/pin.


Michelle   April 28th, 2010 2:09 pm ET

Looking at the requirements, it doesn't seem so bad. However, it seems like something parents could use to do, too. An underage kid isn't going to walk into a store and buy a game with an M rating. The parent is buying it for them. There are so many people who just ignore the ratings, and then blame the game makers when they realize how violent it is.


Adam   April 28th, 2010 2:09 pm ET

Let me also say that anyone who is vehemently against this award must also take the same stance on the Chess award. To not do so would be hypocritical, since they're basically the same thing: games which require no physical activity. One just happens to be in a digital format, which inexplicably frightens people who don't understand it.


James   April 28th, 2010 2:10 pm ET

I was a cub, and a scout, and I am and Eagle Scout. Ive read the requirements for this pin and belt loop. What a crock, its wrong and there aint nothing can make it right. Yes there are electronics related pins, badges, and belt loops each dealing with a complex subject and possessing difficult requirements in order to obtain. these subjects are also useful in real world applications. This video game stuff not only doesnt have a high difficulty level there isnt a single thing that can bee applied to a real world situation that cant be obtained at twice the value from some other badge or pin.


dave   April 28th, 2010 2:10 pm ET

whose $1000.00 computer are these kids going to destroy

"I would rather see scouts earn a technology badge. For Cub's, that would include taking apart a PC and exploring the components, with each kid being involved at various times for assembly during this group activity. 1 meeting, 1 hour, all participating earn the badge.

Boy scouts would have more complicated tasks, and be an individual effort.

"


Marie   April 28th, 2010 2:12 pm ET

I think this a a great step of the organiztion changing with the times. Its not practical to keep membership up with pre-teen kids if you dont encourage activities they like. I am sure the award is not "ok play video games for hours". Even the "fun" badges require research skills, presentation skills etc...

The same "enlightenment" happened with the Girl Scouts a few years ago, they had to update and revamp many aspects of the organization in order to keep girls interested. No 13 year old wants to learn things that were popular 50 years ago, they want to be cool in today's society.


GhogKilla   April 28th, 2010 2:13 pm ET

OK. I am a Cub Scout mom and I am an active parent. When I saw this I was like "what in sam hell"?! I am still a little shocked HOWEVER if this will help teach kids about which games are age appropriate and how much time is "healthy" then it is probably a good idea. It will be IMPOSSIBLE to shield our boys from these games. Yes I know some of you are, I have amish neighbors too, but the rest of us have to battle to get our kids not to be on games too long. If my kid gets more than 20 min. of a game he is a mess. Moody, cries easily. He has friends his age (8) that have NO restrictions on time OR type of game. We could all use a little help. It really does take a village.


Rob   April 28th, 2010 2:13 pm ET

Due to popular belief, scouting isn't just about camping and helping elders cross the street. Those who know, Scouting focuses mostly on personal responsibility (a lost art form). I believe that Hellen says it best in that the article fails to mention the full criteria, which teaches the boys personal responsibility in regards to economics, awareness, education and most importantly friendships in a way that the boys can understand at the 1st through 5th grade level.

Nobody here seems to take issue with the Girl Scouts pimping saturated fat cookies throughout the year!


Ken   April 28th, 2010 2:13 pm ET

Please go read the requirements for these awards. The link is in the article.

I'm an Eagle Scout, Assistant Scoutmaster, and no Pack Committee member, with a son who will be starting Tigers in a few years. When I heard about this, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. Reading the requirements, it's actually pretty good and does teach "responsible gaming" and does NOT promote excessive time in front of the TV. It acknowledges that video games are part of our kids' lives, and teaches them how to include them as part of a healthy lifestyle. I'm for it.


Ken   April 28th, 2010 2:13 pm ET

Please go read the requirements for these awards. The link is in the article.

I'm an Eagle Scout, Assistant Scoutmaster, and now a Pack Committee member, with a son who will be starting Tigers in a few years. When I heard about this, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. Reading the requirements, it's actually pretty good and does teach "responsible gaming" and does NOT promote excessive time in front of the TV. It acknowledges that video games are part of our kids' lives, and teaches them how to include them as part of a healthy lifestyle. I'm for it.


MS   April 28th, 2010 2:13 pm ET

I agree with Matt (above). If this is done properly, it could work. The parents will need to be the ones really policing their son's time on the games. A little isn't bad. Too much can be.

I'm an Eagle Scout, and even in cubbies, I knew the value of managing time enough to be able to balance chores, homework, games (when I was a cubbie, Hexen, Heretic, and Descent 2 were my weaknesses), and the great outdoors.


Steve   April 28th, 2010 2:15 pm ET

As an Eagle scout, this is very disturbing. I agree with the author that Scouting is about getting kids involved – whether that be with outdoor activities, learning how to manage their personal finances, to performing community service. To offer an insignia that shows you know how to play video games has no place in Scouting.


dave   April 28th, 2010 2:15 pm ET

did you know Indians call what goes on at their Casinos "gaming"

are degenerate gamblers "gamers"

don't they teach respect for Indian woodscraft in the Boy Scouts

is the next step going to be respect for Indian Gaming?

I think there is room for a conspiracy theory here


Charles   April 28th, 2010 2:16 pm ET

'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.'

Would the accept 'The rating system is important because it allows a board of people to arbitrarily rate DWM III T, which is a mostly harmless game, which is the same rating Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind got. Morrowing, by the way, gave me nightmares."

Because that's how I'd reply the question.


Nathan Sr   April 28th, 2010 2:16 pm ET

This is one of the belt loops my son and I will be working on this summer. I think it is a good idea, and relevant to his generation. I'm a former Scout, from Tigers to Boy Scouts. Gaming consoles are in many homes these days, and the requirements teach the boys time management, helping others learn, the importance of game ratings, and savvy shopping.

Requirements for the Video Games Belt Loop
Complete these three requirements:
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.

Requirements for the Video Games Pin
Earn the Video Games belt loop, and complete five of the following requirements:
With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.
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.
Play a video game with family members in a family tournament.
Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.
List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.
Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.
Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.
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.
With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system.


Charles   April 28th, 2010 2:17 pm ET

*morrowind


Kerri   April 28th, 2010 2:17 pm ET

Most of the kids working on the pin use a Wii anyway, which can actually get them off the couch depending on the game. This is a real issue with people? I can assure people 99.9% of scouting is still about being active, and helping the community.


Lenny   April 28th, 2010 2:17 pm ET

I can't wait 'til I get my Tweeting pin.


Mark   April 28th, 2010 2:19 pm ET

The naivety of the author of this post and many of the people commenting here is disturbing. Sure, a lot of cub scouts and boy scouts is about hiking, camping, nature identification, building stuff, etc... but that's not the point of the program. It was never the point of the program to be a hiking/camping/fixing stuff group. Anybody here know the story of how scouts got started in America? Guy in England, lost in the fog, helped by a British scout...ring a bell? How much of that has to do with hiking or camping or fixing stuff?

Cub Scout Promise:
I, (say your name), promise to DO MY BEST To do my DUTY to GOD
And my Country To HELP other people, and To OBEY the LAW of the Pack

See anything in there about hiking, camping, or even nature?

Scout Law:
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
Scout Oath:
On my honor I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

See anything there about hiking or camping? Physically strong is mentioned (which is why to get any of the major ranks in cub scouting or boy scouting you have to do physical exercise) but that's it.

For years Boy Scouting has had the Computers merit badge, there have always been badges awarded for intellectual exercise and yet that wasn't a problem. But now that we have a BELT LOOP (the most minor award you can get in cub scouts) for video gaming, an award that, yes, requires that they actually play video games, but also requires that the do things like learn the value of money, research costs and benefits of major, expensive purchases and plan their activities on a regular basis so that their school and home work gets done first we all throw a hissy fit.

Scouts is about turning boys into men, making them into productive members of society and if part of what needs to be done to do that is teach them how to play video games responsibly, so be it!

fwiw I'm an Eagle Scout and a Webelos den leader at the moment.


JustMike   April 28th, 2010 2:19 pm ET

I'm a CubMaster. This program is in line with the past 100 years of Scouting and I fully support it. The program echos all other aspects of the program in teaching boys responsibility and how to become productive members of society. You do that by promoting balance and moderation of activities. Whether that is eating (the food pyramid), safety at home in the form of fire evacuation plans or how to enjoy playing a video game without neglecting your other responsibilities. I have a great time playing games like Rock Band with my kids.... if you haven't tried it.... perhaps you should.


Jason   April 28th, 2010 2:20 pm ET

As an Eagle Scout who went through years of scouting, a Gaming Cub Scout pin is crazy. I looked at the requirments for the pin, and its ridiculous. "Play a game for one hour with a friend". Give me a break. Pins are suppose to represent physical activities, academics, or important topics that improve the individuals mind, body, and spirit. But maybe the organization is using this as a way to keep the kids interested in the overall program. Next thing they will have is "Watch TV" pin.


Justin   April 28th, 2010 2:21 pm ET

I'm an eagle scout and when I first read the headline I couldn't believe it. After reading the article however, I realized that times are changing and that this badge is more for awareness of the different types of games. The Boy Scouts have always taught awareness for different things and I guess this is their way of adapting with society.


Jason   April 28th, 2010 2:23 pm ET

As an Eagle Scout I was at first shocked by this story, but then decided to think about it. Boy Scouts are supposed to be developed into leaders in the community. I think it only makes sense that this is offered, if done right, so that these future leaders can better associate with the population.

I still think I received the most benefit out of the core required badges that taught us to be a good citizen and a leader. My favorite was wilderness survival, I still carry my swiss army knife in my suit jacket.


Paul   April 28th, 2010 2:23 pm ET

This sounds like an April Fools prank, but it's not April 1. What are they going to do next, give pins for eating fried chicken?


Eagle dad   April 28th, 2010 2:23 pm ET

Isn't it sad the people freakin out in this blog scolding the BSA but are spending WAY too much of their time in front of a PC. maybe even on company time. Advice GET Outside yourself. Find a local Troop/Pack and help the boys with your time. BSA needs help relating to boys 8-14 . They are short on Adult Dedicated leaders but not short on critics.


dave   April 28th, 2010 2:24 pm ET

famous Eagle Scouts

Marion Barry

Charles Whitman


Unbelievable   April 28th, 2010 2:26 pm ET

What a joke! But it does not surprise me. My son was in cub scouts, and the den leader's son got all kinds of pins with no work or effort. It seemed that all they cared about was getting the awards, regardless of whether they deserved them or not. Getting a pin for video gaming seems rather strange, it is like rewarding a bad habit. I am glad my child is no longer in scouts, we decided it was not good for him, the scouts were very different than when we were little.


Mike (Cubmaster in central Virginia)   April 28th, 2010 2:26 pm ET

I think this stinks!


Lee   April 28th, 2010 2:27 pm ET

As an Eagle Scout, I have to say this is an interesting way to market to todays couch potato generation. The Scouts at my church are nothing like my troop 20 years ago. We hiked the most rugged mountains in Montana and Wyoming. These kids today hardly seem to want to hike to the parking lot to get into the car. A video game award only seems to encourage the trend.

BTW, my favorite award to earn was the rifle and shootgun shooting merit badge. Lots of safety training first and then several hours of target shooting to get the scores required.


steve   April 28th, 2010 2:29 pm ET

I wonder if there's anything in this about "how video games are made?" That would encourage future development and be awesome for kids.

I'm sure this isn't as frivolous as it sounds.

-


JENN   April 28th, 2010 2:30 pm ET

I am a den leader and this past winter with out awful it was 20in here in Lincoln, NE with one storm, I was very grateful to have new badges to work on with the boys. We brought out the old Atari and the new Wii systems and put them both on tv's side by side. They boys then talked about the game rating system and now it's not appropriate to play adult games at their age. We also discussed how things have changed and adults chimed in with stories of how things were different back then and how computers have evolved. They also talked about games they would like to invent and how they would be played. Finally, they boys also discussed how it's not healthy to play all the time and that our bodies need to be physically fit. It's not about how we are keeping them away from nature and going outdoors, in fact that is our whole spring/summer/fall experience. At this day and age it's finding things that are relevant to society now and how they relate to boys and scouting. I was impressed that the BSA would take time to evolve into making the curriculum for this belt loop. It shows they are responding to the changes in our society and lifestyles.


Shannon   April 28th, 2010 2:30 pm ET

I'm a current Cub Scout leader and I am appalled by this article. Talk about taking things out of context! First, this is a VERY MINOR award. It's a belt loop and/or pin – not exactly a big deal in Cub Scouting. There are at least 65 different Cub Scout awards and basically all of them are much more prestigious than this one. Second, the reality is that kids are spending hours playing games anyway – this award (if you actually take the time to look at it), is just designed to get the boys thinking about what they are doing. One requirement addresses the issue of how much time they are playing games and setting reasonable limits. Ooooooh. That's really a bad thing, CNN (and its readers who have never even looked and the requirements.) Isn't that what everyone out there is trying to do? Set reasonable limits? Shame on the BSA for trying to encourage limits. Third, the article conveniently left out the other belt loops/pins introduced by BSA – such as HIKING, READING/WRITING, PHOTOGRAPHY, HORSEBACK RIDING, KICKBALL, HOCKEY, NUTRITION, GOOD MANNERS, DISABILITY AWARENESS, etc. One fun, everyday belt loop – big deal. Try looking at the program as a whole. Couch potatoes? I think not. Fourth, check out an active Cub Scout pack sometime. You might be surprised to find out they are made up of good kids learning good wholesome values and activities. We have so much fun in our den – and our boys are probably learning as much or more than the average boys their ages. And they are engaged in good causes – food drives, making hygiene kits for refugees (that they worked to pay for with their own money!), planting trees, etc. And what about many of the other boys their age out there? What are they doing in their spare time? (Oh, wait – only playing video games hours on end.) Sadly, this article does nothing to support an organization that society desperately needs and should be supporting instead of slamming. And finally – this is news?! The video gaming belt loop/pin has only been out and available for months. Way to be on top of things CNN.


NJ Mom   April 28th, 2010 2:32 pm ET

As a mother of 2 young boys, I'm a little surprised. I understand wanting to be relevant and I even respect the attempt to teach kids how to determine which games are appropriate BUT (call me crazy here); shouldn't the parents be the ones determining which games are appropriate for their kids? My kids don't pick their games and they certainly don't attend boys scouts so they can get more gaming time in, quite the opposite. In a society full of TV heads and extreme gamers, we need resources that help us encourage healthier activities. How about a pin for spending at least 60 minutes a day being active? (That's the new suggested goal from our school district) or a pin for cutting their average TV time for the week down? Don't get me wrong, I allow them to play video games, I even play with them from time to time, but I can not recall a time I ever though or said, "They're really good boys, I just wish I knew how to get them to play the XBox a little more often. "


solana   April 28th, 2010 2:33 pm ET

Great, glad to see they are adding more electives
that the cubs are interested in. lets not over react.
there needs to be balance in everything.


trytryagain   April 28th, 2010 2:33 pm ET

so this author is writing a science fiction article but references a star trek episode to hint at the problems of a society that becomes dependent on technology.

IT IS CALLED THE TIME MACHINE, by HG WELLS, LOOK IT UP.

YOU STUPID MORLOCK ASS.


Tiger Mom   April 28th, 2010 2:33 pm ET

I laughed, too, but then I watched as my son FAILED to earn the video game belt loop. And, people, Cub Scout belt loops are EASY. The belt loop required, generally, that the Cub learn the ratings system and explain how it works and why to his family. Then the Cub has to develop a plan for the week - limiting his video game time appropriately with homework and outside time and chores, etc. And then the Cub has to stick to the schedule. Guess where my Cub fell apart? That's right, he couldn't stick to HIS OWN SCHEDULE.

I have stopped laughing. Natural consequences are the best teachers. As a parent, I am happy to see my kid mad at himself for not sticking to the schedule and earning the belt loop. He does a much better job monitoring his "screen" time than he ever did before this experience. And I didn't have to say anything!

So, maybe the Cub Scouts are keeping up with the current needs of families to raise healthy, balanced kids. And next time they come out with a new belt loop, I'll look before I laugh.


Paul   April 28th, 2010 2:34 pm ET

The Boy Scouts of America have recently been talking quite a bit about encouraging more "physical fitness" of the scouts in the program.

They have made the fitness height/weight requirements more strict to attend Philmont and other high adventure bases.

Their "vision" is to challenge scouts to get outside and be more physically fit.

So why then....... have they decided to offer any kind of advancement item which doesn't seem to line up at all with their overall vision.


Mitchell   April 28th, 2010 2:35 pm ET

I'm an Eagle Scout. I loved my Cub Scout days. While, i have my reservations, if this boosts and retains membership go for it. We are having membership issues. So it can help it is cool. We need to be prepared move forward as sociiety changes.


andrew   April 28th, 2010 2:35 pm ET

I am in my 30's, a former Eagle Scout and a gamer, and to me this idea is embarrassing. Boy Scouts is supposed to be about teaching leadership activities and life skills, not how to be good at what is primarily a sedentary hobby.

A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent...and able to snipe Covenant from 500 yards? I don't think so.


Nick   April 28th, 2010 2:35 pm ET

The first thing people need to do is look at the requirements for this. It is about getting kids on a game schedule after they do homework and other activities, and not spending hours in front of the TV. It also requires parents to get involved and know what kind of games kids are playing. It may not be traditional scouting, but its getting parents to interact with children.


Jared from Delaware   April 28th, 2010 2:36 pm ET

I earned my Arrow of Light in Cub Scouts and continued on to Boy Scouts where I earned my Eagle Scout.

This new change – this video game pin and belt loop – is ridiculous and I am against it.

I am also confused: I went to a website that lists all the pins and belt loops that can be earned as its been MANY years since I was a Cub Scout.

Where are MANY of the old stalwarts, such as FIRST AID and CAMPING???? It appears they are no longer offered! I earned these belt loops as a Cub Scount and wore them with pride.

So, they get rid of valuable learning opportunities like how to dress an injury or pitch a tent....to roll out a video game award??????

The Scouts are – or at least used to be – an outdoors-based organization that values honesty, physical fitness, kindness, thrift, bravery and other valued personality traits in its members.

The belt loops and pins when I was in Cub Scouts centered around outdoor activities. The same is true for most of the Merit Badges that can be earned in the Boy Scounts (i.e. Pioneering, Reptile Study, Motorboating, Small Boat Sailing, Cooking, Wilderness Survival, Backpacking, Archery, etc.).

With the obesity problem we have in this country, they should not be making new awards like these that encourage a sedentary lifestyle.

Furthermore, why the need for new awards? Rather than roll out this video game belt loop and pin, the Cub Scouts should bring back at least first aid and camping.


Dizzy Buzz   April 28th, 2010 2:36 pm ET

Having been a Scout in the early 70's, we learned many things that weren't part of the badge offerings. 1. How to avoid unwanted Scoutmaster advances. 2. Convince Scoutmaster to supply beer. 3. Convince Scoutmaster to hold joint Boy and Girl Scout overnighters.


reason   April 28th, 2010 2:37 pm ET

It is really funny how all you who say the kids should be getting outdoors are sitting at your computer right now commenting on this article. You obviously do enough of this to see a pretty irrelevant article in the grand scheme of things. How many of you people are overweight yourself? Probably at least half of you.


Walt   April 28th, 2010 2:37 pm ET

My son is a Cub Scout. He doesn't have the video game badge, but it is available. It is not a required badge, but an extra one the boys can earn if they chose to. After he asked me about it, I looked into it. It is in fact, a badge for learning appropriate video games. It is an attempt to teach kids that a 7 year old does not need to play Grand Theft Auto or other 'adult' games, but should be playing children's games. With the video game industry's trend towards more and more violent games and lack of control over sales to minors, I find it a good thing that the Scouts are attempting to offer a way for kids to learn what is appropriate and what is not. They DO NOT get a badge for playing video games, but for LEARNING about them.


Emily   April 28th, 2010 2:37 pm ET

Well, this just mad up my mind for me. I was going back on forth on letting my sons join Boy Scouts. Not even an option in my book now.


John   April 28th, 2010 2:39 pm ET

In it's current incarnation the pin and belt loop are less about video gaming and more about the video game rating system. Scouts need to learn and be able to explain and discuss the rating system, how it applies, and why it is important.

My pack, for example, is working with the Tiger Cubs (1st grade) on getting this belt loop. Our hope is that the kids and parents will learn about the rating system so they can make a more informed decision when buying a game.


Mike   April 28th, 2010 2:39 pm ET

And another thing, how many parents who are appalled at this can honestly say they've never given their kid a video game to play with or parked them in front of the TV b/c they had more pressing matters? I really doubt there are any.


pat in Michigan   April 28th, 2010 2:40 pm ET

How about offering a pin in proficiancy in programming .Say BASIC.


Karolyn   April 28th, 2010 2:40 pm ET

Once again I will comment... to all the iognorant people... the kids are NOT being rewarded for playing video games... They are being rewarded for learning about the rating systems and what is apporporiate and what is not and for what ages. The kids are not expected to put hours in playing video games. Get a clue people.


Rob   April 28th, 2010 2:40 pm ET

Good job Emily, appears you can't read or spell. Maybe your boy could benefit.


ryan   April 28th, 2010 2:41 pm ET

Can someone tell me of a game that teaches homework? I have never seen one. My kids play educational games on the internet (Noggin, PBS, and some websites my daughter gets from school.) When I was a Scout we went on hikes, camping, and did community service. We earned badges for learing how to play sports, even as far as learning hand signals for football, etc. We learned how to sail and other educational and worthwhile activities.
I don't agree with this. I don't care if you get to teach someone how to play a game, or compare prices (I found games at Target that are the same price as at Toys r Us and Wal-Mart.) My kids are 5 and 8 and there are very few games that I will let them play, even if they are age appropriate.
I can see how this is supposed to teach responsibility and all but little kids shouldn't be having to learn about game rating systems unless the parents are just letting them go and buy games for themselves. Personally my kids buy what I tell them.
As far as video games being used in the military, that is on a whole different level. That is TRAINING!! Learning to drive a HUMVEE I had to take virtual drive in one in 3 different environments, in which the seat moved. Pilots learn using simulators, not sitting on a couch.
And for those who think that this helps the Scouts be part of modern society, then why not involve them in government, helping the environment, doing good for the world and community. But if they are to earn a pin for computers, let it be for technology in general.


Cubmaster Jim   April 28th, 2010 2:44 pm ET

For all the people 'ripping' on this activity pin, how many of you have actually read the requirements?

If you read the requirements, I think it makes sense.

1) It requires the boys to learn about the rating system. Hopefully, if done with parents, both will learn that not all video games are appropriate for every one.

2) If requires the boys to setup a schedule to when they can and can't play video games. How many parents don't enforce how long your kids can play video games? If you don't this is a way to get your son's to setup a schedule and hopefully reduce the amount of time playing video games.

3) It requires them to play a new video game approved by their parent, guardian, teacher. How much different is this from other belt loops where it requires them to play a game? How much different is this than playing a game of chess? I think the amount of energy playing a game of chess vs a video game will be about the same. Remember, it is not any game. It has to be approved by your leader.

Overall, if your son already plays video games, then this belt loop should be a simple one to achieve. Hopefully, your sons already know about the rating system and have a schedule set for when to play video games.

If they play video games and don't know/follow requirements one and two, then who is to blame? The boy or the parents/guardians.

Cub Scouts is simply realizing that playing video games is becoming more of the norm in our culture. I can only think of 1 or 2 boys in my sons classes that don't play video games. Let's face it. Video games are part of our culture.

This belt loop is simply trying to make them more knowledgable about the games and more responsible with regards to playing them.

If your son does not play video games, that is great. But he should still be aware of the rating system. And he should also be aware that he needs to allocate time for everything – playing, homework, chores, etc.


Sean C   April 28th, 2010 2:45 pm ET

Why not reward for understanding video games and having their parents explain the ratings system and why it is in place.

My son is in scouts and just earned this pin and loop.

I commend the scouts for keeping up with the times and I look forward to more modern rewards. May be finding directions online, how to use a GPS, and other more advanced items can be talked about and used properly.


Former Scoutmaster   April 28th, 2010 2:48 pm ET

Awards for video games, no matter how you slice it, is completely and utterly contradictory to the entire philosophy behind Scouting.


bill   April 28th, 2010 2:48 pm ET

Cubs can also earn pins in chess, computers, collecting, etc. Why not gaming? It's just another activity that kids enjoy in this century.


Pam Parker   April 28th, 2010 2:49 pm ET

I am a scout leader, boy and cub scout parent, and lifetime scout myself from a long line of scouting.

The whole concept of scouting is to prepare kids for life as a responsible adult – whether indoors or out.

This badge focuses on learning how to be an educated consumer and make good time management decisions and uses the video games as the vehicle to do so – great manipulative for kids – they love them!

As a parent I spend more time than I like refereeing scabbles every weekend over the video game system in my house (video games are banned during the week). The skills learned earing this badge transfer to other areas of life.

AND this badge is done in a couple of hours – the rest of the time is spent on other traditional scout topics.

Relax people – society as you know it is not doomed over a video game badge – but is perhaps enhanced by it long term.


Rico   April 28th, 2010 2:50 pm ET

Way to spin it! Don't mention the actual requirements but instead ask open ended questions to invite controversy. Maybe you are paid on the number of responses you get??

For those who disagree and want to know the requirements for the Cub Scouts Belt Loop, read on.
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.

My 1st grader has his head in a video game at all times if we let him. By trying for this belt loop it forces him (and parents who have to approve that the requirements were met) to look at and understand things like video ratings. How can that be a bad thing?

Seen on a bumper sticker:
America: Returning to Values Scouting Never Left


Springfield   April 28th, 2010 2:50 pm ET

Cont. – I am an Eagle Scout (1969). Both my older (1967) and younger (1972) brothers are Eagle Scouts. I hold the Vigil Honor in the Order of the Arrow (1973), which is a service organization within the Boy Scout program. One is selected for it and it is not earned. My Scout Master is an Eagle Scout, holds the Vigil Honor, and received the Silver Beaver Award for service to Scouting. He has no sons. He is a WWII veteran of the Pacific (fought in all the major battles on a mortar crew).

Now I am a Cubmaster (Cub Pack of 30 boys) and an Assistant Scout Master (Troop of 75 boys). During this Centenial year of Scouting I will be taking the Wood Badge course for adult leaders.

One of my sons is a Patrol Leader in his Troop and a Den Chief for my Cub Scout Pack. His Scout Master has selected him for National Youth Leadership Training (only a few are selected).

The boys who are the most involved in Scouting tend to be excellent students and tend to succeed in everything they do.


CR   April 28th, 2010 2:50 pm ET

Oh great. We have developed a generation of Game Idiots that cannot compete with students in other countries, but not to worry, they have a badge for spending their entire pre-adult life online playing games. That will prepare them for the real world, or the fast food cash register. After all, all they need do it push the hamburger button, the one with fries, and then biggie size it.


anonymous   April 28th, 2010 2:52 pm ET

Read the requirements for the badge. Its really quite good...actually. Also...if you ever want your child to be a surgeon you better get them playing now. Studies show gamers can be (not always) better surgeons because of the hand coordination it requires. Not a lot of sports or anything else devote so much energy to hand coordination.


Brian H   April 28th, 2010 2:52 pm ET

As a former cub/boy scout and now dad a with a young son, I always thought of entering my son into scouts. But, seeing this makes me think otherwise. What a shame.


Jonboy   April 28th, 2010 2:53 pm ET

As a cub Scout Leader the belt loops are about accomplishments on a variety of levels. Each boy must understand the 3 requirements for the loops and 10 requirements for a pin. They with their Akela, must show an interest to learn, understand and develop the knowledge, courage and intelligence. We have 53 belt loops and 53 pins, some are easy some are hard, some are fun some are boring, but its the engagement of these boys ages 7 years old and up to 5th grade....US Navy gives a ribbon to enlistment persons for just joining the Navy, at lest the Cub Scouts had to do 3 tasks to get Video Game belt loop.


Chris Kissler   April 28th, 2010 2:53 pm ET

So, nobody read this? Not even CNN?

It's not for "Hours spent" playing games, it's for using games to gain knowledge.....damn CNN fails hard.


Brad D.   April 28th, 2010 2:53 pm ET

I have my kids in Scouts to get them away from video games, tv, and other things that make them lazy, lack imagination, and fat. This is sad...


Nikki   April 28th, 2010 2:53 pm ET

Hey Jared from Delaware – maybe you should've paid more attention in Scouts. The belt loops you are describing are for BOY SCOUTS. This is for CUB SCOUTS. You remember the difference, right?


sciencenews   April 28th, 2010 2:54 pm ET

I can't believe some of the uneducated comments being made. Video games have been proven to improve hand-eye coordination. Besides, have you ever tried playing some of the Wii Sports games? They are great exercise, and physically demanding.


CR   April 28th, 2010 2:58 pm ET

Un-educated comments? US statistically lags behind the world in acheivers, and also those being hired in the technical fields here. Period. But.we lead in video games. And you point is?


Allen   April 28th, 2010 2:58 pm ET

The point of scouting is to give the kids a WELL ROUNDED preparation for what they will experience in life. There are not a lot of future job postings for "Mountain Men" in the present or future. Learning outdoor skills is an important part but, they need to have experience in things they will have to deal with in later life.This pin is just another facet of experience.


Paul   April 28th, 2010 3:00 pm ET

That's ridiculous. Scouting is supposed to teach you skills that can help you when you find yourself in dangerous situations. Speaking as an Eagle Scout myself, this is utter nonsense.


CR   April 28th, 2010 3:00 pm ET

Great, they will be well suited to work in the mall at a Video Game store. Oh, they already do.


Rachel   April 28th, 2010 3:01 pm ET

After reading the qualifications for the badge, it seems like a good lesson for young boys to learn. It focuses on learning more about the rating system and being a savvy consumer as well as having them practice teaching and communicating instructions to others. It also allows the for very applicable real world application. If this is an interest to the average scout, then this seems like a great responsible way to incorporate the BSA skills into this activity.


AKB   April 28th, 2010 3:03 pm ET

It is important to see this in the big picture. Here is the list of the new beltloops/pins available to cubs:
Disability Awareness
Family Travel
Good Manners
Hiking
Hockey
Horseback Riding
Kickball
Nutrition
Pet Care
Photgraphy
Reading and Writing
Skateboarding
Video Games

More important, read the actual requirements for the awares here:
http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Cub_Scout_Video_Games#Belt_Loop_Requirements

You will see that the story on CNN's site is highly misleading.


Dave   April 28th, 2010 3:03 pm ET

I think It's a great idea. Scouts absolutely has to stay relevant to today's kids activities.

If you take the time to look at the requirements before forming an opinion you'll see that it's not about playing games for a certain number of hours. It encourages responsible gaming, understanding the rating system, and academic games among other topics.

Please check it out before you bash it...


KG   April 28th, 2010 3:03 pm ET

Soon to be releasing badges for nose picking, obesity, and nocturnal emissions!!


Josh   April 28th, 2010 3:04 pm ET

As an Eagle Scout this is VERY disappointing! Scouts need to be outside learning practical skills! This is a sad attempt of the national office to increase membership and revenue!


breezee510   April 28th, 2010 3:04 pm ET

I'm a Scout leader and formerly in a Cub Scout pack. I'm very disappointed. We try hard to put the 'Out' in Scouting and IMO this is a step backwards. This is one of the reasons I got my son in Scouting – to get away from video games and TV.


CR   April 28th, 2010 3:04 pm ET

Amen


Mike   April 28th, 2010 3:05 pm ET

And I thought the scouts were about teaching intolerance toward people who are different than their version of a moral person. Whatever...........


BillyD1953   April 28th, 2010 3:05 pm ET

What's next, a badge for watching TV, a badge for surfing blogs?


Mike   April 28th, 2010 3:06 pm ET

Where's the good journalism here? Where's the interview with BSA? Where's the list of requirements?
How about lettting readers decide based on the criteria this is specific too, NOT a personal rant by a CNN official. Let's also consider some of the other newer Cub Scout Belt Loops:
-Manners (kids going to get these from watching CNN? I think not)
-Hiking (beats watching TV anytime)
-Nutrition (not going to get this from CNN's commercials)
-Disability Awareness (might get a skewed version of this on CNN, but not the real intent).
For those of sound mind, read the requirements for this at: http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Cub_Scout_Video_Games
Where's the trouble here?


Chris   April 28th, 2010 3:06 pm ET

This is a joke, right? My son is in Cub Scouts; he won't be working toward this achievement.


Nikki   April 28th, 2010 3:06 pm ET

CNN – can you be any more biased and ugly? Talk about loaded words! This article could've been rewritten to have been positive – but no – you want to slam scouts!


Neko   April 28th, 2010 3:07 pm ET

Eagle Scout here. Let's try to remain respectful of each other's opinions, and i'll thank parents for not responding hatefully to what i have to say.

Agreeing that many games have little educational value, there are many games that offer other benefits. For example, games like OSU! (a music game involving lots of clicking) help develop hand/eye coordination, How many of you can say you dont remember classics such as the carmen sandiego series, which teaches kids about history and geography; or oregon trail, which was used in school nationwide?


HycoWhit   April 28th, 2010 3:09 pm ET

Shouldn't all the idiots posting knee jerk reactions when they don't know any of the facts be on the FAUXNews site? If all you people boasting about being Eagle scouts or deciding this is the reason to keep you kids out of Scouting, should maybe check what is involved in the achievement.

Oh well you can't fix stupid. Come to think of it–might be better some of your kids don't get into Scouting. Would hate for stupid to rub off on my kids!


CR   April 28th, 2010 3:09 pm ET

35,000 applicants applied for 300 job openings we had. Guess what, almost all those chosen were not red blooded American Game Playing idiots. They were children of parents from many other countries where education was taken very seriously, and they achieved far better grades than our game playing idiots. Keep thinking this is a great idea, until the rest of our occupations are outsourced. We cannot compete now. But, they have a badge.


Springfield   April 28th, 2010 3:09 pm ET

For the full story on Scouting, go to:

http://www.scouting.org/

If you registered as an adult leader in the BSA, you should have taken Youth Protection, This is Scouting, and Leader Specific training (the minimum for an adult leader). Then you could not possibly claim that this subject of the belt loop program is an abomination.

For the rest of you...the training available for Scout leaders is deeper and broader than you can find in any other volunteer program in the entire world; literally!


Warren Lowe   April 28th, 2010 3:11 pm ET

This makes perfect sense, and I am glad to see it. Instead of avoiding a problem area, the Scouts are hitting it head on. Video games are here to stay – they comprise a major industry around the world - and the best way to protect the boys is to teach them how to protect themselves. I say "Good Job, carry on!"


BJ   April 28th, 2010 3:11 pm ET

As an Eagle Scout and also a gamer, I still find this disturbing. I enjoyed my Scouting days for what they were–a time to go out, learn about nature, self-reliance, team work, and to bond with others in an environment that was not home.

At home, I enjoyed the video games, but part of the allure of scouting was that I could earn awards doing things that expanded my skills. This doesn't seem to expand too much.


Nick   April 28th, 2010 3:11 pm ET

I see this as a VERY POSITIVE move by the Cub Scouts. The requirements for this award go beyond "sit on your butt and play a game."

Rather, the boys are encouraged to work with adults to create a schedule for gaming (time management and communication), teach an adult how to play a game (communication), create a plan for acquiring a game (strategy and money management), and compare the differences between the various gaming systems available on the market (how to be a smart consumer). From what I understand of these requirements, they are teaching meaningful life skills that are relevant to today's world in a positive manner.

As an Eagle Scout, I can attest to the value of learning such life skills early on in life. All of the skills I have identified above are important building blocks to successful leadership, which is something society should encourage upon our youth. An award for video games is only part of the equation. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts still need to demonstrate proficiencies in other areas like First Aid and leadership to advance in ranks.

By introducing an award like this, the Cub Scouts are helping develop the future leaders.


Tate   April 28th, 2010 3:13 pm ET

Rediculous. Scouting is based on morals and values set down by a system revolving around the "purity" and inocence of being a youth exploring the outdoors. Although video games help with dexterity and coordination, the fact remains, the resutls of video games are more negative than positive.
Also it should be noted that this news story pertains to the CUB SCOUTS. The boy scouts and cub scouts, although similar, are completely different when it comes to standards and qualifacations. boy Scouts do now recieve pin etc.
However for the clerical error, the fact remains that scouting is based on being outdoors. It was established to encourage leadership skills and fine tune boys in "men." although yes it's true this has changed over the years, scouting has remained true to it's calling in many cases and taught boys just this. The down side to this is just that, a down side. Especially when it come sot group organizations, there is always a faction that "brings down" the rest.
For scouting to rely on factors trying to lead into a new generation they should concentrate on making events outside of the home more acceptable to kids. although video gaming can help in many instances, it again reamins that video games discourage interactions with others, can be a main cause of learning disorders and many other socially important factors. Even though there are games involving people (Halo etc) social interaction is key inthe development of young children. and that is what the boy scouts focuses on.
So it's a terrible idea.


Matt   April 28th, 2010 3:13 pm ET

As an Eagle Scout, I am astonished that the Cub Scouts have stooped this low. I joined the Cub Scouts as a Tiger Cub and went through the entire adventure (and it really was an adventure!), all the way through my youth.

I speak often of the values and life lessons I learned through Scouting, but never did I expect that video games would be a part of it. They CAN be useful, they CAN be educational, but this is NOT sending the right message! It's like a bad joke!

Scouting is about virtue, character, hard work and respect. I've yet to see those things come out of video game time.


BJ   April 28th, 2010 3:13 pm ET

I do realize this is cub scouts, but my comments above are also based on having been a den chief for a cub scout pack.


Shannon   April 28th, 2010 3:14 pm ET

My Cub Scout spent Saturday playing kickball, frisbee golf, volleyball and sailing small wooden boats he made with his pack... and playing soccer on the side Exactly what did YOUR kid do? Oh, wait... he was home playing video games, right?

My Cub Scout (with video game belt loop!) can STILL beat up your kid... and still out do him in knot-tying, plant identification, hiking, setting up tents, building catapults... you get the idea. :)

And Scouters – this is one, silly belt loop. Get a grip, people! Scouting still has the same values and agenda. It's just one little award aimed at trying to get kids to think about the video gaming they already do. They are still doing all of the other stuff, too. Tone it down, k?


Beeguy   April 28th, 2010 3:14 pm ET

While the beekeeper community fights to get the beekeeping merit badge reinstated, they come up with this?

Yeesh.


Cody   April 28th, 2010 3:15 pm ET

Wow, this is a new low. The BSA must really be desperate to get more kids involved... As a Eagle Scout, this is really disturbing. Too bad it has to come to this to get kids interested...


John   April 28th, 2010 3:16 pm ET

As a bigtime computer junkie and PC gamer I could see adding some computer tech related badges but I'm not sure about ones for videogames.


Andie   April 28th, 2010 3:16 pm ET

I am a den leader, and if anyone reads the requirements for this belt loop and pin, they will see that it teaches the kids the importance of the rating system where these games are concerned. It also tells you to learn a new game and teach it to someone else. Also, to play a game with a parent. The truth of the matter is, kids play a lot of video games these days....I think that promoting learning why they are rated is a good thing. While it may not be the scouts most prestigious award, it is still valuable to the scout. Just my opinion.


Jeremy   April 28th, 2010 3:16 pm ET

Most of you need to calm down!! Or get with the times... Kids are playing video games these days, it's just how it is! I saw on here someone called another person a horrible parent for allowing their kid to earn the belt loop, REALLY?! What kind of person could say such a thing?

I'm more upset by most of the responses people are having to something so small as a video game badge... If you're a parent who isn't "allowing" their child to play video games or watch TV, I'm assuming your kid is very socially awkward, but that's why you've put them in Scouts, right? So they can make more friends their age with similar interests? Cut the umbilical cord already and let them plug in, or else you will have ruined their childhood and YOU will be the horrible parent.


Hilary   April 28th, 2010 3:16 pm ET

My whole family was involved with the scouting program growing up, my brothers are all now Eagles scouts and I myself have earned the equivalent award in Venturing (co-ed Boy Scouts). As a former scouter, and future physician, I am concerned about the health of the coming generations and this new pin/loop are disconcerting to me. Even after reading the requirements for this award, which encourages socialization and responsibility, I would much rather see new awards that are NOT geared toward encouraging a sedentary lifestyle.


John   April 28th, 2010 3:17 pm ET

No, This is wrong.


mike   April 28th, 2010 3:17 pm ET

It all comes down to parenting. I played hours and hours of videogames as a kid, but I also played sports for hours and hours. There has to be a balance.

This badge doesn't lead to obesity. The parents that don't encourage a balance in their kid's life, causes obsesity.


Maddy   April 28th, 2010 3:19 pm ET

Great. Not only are boy scouts completely feminized by our politically correct society. But now boy scouting involves playing video games. Why don't they just give out badges for being the fattest kid on the play ground of sporting the most depressing Emo haircut. Feminism has ruined the male gender.


James   April 28th, 2010 3:19 pm ET

Thanks to Max for posting the requirements for the badge. As is normal for this "News" agency they fail in nuance. BSA is about teaching kids social interaction and leadership skills. To that end they have created a badge that takes what in effect isolates many kids, playing video games, and turned it into a community event by requiring interaction with others in order to complete the badge. The badge doesn't award a child for playing video games it forces the child to look at why they play games and to try out ways of playing games with their families. While on the surface the badge seems incongruent with the history of BSA as a "camping" school as the author seems to think, in reality the badge furthers the true goals of BSA which are community and leadership.


Dave   April 28th, 2010 3:20 pm ET

I just read the requirements and it's pretty weak. They are trying to teach kids that there is a video rating system by age. That you should budget your time between school work, chores, and video games. Isn't that called parenting? You now get a badge for doing something your parents should be doing. This is a silly badge.


Mike Stewart   April 28th, 2010 3:20 pm ET

As a long time leader and former group committee chair, badges come and go.

The issue here is not about being a couch potato, it's about breaking down a game, and gaming itself into finer components and having the youth begin to look closer at the components of any issue, break them down into pieces, and see how they fit into the whole. It is about building and expanding cognitive processes and public speaking, it directs the youth toward analytical thinking, and so much more. This badge will encourage the youth to take a game that is often played by rote, analyze its features, evaluate them, while at the same time encouraging them to look at positives and negatives of the game itself. This is done with many activities, why not encourage the youth to bring it over into gaming?

On campouts our Cubs and Scouts are not allowed to bring along electronic games as there are quite enough activities to keep them occupied on an outing. Even with the new badge, that will not change in the near future.


James C. Bunker   April 28th, 2010 3:21 pm ET

I am a product of both Scouts and the video game generation. I was fortunate enough to have been a cub scourt, webelo, and a Boy Scout until I was eighteen. The experiences I obtained in scouting still reside with me to this day. However, I also have grown up with Atari, nintendo, sega, and currently have a PS3. Games are fun and provide an escape from life. Scouting is fun but its purpose is not to escape life; rather it is to enhance it by teaching boys the skills necessary to become honest and ethical men. Boys will always have their games (adults too) but one of the important things about scouts is teaching boys how to transcend games and takes steps toward action.


darren   April 28th, 2010 3:21 pm ET

Additional ideas ... and eating lots of sugar pin, getting fatter and fatter award, and instead of the swimming badge they could change it to 'I displace so much water because i am weighing in at 300 pounds there is no way I could drown"


guest   April 28th, 2010 3:22 pm ET

What is wrong with kids playing a few video games if done in moderation. It doesn't sound like they ar promoting video games as an activity. They are just acknowledging them as part of society. Kids
are going to play them anyway. If the parents don't like them, they will
be at their friends house playing them. Since we have progressed beyond hunting and foraging for survival, a little entertainment is ok. Besides there are too many of those Green Peace people standing on the corner trying to get me to sign something as it is. How many of them were video game deprived scouts? I'm not willing to take that chance.


Joseph   April 28th, 2010 3:22 pm ET

Coming from an Eagle Scout, this does not bode well. I feel lucky to have grown up in a pre-PC/video game world.


Steven   April 28th, 2010 3:22 pm ET

I wonder how Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo feel about this. The BSA is a bunch of tools.


Dave   April 28th, 2010 3:23 pm ET

I think people are looking at it all wrong! Don't look at just the big picture, look at the details. What the Scouts are trying to do is teach the kids what types of games are appropriate for their age. Sounds very similiar to the laws limiting kids from what games they can buy if you ask me. I am a father to a 13 year old and a 15 year old and I KNOW their are games out there I do not want them being able to buy and play as they wish.


Jim   April 28th, 2010 3:25 pm ET

I am a Cub Scout and Boy scout leader and believe me we are still all about getting the scouts out on hikes and campouts. This beltloop and pin are for Cub Scouts only (5th grade and below) and is directed to helping them understand how to properly budget their time between school work, chores and playing outside. They have also recently introduced a beltloop and pin for proper manners and nutrition. In total there are more than 25 academic ( math, science, languages) and sports beltloops and pins the Cub Scouts can earn.


Cbp4s   April 28th, 2010 3:26 pm ET

Sounds like fun . . . wish I had that when I was a cub scout. I was an eagle scout and frankly I think scouting needs to change to keep up with the times so this could be a good thing.


Ndugas   April 28th, 2010 3:26 pm ET

I have been aware of this for a Year now. The Object is to also teach the boys, to set a schedule, and have limited video time, and other things are more important to get done first. Any one can check our the BSA website to get the REAL facts, and learn about ALL the requirements for this Loop and Pin


Keith   April 28th, 2010 3:27 pm ET

Absolutely ridiculous.... parents should be doing this.


Sarah in CA   April 28th, 2010 3:27 pm ET

I am glad they added new belt loops and pins for the 100 year anniversary of Boy Scouts of America (which Cub Scouts is a subsidiary of) but video games is just not appropriate. It should have been added as an elective in one of the Cub books, not something to try to win an award for.


Strongbow   April 28th, 2010 3:28 pm ET

Wow, CNN is really keeping up with the times here...Loop and Pin has been available for nearly 5 months now....

For the folks expressing concerns, here are the requirements:

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.

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.

http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/content/cub_scouts_video_games_academics_pin_and_belt_loop-2035.asp

I am a Den Leader (Wolf) and Asst. Cubmaster. My Pack looked over these requirements very closely before deciding to allow our Cub Scouts to earn it. None of these awards are gimme's; we quiz the Scouts very carefully before we grant any Achievement Award.


Bart Hawkins   April 28th, 2010 3:29 pm ET

This is, of course, up to the Cub/Boy Scouts – no one is forced to earn such a pin, I assume, nor is this badge or award a requirement for promotion within the organization.

As such, then, they can do as they please.....

I must say, in the general realm of opinion, I am not surprised. At least given recent revleations regarding the Scouts and Scoutmasters, the young men will be "safe," from, shall we say, incursive events around the campfire.


SkookS   April 28th, 2010 3:29 pm ET

Read the requirements before commenting.


Kal   April 28th, 2010 3:32 pm ET

My son received this belt loop and I am very proud of him. Now many kids out there age 8 can finish a teen video game without a strategy guide, something most adult players need.


Joe   April 28th, 2010 3:33 pm ET

The video game culture has already done enough damage to our kids without the scouts giving it their official sanction and approval. I thought the whole idea of scouting was to encourage healthy behavior in the great outdoors, not sit on your butt in front of the TV.


Jonathan   April 28th, 2010 3:33 pm ET

-Sponsored by Nintendo Corp.


Ben   April 28th, 2010 3:34 pm ET

I'm 24 years old and became an Eagle Scout in 2004. My thought is that this is a great idea. I believe that a big part of Scouting is to teach discipline and organization. This pin requires that the boy organize a tournament with their family, teach someone else how to play the game, research a game they want play and find where they can get it for the best price. These are basic life skills we adults use every day.


kmacva   April 28th, 2010 3:34 pm ET

Actually, the Cub Scouts have been offering this for at least the last couple of months. It was met with great enthusiasm by the boys in our Pack and many of them have earned either the belt loop or pin. Although some of the parents were cynical about the announcement, I found it was a good opportunity to talk with my son about the issues associated with video games – ratings, cost, care, etc. That's for the (easier) belt loop, the more challenging pin involves such requirements as setup of a game (valuable technical skills that teach both electronics and independence) and teaching an adult to play a game (communications). There's a deeper purpose behind each requirement, and struck me as an excellent way to engage a kid's mind by using an existing interest. Believe me, any boy who is active in Scouting is getting outside plenty. The video game program is just one very small component of the program that recognizes the world that we all live in.


Ryan   April 28th, 2010 3:35 pm ET

What is everyone afraid of? Why is video gaming like a drug all of a sudden? GIVE ME A BREAK! It teaches the scouts to use their imagination, especially if games require one to think & develop a strategy. By teaching the cub scouts to develop a strategy, that will carry them all the way into adulthood. Come one, folks! Let's cut this nonsense out RIGHT NOW!


Karel   April 28th, 2010 3:35 pm ET

As a mother of a one step away from an Eagle rank - I think that the BSA making this available to Cub Scouts is just fine. If it bleeds into Scouting later then this would be a shame. My son makes plenty of time already for video games and so he gets all the exposure he needs. He is in Scouting to learn things he could not learn in front of a TV set, Computer or Video game. Scouting enhances his life & is not his life. I think most kids are involved in so much that they really do not have time to fixate on any one thing.


tay   April 28th, 2010 3:35 pm ET

here's an idea parents. if you dont agree with this, try parenting your children yourself.

quit relying on other organziation (schools, churches, cub scouts) to teach your children the differences between right and wrong.

quit complaining


Hugo   April 28th, 2010 3:35 pm ET

Thought I would provide some additional information that was not listed in the article.

Below the requirements for both the belt loop and pin. The pin is earned after earning the belt loop with additional requirements. As you can see both require core value requirements like spending family time, helping others, charting chores and only playing after those are done.

The article also does not mention that belt loops are electives and not part of the requirements for rank advancement. If you do not want your boy earning then don't let him. However he is going to play video games anyway, Scouting figures why not sneak in some "good stuff" as well. Scouting has always been that way, make it fun and build their character at the same time.

Of course Scouting is evolving to stay relevant. Tell me something that does not? Church, businesses they all do it. My take is the core values remain the same they just broaden the activities to appeal to as many as possible. Not a new concept.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Requirements for the Video Games Belt Loop
Complete these three requirements:
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.

Requirements for the Video Games Pin
Earn the Video Games belt loop, and complete five of the following requirements:
With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.
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.
Play a video game with family members in a family tournament.
Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.
List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.
Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.
Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.
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.
With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system.


Silly Uniforms   April 28th, 2010 3:35 pm ET

I never needed a silly uniform to learn how to light a fire when I was a kid. I had very involved parents who taught me stuff.


chris   April 28th, 2010 3:35 pm ET

What is hilarious is that those of you with such negative feelings towards video games are probable the same ones who have no idea that little Timmy is playing them with his friend down the street. What this loop and pin does is teach them the responsibilites around another aspect of life. If this is a hobby for your, then as a parent, you too should embrace it as well and both become aware of its potential uses and pitfalls.

The BSA has evolved significantly over the years. Many of you need to become flexible as well. If you fail to do so, you are missing out on some critical aspects of your children's lives beyond just gaming.


honus   April 28th, 2010 3:35 pm ET

As a current Assistant Scoutmaster, this concerns me. We already have problems with boys (and parents who support this poor behavior) who don't come out to our troop meetings because they can't bear the 2 hours away from their consoles. Parents are to blame.

I agree that video games are a blast; I have three different systems in my house. But, my children are allowed 30 minutes a day, max. Personally, I play less than 30 minutes per week.


Eagle   April 28th, 2010 3:35 pm ET

As a Eagle Scout, I believe that promotion of video games by an organization built on "turning boys into men" by getting them outside and learning about their surroundings and teaching them how to treat others around them is a travesty. It's truely sad to see that they have fallen to compromising the mental and physical character of the young scouts to try and stay "relevent".


Peter L   April 28th, 2010 3:35 pm ET

Sweet.... I would have liked to get the '1337' badge.

It's only a matter of time...


Jonathan   April 28th, 2010 3:36 pm ET

Sadly, this new badge seems like a publicity stunt to modernize the image of scouts and appeal to kids who don't relate to the outdoors. In doing so, it will also repel alot of scout parents who value what (now) used to be
scouting activities. This is like presenting a "warrior spirit" award at a pacifist community meeting.


JT   April 28th, 2010 3:38 pm ET

Wow, Got some people with some built up aggression issues they are taking out on a bunch of 7 year olds playing Wii. Here is a tip. If you are looking for Hiking in the mountains, canoeing in the BWCA, Rock Climbing in Georgia or winter camping in Maine, DON"T JOIN CUB SCOUTS. I am a Cubmaster and Scoutmaster and for one would NOT want to take a bunch of 1st to 4th graders on such trips.
Cub Scouting is not about camping. It is about learning about our world and having PARENTS and boys explore this together. The Parents are the key component in Cub Scouts. If they don't involve themselves and take a interest in the boys accomplishments, and direct them to ones they find appropiate then 9 time out of 10 the boy drops out. The issue isn't keeping the Boys involved it is keeping the Parents engaged and not using Scouting as a babysitting service.
Don't like the Belt Loop or Pin, don't have your son earn it. Free choice here people.


Jared from Delaware   April 28th, 2010 3:38 pm ET

It is really funny how all you who say the kids should be getting outdoors are sitting at your computer right now commenting on this article. You obviously do enough of this to see a pretty irrelevant article in the grand scheme of things. How many of you people are overweight yourself? Probably at least half of you.

^This post by "reason" is somewhat specious.

Here on the East Coast, it's 3:30 PM EST right now. Like most other commenters to this article, I am at work, which is why I'm parked in front of a computer right now, commenting on this story (it's a very slow day here in my office).

As for the overweight query, I am UNDER-weight, making me part of a very small minority of Americans. At 6' 1", I only weigh 170 lbs.


Techno Guy   April 28th, 2010 3:39 pm ET

I just retired after being a cubmaster for 7 years (I had several kids cycle through).....what a dumb idea. Scouting needs to "get current", not "get stupid"


Jessica   April 28th, 2010 3:39 pm ET

Well, I now know what to do for the last meeting of the year. All of our boys have completed the requirements to get the Bear badge, but the remainder of the items and electives are stuck in the 80s and completely do not interest kids of this age any more (and sometimes I wonder if they ever did). Ever try to teach 8-10 yr olds a lesson that they have no interest in?


SM Jim   April 28th, 2010 3:39 pm ET

As a former scout, Den Leader, Webelos DL, Cubmaster, current Scoutmaster, father of an Eagle Scout and Life Scout who both started in Tiger Cubs, let me just say this to the author and all those who think this is a problem...

This is part of a supplemental program, not rank related, which is used to expose cubs to different sports and academics. The requirements foster responsibility and family time. If you think its going to make or break the scouting program then you just don't understand it. Oh and one more thing......

It's the 21st century, get over yourselves.


Scott   April 28th, 2010 3:40 pm ET

My son is in scouts. First off, know that the outdoorsy stuff doesn't happen as much until later years of cub scouts and more so in boy scouts.

The video game pin is trying to meet a need. There are a lot of sports pins and academic pins. But, if you are not involved in sports, there are not as many pins you can get. My son is active, but does not like sports. We don't let him play games much and he really doesn't ask to much. But this gives him something he can acheive that is not sports realated. It's not the greatest thing they have, but it is just one pin of many. I see no harm. The kids are going to play the video games anyway. If your kid is playing too much video games, that's your problem, not the scouts'.


Mark   April 28th, 2010 3:41 pm ET

Maybe they should of had a pinball pin when I was a scout.


Drew   April 28th, 2010 3:41 pm ET

Please keep in mind this is for Cub Scouts Age's 7- 11. Cub Scouting is supposed to be fun and purposeful, I think this belt loop and pin meet that requirement. It is important to note that this is an available award, not a Cub Scout rank.

Also, look at the requirements. Its about learning, understanding, making good decisions, planning, teaching and collaboration.

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.

Academics 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.


Picardkid   April 28th, 2010 3:41 pm ET

Eagle Scout here:

I guess kids are going to play games anyways. From what I've heard, it doesn't reward them for playing as much as learning to be responsible gamers. I would have to see the requirements though.

Scouting may be forced to do stuff like this by changing societal conditions. As a program, it will always have to remain relevant to remain in operation.

Looking back at Cub Scouts, the pins and belt loops were never really goals anyways, they were more like "side-quests" on the way to the Webelos badge and the Arrow of Light. "Oh what's that? Playing in that bowling league last year gets me a belt loop? Sweet deal."


EagleScout   April 28th, 2010 3:41 pm ET

I am an Eagle Scout (I am 35 now) and have worked as a scout leader for several years. This is big mistake!

I think a lot of scouting and how better to connect to the kids. There has been a MAJOR shift in the mind sets of youth these days. When I was a scout all we wanted to do was to get outside. We wanted to hike or camp or to work on the adventurous merit badges. We can hardly get the kids to go on simple hikes today. And when we do there is a lot of dragging of feet or complaining.

My father was an Eagle Scout in the mid 1940s and back then being a scout was a life-style. Now just about anyone can be an Eagle Scout (correction: Anyone can be an Eagle). I don't want to minimize the effort that some of my scouts put in to the process but the rules are lax, leadership is lacking and announcements like this video game merit badge are VERY troubling.

Scouting should be getting more difficult not more appeasing to the crowds. Scouting used to teach the youth to be 'in the world, but not of the world.' Now a days it seems that they're catering to the decline in society. "Lets make it easier so more people can do it." In my opinion that is _exactly_ the opposite approach they should be taking!! Being an Eagle Scout should be something very difficult and something to be very proud of. Future employers should see that on a resume and think "Wow an Eagle Scout.. this guy must be a hard worker (more so than just anyone) and he's likely an honest person!" I am an employer myself and unfortunately its doesn't mean that anymore.

For anyone to agree with this move by the scouts shows me exactly how little they understand about scouting and what it should and used to mean to be an Eagle. Video gaming is not a life skill our youth need to work on while in scouts!!! Scouting is about service, physical challenge, mental challenge, and should teach us how to be better and more honest human beings! The more 'normal' and 'mainstream' it becomes the less relevant it becomes!!! Mark my words!

If you're an adult gamer (which by the way i dont understand in the least) you'll like this move and come up with some sort of justification for it. Any scout leader that has 'video game' night (and by the way you'll have 100% attendance) should be released immediately!


Jeff H.   April 28th, 2010 3:42 pm ET

Sadly, this is an example of how Scouting in general is losing any real relevance in today's society. Honoring God and Country, honoring laws and respecting elders, learning basic survival skills, etc. – all are going "by the boards". I agree that they might as well start changing the name to Couch Scouts.


Becky   April 28th, 2010 3:43 pm ET

This article is taking a biased view of this new Cub Scout award. My son did this just last week at Scout Expo and it was all about the safety of video games. They discussed the ratings scales and which were appropriate for what ages as well as the health risks of playing too many games. My son came away more informed about this activity that all kids do now days. It was trying to teach them to be responsible.


Jared from Delaware   April 28th, 2010 3:43 pm ET

Can someone tell me of a game that teaches homework?

^In response to Ryan, there are educational video games out there but I do not know one that teaches homework per se.

When I was a kid, there was "Math Blaster", "The Oregon Trail", "Where in the World is Carmen Santiago?" (or some similar surname...might have it wrong there) and several others


mike Freeman   April 28th, 2010 3:43 pm ET

Old news. They have been around more than a year.


Dick Pickett   April 28th, 2010 3:45 pm ET

The awards teach practical skills, encourage socializing, help in finding a balance between indoor games, chores, and homework for male youth aged 6-10.

Eagle Scout
God & Country
Vigil Honor
District Commissioner
James E West Award
1981 & 2010 National Jamboree Staff


Sakura2000   April 28th, 2010 3:45 pm ET

I got this badge for being a level 25 elf ranger but don't ask me anything about archery, fire making, tracking, etc.


Megan   April 28th, 2010 3:46 pm ET

Both my college-aged sons are Eagle Scouts and they WISH they could have earned this pin ten years ago! HOWEVER, Scouting is about leadership and mastery of skills which either help you survive outdoors or become a better citizen. This pin supports neither and distracts from the whole point of Scouting.


Mike VH   April 28th, 2010 3:47 pm ET

As a 22 year old Eagle Scout, camp staff member, and adult leader I know that the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts have to modernize from time to time. The Scouts don’t have the Bee Keeping, Blacksmithing, Bookbinding, Cotton Farming, Fruit Culture, Masonry, or the Taxidermy Merit Badges anymore. Today, the Boy Scouts have the Computers, Graphic Arts, Cinematography, and Composite Materials Merit Badges.
Also, this is an optional award along with Chess, Family Travel, Good Manners, Weather, Nutrition, Citizenship, and others. Also, when they added this award the Scouts added the Hiking, Hockey, Horseback, Riding, Kickball, and Skateboarding awards. The required awards are still along the lines of Physical Skills, Mental Skills, Community, and the Outdoors.
Also, people have to look past the fact that is about video games the Scouts will learn more great things such as:
1. Law and government though the rating system
2. Time management though creating the schedule that includes chores, homework, and video games.
3. Financial responsibility though comparing the prices of the video game systems.
4. Schoolwork because the Scouts have to “Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.”

Please go to this site before commenting:
http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/cubscouts/awards/boys/sanda/video_games.aspx


Tyler Henderson   April 28th, 2010 3:47 pm ET

I think this is a fantastic idea. I think a lot of people fail to realize how beneficial games can be to children. I grew up playing a game that helped me learn the basics of economics, it helped me with math and has helped me socially.

I'm not keen on the pick an age appropriate game part. I think it's really dependent on a child's maturity level. I know I was watching horror movies at the age of 3 and 4. I understood it was fake, I don't think it's the parents role to say whether a child is ready for something that others might not let their children play/watch until they're a teenager.

I was never an outdoorsy person but I can see this getting people who aren't typically outdoorsy interested. I think that's great!


Jonathan   April 28th, 2010 3:47 pm ET

This new pin raises a very important question: can giving an award to a kid have a negative effect if the award is superficial?


zorg   April 28th, 2010 3:47 pm ET

"What badge or award were you most proud of earning?"

I'll never forget how proud I was when I earned the coveted Noodle Busker award. Hoooooeeee, did I practice long and hard for that one!


Jared from Delaware   April 28th, 2010 3:47 pm ET

I've been reading through the comments and interestingly many of those who do NOT like this video game pin and belt loop (like me) are EAGLE SCOUTS – that is, people who have been through the organization, worked their tails off (check the service activity requirement for the Eagle!), know the Scout system in, out and sideways and have achieved the highest award possible – one that less than 5% of all Boy Scouts ever attain.

I wonder how many of the supporters of this video game belt loop and pin – whether they be Den Leaders, Scoutmasters, or unaffiliated commenters – are Eagle Scounts???

I'm guessing not nearly as many.


Vik   April 28th, 2010 3:48 pm ET

I am an Eagle Scout, who went to Pilmont, hiked, repelled, white water raftted, explored caves, this idea of scouts get merrit badges for playing video games is rediculous. I have problems with some the boy scouts Ideals but would never trade those years of my life, being in the boy scouts was a wonderful experience.


DonGee   April 28th, 2010 3:49 pm ET

How can you write any type of post about a Cub Scout award without including any(!) of the requirements?

I find requirements like:
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.
to be well thought out for both the boy AND the parent.

Also, this award is a part of the Academics and Sports award system which includes subjects like Chess, Mathematics and Computers. Hardly knots and poison ivy but good life skills and knowledge.


jerry   April 28th, 2010 3:51 pm ET

I qualify for the the couch potato badge. The need to make a texting badge too, I got that one locked up too.


MO   April 28th, 2010 3:53 pm ET

My son has already earned this . It has been out for a year now


bob   April 28th, 2010 3:56 pm ET

Well which is it? Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts? What are the actual requirements for the awards? It's a bit hard to form a reasoned opinion if all the facts are not presented.


Sean   April 28th, 2010 3:57 pm ET

My son is in the Cub Scouts...a Tiger Cub to be precise, and has earned this "belt loop". He did this by learning what the video rating system is and what it means, setting up his own schedule for doing his required chores and homework and playing games *and* sticking to that schedule, as well as learning to a new game. While it may not be "what the Scouts are all about" from back in the day, it does reflect the modern age of child rearing. They have also learned about outdoor activities, such as baseball, football, and camping, as well as taking field trips to job sites such as a radio station and a farm as well.


Angus A. MacDonald   April 28th, 2010 3:58 pm ET

I am dismayed by the gradual deterioration of traditional scouting over the years. About 10 years ago, I offered to lead a desert field-trip for Eagle Scout candidates to collect fossils (I am a retired geology prof.). When I was asked about the toilet facilities on the trip, I answered: "the nearest bush". None of the scouts wanted to continue with the field-trip plans. If there were no toilets, they didn't want to go.

I am proud to be an Eagle Scout, earning the award in 1953.


Steve   April 28th, 2010 3:58 pm ET

Talk about knee-jerk nation! Most of the people commenting on this story appear to not have taken the time to read the requirements for these awards. The writer of this piece sure didn't do their homework. They just wrote something to inflame without informing people.

It's not about spending hours playing, it's about learning appropriate usage (including setting up a schedule that requires chores and homework to be completed first), plus learning the ratings systems and why age appropriate games are important.


Joe   April 28th, 2010 4:00 pm ET

I am an Eagle scout in the Boy Scouts of America, and I find this appalling. I feel that the best part of the Cub Scout/Boy Scout program is the fact that you have to work hard to earn merit badges. This sounds like something that anyone could earn by just reading a game back, or sitting on their butt.

It is the hard work and sense of satisfaction that makes the Boy Scouts so great. I am a teacher and I see students who don't understand what hard work is. They are happy with the bare minimum and it is sad.

I don't mind that they have included a video game pin. If they had to truly learn about games, and how they work, and how they can be helpful and harmful and several other things, I would be ok with that. Finding badges to keep kids going out for scouts is a good thing. They need to make sure that they are rigorous, not easy to attain, and have a long lasting impact in their life, not a short term.

Hard work is the only way life is fun. Otherwise you are just coasting and you will never have true pride. Thank you Boy Scouts for helping me understand this.


Shaun   April 28th, 2010 4:01 pm ET

Come on this is ridiculous. The entire idea of scouting is to get you out in the world, the actual one made of living things and not pixelated images.


Hunty   April 28th, 2010 4:01 pm ET

Where's the scout badge for Moral Panic? :)


Porage   April 28th, 2010 4:02 pm ET

Wow. Nothing is safe from mediocrity in this country. Next thing you know they'll be giving college credit for doing a report on the last episode of TMZ or one of the many other shows that are completely meaningless/ useless. …Unless that’s already happening; in which I would not be surprised.


jones   April 28th, 2010 4:03 pm ET

As a Cubmaster I feel there is nothing wrong with this beltloop or pin. It is simply another avenue to allow boys to allow young boys to explore and understand their world. Cub Scouts is about developing well rounded individuals who have good characters and are self confident. Some boys are athletic or outdoorsy, this beltloop and pin are for them. Remember Scouting is open to all and should encourage diversity.


JT   April 28th, 2010 4:03 pm ET

All the Eagle Scouts posting they dislike this. Think back to being a CUB SCOUT, not a Boy Scout. How many of the Belt Loops that you earned at 8 years old translated into the excellent work you did to earn your Eagle? We are talking about 7-8-9 year olds here. Cub Scouts have the attention span of a hyper active puppy. We don't take them on big camp outs or long hikes because what you needed to do in camping was difficult to accomplish for 12-14 year olds. Also it is not just about "getting" out there and camping it is about planning the camp out and pulling it off without a hitch. You, of all people, should understand what sets Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts apart. Boy Scouts lead their troops, Cub Scout follow their Leaders and most importantly their parents.


Larry Fowler   April 28th, 2010 4:03 pm ET

One of my scouts went on a day hike and after an accident to someone else, provided shelter, food and medical attention for 3 days until they were rescued. Can today's scouts do that? What a shame.


Won-Tolla   April 28th, 2010 4:03 pm ET

As a former and somewhat current Cub Scout Leader in the UK Scout Movement I've learnt that I shoudl never say no to these things...they're usually quite well done – show me the requirements first and then I'll judge, but this does leave a somewhat bad flavour in my mouth.


Worlds change   April 28th, 2010 4:04 pm ET

Can't blame them for trying to relate to a new generation.


Sean   April 28th, 2010 4:04 pm ET

Gotta love the comments from all the "Back when I was a Scout..." crowd. Hey, guess what? Way back in the day, there were no cars, no electricity, rampant diseases like polio, and no indoor plumbing. Man, those were really the days, right? Think those folks think you're a sissy for driving to work? Or being innocculated? Or maybe for being able to read a book at night without killing your eyes? Of course, the real hypocracy is that they were barking out their dissent over the internet. What a joke.


Cooper City   April 28th, 2010 4:04 pm ET

WOW! This seems pretty dumb. Scouts should encourage kids to do the types of this that make more aware of nature, being self sufficient and helpful to others. I doubt that any kid needs to be encouraged to play video games, I predict the Scouts run out of these badges due to demand.


Ed   April 28th, 2010 4:05 pm ET

For everyone who is dead-set against this: are you aware that the belt loop and pins part of Cub Scouts is entirely voluntary? They are not part of the requirements for advancement for all - just a fun way to recognize other sports and activities. And Cubbing is very much family based. If you don't approve of the pin, then don't work with your child to earn it.


max pargament   April 28th, 2010 4:05 pm ET

and people wonder why america is the fattest nation on earth....


Aaron   April 28th, 2010 4:07 pm ET

Do not reward.


Todd G   April 28th, 2010 4:08 pm ET

In this day and age, knowing how to handle and operate computer technology probably comes in more handy than most of the outdoor stuff (which is basically only used for recreation/'entertainment purposes, anyway)... I like the idea of incorporating more technology/computer/science related activities in Cub Scouts.


JJ   April 28th, 2010 4:09 pm ET

A Technology pin, maybe, but, not a video gaming pin.


Sean Bowen   April 28th, 2010 4:09 pm ET

Arent there any other serious issues that can be reported......Whats up with health care?


Bob Dobalina   April 28th, 2010 4:09 pm ET

sooo stupid way to go Cub Scouts teach them to not enjoy the outdoors when they are as young as possible...when they make it to Boy Scouts they won't have to worry about adults touching them in the woods, b/c they won't even be in the woods.


Stephanie H   April 28th, 2010 4:09 pm ET

My son earned this belt loop along with SEVERAL other belt loops and pins. Although scouting is very involved with the great out doors. It is nice and fun for them to provide some activities the boys can earn when earning out door badges are not an option. Due to severe weather or injury.

Being a Den leader and a mother allows us to realize each boy has different interests and needs. It is not a requirement to get the belt loop. If you are against it don't let you child earn it.

Props to the scouts organization for all the hard work, dedication and volunteer hours!!! Congratulations 100 years of Scouting, Lets have for 100 more!!!


Scott   April 28th, 2010 4:09 pm ET

I was a cub and a boy scout. We would joke about a video game merit badge back in the 80's when I was a scout. Now they have actually created one. What is scouting coming to?


Chad   April 28th, 2010 4:10 pm ET

I don't see a problem with teaching scouts how to go about handling their video game experience. We are teaching them how to moderate their video game experience in a society where more and more kids are sitting down in front of a TV more and more. This doesn't encourage kids to sit down and play video games all day. It teaches kids how to view and play what is appropriate for them, how to moderate the time they play and to interact with other when playing.

I admit when I first saw the headline I thought this was a horrible idea. After educating myself on requirements I think this is a great idea. So many people are so quick to post a negative response without first educating themselves on what they are talking about (not saying this about all of you.) The video game industry employs many people and is becoming a leader in the entertainment industry making it a viable career option in these days. Games can provide a mental challenge in more than one way depending upon the game played. Also helps with hand-eye coordination. I am all for this being introduced to scouts.


Springfield   April 28th, 2010 4:11 pm ET

It looks like Cody pressed all the right buttons to generate 300+ comments. (I couldn't help it.)


blesyk   April 28th, 2010 4:11 pm ET

Boy Scout merit badges teach responsible handling of firearms, lifesaving first aid, and personal management to name a few. I see no harm in educating children about how to responsibly incorporate video game playing in their lives. They're going to do it anyway, so why not teach a little responsibility and appreciation to go along with it? Always seems that video games are the scapegoat for everything...


JT   April 28th, 2010 4:11 pm ET

Also it is not a Merit badge. Many people who should know better if they are what they say they are making that claim. A 8 year old boy could never earn a Merit badge, Merit Badge work is hard and has much higher standards and expectations that need to be approved by a 3rd party individual with expertise in the field. Belt Loops have 3 easy things to accomplish that need to signed off by a parent. Once again. You would not give a 1st grader a course load that should be handled by a 7th grader. When you say Merit Badge instead of Belt Loop in this context you are making that level of mistake.


Brian   April 28th, 2010 4:11 pm ET

I agree with the early post by max. Unfortunately, CNN has decided to allow misguided reports without even remotely checking out the real details. Do a simple google search for cub scout video game belt loop and see what you get!

Belt Loop Requirements (mandatory before earning the pin)
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

In a age when technology is an integral part of life, a prepared scout leader will have a cell phone capable of checking weather conditions for approaching storms, etc. to keep his scouts safe when camping. There is also an outdoor activity called geocaching where you use a GPS to find hidden items scattered all around the world.

This new award is designed to teach the boys that video games are not bad in and of themselves, but you MUST remember that CHORES and HOMEWORK come first... notice that those are listed BEFORE video gaming. Another key point is to pull parents in to set a schedule to decide how much time is appropriate for gaming. The award is not about PLAYING video games, but rather about LIMITING video games in the lives of our kids. Moderation is the key to keeping enjoyable activities from becoming problem activities, and we want to teach our boys to enjoy video games, but not to let them take over their lives and keep them from contributing as good citizens in their families, the communities, and the world.

Grow up CNN, and learn to do at least a little research before publishing such rubbish!


rob   April 28th, 2010 4:12 pm ET

The purpose of many of the belt loops and electives for scouts is to simply encourage scouts to explore / learn about something they may not otherwise have done. Roughly 18% of scouts learn something that becomes a life-long hobby or interest.


tjw68   April 28th, 2010 4:12 pm ET

I just read the "requirements" for this belt loop and pin.
They're a joke that require no actual learning.


Cub Scouts to offer Pin for Playing Video Games - CycloneFanatic   April 28th, 2010 4:13 pm ET

[...] Cub Scouts to offer video gaming pin – SciTechBlog – CNN.com Blogs With Cub Scouts there aren't as many oppertunities for outdoor activities as there are in Boy [...]


Michael   April 28th, 2010 4:15 pm ET

This article and 90% of these comments are insulting to anyone who plays video games. If this article wasn't so misguided and actually gave you the facts, then it would be clear that the requirements for this badge barely involve playing video games at all.

Here are the 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.

Since the majority of CNN readers have never even dreamed of playing a video game and have cringed at the though, most of you can't make an informed decision about this badge. Technology runs your life, so deal with it.

Also, I was appalled at the numerous comments saying that playing video games causes diabetes and obesity. Does a 9-5 office job where you're, to quote the article "sitting around on your butt" and staring at a computer screen cause obesity and diabetes? Or even something "educational" such as board games, where you do nothing other then sit and stare.

Just because you all have ridiculously manipulated thoughts about what video games are doesn't mean their true.

I'm gonna go read a book on my iPad, I'll try my best to stay thin.


Roland-St George, UT   April 28th, 2010 4:17 pm ET

How about a pin for TOLERANCE, that requires the Scouts to understand that not every boy and girl is the same. Some boys will grow up liking boys and some girls will grow up liking girls...and it's not evil. It's just part of life. Everybody is different. Oh, and how about telling them that if Jesus really was god, or the son of god, then he should have known enough to tell those people that "epilepsy" wasn't demon possession (either)...but a neurological disorder. I guess god didn't tell him that while he was on the earth though, so mankind had to figure it out for themselves centuries later.


Matt in UT   April 28th, 2010 4:17 pm ET

Belt Loop
Complete these three requirements:

- 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.

Academics Pin
Earn the Video Games belt loop and complete five of the following requirements:

- With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.
- 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.
- Play a video game with family members in a family tournament.
- Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.
- List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.
- Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.
- Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.
- 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.
- With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system.

I think CNN could have done a much better job of presenting the belt loop & pin than they did. With the exception of one or two of the academic pin requirements, I think it's an interesting concept on how to get a child to look at video games in a new light. I like how they tie in the family/adult interactions with it, and the cost vs. value of gaming. I was an Eagle Scout myself, though I'm no longer involved with the BSA, and think there are far worse and pointless merit badges, loops, and activity awards given out than this. Not to mention, this is only one activity – it's not like the Cub Scouts or BSA are getting rid of all the camping, and outdoorsman activities that people generally picture when thinking of scouting.


Frank   April 28th, 2010 4:18 pm ET

->Joe

From my reading on the comments it seems to me that the Eagles are being a bit elitist. "You didn't do it the way I had to do it so it doesn't count."

If you read about the video game belt loop and pin they are for Cub Scouts and are not merit badges that are the path to Eagle. The best a scout could hope for with this is counting it for the Arrow of Light; which by the way also isn't needed to Eagle.

I personally think it is a good idea. A major factor of scouting is citizenship. Like it or not video games are part of the culture in the US, especially to young children for whom the pin and belt loop are focused. This helps cub scouts learn the positives and negatives of video games, how they can interfere with important tasks (such as homework and chores), and how they can manage their time to do their work and have fun.


LC85   April 28th, 2010 4:19 pm ET

the boyscouts are all going to look like mini chris farley's in their little coats!!!


Guest   April 28th, 2010 4:20 pm ET

Growing up, I could have sworn the meaning of being a Cub scout was to be able to survive in the wilderness, be social, learn different skills etc. Now it seems like the cub scout has to be a pedophile and the scouts earn badges for doing absolutely nothing instead of being active. What's wrong with this picture?


David   April 28th, 2010 4:20 pm ET

I'm a current leader and an Eagle Scout. I see nothing wrong with keeping up with the times. We are teaching boys how to use GPS's along with the compass. Scouts is more than about the out doors. It works to make good citizens that know the value of volunteering and helping others, academics, sports and the out doors.


David   April 28th, 2010 4:22 pm ET

You have to look at this holistically. Video game beltloop....c'mon...no way.

However, encouraging parents to get involved in what kinds of video gams kids play (which is what parents are required to do) , and teaching them what's appropriate in a world where Grand Theft Auto reigns...good idea. You would think that people would do this on their own...but I can attest as a scout leader, they don't.

Will it work? I will say that to earn one particular activity pin, my son had to dissect and write down the nutritional value of everything he ate for two consecutive weeks. To this day, he reads nutritional labels when we go to the store, and very selective about what he eats. So yes, this stuff sticks!


Jason Lederman   April 28th, 2010 4:22 pm ET

Please look at the relevant requirements before posting something so negative.

"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."

Before you bash it, please tell the entire story. Referencing the link that you yourself have posted in a more obvious way would go a long way to preventing this kind of bad journalism...


People against stupid blogs.   April 28th, 2010 4:24 pm ET

Wow. Look at all the morons who believe scouting is just about the outdoors. Are you sure you're talking about the same scouts? As mentioned so many times above, it is NOT what you think. Can you all read? The thought of so many ignorant people reacting instead of researching is quite disquieting.

Call it a hunch, but I would guess that those who are making the idiotic comments have absolutely never been part of the scouts or they are so old that can't remember what the scouts are truly about.

This is a great example of why the rest of the world believes we are all idiotic morons. People making an ASSUMPTION based on a poorly researched blog, instead of actually reading what the requirements actually are. Wake up morons, it's 2010, not 1910.

Oh, and Cody McCloy, posting such utter nonsense to the sheep only makes things worse.

The cub scouts teaching personal responsibility, what a CRAZY concept. Someone should call the white house.


Frank   April 28th, 2010 4:24 pm ET

A pin for gaming?? Are they stupid? It's the BOY SCOUTS! They're supposed to out in the woods learning about nature and how to be self reliant. Not learning how to get the high score in Halo!


Strongbow   April 28th, 2010 4:24 pm ET

...and to answer the author's final question. The Badge I was most proud of in my scouting career, was my first one. Bobcat.

Many more followed as I progressed from Cub (no Tiger Cub program in '76) to Webelos to Boy Scouts (and my Arrow of Light). Never made the transition to Eagle, however. Sports and girls become my obsession around age 17.

Now after 30 years, I am back with Scouting as a Den Leader for my son on his journey thru Scouting.


Susan Tucker   April 28th, 2010 4:25 pm ET

Have you forgotten that Scouting helps develop a well-rounded young man - someone who respects and enjoys the outdoors and also respects and enjoys other activities, including video games. I think its admirable that the Boy Scouts acknowledge that this is something our young men are involved with and are prepared to teach them how to choose games wisely and to remember that they ARE games.


Michael   April 28th, 2010 4:25 pm ET

LOVE the comments here. Almost everyone is admitting it sounds bad in theory, but then taking the time to read the requirements.
If only this could happen outside the scouting world (ya know, actually reading the details of what you're commenting on) this world would be a much better place.


Pope   April 28th, 2010 4:27 pm ET

The only thing today’s kids do more them school and sleep is play video games…. It’s got nothing to do with being anti technology or being from “back in the day”. It should be about learning and experiencing things kids don’t do or come across everyday. There’s plenty of time already spent on video games everyday. What possible need is there for a video game patch when kids are getting more then their fill already? How to pick appropriate age level video games? Isn’t that the parent’s job? Honestly, what parent worth a grain of salt is going to let their 10 year old buy a grand theft auto and the likes? And where does a 10 year old get that kind of money in the first place?


Jason M   April 28th, 2010 4:27 pm ET

I want the Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 badge!


Supertom   April 28th, 2010 4:28 pm ET

As a Cubmaster, at first I did not agree with the idea of a video game achievement. But after review, the task requires the boys to learn about the video game ratings system, 'earning' video playtime and the responsibilities of gaming. I am also excited to show the boys that Cub Scouting is relevant in today's society, and that it indeed does 'evolove' with changing times.

Yes, we do our share of camping, but games are part of our society, and it's not going away anytime soon, so we must teach our kids how to handle it, and keep moving forward.

See us at http://www.Pack204.com


TexCub   April 28th, 2010 4:28 pm ET

The Cub Scouts will be sure and check with you before they add anything new to the program. Thanks for your valuable input in our private organization!!!


Amanda   April 28th, 2010 4:29 pm ET

As a parent of a Cub Scout and as a Scout leader, I do not have a problem with this. It teaches boys to use video games wisely and in order to get this beltloop they have to work out a schedule with their parents, only use age appropriate games and encourages educational games. It would be unrealistic to think there are boys who never get on a video game ( they even have games in school). I think this takes a real pastime and teaches the boys to be responsible with it.


Jared from Delaware   April 28th, 2010 4:31 pm ET

Another interesting observation:

- all the posters engaging in name-calling towards those they disagree with – calling people "morons", "idiots", "ignorant", and other such denigrating terminology – are behaving in a most contrary manner to the ideals and tenets of Scouting.

Is this how you discuss an issue or topic? By utilizing name-calling? If so, I feel very sorry for you...as well as for your self-esteem and level of self-worth.

If any of you are Scoutmasters or Den Leaders and are engaging in such name-calling, SHAME ON YOU.

To those of you engaging in this name-calling I say this: "Physician (or perhaps I should say Hypocrites), heal thyself".


Alden Parker   April 28th, 2010 4:32 pm ET

I am an Eagle Scout and my son is a Cub Scout. Those that see this as a negative thing seem to not really be looking at the organization as a hole. Please be careful of having such a negative reaction to a small part of a huge organization. My son's tiger cub den earned this badge as a group. It was less about actually playing then learning how to be safe and organized with the games. It taught my son how to comparison shop for the lowest price, create a schedule of when it was appropriate for him to play, and he had to learn the parental guides. This opened up communications between us regarding what was appropriate for his age, something I fear many people miss out on. In addition, being an easier belt loop to earn, it gave the boys confidence when they saw the older boys receiving more advanced awards like lifesaving and archery. This is one small part of a large and rewording organization. Since this belt loop he has gone on to earn awards in Cycling, Basketball, Soccer, Hiking, and others. The approach to all these issues is safety first. Then the requirements teach each boy how to respect others while learning new skills and achievements.


RalphMalph   April 28th, 2010 4:33 pm ET

Beats the boy scouts badge for best HJ


John - Fairfax, VA   April 28th, 2010 4:34 pm ET

I think the cub scouts, like much of the US, have lost direction. Why would a kid, who plays video games, want to paly them while wearing a uniform?

Or ,did they make the unifrom optional too?


TToole   April 28th, 2010 4:35 pm ET

As a scout and scout leader for 35 years, I too was dismayed at first, when I heard that they were offering a Video Games beltloop. All of the scouting units I know of, ban electronics from outings altogether.
If you read the requirements, it is geared toward getting the young man to understand the rating code, moderating the gaming time w/ other responsibilities they have, comparing gaming system features / pricing, and communication skills (teaching someone).
Outdoor skills, first aid, cooking, etc....... are all important for the scout to master, but life is not lived completely outdoors and real world life skills are essential too. We would be doing our boys a disservice if we did not include those type of skills.


Scouting Mom   April 28th, 2010 4:36 pm ET

I would just like to say, That I have a son who is a webelos 1. He is a 4th Grader. Scouting is not only about camping. Have any of you looked at all the other belt loops and pins? My son had earned every belt loop up until these new belt loops came out. What any boy gets out of scouts is what the parents put into it. If you allow the Video game belt loop to become "Sitting on your a$$ and playing video games for hours" than shame on you. If you turn it into a learning tool, to teach them responsibility about managing thier time, and teach them how video games is something to do as a reward, not a full time job. There are LOADS of other belt loops and pins that require a lot of work and time and do teach outdoors things. There is a belt loop and pin for learning to play the game of marbles! No one is throwing a fit over how relevant that is?! there is a belt loop for fishing, and fitness, and heritage, and geology and playing flag football, and soccer and science and math and computers and all sorts of things to help these young men become well rounded productive members of society. Its not only about being outside and camping. All that would accomplish is kids who like being outside.( not that that is a bad thing at all!) We're trying to teach them to make good choices and be responsible without being told when and how to do it. I love how the other 9 or so pins that they added weren't even mentioned. horseback riding, pet care, skate boarding and Hiking are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Do some research or go to a cub scout meeting before you open your mouth and sound like an Idiot. Once you have done all the work these young men do in earning these awards, Then you can say whats appropriate and whats not.


Cub Scout Leader   April 28th, 2010 4:38 pm ET

This is another example of irresponsible journalism. The belt loop/pin for Video Games requires that the boy discuss with their parents what an appropriate amount of, as other posters have mentioned.

The BSA recognizes that young boys are spending too much time in front of a tv (much like many of us did in the 70s, 80s, and 90s to be sure), and came up with this as a way of getting the parents and children to discuss what is appropriate.

To Cody McCloy, try typing "video game belt loop" into Google and you will find all the info you would need to actually write a decent article on this subject.

Really, this article is only slightly better than what I would expect to find in a tabloid. Very disappointing.


David Rand   April 28th, 2010 4:39 pm ET

I have been a Boy Scout leader for over 10 years and I feel that awarding a belt loop for video games goes against everything that the Boy Scouts of America stand for. When we take our Scouts camping we have a strict rule that no electronics of any kind are allowed and that includes cell phones, game boys, etc, allowed.


Scott   April 28th, 2010 4:39 pm ET

I am a scout leader and am a little disturbed by this. This is one award that I'll be proud of my son for not earning. The purpose of the BSA is to get boys involved in helping the community, learning civic responsibility and self-reliance, and getting outdoors. I don't see this fitting into any of that.


William   April 28th, 2010 4:39 pm ET

Wow, what a wonderful thing to promote to our youth.. sit on a couch and waste your day away playing a video game!?

I thought the Scouts were supposed to promote, good things like, craftsmanship, outdoors and nature, morals, values in productive accomplishments...

That is pathetic... what's next a PIN for sleeping or eating junk food!?

Gaming does not have to be a part of scouting, what does gaming promote in a positive way? What about kids that are not fortunate enough to ot have video games?

I disagree with it!


Eagle Scout Tim   April 28th, 2010 4:39 pm ET

interesting idea. its seems to be more about time management then actual video games which is pretty cool. hopefully it will turn out as a positive thing.

The best pin out there is still the outdoorsman hands down

Proud Eagle Scout 2005


weblo - wolf badge   April 28th, 2010 4:40 pm ET

Hey, at least the Boy Scouts still don't sell cookies...

what's the big deal? Girl Scouts have the CyberGirlScout badege that encourages going on line and playing games, emailing, etc. It's about time Boy Scouts are trying to shed their "Nerd" image. I am all for this!

I saw a Boy Scout troop last week in Busch Gardens in Tampa. I felt bad for them because they were so nerdy looking, sounding, acting, etc... But I do give them credit for trying to pick up chicks while there...in their unifiorms....all nerdy and everything. Maybe that's how they get their courage badges.


Andy in AZ   April 28th, 2010 4:40 pm ET

I just have to comment on this in so many ways. As the Committee Chair for a Pack and Troop, OA Brotherhood member, former Cubmaster, and Woodbadge participant and Staffer...

First, to the self-declared Eagle Scouts...What is up with many of you condemning an award without even doing any basic research? So many of these comments were knee-jerk reactions. If you looked over the requirements and still don't approve, then that's fine. But if you echoed the author of the article, I have to ask about what happened to the critical decision-making process you hopefully learned when earning your Eagle?

In general, to those that don't bother to read the requirements (especially former Cub/BoyScouts that are judging this on just the article, and say that 'hell no I won't let my kid join Scouts now)...What are you, freaking idiots? If this one very MINOR, SUPPLEMENTAL, CUB SCOUT award keeps your kids out of Scouting, then I wouldn't want you in my unit. I get enough grief and drama from parents that ARE interested in their kids, without having to take on someone that doesn't know enough to do even some basic research. Just to clarify, Cub Scouts revolves around the family, and since most video games are played in the home, what better place to have a discussion about personal responsibility than with mom and dad.

And its incredibly obvious to me that many of you don't have a clue abou the differences between the Cub Scout and Boy Scout program. Cub Scouts is centered around family-involvement, Boy Scouts is centered around PEER leadership. Webelos is a transition period where boys START to learn the skills they need to be successful Boy Scouts, and the focus STARTS to leave the family and on to adult leadership, but family is still involved and imperative for the boy to succeed. In fact, we call our Webelos 'Boy Scouts in Training'. There are overlaps, in that Cub Scouts DOES allow and encourage outdoor skills that are age-appropriate, but it is FAMILY-ORIENTED.

So before you blast me for supporting the couch-potato generation, here is some information. My Cub Scouts family-camp at least twice a year, we try and have an outdoor or other activity at least once a month, in addition to weekly den meetings and monthly Pack meeting. I have Cub Scouts that have hiked over 50 total miles on the numerous hikes we take, and I had a Sr Webelos move up to the troop with 160 total hiking miles. We also actively promote Leave No Trace principles and conservation, as well as practicing outdoor skills.

So, before you condemn the entire program based on a single award, at least get your facts straight.


max   April 28th, 2010 4:41 pm ET

I wanna earn the belt loop:

'Read the Article and then did his own Research and actually learned the sky isn't really falling and this isn't necessarily a bad thing badge'


Amy   April 28th, 2010 4:43 pm ET

I am a very active, very involved cub scout leader. This article totally blows this belt loop/pin out of proportion. The guy that wrote this article is misinformed and in my opinon just trying to stir up trouble.
As leaders, we ARE getting the boys outside. We work tirelessly to keep them active in mind and body. One belt loop about video games does not negate all the other activites we do. I think it's a clever way to bring scouting into an activity that boys do anyhow. It teaches them some self control- the requirements are to explain the importance of a rating system for video games, create a schedule for chores, homework and video gaming and learn a new game aproved by an adult. Our other new belt loops include Disabilities Awareness, Family Travel, Good manners, Nutrition, Pet Care, Photography, Reading and Writing, Hiking, Hockey and Scateboarding. There are almost 40 other belt loops- everything from Astronomy to Chess, Basketball to Swimming. The belt loop program is a supplemental program- it encouragates motivation, confidence and perserverance. Anyone who is critical should take the time and do the research.
The goal of cub scouting is to make great men from boys. For over 85 years we've been doing just that. A little video game belt loop isn't going to take away all the other great things these boys do in their dens and packs. Take it from someone who's seen it time and again. Give a boy a pin, belt loop or badge for the hard work he's done- you're going to see a very proud, very self confident kid.


Joshua   April 28th, 2010 4:44 pm ET

I agree with this 100%! i was in cub scouts and it was boring in my opinion. I'm not an outside person and i never will be. I just wish that they had this when I was in cub scouts.


Lillian Law   April 28th, 2010 4:44 pm ET

Soon to be followed by the Fast Food Eating Badge. We wonder why our children are obese. Parents put their children in the scouts to GET THEM OUT OF THE HOUSE! I'm all for updating the badge offerings, but this one seems to miss the spirit of the organization. OR... have we raised such adventurous-challenged children that if not for this badge they'd have none??? OR... is it a brilliant marketing tool to get children interested in scouting that would not have been otherwise? First a Guitar Hero, then an Eagle Scout?? Hmmmm....


Beka`   April 28th, 2010 4:45 pm ET

I am tired of all the Gamer haters out there....Video games make you WAY smarter than sitting your backsides on the couch to watch TV. It takes skill, hand eye coordination, patience and persistance to be a good gamer....What does it take to be good at watching TV? NOTHING.


max   April 28th, 2010 4:45 pm ET

Hey Lillian Law, did you read the requirements, or did you make an incorrect assumption because the author of this article is a tool?


Mark   April 28th, 2010 4:46 pm ET

This is just one of some 50+ belt loops and pins that are part of the Cub Scout Academics and Sports Program. Boys can learn about sports from Archery to Volleyball, and academics from Art to Wildlife Conservation. There are already awards for Computers. Adding the award for Vidoe Games isn't taking away from the awards on Map & Compass or Citizenship or Fishing or Horseback Riding. Yep, they even have a loop and pin for Hiking.

If Video Games serves as a foot-in-the-door to generate more interest in this program for Cub Scouts, it will be a great addition.


David   April 28th, 2010 4:47 pm ET

To people like Frank:

"A pin for gaming?? Are they stupid? It's the BOY SCOUTS! They're supposed to out in the woods learning about nature and how to be self reliant. Not learning how to get the high score in Halo!"

Such narrow mindedness is part of the problem with dialogue in the US these days. Such all or nothing proclamations cast a large shadow of doubt over the supposed intellect of the average American. I am a Den Leader. Your assumption that suddenly all Scouts do is sit inside and play video games is mind numbing. Scouts are still scouts and they still do all the same things that scouts have done for 100 years. Nothing has changed. The Pack and Den Leaders are allowed to determine on their own if they are going to support the new belt loops and pins (of which, the video game set is only 1 of many new additions). We have chosen to award it if the Scout turns in the requirements but we don't support it or facilitate it.

It's always helpful to breathe, read, and then respond with something factual instead of just typing the first thing to come to your mind.


Ryan   April 28th, 2010 4:48 pm ET

My Cub Scout Leader has the best entertainment center in his basement, complete with mood lighting


steve   April 28th, 2010 4:48 pm ET

Dang! Wish I could have gotten a pin for watching Soupy Sales and Howdy Doody back in the day!


idano   April 28th, 2010 4:55 pm ET

hey weblo – wolf badge

I was one of those nerds at Busch Garden and we did pick up the chicks....the ugly ones


Paul   April 28th, 2010 4:58 pm ET

As a Cubmaster, I was not happy with the new Belt Loop and Pin at first. But as I looked into the requirements, it is pretty harmless. BSA is trying to stay relevant. In addition to the Video Game awards they also added Good Manners and Reading. I think they are keeping in line with giving the boys activities they like to do to make them excited about the program. This is in no way changing the spirit of the program.


Army MP   April 28th, 2010 4:59 pm ET

Scouting was created for a MUCH different reason. The handbook that started scouting was created to help soldiers survive in the wilderness and was revised for young people to learn the same but more importantly learn about themselves. Nothing helps someone learn more about themselves than time spent outside of your normal daily life. It's not about being a horrible pin or belt loop, it's simply taking everything that Scouting stands for and demeaning/taming it.


Jason   April 28th, 2010 5:01 pm ET

Outrageous. The scouts need to rethink their goals and standards. As an Eagle Scout who started in Cub Scouts, I am appalled!!


Cub Scouts to offer video gaming pin | The Daily Caller - Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment   April 28th, 2010 5:05 pm ET

[...] Story: Cub Scouts to offer video gaming pin – CNN.com Tags: Boy Scouts of America, Cub Scout, Outdoor recreation, Technology, Video [...]


Misha   April 28th, 2010 5:07 pm ET

I don't believe Cody took even 2 minutes to look up the requirements for this badge. This article is based off of typical media sensationalism and has no grounds whatsoever in reality.

The requirements for the belt loop focus on the ESRB's importance and figuring out where video games fit in a schedule that includes family time, chores, homework, school, etc. It helps the scout realize the correct priorities for themselves, something most children have no clue about.

The requirements for the pin focus on helping others, reviewing and comparing systems or games, (i.e. making INFORMED decisions, the author could use some help with this one), comparison shopping/budgeting, and installing a gaming system, which requires some knowledge of electronics, something I would encourage them to learn.

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/cubscouts/awards/boys/sanda/video_games.aspx

I am absolutely appalled at how few even took the time to review the actual requirements for this, and instead wrote a long blasting article, or made ignorant comments, with NOTHING based in fact. Ignorance obviously breeds and this is a prime example.

Thank you Cody, for putting such a negative note out about one of the few foundations that try to teach our youth values and independence without taking the time to learn the subject you choose to blast.


Justice Hobin   April 28th, 2010 5:12 pm ET

Having just been to my son's Pack meeting where many of the Scouts earned this belt loop, I say that the Cub Scouts have done the right thing. Video gaming has become an important part of our youth's culture and if people would actually look at the requirements needed instead of just reacting to headlines, they would see that this is a very appropriate move for the Scouting system to take as it celebrates its 100th year.

Requirements for the Video Games Belt Loop
Complete these three requirements:
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.

Requirements for the Video Games Pin
Earn the Video Games belt loop, and complete five of the following requirements:
With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.
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.
Play a video game with family members in a family tournament.
Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.
List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.
Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.
Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.
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.
With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system.


Bob   April 28th, 2010 5:15 pm ET

I am a cub scout leader. Our youth are so caught up in the video game generation that oftentimes the weekly scout meeting is their only break from constant gaming. I am fearful that scouting has evolved into a non-relevant organization. Teaching boys to become men is an honor but the methods used by the scouting program are quickly becoming irrelevant.


Joe   April 28th, 2010 5:19 pm ET

I am a cubmaster for a pack in Aurora, CO. Keep in mind that this belt loop and pin are but one in over 50 belt loops or pins that a scout can earn. The main focus of scouting is still centered around physical activities and outdoor fun. But the scouts also have to compete against so many other priorities today. The video games belt loop and pin are simply the scouts keeping up with technology of today.


Jorge   April 28th, 2010 5:19 pm ET

This is awful reporting. I'm going to get my news elsewhere from now on. The article is BS. Read the actual requirements. CNN sucks balls.


Jonese   April 28th, 2010 5:19 pm ET

Video games are a normal health part of childhood, and adulthood for that matter. Everyone who posts a comment to this article is sitting there interacting with electronic media. That is what a video game is. If you play video games for 10 hours straight, that is bad. If you play farmville will updating your facebook page for 10 hours that is bad. If you read cnn.com for 10 hours that is bad. But none of it is bad as part of a well-rounded life.
Boys Scout activities should reflect the life's of its members, not some glorified, "back when there was no electricity", nostalgia.


just wanted to bump this one   April 28th, 2010 5:24 pm ET

I don't believe Cody took even 2 minutes to look up the requirements for this badge. This article is based off of typical media sensationalism and has no grounds whatsoever in reality.

The requirements for the belt loop focus on the ESRB's importance and figuring out where video games fit in a schedule that includes family time, chores, homework, school, etc. It helps the scout realize the correct priorities for themselves, something most children have no clue about.

The requirements for the pin focus on helping others, reviewing and comparing systems or games, (i.e. making INFORMED decisions, the author could use some help with this one), comparison shopping/budgeting, and installing a gaming system, which requires some knowledge of electronics, something I would encourage them to learn.

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/cubscouts/awards/boys/sanda/video_games.aspx

I am absolutely appalled at how few even took the time to review the actual requirements for this, and instead wrote a long blasting article, or made ignorant comments, with NOTHING based in fact. Ignorance obviously breeds and this is a prime example.

Thank you Cody, for putting such a negative note out about one of the few foundations that try to teach our youth values and independence without taking the time to learn the subject you choose to blast.


drmwalkr   April 28th, 2010 5:26 pm ET

I was a scout from cubscouts thru boyscouts, and this is pretty far from what I hold dear to my heart.....But the times, they are a changin....unfortunately


HycoWhit   April 28th, 2010 5:27 pm ET

Check out the poll on the home page. Fantastic example of how to slant asking a poll to get the numbers you want. Right now the poll is 9 to 1 against the Cub Scout achievement.

But if the wording was changed to: "Do you support a Cub Scout achievement teaching young boys to be responsible about their video game playing habits?" How do you think the poll would have gone?

Is CNN using grade school children to write articles? I would have hoped for a little more research from a reporting posting an article on a national website.


HycoWhit   April 28th, 2010 5:32 pm ET

Folks might want make mention of this on the Daily Show forums-would make a great piece for how the media can whip folks into a frenzy over something positive by only printing a few select facts.

Reading the comments from the majority of the folks, it is apparent how little folks are willing to validate a story. This is about Cub Scouts. How many stories over banking, politics, etc have half truths been used to whip folks into a frenzy?


Ryan   April 28th, 2010 5:33 pm ET

Videogames are very relevant to some of today's leading careers and technological assets.

For instance, knowledge and practical exprience with video games is beneficial for doctors who use robotic equipment to perform delicate surgery. Also, such knowledge and experience translates into a quick understanding of piloting and operating military Unmanned Aircraft Systems (formerly UAVs).

If this badge is taken seriously, and if the Cub Scouts teach the beneficial aspects of video games, then this program can give today's youth another possible tool for use in their future career paths.

Video games do not consist solely of Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, and it is in society's best interest to understand the true depths of this multi-billion-dollar-per-year industry.


patrick andrew adams   April 28th, 2010 5:37 pm ET

Maybe they should come up with a badge for the parents on how to actually read and do a little research before they JUMP to conclusions and freak out. Oh wait then they might miss something on Fox News.


Bob   April 28th, 2010 5:43 pm ET

I was not only reacting to the article, but to how I feel about the entire scouting progam. The article does reference the positive aspects of the belt-loop and I applaud the scouts for addressing this. It is "too little too late", most of the scouting program is rooted in early 1900's folklore.


SlanderMan   April 28th, 2010 5:48 pm ET

Kids must, MUST learn computers in order to survive in the future we have been building for them for years. No matter what it takes to get them interested, I am fine with it. Today's "gamer" could be tomorrow's computer genius that discovers the secrets of cold fusion or any number of things that computers make possible today.

Imagine what they'll be doing with computers 25, 50, or 100 years from now. I'm sorry to be missing it.

Give 'em the patch. The patches the BS gives out to it's members are for recognition of an achievement, or an acknowledgement that they have excelled at something. Patches are just a glorified pat on the back.

Don't the Girl Scouts have patches for 'basket weaving'??

It's all relative.


Really   April 28th, 2010 5:50 pm ET

I am a couch potatoe, videogamer, and was never a scout, and I must say this is dumb. Even as an overweight and rather lazy parent, I encourage my son to be more active outdoors instead of doing like I did.


Hilarious   April 28th, 2010 6:02 pm ET

How many children are obese in the U.S.?


hobgoblin   April 28th, 2010 6:04 pm ET

My son got this belt loop. He did in in conjunction with the 'computers' belt loop. While this was not a requiredment for either belt loop, he helped me build a pc. We learned about all the parts, how they work together, tools, safety, etc. So back to the video game belt loop. He now understands why one computer performs better than the other while running the game.

I think these belt loops are fine and much can be learned from them.


Chris Ward   April 28th, 2010 6:05 pm ET

A computer game is a Skinner Box. I think that giving a badge for playing a computer game is bad. Maybe a badge for writing one. It in itself may be reprehensible conduct, but shows an ability to create and do something that playing does not.


Jeff   April 28th, 2010 6:11 pm ET

Funny how all the critics are sitting in front of a computer leaving negative remarks. You should be outside getting exersize. Hypocrits. There isn't anything wrong with this, read the requirements on the loop and the pin, they encourage kids to learn about age appropriate games, educational games, and the different types of systems that can play these games. I would have been so jazzed when I was a kid cause all they had for me to learn on was an Atari 2600. My son has earned quite a few of the belt loops, most of them outdoor activities so don't knock the program until you try it.


R   April 28th, 2010 6:12 pm ET

As a Cub/Boy Scout, Junior Assistant Scoutmaster and now technologist, I'm appalled. Scouting's activities teach life skills and values. Video games don't – except for the very few who become Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (A.K.A. drone) operators.


Michelle   April 28th, 2010 6:18 pm ET

My son is a Weblos...I don't see the harm in adding one more pin...it is a skill after all...it helps them with problem solving and strategem. I've seen his chess improve and I believe it's helped him think outside of the box and use his imagination.


brat   April 28th, 2010 6:33 pm ET

We in the BSA have always embraced new technology. How we use it is the key. We now have troop webmasters (Scouts and adults) we use high tech campstoves that are lightweight and high efficiency. Our tents are made of long lasting high tech materials that protect us from the elements. We use GPS technology at times when appropriate. We do however still require that a scout meet very specific requirements for rank advancement and especially Eagle Scout. Here in the northeast we camp outdoors 12 months a year and rely heavily on high tech equipment to enhance the experience. Even our clothing has gone high tech. We stress this to keep the boys warm (or cool) and especially dry. Be prepared!


TCCTA   April 28th, 2010 6:33 pm ET

As an Eagle Scout I am appalled at this decision.


Way to go!   April 28th, 2010 6:37 pm ET

So the scouts want to take 10 year olds and give them the option to learn something about what they're probably already doing. If you take a look at the requirements (posted a few comments down by max, yes I'm gonig to make you look it up yourself) they teach moderation, time management, money management, among other things.

The only problem I see here, and the only problem people should be getting angry about, is that American parents still expect other people to raise their kids.

ITS FOR CUB SCOUTS!!! IF YOU DONT WANT YOUR CUB SCOUT TO GET THIS BELTLOOP/PIN. TELL


Joe   April 28th, 2010 6:43 pm ET

I wasn't happy about this until I sat down and read the requirements. There is a lot more too it than sitting on the couch and playing video games for hours. In fact one of the tasks is to learn how to manage your time and not play too long.
It's a nice addition to the Sports & Academics program.
My youngest son, who will be receiving his Arrow of Light in 3 weeks, earned it. The belt loop is easy, but earning the pin is a bit more challenging than he had anticipated.
Please research the requirements before launching into an anti-scouting tirade.


Barry   April 28th, 2010 6:43 pm ET

I am a cubmaster for a large Cub Scout Pack and I just bought some of these belt loops and pins for some of our boys who earned them. The article doesn't go into all the details of the requirements– this award is geared toward teaching boys about the importance of not just age appropriate playing, but how to do so responsibly (after homework, etc.) and teaching others. I think it's good that scouting recognizes that kids are going to play video games, but take a stance to observe the responsible way to play.


Way to go!   April 28th, 2010 6:50 pm ET

So the scouts want to take 10 year olds and give them the option to learn something about what they're probably already doing. If you take a look at the requirements (posted a few comments down by max, yes I'm going to make you look it up yourself) they teach moderation, time management, money management, among other things.

The only problem I see here, and the only problem people should be getting angry about, is that American parents still expect other people to raise their kids.

ITS FOR CUB SCOUTS!!! IF YOU DONT WANT YOUR CUB SCOUT TO GET THIS BELT LOOP/PIN. TELL THEM NO! Of course it'll be pretty hypocritical considering they play that game system you bought them every day after school.

As said by the more intelligent and well informed commentary below, this is simply a great way to get kids to start learning more, to dig deeper, into something they're already familiar with. It will keep kids excited and interested in scouts. And lets face it, their not going to grow any fatter or lazier doing this than they would the fishing belt loop/pin.

Message to America: Please start thinking and learning about things before you speak and act against them. American kids aren't obese because video games and fast food exist, they're obese because American parenting has become a task better suited for those industries. Get involved and raise your own kids but most of all, don't try to tell me how I can/can't raise mine.

To those of you who are using your heads, thank you. Keep up the good work. Ignorance is America's biggest enemy.


nagerobie   April 28th, 2010 6:56 pm ET

I do have to agree with this. I was a cubmaster at one point and have moved on. But this is good to teach the boys the dos and don't and what to look for as in age approriate games. And if you think about it more and more games are now geared towards learning and in schools. If you look the wii music and wii fit are now i some after school programes. Brain age is another good one. Just beacuse they play games doesn't mean that thier veging out. Movement is involed too. Good Idea I think made my the BSA.


Mike B.   April 28th, 2010 7:04 pm ET

I can't believe that a technology blogger is complaining about this. Is scouting supposed to be anti-technology? Are you opposed to them using flashlights instead of handmade torches? The point of scouting is to raise good boys. It's not about teaching them to be survivalists or environmentalists. The purpose is to help them develop good character. Learning self-control is essential to building good character. That's what these awards are about. The BSA wants to stay relevant by meeting the needs of boys today. It may stand in contrast to the nostalgia of a Norman Rockwell painting, but it is better than pretending that boys don't play video games. It's important to recognize achievements in character development.


Drew McFarland   April 28th, 2010 7:05 pm ET

As a pessimist, this sounds like a way for some games to get "Scout Approved" labels on them as a marketing gimmick.


Eric J   April 28th, 2010 7:15 pm ET

I can't believe CNN allowed a story like this that is so misinformed. Obvious this individual that wrote the story is neither a Scout Parent, Scout Leader or did ANY research other than reading the name of the belt loop. BSA takes all aspects of a child's youth and tries to teach proper behavior and respect. Just read the requirements and you can see it has the best interest at heart in a world where video games are the complete norm in a child's youth. Better to learn proper playing and I am glad as a Scout leader to have taught this belt loop to my pack.

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.

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.


brat   April 28th, 2010 7:16 pm ET

Thanks Mike! I forgot to mention that even our flashlights are high tech. High tech LED's (light emitting diodes) that last for years, use little power thus making batteries last longer so we don't hafta carry a lot of extras. Some flashlights don't even need batteries. Some have hand cranks on them and also solar panels. that charge during the day. Technology? Bring it on!


mike   April 28th, 2010 7:17 pm ET

For all you rageaholics:

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/cubscouts/awards/boys/sanda/video_games.aspx

Cry somewhere else. I dont understand how this is bad at all.

Before you rage like Bill O'Reilly learn about what you are talking about first.


Rob   April 28th, 2010 7:23 pm ET

As a Scoutmaster for many years I have watched the scouts being taken over by the Mormon church. They have been softening all the requirements so more can make Eagle faster and get into other Mormon activities. This is just a step a bit further down the ladder to get the results they are after.


Amy in Atlanta   April 28th, 2010 7:24 pm ET

At all the Cub Scout campouts we've gone to so far the boys play video games around the campfire.


James   April 28th, 2010 7:31 pm ET

To Hilarious: Children and adults in the US are increasingly obese because they have not figured out how to achieve balance in life, as the belt loop/pin suggest to do – find balance. Not only with gaming, but they've also lost balance in their time with family, exercise and proper nutrition – all taught in scouts. The ironic part here is that everyone thinks the requirements are to sit all day in front of the TV and play games. To the contrary, that's precisely why the belt loop and pin came into being - to make sure children see that anything done in excess can lead to trouble (e.g. obesity, per your example).

Again, let's all get some research straight here before firing random, ill-supported opinions.

My son has created his own schedule for playing games. This has taught him not only balance, but self-respect. He understands "there's more to life than games," to quote him. Before the discussions, he sure didn't feel that way.


Jonathan Russell   April 28th, 2010 7:33 pm ET

As a current Boy Scout leader and Camp Director, I am ashamed of this new award. I understand the positive 'spin' they are trying to put on it, but that's all it is...spin. BSA is moving from its roots. The way this country is headed we don't need to shun technology, but we shouldn't be moving away from the outdoors either, especially with a 60% overweight population. Tsk Tsk BSA.


jim   April 28th, 2010 7:34 pm ET

There seems to be a bit of a trend here. The people who know nothing more than what this blurb says are horrified at the thought and quick to condemn it. The people in the know- or those who took the time to become informed on the details- seem to approve of what the cub scouts are trying to accomplish. Maybe the scouts should award badges for learning how to follow the news responsibly.


SM Dowling T341   April 28th, 2010 7:35 pm ET

This is very disturbing and what are they trying to accomplish other than giving the boy's another reason to sit around eating fast food playing video games. Now I know what you are thinking that I am one of those old fuddy duddies but that I am not. I enjoy a good game of Modern Warefare 2 from time to time, infact all of my scouts know I play the game and we compare scores and tatics. But to give an award for doing so is just crazy. I belive our youth today are the most unhealthy generation of Americans to date. The scouting program is to get the boys out doing things that they would not normally particpatein, when they reach Boy Scouts the Merit Badge program is to designed to help our youth maybe find a career or spark intrest in a subject that may change the world or atlest the lives of the Scout. Let me pose this question do you think our great Eagle Scouts such as Gerald Ford, James Lovell, or even Mike Rowe would have accomplished what they have in life by sitting around eating fast food and playing video games??????
What is happening to the SCOUT VALUES that have been taught to scouts for 100 years?????????


Mike VH   April 28th, 2010 7:36 pm ET

“The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.”
“Scout Oath: On my honor I will do my best, To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
“Scout Law: A Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.”
“The Boy Scouts of America will prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law.”

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Media/mission.aspx

Nowhere does it say that Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts have to be outdoors.


klg   April 28th, 2010 7:40 pm ET

It is not a MERIT BADGE but a pin or belt loop. So it has not been elevated in status that way. And it is NOT just for logging time but an attempt to TEACH about moderation and encourage intelligent game selection – hook them in with the idea of an albeit minor award for gaming but them teach them something once you get them there. I'm all for it.


LUKE   April 28th, 2010 7:51 pm ET

Jeez, are there that many ignorant people out there? Playing video games does not mean just sitting down 8 hours a day. That is called bad parenting. Video games are great for coordination and if you parents stayed up to date you would know its a total social interaction.

Kids go online now to form "clans" and it is not uncommon to have 50 people in your clan. Ever tired to coordinate a 50 person event? Try doing it with just your voice. Games are really great at teaching management, time management, social interaction, the list goes on and on.

This is not 1950 anymore, folks. Take em hunting sure, but if you think they do not need the skills aquired by playing games you are misguided.


Johnny   April 28th, 2010 7:55 pm ET

It is amazing to mee how people are so against this pin. First you have the supposed leaders and eagle scouts who rail against the pin because it shouldnt re[alce or be included in the 21 pins a cub scout needs. It is not included or replacing any of the Webelos pin. It is in addition to the totally optional Academics and sports belt loops and pins.

Second this new award is being torn apart by parents who say they dont want the BSA teaching their kids to be lazy obese video game addicted kids. They want the BSA to teach their kids to be men. NEWSFLASH.... THATS YOUR JOB. This is a simple pin or belt loop for a child between the ages of 6-10. lighten up and its totally optional. If you don't want him to earn it then don't.

As a Current Cub Master (10yrs), Troop committee member (6yrs) District Chairperson (3yrs) I KNOW that Cub Scouts isnt just about being outdoors. It is about relationships between scouts, their friends, community and FAMILIES. Yes outdoors is a part of the pogram but then again so is playing a board game (Bear Requirement), putting on a puppet show (Webelows showman requirement) plus many others. There are tons of REQUIRED activities that do not include the outdoors. If there is a pin teaching cubbies to plan meals and eat responsibly (Fitness) what could possibly be wrong with a elective pin that trys to teach them to be responsible playing a video game. If a parent doesnt want the kid to play video games, then more power to them there a plently of other elevetive pins and belt loops ot be earned.

Read the requirements and RELAX.


William   April 28th, 2010 8:02 pm ET

The kids are going to play video games anyway – it's not like they're going to go buy a new XBOX 360 just to get this badge. At least this is encouraging to find appropriate games, and it may encourage kids to join that would otherwise be hesitant.


A Wolf   April 28th, 2010 8:15 pm ET

Way to be on top of the "news"! This was announced last Fall by the Scouts.

What bothers me most is that call this an "Academic" award. Not that it fits any better as a "Sports". They need a new catagory.... maybe "Time Waster".


Cynthia   April 28th, 2010 8:35 pm ET

If you read the requirements, this is a lot to do about nothing. At least they are gearing it to math, spelling, etc.

This is change just like everything else that is going on. There use to be a time when people practiced their writing skills through actual writing on paper, sending a letter to someone, pen pals...that really does not exist anymore

Just like people actually talking to one another, instead they text each other.

Get a life people, these are kids that are staying out of trouble. Would you prefer they hang out on the local corner selling drugs????????????


Lawrence   April 28th, 2010 8:38 pm ET

If you have a problem with Cub Scout Pin for Video game go here:
http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/content/cub_scouts_video_games_academics_pin_and_belt_loop-2035.asp


Tom   April 28th, 2010 8:44 pm ET

I am an Eagle Scout. I feel that the requirements that are set forth in the pin are absolutely NOT about couch potatoes. One of the biggest complaints in the media is that parents are not involved with their kids. If you don't involve your parents and help them understand the games, you don't get the pin. The requirements also teach comparison shopping, planning, family fun. The pin is not going to turn kids towards video games. The pin is going to provide an opportunity for the kids to involve their parents and siblings in something the kids are doing already.

This is a valid update to Scouting. When my dad taught us Computer Merit Badge in Scouting it was all about main frames, reel to reel tapes, punch cards, and binary code. Now one of the requirements is to understand internet safety.

The pin and belt loop are great ways for the family to do something together. There is nothing that says you have to do this on a day when it is sunny and fun to be outdoors but it would be great to do when it is raining and cold outside.

Who knows, someone might actually learn something. Isn't life about learning?


forrest Crock   April 28th, 2010 8:45 pm ET

Our society is all about profit and little about substance. The cub scouts and boy scouts should be about taking kids out into the outdoors and getting them doing things they don't do at home already. This is ridiculous.


Dennis McCallister   April 28th, 2010 8:58 pm ET

People are so jaded in their opinions.
The youth of America need to be encouraged to develop the computer skills necessary to compete in the world market.
Video gaming teaches those skill in a non threatening way that is fun.
I'm for anything that exposes our youth to the world of computers at an early age.
I commend the Cub Scouts for their forward thinking in this area.
After all they still have awards for all of the outdoor skills we are more familiar with like building bird houses and other crafty things.
Give them a break


Scott   April 28th, 2010 9:10 pm ET

I think this is a great way for cub scouts to broaden their reach of boys interested in scouting. I would encourage a thoughtful way for kids to understand which video games are appropriate and how to interpret the rating system. They should also consider adding more technology to their programs, like robotics and computer science. Good for scouts! wish they had it when I was in it.


L   April 28th, 2010 9:22 pm ET

BAD! video gaming has nothing to contribute to helping them learn the oath and scouting laws.


R. Keys   April 28th, 2010 9:25 pm ET

This is outlandish. Scouting would simply be added to the list of organizations that have been compromised by the lazy, self-absorbed youth of America. As a 20 year old black male, I am among a super-minority that actually earn their Eagle Scout Award, and to think that scouts will be awarded for sitting in front of a couch or computer screen is embarrassing. Becoming an Eagle Scout is difficult, and that is why I have and always will pride myself on being one. The source of this pride comes from the fact that I did things that most kids never get to experience, anyone can play video games because they require no sort will, strength, or worthwhile talent. Tagging this award with the of "helping" with school work does not legitimize this at all.


Rick   April 28th, 2010 9:38 pm ET

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.

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.


GW Bell   April 28th, 2010 9:38 pm ET

I'm a Cubmaster and Parent...
When I saw that this was going to be available, I was a little surprised. But after looking at the requirements, I realize that the BSA is just making the best of something that is part of most kid's waking lives. Yes, we want to get them away from the Wii's and the Playstations and get them outdoors, but we realize that they will still spend time with these "diversions". That being said, we need to help them to understand there is more to a video game than just bright lights and cool graphics. I now see this as a tool to help school-age kids see the broader picture. I see this as a way to help them understand that there are other things in life besides Mario and Grand Theft Auto...

See requirements below...

Video Games
Requirements
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.
Belt Loop
Complete these three requirements:
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.
Academics Pin
Earn the Video Games belt loop and complete five of the following requirements:
With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.
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.
Play a video game with family members in a family tournament.
Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.
List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.
Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.
Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.
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.
With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system.


scout67   April 28th, 2010 10:11 pm ET

You really have to wonder how so many people can not read the requirements, yet comment with such confidence in their opinion. It says alot about how society in general perceives Scouting. I have been involved as a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Father of Scouts, Scout Camp Director and Scoutmaster, for over 40 years. I have always been amazed at how ill-informed many people are about the Scouting program. If you don't take the time to learn about the subject, don't embarrass yourself by making comments. It just magnifies your ignorance.


Sam   April 28th, 2010 11:21 pm ET

As an Eagle Scout, I'm embarrassed by this proposal.


Trey   April 28th, 2010 11:45 pm ET

I went from Bobcat to Eagle. In those years I've seen many changes in awards and skills tought in the scouts. Where would video gaming skills come in handy in the real world? Maybe a drone operator? Perhaps in production automation? Maybe even in space exploration. I think this is a positive progression for the scouts. Don't worry about the kids turning into sloughs, they will always love camping and hiking – trust me on that one.


Andy in AZ   April 28th, 2010 11:53 pm ET

Just a few more thoughts...

"Rob"
"As a Scoutmaster for many years I have watched the scouts being taken over by the Mormon church. They have been softening all the requirements so more can make Eagle faster and get into other Mormon activities. This is just a step a bit further down the ladder to get the results they are after."

I am a CC in a Traditional Troop smack dab in the middle of the "Mormon Corridor". And in the past few years, I have seen NOTHING about softening of requirements. In fact, requirements have been ADDED (Leader's EDGE, Trainer's EDGE), originally presented to adult leaders as part of Woodbadge, which are now part of YOUTH requirements, along with others.

I have seen fantastic LDS units that go way beyond requirements, presenting the program as it is intended, and I have seen traditional units that fail the boys miserably.

LDS or Traditional, in the end, its up to the UNIT to live up to standards of excellence. When the boys in my unit complete requirements, its not a 'gimme'. They understand that they have to WORK at completing a requirement. When my boys achieve Eagle, THEY will be the ones doing the work, not mom and dad. THEY will have completed a creditable Eagle Project, and their Eagle will mean something to them.

Its not a LDS vs Traditional thing, or at least it doesn't have to be. If certain units (LDS or Traditional) hand out merit badges like candy, or complete requirements haphazardly, that is to THEIR shame, and they will have to bear that burden of NOT preparing their youth to the best of their ability.

I can't control what happens inside other units, but I can make sure that we have done our absolute best to prepare these young men to make ethical and moral decisions for the rest of their lives.


Andy in AZ   April 29th, 2010 12:04 am ET

Amy in Atlanta:

At all the Cub Scout campouts we've gone to so far the boys play video games around the campfire.

Then that is YOUR fault, and the fault of your leaders. If you don't want them playing video games around the campfire, then MAKE A RULE, and ENFORCE IT.

Parents make the ultimate decision about program. If you don't like what your current unit is doing, then talk to the leadership (Cubmaster, who is responsible for Program), then Committee Chair, and if that doesn't work, you can alway go to the Chartered Org Rep. If none of those won't do anything, then find another unit. If there isn't another unit, then step up yourself into a leadership position.

I've had boys join my unit because the program provided by another unit was not what they wanted, and have had boys leave for another unit because we expected their parents to be involved, and all they wanted was a babysitting service. Does not fly in my Pack. Cub Scouts is a family-oriented program, so parents need to be involved.


Andy in AZ   April 29th, 2010 12:14 am ET

Forrest Crock:

"Our society is all about profit and little about substance. The cub scouts and boy scouts should be about taking kids out into the outdoors and getting them doing things they don't do at home already. This is ridiculous."

So I am curious about what your volunteer position is in Scouting? You talk about it being ridiculous that they aren't going outdoors, I assume from your comments that you are taking your unit out at least once a month for some sort of outdoor activity?

Oh, wait, you aren't in Scouting? Are you even familiar with the requirements for any of the Cub Scout ranks? You do realize that going outdoors is only a small but important part of the overall program, don't you?

The entire point of Scouting (Cub, Scout, Varsity, Venture, Explorers) is to instill in the youth the ability to make moral and ethical choices during their lifetime. Its not to make Paul Bunyans out of them. The Outdoors, especially in Boy Scouts and Venturing, is the vehicle that makes it happen.


ArePeopleReallySoClueless   April 29th, 2010 12:21 am ET

Freaky how many people get their panties in a wad and spout off their opinions with no basis in fact. I can understand the first dozen or so posters being to lazy to check facts.

There seems to be one sane post for every ten ill-informed posts. Guess it goes to show–you can post your comment–but only you will ever read. This has been very relaxing.


TexasRobbins   April 29th, 2010 12:22 am ET

At first glance this seemed a bad idea, but after reading the requirements, I like it. Videogames are a part of society now.

In the Introduction of the fourth and fifth editions of Handbook for Scoutmasters, under "Scouting is a Game" on page 12:

Yes, to a boy Scouting is a game–a wonderful game, full of play and full of laughter, keeping him busy, keeping him happy. Scouting is 'learning by doing' things that are enjoyable–exciting things!
That's the strength of Scouting! A boy becomes a Scout for the sheer joy there is in it.
To you and me Scouting is a game, also–but it is more than game of fun. To us, it is a game with a purpose–the purpose of helping boy to become men by training them for citizenship.
Training for citizenship–that's the aim of Scouting


Anahuac Mark   April 29th, 2010 12:41 am ET

As a former Scoutmaster, I must say this is sad. If it were a badge or pin rewarding computer skills I'd be pleased – but games such as this are not, in my mind, are not what Scouting is about.


ADV   April 29th, 2010 12:59 am ET

...What?

Speaking as a gamer, even I don't think this is a good move. I've always held Scouts to be in high regard with their physical-based activities and learning to live outside of one's comfort zone.

If the badges and belts are meant to show "knowledge" of how video games affect one's life, I believe it's just a redundant display since that's all it does. It shows that this kid knows his video games.

I'd rather they don't go with this move. It would give the kids an excuse to skip out on more physical activities trying to "collect" the video game badge...


Don Keesho   April 29th, 2010 2:09 am ET

Hmm....and I thought the Achievement trophies on X-Box 360 were useless.....


Cub Scouts to offer video gaming pin | Express   April 29th, 2010 2:35 am ET

[...] (CNN.COM) [...]


Franko   April 29th, 2010 3:02 am ET

Baden-Powell was a spy "incorporating plans of military installations into his drawings of butterfly wings" - Perhaps a badge for undetected hacking into military computer networks ?


jesse   April 29th, 2010 3:09 am ET

Don't get me wrong, I love video games as much as the next person.... but this is just rediculus. The scouts are about getting out and being active and learning something of value. Video games are just a past time and a pleasureable way to kill time. This just makes me sad.


Brad   April 29th, 2010 3:15 am ET

Ok, after looking at the requirements, it's obvious that this is not an attempt to get kids to play hours of videogames, rather it's the BSA making an effort to educate young boys on smartly participating in an activity that most of them will be doing anyways. No harm done


Caitlin   April 29th, 2010 3:21 am ET

"On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to Mario and the Rebel Alliance;
To obey the relevant ordinances of Hyrule, Azeroth and Tamriel;
To share medkits, stimpacks and potions when I can;
To keep my STR, WIS and INT high and my alignment as close to Paragon as possible."


Jimmie   April 29th, 2010 3:32 am ET

In a society plagued with obesity, this is not a good move in my opinion. How about a National Cub Scout Olympics? I know that individual troops have them. If the organization really has to go this route, at least have the gaming patch be for hours spent playing Wii Fit!


David P   April 29th, 2010 4:17 am ET

BSA has misstepped before, but in the other direction. According to what I've heard, they removed the outdoors and high adventure in the 70's to focus mainly on character building. The organisation nearly died. But BSA this time is (apparently) interested solely in keeping the organisation strong at the cost of fundamental values of the programme.

As an Eagle Scout in the BSA, and now a Kenya Scouts leader, I can't say this is a good move. As many commenters have already said, it will surely get the Cubs out of the great outdoors and on their butts, reducing physical activity and creativity. This is certainly a big move away from what Lord Baden Powell had in mind when he started the scouting movement.

Bad move, BSA.


Luke Skates   April 29th, 2010 6:19 am ET

I didn't approve at first, but after reading Francis' explanation of the award seeing as his son just got it. It really doesn't seem too bad. Though i will never go back to online gaming because i feel that i've wasted too much of my life on it, but some kids, rather than completely shunning video games, just need to learn how to keep it down to a healthy dose so that they don't become "twinkie consuming godzillas"
and to some of you anti-video game extremists, no, they don't make kids shoot up their high schools or sell pot to fourth graders; where do you people come up with these things?
all in all, it might be a good pull to get a few more gamer-type kids off the couch and more into the outdoors, or at least into the real world to develop the social skills that they're not getting by talking trash on XBox Live


A Cub Scout Master   April 29th, 2010 6:45 am ET

Yes, I was a shocked too. Are we sending the wrong message? But actually it is fine, because they look at what to play, when to play and for how long. We teach a balance of life. Today that does include virtual environments. The cub scouts are taught to make a schedule to balance this versus other activities that also benefit the boy.

Here are the requirements:
http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/cubscouts/awards/boys/sanda/video_games.aspx


Adam   April 29th, 2010 7:06 am ET

Video games aren't a trend like everyone thinks they are. People thought they were 20 years ago and they are still here and are going to be here for another 20 or more years. It's the evolution of board games. More and more people are becoming gamers and life is starting to revolve around a game. This belt loop is to show cub scout the understanding of video games not play mindless hours of it. Beside video games do serve its purpose in life beside entertainment they proved that males between 18-25 who drive have the highest reaction time due to video games. The Wii is used in rehab places to build muscle and in gyms to burn fat. The BSA has always kept up with current stuff. Thats why we have computer merrit badge jet ski merrit badge and now video game belt loops. I don't think you need to worry unless it is Halo belt loop.


pjlytle   April 29th, 2010 7:55 am ET

Bad idea!


Ma Ma Bear   April 29th, 2010 8:04 am ET

Please read the requirement first before making comment. My son earned it and it teach you how to use your time. It teach you not to sit in front of a video game the whole day.


Mark   April 29th, 2010 8:05 am ET

Being an Eagle Scout myself, I'm not so sure about this. After reading the requirements I don't see how this benefits the Scout at all. Yea its great they understand the ratings on video games and play ones appropriate for their age group, especially as graphics and game mechanics improve (they did not have CoD MWII when I was 8 years old). The parents should use some parenting skills here and just explain to their child why they can't play that video game or why they need to get off the couch and go outside. I was in Scouting from the beginning, Tiger Cubs, and I joined to go camping, do stuff out doors, and have fun; not because one of the pins was video gaming. And my favorite merit badge is Wilderness Survival.


ben dittmer   April 29th, 2010 8:18 am ET

i think that this is a stupid idea because i am an eagle scout and i feel that this totally brings down the morals of scouting!


Joe   April 29th, 2010 8:36 am ET

There is absolutely nothing wrong with teaching kids how to play games responsibly. On one hand I can see how the argument of "it's taking away from our children's youth and ability to learn things outdoors, blah blah blah". On the other hand, I can also see how this program can teach kids valuable ideals about buying things and doing so responsibly.

The requirements state an "AGE APPROPRIATE" game. This does not mean Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto or Halo or some blow-em-up game where you kill every character with a pulse. This is something that instills critical thinking, puzzle games or adventure games for kids; there are plenty of them out there. If your kid is playing the games above, then I believe that you have a parenting problem and is not your kid's problem. I really like the idea of teaching another adult to play a video game. This is something that would really be beneficial. If kids are going to be playing video games, why not play them with your whole family? The Nintendo Wii did a fantastic job of uniting families under a gaming console, now the kids can actually take what they know and try to get more people involved with what they love.

It doesn't say "become addicted to games" either. That portion is all up to the parents and how much they control their children's gaming intake. The only requirement which details playing games says "one hour". I fail to see how one hour of gaming will get a child addicted.

The other part of this I really like is the requirement to research a game that the child likes and price it at 3 different stores noting warranty and return policy. These skills are just invaluable in today's society, and knowing the risks of your purchase is something that you really have to learn by doing yourself, why not learn it doing something that you enjoy?

Things have changed since I was in Boy Scouts; cell phones are normal for kids now and it is no longer a commonplace thing to expect kids to enjoy the sublime of nature like we used to. Embracing the shift in kids interests is a good way to ensure that people don't just go off and leave the Scouts because they aren't interested in anything that is offered.


Patrick   April 29th, 2010 8:53 am ET

You know what is abhorrent about this story is that the media fails once again to tell the whole story or point out the good things that an organization does. Always have to go for the bad. I am a Cub Scout den leader and I do not see an issue with having a belt loop or pin for video games when we can also have a belt loop and pin for marbles. Furthermore, what the media to failed to highlight was the fact that we now have a belt loop and pin for disability awareness and good manners to name just a few of the new achievements. If the media is going to tell a story tell the whole story!!!!


JOE   April 29th, 2010 8:58 am ET

Just a bad idea regardless of the excuses offered...age appropriate etc. get off your butts and do something constructive.


Keith   April 29th, 2010 9:08 am ET

Get your facts straight, Cody.

For the rest of you who would like to see what's REALLY required for the belt loop and pin, look here:

http://usscouts.org/advance/cubscout/academics/video-games.asp

Oh, and just in case you think we're promoting a couch-potato mentality, your child can also earn belt loops and/or pins for the following:

Baseball
Basketball
Bicycling
Flag Football
Gymnastics
Hiking
Hockey
Ice Skating
Kickball
Physical Fitness
Roller Skating
Skateboarding
Snow Ski and Board Sports
Soccer
Softball
Swimming
Tennis
Ultimate (Frisbee)
Volleyball

So I don't think a few video games on a rainy day are gonna hurt anyone, do you?

Keith
Tiger Scout Den Leader, Pack 22
Calhoun, GA


Justin G.   April 29th, 2010 9:26 am ET

I probably play more video games than all of you and I'm in better shape and more successful.
:P Just saying ;)


Ashi S., Evanston IL   April 29th, 2010 9:29 am ET

This is actually great, look at the requirements, it actually teaches kids responsibility and balance:

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/cubscouts/awards/boys/sanda/video_games.aspx

It says you have to try and balance your schedule and understand why they have games maturity ratings. You also have to try teaching/playing an age appropriate game with your parents/friends.

When I was a kid, I played a lot of nintendo. During one visit from my grandfather, he tried playing duckhunt with the gun. We were amazed to find out that (even though he has never shot a real gun) he was a natural at duckhunt in one day was better than both me and my brother. We played together several times during his visit. Both then and at other times, videogames have been a source of family bonding - if done appropriately.


cub scouts add pin for video gaming « in the crosshairs   April 29th, 2010 9:29 am ET

[...] games by loramarie03 — Leave a comment April 29, 2010 I absolutely love this. Yesterday, CNN reported that the Cub Scouts of America is now offering a pin and belt loop for video gaming. I think [...]


TimtheEagleScout   April 29th, 2010 9:31 am ET

I agree with Keith, you should be excited there is something different that your boy can do to get one step closer to his Arrow of Light ceremony.


Steve I   April 29th, 2010 9:37 am ET

As a Scout Leader in a local pack, I don't see any problems with this. The Scouts offer dozens of other belt loops and pins for the more 'traditional' activities.

The BSA is simply acknowledging that video gaming is a part of our children's lives also.


Nick   April 29th, 2010 9:45 am ET

This is a disgrace, I started as a Tiger Cub at 7 years olds and achieved Eagle Scout when I was 17. The knowledge I obtained have helped me greatly as an adult and I think that this is a terrible move for the BSA. The goal should be to get them away from these video games, off the couch, and outside exercising and learning instead.


Jay   April 29th, 2010 9:47 am ET

So apparently this article didn't actually do any fact checking. Shocking. Hey, why maintain basic journalistic integrity when you can make stuff up and get more hits!


R Settje   April 29th, 2010 10:22 am ET

So what's next GEOCACHING? Oh wait, they already do that??

Go scouts, wake up and join the modern generation. Not everything requires camping, hiking or knot tying. Yes I have three boys in scouts, one Boy Scout two Cub Scouts. I'm also a committee member and a parent coordinator. BSA needs to get kids interested and hiking and camping isn't doing it.

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/TrainingModules/GeocachingtoPromoteScouting.aspx


MMD   April 29th, 2010 10:22 am ET

I agree with Max earlier. I was a Scout, and I am currently a leader in my sons den. If done right, this is a great SUPPLEMENTAL activity for the scouts.

-Design your own videogame
-Strategy in videogames
-History of Electronic entertainment
-videogame culture
-learn about videogame's impact on delivering education to children
-balancing physical exercise with gaming
-ESRB videogame adult/teen/children rating system and why it is important to follow these rules

The scouts are trying to be relevant to today's youth. At least they're acknowledging the changes in today's youth from the 40's & 50's.

By the way .... if you think the scouts lack outdoor activities, check out the BSA website:
http://www.boyscouttrail.com/cub-scouts/bear-scouts.asp
I think there's quite a few things to do OUTSIDE!


ObjectiveIAM   April 29th, 2010 10:35 am ET

Gaming Badge?!
GREAT...lets continue to make our youth as apathetic, lazy and fat as possible!


Springfield   April 29th, 2010 10:50 am ET

I see the silly ranters are still not reading this half-baked newstainment "article". As a life long Scouter, I find the negative commentary by adult leaders and parents mystifying. The program is meant to provide many alternate activities. I've heard the wuss argument from men who were in WWII that they don't want to camp because they had to during the war. Now we have metro dads & moms who just want their latte's who poison the minds of their boys against the outdoors by claiming that "the Scouts need to get with it". The program does it all. No other program on this planet offers learning opportunities to the extent that the Boy Scouts of America offers. For the guys to claim to have earned the Eagle Scout award, but say this Cub Scout elective activity is horrible, I say rubbish. I would loved to have been on your Board of Review. You may have cranked out the 21 and done a project as well as held a leadership office in the Troop, but you failed to learn what it all meant. Also, stop saying you were an Eagle Scout...you ARE and Eagle Scout for life unless the BSA strips you of it.


T.E.   April 29th, 2010 11:06 am ET

As an "old-school" scout, all I can say is this is completely disgusting and honestly a little disturbing.


Ken Stech   April 29th, 2010 11:08 am ET

I'm a Scout Leader and I just love when people don't do research before they blindly make comments about things they know nothing about.

Here are the requirements for the Video Game Beltloop and Pin for Cub Scouts. Read and judge for yourself. Oh and do a little research next time too.

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. 2 Check your video games to be sure they are right for your age.
3 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.
4 Learn to play a new video game that is approved by your parent, guardian, or teacher.

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.
Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.
4 List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.
5 Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.
6 Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.
7 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.
8 With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system.


Nick   April 29th, 2010 11:33 am ET

Now where was this when I was in Cub Scouts in the late 90s?


Joe C   April 29th, 2010 12:02 pm ET

My kids are in Cub Scouts and the pins and beltloops are additional things that the scout can earn outside of advancement requirements. The advancement requirements develop core scouting values like helpfulness, safety awareness, and independence. The beltloops expose the scout to different activities. My childrens recents beltloops include; music, geography, bowling, marbles, and swimming.

This is a bit of a cheap shot...


Aldo Pignotti   April 29th, 2010 12:10 pm ET

Another good reason to avoid the Cub Scouts.


Justin   April 29th, 2010 12:13 pm ET

I find the level of backlash here a little dissapointing. Two small awards for videogames, amongst a ton of completely videogame-unrelated ones. As a player of video games, I don't see why they are demonized so much. I'm not addicted to them, nor am I a couch potato. It's all about moderation, and making sure the games you buy are for the right age group.


D   April 29th, 2010 12:23 pm ET

This is just the beginning. Next they'll have pins for "Wet Willies" and "Wedgies". Gotta wonder what boneheads are in charge of this.


Eagle555   April 29th, 2010 12:34 pm ET

As an avid gamer, promoter of video games as a healthy form of entertainment, AND an Eagle Scout, I feel I am in the perfect position to say this is a horrible and misguided idea. Scouts to me is an outlet where one can get a head start on learning skills necessary for life, but not generally taught in school or most house holds. Skills such as leadership, teamwork, cooking, problem solving, time management, and basic networking and social skills all fall under this. Unfortunately, there is nothing in video gaming that one cannot learn on their own and the scouts have no need wasting time with it. I know many other Eagle Scouts and can guarantee that many, if not all of them, will share this view.


Harry   April 29th, 2010 12:37 pm ET

If they had offered this when I was a Cub Scout, maybe I would be better at video games today. I think this is a very positive move because many adults are sorely lacking in important video game skills.


jeff   April 29th, 2010 12:45 pm ET

As an Eagle Scout, I am embarrassed by this.


MIKE FROM ARIZONA   April 29th, 2010 12:53 pm ET

THIS IS PATHETIC WHATS THE SCOUTS COMING TO! IM SURE THIS WILL TEACH YOUNG SCOUTS NOTHING!


Tiger Cub mom   April 29th, 2010 1:00 pm ET

I don't understand what everyone is complaining about. Welcome to the 21st century people! If you would take time to read previous comments you would see and understand what the requirements of this belt loop are! My son just joined Tiger Cubs and at our last pack night 2 (out of 40 or 50) scouts (Cub Scouts and Webelos) earned their loop for Video Games. Before it was given to them, the Cub Master made them explain what they had to do to earn this badge. I must say the boys were very much informed on how important the parental ratings were, they were able to tell us which store had the "best price" for a particular game, and talked about how much fun they had PLAYING WITH THEIR FAMILY and friends. I don't see this as a bad thing – it enabled the boys to PLAY WITH THEIR FAMILY. Plus IT'S ONLY 1 – YES 1 – badge like this. Cub Scouts do a lot of other good things for their community. In fact my pack is having a day where we spruce up (plant flowers, paint curbs, etc) the location where we meet, not to mention actually going to our Council Campground to help clean up there. If you think Cub Scouts is only about playing video games wake up and smell the coffee. If you were a former scout, as I said earlier, get with the 21st century. They haven't gotten rid of past badges, just increased them as things change. If you don't like the idea of your son earning this badge, then don't have them do it. Enough said!


joseph   April 29th, 2010 1:00 pm ET

I read the post, then the requirements. I think this is a step in the right direction. It seems to balance the education with the fun of playing games. Honestly, I'd encourage any cub scout who likes gaming to get it.

Now if this was something geared toward the older kids, then no, I wouldn't agree with it.

Oh, And I am an Eagle Scout as well.


A den leader   April 29th, 2010 1:12 pm ET

Video games are becoming more and more part of everyday life for a lot of kids. Even though not all kids have or play videos, most will encounter a video game at some point either through a friend and/or on the internet. We must teach our kids how to recognize and respond to the increasing proliferation of video games in society.
Some video games are good (i.e. Reader Rabbit, ClueFinders, WII Fit, WII Sports, etc..) and some are bad. Kids (and parents) need to understand and know how to identify the difference. As a Bear den leader, I try to guide the scouts in making informed and responsible decisions in life. Decisions regarding Video games is something that does/will affect your friends, families and your own life.


Boy (Cub) Scouts Create Video Game Pin, World Gets Dumber « Turbo Boss Battle!   April 29th, 2010 1:16 pm ET

[...] Let's take a look at some comments from CNN's story. [...]


James   April 29th, 2010 1:21 pm ET

Respectfully, Eagle555 – I'm an Eagle Scout that disagrees. (Although I do agree kids spend too much time with media in general – all types. A trip to Philmont would do them some good).

To me, scouting is about life – all aspects of life, and yes, lessons learned throughout are to be used everywhere. Balancing your time, in whatever you choose to do is part of that. Gaming is entertaining. To imply that entertainment is not a part of life is to say that life is all work, and that is simply not the case. For instance, there's a belt loop and pin for the game of chess. Is that a waste of time? Prior to saying it teaches you strategy or "it's a classic", it's well known that there are many, many games today that do the very same thing. The point here is that when you actually read the requirements. I mean, actually look at them and not just assume what they are, you see that the idea is to 1) show kids there are games for everyone (E), teenagers (T) and those for adults only (M) and 2) understand that you have to limit your time for gaming because there are many more important things in life to do as well. I've already seen this work: One scout around the corner from us spends 1 – 2 hours a day playing games. After my son completed the loop, he himself decided to play :30 minutes, 3 times a week. That's 90 minutes. The average child in the US watches 3.25 hours of TV a day, or 22.75 hours a week and games 17 hours a week. This If school is not doing it, as you have correctly pointed out, or even parents – perhaps scouts has to do it.

If scouts is still about preparing our youth whatever life throws their way, unfortunately, like it or not, that includes balancing time with work, community and yes, entertainment.

At first glance I too was not in favor of the award. Get better at video gaming? But upon close inspection, and seeing good results with my son, I reconsidered. For me, it simply reinforces that there's a balance to life choices. A skill very few develop.


Roundtable Commissioner   April 29th, 2010 1:23 pm ET

I am a Cub Scout Leader and I don't care for this belt loop either, but I had the opportunity to speak to someone who did approve this belt loop. It was done so the Cubs AND Parents could make good game choices together. So many parents just buy whatever popular game their children wants. However, those games are not always good for them. Too old and has graphic things young eyes should not see. Heck, not even older eyes should see. One of the requirements is to set hours of play time versus homework. Too often children are allowed to play for hours so they don't bother their parents.

This belt loop encourages the Cub Scout Core Value of Responsibility for both the Cub Scout and Parents.


Patrick   April 29th, 2010 1:26 pm ET

All things aside, this is only one award among many...MANY...it is not required that a boy earn this pin to advance through Cub Scouts. As a Cub Scout leader I won't be teaching this award, but some might.


Jim   April 29th, 2010 1:44 pm ET

I am amazed at the number of "Eagle Scouts" on this blog. If only 2% ever make the award, why is it that there seems to be an inordinate amount of you on this blog? Also, if you are really eagle scouts, where is the research and decision-making skills you were supposed to learn? I had a ton of scouts want to earn the "gaming" award until they read the requirements. Now hey realize they are going to have to do some research, talk to their parents, and actually learn something. Wow, what an awful thing to do to kids!!!!!!!


Bryan   April 29th, 2010 1:56 pm ET

OK... let's get this straight. I have been an active Cub Leader for the last 5 years and I see there are some things here that are being missed. Before you judge this decision by the BSA, read the requirements to earn the loop and the pin. They are not encouraging hours of playing video games, they are encouraging the boys how to be responsible when engaging in the activity of playing video games. Also, for everyone that believes the purpose of scouting is camping or some kind of outdoor survival training realize this.... scouting is designed to develop ethical, responsible, and productive adults. They will continue to do this in anyway they can capture and maintain a child's interest. Finally, also understand that beltloops and pins for the most part electives and are not required to attain any rank in scouting. There are some Weblos Activity Pins that require a scout to earn a beltloop to receive. Some of the Loops that are required, would be Citizenship, Astronomy, Mathematics.... etc. So really where is the harm in teaching young boys to schedule their video game time around their homework and chores.


fedexboy1966   April 29th, 2010 2:01 pm ET

Woo hooo! A scout pin for video gaming! What's next? A merit badge for texting? I guess they'll have the strongest thumbs which would be perfect for hitchhiking, since they're going to be too fat, and too stupid to do anything else.
Way to go Cub Scouts! I guess the kids will live up to the organization's name, since you're helping to turn them into bear cubs!


Jeff   April 29th, 2010 2:10 pm ET

Whatever kid can play the original pong for one hour without going crazy can get the pin. That will eliminate 99% of the kids today. A.D.D A.D.H.D. cant sit down for 5 minutes without texting etc.


Linda Taylor   April 29th, 2010 2:40 pm ET

Read the requirements before you make a judgement. The video belt loop is to help them understand that there are limits and other responsiblities before videos games. It teaches them what are the age approriate games for them. It also requires that the cubs spend time with their parents and family when they play the games.

I do not hear any complaints about art, chess, citizenship ect, belt loops - they are not running outdoor type activiites.


Heather   April 29th, 2010 2:50 pm ET

They are trying to update some of the Scouting requirements to make it more relatable to the kids today. The idea of the Academics and Sports program is to take activities from their daily life and let them learn more about it. Video Gaming is not the only one they are adding. They have added the following:
Disabilities Awareness
Family Travel
Good Manners
Nutrition
Pet Care
Photography
Reading and Writing
Video Games
Hiking
Hockey
Horseback Riding
Kickball
Skateboarding
Why only do a story on one of the new programs, name them all. These are good changes, not bad.


Count Remy   April 29th, 2010 2:52 pm ET

I thought the whole point of the boy scouts was to get out of the house and do things and interact with human beings


Sara   April 29th, 2010 3:00 pm ET

The article fails to mention that at the same time, they also added belt loops/pins for: Disabilities Awareness, Good Manners, Family Travel, Nutrition, Pet Care, Photography, Reading and Writing, Hiking, Hockey, Horseback Riding and Kickball.


Jules   April 29th, 2010 3:02 pm ET

Boy Scout badges should be earned only for activities that somehow involve personal improvement. Video games can enhance eye-hand dexterity skills (baseball may be a better option), but not personal improvement.

I highly recommend that parents deter their children from working towards such mindless goals (and badgets).


G   April 29th, 2010 3:13 pm ET

I'm a Cub Scout den leader and I fully support this belt loop. I don't quite understand why everyone is getting all bent out of shape.

First, belt loops function as secondary requirements. They are completely optional and do not take the place of the standard advancement track. These loops cover everything from computers to sports to academics. They're more about allowing the boys to make good decisions and practice skills on their own.

Second, has anyone actually read the requirements? Please read them before mindlessly commenting. The requirements for this badge focus on having the boys make right decisions about video games. They are NOT about having the boys sit in front of a TV all day!

Like it or not, video games are here to stay. We can't ignore them. I'd rather have my pack learn to make right choices when playing video games than just pretending that they have no interest in playing them.

Please read the info before you bash anything. It makes all of you seem rather mindless.


A den leader   April 29th, 2010 3:15 pm ET

Apparently Jules has never heard of educational video games where they teach reading, writing, and mathematics among the many other acedemic skills. If I'm not mistaken, most public and private schools (and parents in their own homes) employ these type of "video games" as part of the learning process.


ryan   April 29th, 2010 3:17 pm ET

that's just sad. scouting and video games are two phrases that should not be in the same book together. its very disappointing.


Dave Wolff   April 29th, 2010 3:28 pm ET

Absolutely agee withe the author. As a former Scoutmaster I can see no point of the Scouting program promoting sedentary indoor "couch" games, no matter how they might lead to "better" choices of games to play. EVERY Scout I have had in my troop was there for the camping, the outdoors stuff.

BAN VIDEO GAME REWARDS.


oh please   April 29th, 2010 3:35 pm ET

this has NOTHING TO DO AT ALL with scouting

Nothing.

This will in no way improve a kids life skill. Might as well encourage learning about how to eat candy. ITS INFANTILE to subject scouting to this.


Game Scouts « View from the Cubicle Farm   April 29th, 2010 3:39 pm ET

[...] pin for Gaming.  Yes, you read that right.  This pin is awarded for playing video games. CNN's blog says that the award is "geared toward making Scouts understand which games are appropriate for their age [...]


Scout Leader David   April 29th, 2010 3:40 pm ET

As a current Webelos Den Leader, I can assure you that my boys will NOT be earning this pin or belt loop. Ridiculous.


Dan   April 29th, 2010 3:52 pm ET

This is misguided and a disturbing change in this organization's focus. They need to get back to basics and use the outdoors as their classroom.


Emily   April 29th, 2010 3:52 pm ET

Before we all start making our signs to protest this program for our children, as a Den Leader and mother of 2 boys I feel the need to mention the other new belt loops/pins that our boys are encouraged to earn this year. They include NUTRITION, DISABILITY AWARENESS, FAMILY TRAVEL, GOOD MANNERS, and READING AND WRITING. Do we boycott these because they are indoor focused activities as well?


Nick Vellios   April 29th, 2010 3:53 pm ET

I was a Cub/Boy Scout and I am disgusted at this badge. My son is almost 4 years old and when he is of age, he will be joining the Cub Scouts. I guarantee you he will not be participating in this badge unless it involves taking a gaming system out into the woods and shooting it with a .22LR Rifle.


omgamike   April 29th, 2010 3:56 pm ET

As an Eagle Scout for 42 years, I am highly indignant at this stupid move to offer an award for "video gaming". It goes against everything scouting is supposed to be about. It speaks volumes about where our values have gone to (to h*ll in a handbasket).

There are so many other areas they could have gone to if they were seeking something new for children to learn, but certainly not video gaming.

There are some people at scouting headquarters who need to be fired. That much is obvious.


SM Jim   April 29th, 2010 3:59 pm ET

PEOPLE – Especially all those EAGLES that are appalled at this – LISTEN UP..... it is for a CUB SCOUT BELT LOOP not a BOY SCOUT MERIT BADGE. If you made it to Eagle and don't recognize that this is a HUGE DIFFERENCE, then shame on you.


E Chevalier   April 29th, 2010 4:33 pm ET

HAve you read the requirements...it teaches time management, fiscal responsibility, and learning/teaching abilities. Read the requirements before you judge. I AM an Eagle Scout (1986) and have no problem with the belt loop.


krehator   April 29th, 2010 4:38 pm ET

What are we teaching our kids? This next generation is all OUR fault.


Bubba   April 29th, 2010 4:39 pm ET

Pwnin' Noobs ain't easy baby. Going 10th level prestige in MW2 requires a substantial life investment...so yeah, go ahead, reward that mediocrity...it'll pay off about as much as that sewing badge will...

Oh, don't mind me, I'm just working on my Sarcasm pin.


sara   April 29th, 2010 4:42 pm ET

Seriously, why are the boy scouts rewarding behavior that leads to obesity?! GET YOUR KIDS OFF THE COUCH!


sara   April 29th, 2010 4:44 pm ET

Seriously, why are the boy scouts rewarding behavior that leads to obesity?! This is disgusting. Video games are a problem and are contributing to a generation of fat kids. It's no o.k. to be fat, and it's not o.k. to encourage behavior that leads to obesity. PERIOD.


Tiger Cub mom   April 29th, 2010 4:51 pm ET

To all you EAGLE SCOUTS that are against this belt loop – see SM Jim's post! 6 up


Estella   April 29th, 2010 4:52 pm ET

My son is in cub scouts, from the looks of this tremendous organization firsthand, the Cubs Scouts/Boys Scouts is feeling like an extinct organization, which is too bad,. Where else can boys learn about loyalty, teamwork, the outdoors , respect etc. Awarding this kind of an award is part of the organization to being a part of these boys life, iven if it is a small part, because we are losing the idealogy of being a cub scout due to the video gaming industry. Parents are not willing to get off the computer to attend or be involved in the cub scouts, children are not willing to give up video games to be in cub scouts. So the organization will need to keep up with the changing times. I like being away from all of this video games hoopla to be outdoors, to teach my son how our fathers, grandfathers, uncles did before the video game hoopla was around. My son like to fish, play out doors, etc. Don't get me wrong, he has an xbox, but is limited to how much time he should be on it. I don't agree with this, but if it encourages boys to join cub scouts, it will have to do.


Christopher   April 29th, 2010 4:59 pm ET

Scouting is about the outdoors, community service and helping others, being a good person. Sitting in front of the TV is not the makeup of scouting. I think this pin and belt loop is sending the wrong message.


Headlines from hell | CITY LINK - Free Music, Fashion, Clubs, News, Fresh Content Daily - Official web site of South Florida's City Link magazine.   April 29th, 2010 5:14 pm ET

[...] “CUB SCOUTS TO OFFER VIDEO GAMING PIN” — Cnn.com [...]


Matthew   April 29th, 2010 5:26 pm ET

As a former Cub Scout, current Boy Scout, and one who enjoys video games, I have a bit of a problem with this development. In Cub Scouts, pins and belt loops were always earned because you did something creative, learned a new skill, or went outside to do something physical (like playing sports). Playing video games, while they are fun in moderation, are not a healthy activity when practiced in excess, and kids don't need to be awarded by an outside organization for playing them (there are already built in awards in most games, so this is unnessasary). I can understand trying to change to accomodate a new generation, but if this is the goal it would make more sense to award kids for maybe learning about computer and video game programming or for learning to create thier own game. Scouting is about learning new outdoor and leadership skills, improving yourself, and having the opportunity to do things you wouldn't normally have the chance to do. These kids already have the opportunity to play video games, try giving them new opportunities instead.


Old Skool Sc0ut   April 29th, 2010 5:30 pm ET

I think that this new pin they have come up with is a complete joke. I used to be a Cub Scout, then advanced to Boy Scouts. There are a lot of other things that teach young kids and teens better things than to play a video game – even if you're playing this game to help you with your homework. Guess what – it's called getting a tutor. It's called asking your teacher for help, ask your parents for help, get a study group.

I learned how to save lives, the buddy system, how to tie knots, fix meals, survive with very little to no items but what I found in the woods and this video game crap is a slap in the face!


Hi   April 29th, 2010 5:36 pm ET

Wow, I just graduated from Cub Scouts and think this is the dumbest thing I've ever heard


Bernard   April 29th, 2010 5:40 pm ET

I think that as long as teaching the small ones to play games that are good for there age this is very very good. GTames are fun games are great but one must mind the age catogries.


Tim   April 29th, 2010 6:16 pm ET

I'd have to agree with "max". Some video games are capable of teaching things. Racing video games can teach you how to determine when to shift gears in a manual transmission car and some games can teach physics.


Joseph   April 29th, 2010 6:23 pm ET

I think that BSA had good intentions is making this, but failed the delivery. I am a scout and my little brother is a cub scout so I heard of this a while ago. I think BSA wants to educate kids how to read ratings and and have control of playtime but its lost on them. I'm homechooled so I might have gotten education from it but your average public schooled cub scout is doing it because it has to do with video games and they will forget all the stuff BSA is trying to teach. I am scared now that they might make a MB.


Damien   April 29th, 2010 6:32 pm ET

LOL. What a joke!


chuck farnham   April 29th, 2010 6:39 pm ET

2 hours of Grand Theft Auto and my kid gets an AWARD????? It's official, HE IS OUT OF SCOUTING....


Daniel   April 29th, 2010 6:39 pm ET

Pretty sad that they have to incorperate video games into their program to get people to join.. When I was in it, most of the activities were camping/Pinewood Derby.


Charlie   April 29th, 2010 6:41 pm ET

I'm an Eagle Scout and current Cub Scout den leader. I taught the video game belt loop to my den a few months ago and it was a good experience. 9 out of 10 boys in my den (including my son) play video games already on a daily basis. The loop was a good way to teach them how to rein in their playing, socialize with others around video games and learn about the ESRB rating system. As to the concern about pandering to the current age, Scouts has always adapted its merit bades, belt loops and pins while staying true to its values. My ability to engage the boys with the video game belt loop one month means I am that much more likely to still have them the following month when I'm teaching them about nature, hiking and camping.


IllEagle-J1   April 29th, 2010 6:47 pm ET

Proves what I have said for sometimes.
The boy scouts are not relevant any more.
Not when the most hazardous thing that a child can do is play with the lint in his or her belly button.
How about a Bootie medal? How many brownies can you bugger?.


Kelly   April 29th, 2010 6:47 pm ET

I've seen the award manual, it's about teaching responsible use of games, not sitting around and playing them all day. The games are here, let's teach responsible use. I think it's a great teaching tool, that's what scout's is all about.


Joe B   April 29th, 2010 7:46 pm ET

I was in Scouting from Tiger Cubs all the way up to earning the rank of Eagle Scout. My troop was always camping among other outdoor activities. My father was our Scoutmaster and he took a few of us on a trip to the Boundery Waters in Northern Minnesota for a week. I remember he was upset when he found out I had taken my walkman along for the ride. I cant imagine that the Scouts would even want to offer this kind of Merit Badge. Back in the day parents didnt want their kids always sitting on their butts playing Nintendo so they got them involved in Scouts. Now they go from sitting on their butts at home to sitting on their butts for 1 hour a week at Scouts.


JoeBob   April 29th, 2010 7:54 pm ET

Gaming badge? This is crazy as kids today already spend too much time playing video games. What does a scout have to do, game for 5000 hrs to receive the badge?


tom sawyer   April 29th, 2010 7:58 pm ET

I'm a boyscout right now and I'm against this pin and beltloop thing for video gaming.Even if we do some other electronics things they are not focused on entertainment like video games are. We learn how to use them for communication and other help, not to enjoy ourselves. Will you seriously need to play video games to accomplish something you may need when you grow up .Maybe if it's educational it might be all right ,but do you think they are really going to do that?


idano   April 29th, 2010 9:04 pm ET

I got beat up...stuffed into lockers and picked on all my life...now I can wear my scout uniform and play my video games in piece.... and earn a badge.... what a wonderful world....I can't wait for band camp in a few weeks where I can wear my beltloop in pride....


Yo   April 29th, 2010 9:30 pm ET

CNN, seriously? How about do some responsible reporting and reference the actual requirements? This exists to teach them responsibility in video gaming. Kids are going to play video games, this teaches them how to be responsible about it. Yellow and irresponsible journalism at its finest.


Scotty P.   April 29th, 2010 9:52 pm ET

Ummm no. Are they running out of ways to encourage kids to join?? I mean this is ridiculous. I would pay m kid NOT to get this badge as it just seems like a ridiculous excuse.


Mike from New York   April 29th, 2010 9:55 pm ET

I always figured the Boy scouts and other groups like them were meant to get kids to get outside more. I mean I always figured the reason the scouts were so great for kids was it taught them to rely on themselves and not on the electronics. I know I sound like an old fart but I myself am 18 years old and if one day I do have kids I want to do my best to get them outside to enjoy the woods and nature in general.


anthony   April 29th, 2010 10:52 pm ET

I am a webelo and i am very found of video games having an unactive den this is not a big affect on my life but I do see how the bsa sees this and that is the kids should learn how to us tecnolagy but most kids will yous this as an exquse to buy a xbox 360 elite. Like i have.


Gods Voice1   April 29th, 2010 11:11 pm ET

As a young Eagle Scout, I cannot see any benefits to encouraging scouts to play video games. It would favor the privileged, encourage a sedentary lifestyle and would truly provide very little in the way of benefits.
Even the Nintendo Wii, which is marketed as a healthy, active form of entertainment, actually requires very little activity to use. This goes against the Scout Oath! "To help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong..." This would compromise both of these to some extent. Again....the negatives outweigh the benefits significantly.


mytoys666   April 29th, 2010 11:11 pm ET

The cub scout's pin doesn't bother me, it's that boy scout's child molesting badge that I have a problem with.


burn   April 30th, 2010 12:57 am ET

i think this is just sad. i was a cub scout once and it gous against the whole point. the purpose of scouting is to enjoy the outodurs, learn life skils and becom leaders.


Cap'n   April 30th, 2010 1:18 am ET

When I was a scout, "Pong" was the only video game. That was long ago to be sure, but the memories I have of Scouting are of 5 – 20 mile hikes, camping, Jamborees and most of all INTERACTING WITH HUMANS. Todays television and gaming culture furthers the isolationism our society already suffers too much from. "Scout Potato" is an accurate term.
Gaming is fun I'll admit, but it doesn't belong in the scouts. What's next, a "Face Book" merit badge?


Lucas   April 30th, 2010 1:25 am ET

I'm a boy scout currently, and I think that this is a load of crap. Scouts is about teaching you good outdoor skills, and of course, some, emphasis on some, computer skills. Don't get me wrong! I am a MAJOR geek. But for scouts? they should keep their noses out of this before somebody sets them up the bomb. And plus, Age-Appropriate? I'm sorry, that should be "Mental-Age-Appropriate." Just because John (Example name) is 27 and has Halo doesn't mean he should play it. Games with guns are for people who know that just because a violent game that they played lets them shoot civilians, they shouldn't do it in real life.


Brian   April 30th, 2010 2:29 am ET

The media is so stupid, yet you come back every day like nothing ever happened.


ray   April 30th, 2010 3:51 am ET

This is a good idea as it may open some parents eyes to what their kids are playing. It is approached from a very mature angle and it could benefit some children or we could simply pretend video games don't exist (wrong answer)... I was a scout and I also played video games. I enjoyed the puzzles and the critical thinking skills required; now I work as a systems analyst but I still enjoy hiking riding bikes and cross country running.


Tibo   April 30th, 2010 6:21 am ET

Those kids need to be outdoors learning and doing practical things in the "real" environment.
I was a scout for 10 yrs. We didn't get badges for watching TV or playing board games. We dealt a major deal with the outdoors, camping, hiking, boating. Stuff you normally otherwise wouldn't have a chance to do as a kid.
The scouts are making fools of themselves if they start to try to appease to every whim. Next you know, they'll be giving pins for being an expert in fast food consumption...
They need to get their butts outdoors!


USAFTexan   April 30th, 2010 6:51 am ET

No wonder most of the children in America are getting Fat & Lazy. Even the BSA is now contributing to it. I was a Scout, earned every single pin. Now I'm ashamed to say I was one.


RML   April 30th, 2010 7:01 am ET

What a shame. Another excuse for kids to sit on their a**es instead of getting outside and doing something useful.

No wonder I see so many teens and pre-teens who weigh more than I do at 53!


JJ   April 30th, 2010 7:10 am ET

Gods Voice1 ... I agree completely, I'm an old Eagle Scout and sitting around doing nothing for anyone but yourself, and doing yourself a disservice, is the dumbest thing I can think of to encourage or for that matter reward a young, impressionable child for their time and brain cell wasting activities.

Somebody dropped the ball on this one. Get with the program fellas. Use your brain for more than just a hat rack.


Eric   April 30th, 2010 7:14 am ET

I have been a scoutmaster, and I'm still a meritbadge counselor for the "morbid obesity and junk food" merit badge, it's called "personal fitness". The goal is to educate and promote healthy practices and give scouts an deeper understanding of topics that interest and effect them and their peers. If you can use this to educate Cubs about the responsible and appropriate use/play of videogames as opposed to just condemning or ignoring the issues, then I'm all for it. It might even help reduce some of the scouting stigma that's out there today.

BTW, my son is an eagle scout and a HS athlete, and he plays video games (he has even written one!).


Chris   April 30th, 2010 7:28 am ET

I am a boy scout and i think they need to think this over. I went to a cub scout meeting where they were doing this and they were playing an M rated game with no parents watching over them or caring. This needs to be revised or gotten rid of because this is not a scouting skill which is the basis of scouting.


Dave   April 30th, 2010 7:39 am ET

PLEASE...read the requirements for the award(s), then comment. I trust the BSA to study the need for any new awards and the benefits to the Scouts and the program. I have read the requirements and, after realizing video games are often abused by youngsters (and older folks too), I have no objection with the Cub Scouts helping its members learn how to use the games responsibly. I know personally of young men who have failed at school or work because they could not remove themselves from the games long enough to take care of other responsibilities. Perhaps if they had been taught at a young age how to enjoy the games appropriately, they would have been more successful in other areas. Don't worry, the Scouts are still the Scouts.


Zatch   April 30th, 2010 7:42 am ET

That........just wow.. I wish I had that back in Cub Scouts.
Just wait, soon they will have the "Cheat Code Usage" pin!


Tom M   April 30th, 2010 7:58 am ET

Where did people get the idea that Cub Scouts do nothing but hike, camp, and hug trees? It hasn't been like that in 50 years. It's been soccer-mommified.

Cub Scouts no longer learn gun or bow safety (including the actual use of the weapon). Pocket knives are serious contraband. They may have a short hike in the middle of the summer, as long as the day is not too hot. Possibly a campout that more resembles a catered backyard barbecue. There are limited sports activities due to the risk of injury.

Scouting has basically been reduced to arts and crafts. They're one step away from sewing their own dresses.

It sounds like videogames are being introduced to restore some interest from the kids.


Aaron W   April 30th, 2010 8:06 am ET

This belt loop is just one of the many the scouts can do. If you spend one minute reading the requirements, you will see it is not about just playing video games.

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/cubscouts/awards/boys/sanda/video_games.aspx


Bree   April 30th, 2010 8:59 am ET

Almost everything is bad in excess–even exercise. There's nothing wrong with kids enjoying video games, as long as they are taught to balance them with other activities. Today's young people are growing up in an age of technology, and it is an integral part of their lives. I am in my twenties, and I can't imagine how people would have lived before computers and the internet. I feel that oftentimes many adults (who are old enough to not have *grown up* with computers, video games, mp3 players, etc.) undervalue the importance of these activities in a young person's life. And honestly, being good at video games is not a bad thing–most video games are not 'random violence.' Rather, they have a plot that often involves a lot of problem solving and processing of much information at once. Also, a lot of video games aimed at younger children are very educational.


Bree   April 30th, 2010 9:11 am ET

I can't help but add...a lot of these comment made me laugh because they reminded me of an entry on the well-known site Stuff White People Like called 'Making you feel bad about not going outside.' I recommend reading it, especially if you were one of the individuals complaining about how kids should "'get outside and do something useful."


Strongbow   April 30th, 2010 9:27 am ET

Tom M....

"Cub Scouts no longer learn gun or bow safety (including the actual use of the weapon). Pocket knives are serious contraband. They may have a short hike in the middle of the summer, as long as the day is not too hot. Possibly a campout that more resembles a catered backyard barbecue. There are limited sports activities due to the risk of injury."

You might take a look at the Belt Loop program again. At District Camp (only), the Cub Scouts may get opportunities to learn archery and BB Gun marksmanship under very controlled conditions. As Bear Cubs (at the earliest) the Scouts will be guided thru the Whittling Chip program to learn proper and safe usage of a pocket knife in order to use one at Scout functions. Our scouts play all kinds of outdoor sports, including ones not covered under the Belt Loop program.

As for camping, the Cub Scout camping program is more akin to family camping. It gets the young scouts accustomed to the experience, but as the Scouts progress in rank from Tiger to Web2, they take on more responsibilities in the campsite: cooking, cleanup, setting up and striking the camp. Cub Scout camping is a very structured activity, as it should be for boys in that age range. Once the Scouts move up to Boy Scouts (or even Venture or Sea Scouts later), that's where they get to experience true backwoods primitive camping and hiking...families don't go along on those excursions.


Robert H   April 30th, 2010 9:45 am ET

As a cub master I think this was a great idea. Everyone here that is posting comments about how bad this is I fear have not even taken the time to read the requirements of the loop. The entire point of cub scouts and that's what this is for not boy scouts is to teach kids all kinds of things. But not just to teach them things it's to teach them the right way to do things no matter if that's sports, hiking, swimming, chess, or now video games. The requirements for this is not to play hours of games it's to learn about the rating system of games, to learn a new game that is appropriate, and to build a schedule with a small amount of time there to do video games as well as other things like homework, and household chores. In this day and age with our society it seems everyone pretty much lets there kids play video games but most of the time parents don't even take the time to learn about the rating system or check it when they are buying a game. This will at least encourage parents and kids alike to take notice of this so that we are not teaching our children something they do not need to learn at the age of 6-11.


JT   April 30th, 2010 9:51 am ET

Some of the Lowlights and mistatements by people..

"I was a scout for 10 yrs. We didn't get badges for watching TV or playing board games."

First it is a Belt Loop not a Merit Badge, Belt Loops are for CUB SCOUTS and Merit Badges are for BOY SCOUTS.
Second there has been a Chess Belt Loop for many years and a Cub Scout elective on the way to rank advancement for playing a board game with your Family. So you may have earned your rank advancement if you were a Cub Scout for playing a board game.

"I went to a cub scout meeting where they were doing this and they were playing an M rated game with no parents watching over them or caring."

That sounds like a Pack in serious need of some Parental involvement. Like any large organization involving youth the BSA program as laid out is only as good as the Parents. Don't blame the BSA because the Pack Leadership and more importantly the parent allow that to happen. BSA does not stand for Baby Sitters of America.

"Cub Scouts no longer learn gun or bow safety (including the actual use of the weapon)."

Wow, that is full of stinky human waste. There is a BB gun and Archery Belt Loop in Cub Scouts. These can only be earned at a BSA range run many times by NRA members. Now some parent don't want there son to learn that skill and guess what, they don't have too. But you are right we don't hand hunting rifles to 7 year olds and let them bang away.

"Pocket knives are serious contraband"

Geez hate to say it, but WRONG again. A Bear Cub Scout can earn what is called a Whittlin' Chip after they have shown the responsibilty to use a pocket knife. This mean they can carry it on Cub Scout outings. If they use the knife improperly that Chip can be taken away and the they will no longer be able to carry the knife. We don't welcome them in our Pack Meetings because we meet in a church and they have strict rules about knives on their property.

"They may have a short hike in the middle of the summer, as long as the day is not too hot. "

Finally we have some truth. Yes we don't take our 7 year olds out on 50 mile hikes with full pack in 105 degree heat. 4 miles is about as far as I would go with the young boys and I do try to keep the temp in that 60-80 degree mark with plenty of water. Now if you want to take 25 or 30 1st to 3rd graders and their parents on a long forced march through the woods, your nuts.

That being said I just got back from a three 15 mile plus hikes with my Boy Scouts over Spring Break. We hit a couple of National Parks and the State Park. We are planning a trip to Gettysburg NMP were I have the feeling we will be getting in over 50 miles of hiking in in the four days we will be out there. They love it and stay interested and at 12 to 16 years old have the stamina and physical maturity to complete such trips.

"When I was a scout, "Pong" was the only video game. That was long ago to be sure, but the memories I have of Scouting are of 5 – 20 mile hikes, camping, Jamborees and most of all INTERACTING WITH HUMANS."

Wonderful that you have Memories like that and I am sure they were great. But were they as a Boy Scout or a Cub Scout. Thats like saying I have memories of hanging out with my buds, getting my drivers license, earning my Letter in Football. Great Memories, but I had those as a 15 to 16 year old. Not a 7 or 8 year old. Remeber we are talking Cub Scouts.

"I was in Scouting from Tiger Cubs all the way up to earning the rank of Eagle Scout. My troop was always camping among other outdoor activities. My father was our Scoutmaster and he took a few of us on a trip to the Boundery Waters in Northern Minnesota for a week. I remember he was upset when he found out I had taken my walkman along for the ride. I cant imagine that the Scouts would even want to offer this kind of Merit Badge. "

This is disappointing on many levels. First because it calls into question whether this person is truely what they say they are. A Eagle Scout above all should know the difference between what they needed to do to earn a Merit Badge and what a Cub Scout needs for a Belt Loop. A Eagle Scout should also understand that Merit Badge work is part of their rank Advancement, where Cub Scout Belt Loops are electives that young boys have the option of earning. Belt Loops are not part of rank advancement. As far as Camping goes, he is right BOY SCOUTS do a lot of camping. But he should understand, and if he had been a Den Chief working with the younger scouts be clear on this, Camping is not the main focus of the Cub Scout program.


Michael   April 30th, 2010 10:06 am ET

I am an Eagle Scout and 32. I personally think this is a generational misunderstanding and a lack of proper research. I like the idea of this award and wish I could add it to my sash. I like the fact that they have to acknowledge the rating of the games they play and verify they are supposed to be playing the game. I think a lot of kids play Grand Theft Auto (which I very much enjoy) but they don't possess the experience and wisdom to separate fantasy from reality. Before you make a decision go to the source http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/cubscouts/awards/boys/sanda/video_games.aspx and read the requirements. They take an activity that kids are engaged in and make them think about time management, design, interacting with friends and family, etc... I especially like the following requirement: 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. This is an excellent choice for Boy Scouts of America (which handles Cub Scouts). Good Work!


Will Robinson   April 30th, 2010 10:08 am ET

This headline is more suitable in The Onion. What a disgrace. As the father of two young boys I'm constantly amazed by the complacency of parents who figure they can't stop their sons from playing video games all day, so why fight it? Now we have the Cub Scouts raising the white flag? My parents didn't buy me a video game system and I somehow survived my late 80s, early 90s childhood playing outside with friends. I was a Cub Scout and it provided my earliest memories of appreciating the outdoors and working for something. Getting a badge was an achievement resulting from stretching ourselves and working. How does playing video games fit into that category?


4 generations of scouters   April 30th, 2010 10:42 am ET

One of the greatetst things about scouting is that it teaches kids to be responsible for their actions. Many folks are so nonchalant about parenting. For many children, scouting fills in although it was not meant to fulfill that role. I see this belt loop and pin as an educational tool to make them more responsible in their video game playing, for which their parents may not be educating or even monitoring them. Knowledge is power and if they are educated on how to read the boxes and set up a healthy game playing schedule, then rock on- scouting just did these boys a favor. After all, a boy is a boy is a boy and they aren't always out hiking amid nature, tying knots, or identifying leaves


Lilfut   April 30th, 2010 11:00 am ET

I bet even Jack Thompson would like this.

It's actually teaching kids that too much gaming is a bad thing. I know I'd be more careful with my playing had I had to pay for the games myself.

This is more of a gaming AWARENESS badge. And I support it fully.


Ol' Bear in AK   April 30th, 2010 11:12 am ET

I don't necessarily have an issue with this, but I do have a problem that they push this ahead of other things. It took forever to get a scuba merit badge for the older BoyScouts. There is nor will there ever be a martial arts merit badge. No kayaking badge, in fact even whitewater is aimed towards a canoe, even though most use a raft or kayak. There are so many things thast could make wonderful merit badges, yet they do this kind of stuff, or have ones like Nuclear Science. Gee that will be an easy one to find a counselor for!


Strife Raven   April 30th, 2010 11:29 am ET

After reading through the requirements for earning this badge, I think that, given the reality of children's lives today, it's actually a pretty good badge. Among the highlights:

1-It teaches scouts to be fiscally responsible and thrifty. It teaches them to understand what they are getting into with a videogame or console purchase. It teaches them how to pick out pros and cons between competing brands and make a choice that ultimately suits their needs.

2-It teaches them to plan their day/week ahead of time. It helps them understand the importance of free time, and the appropriate time to take a break to play a videogame. It does NOT advocate sitting in front of the TV for hours–in fact, the requirements could even be interpreted as discouraging such behavior.

3-It promotes social/family interaction, including: teaching family members or older generations how to use a gaming console and play a videogame, playing in a gaming tournament with your family, and teaching and playing a videogame with a friend.


Springfield   April 30th, 2010 3:30 pm ET

Thanks JT for your post on April 30th, 2010 9:51 am ET.

You laid it out perfectly. Much of the negative commentary found in the 500+ posts stems from not reading the article and not understanding the program. It makes me very concerned that posters claiming to have received the Eagle Scout award don't appear to understand the program either. Like I said earlier, if I had been on the Board of Review for some of these guys I would have pressed them to explain the purpose of the Scouting program if they appeared to be confused.

I also hold the newstainment industry responsible for creating confusion by either not researching the facts or blatantly misleading the public due to their own negative bias.


Jy   April 30th, 2010 5:38 pm ET

It's a modern activity that consumes many hours of a child's time today.
It's appropriate to the times.


Eagle Scout - Wes   April 30th, 2010 6:34 pm ET

Seriously? What the hell BSA? This Eagle Scout does NOT approve. I can kindof, barely, see where you were going with this misguided attempt; but IMHO if you properly teach the other aspects of scouting, then they should be able to figure out what is "right" or "wrong" in any aspect of their daily lives and will pick up far greater skills to aid them throughout their lives beyond the TV that society has made them so dependent on.


Peter   April 30th, 2010 9:23 pm ET

There is nothing beneficial about playing video games, they are empty uses of time, and do more to polarize kids toward inappropriate communication, laziness, lack of motivation. Any excuse a person could give for them is mute. A popular one is that it teaches team work, or problem solving– but then so does playing sports, or helping local organizations.


Ed B., Wantagh NY   April 30th, 2010 9:37 pm ET

As a former scout, I feel this is a horrible idea.
It goes against all the principles that scouting was founded on.
Scouting is about learning about nature, crafts, and civics, etc... and learning to be a part of society. not sitting on your butt playing games.
Parents will be less interested in having their kids join, and this will have a long-term adverse effect on scouting in general.


Mario Zammit   May 1st, 2010 3:40 pm ET

How about using this badge as a means to teach time management and balance, once we all know that video games are not the devil, They may learn self discipline on how much time may be spend on these activities, Or maybe this badge will be awarded as a sixth badge provided the first five will be traditional scouting outdoor skills,


Amy   May 1st, 2010 4:32 pm ET

Hey Ol' Bear- it's a Cub Scout belt loop- not a merit badge. You are right though, it would be nice to see some new merit badges for the older boys, the Boy Scouts, to earn.


Jason   May 2nd, 2010 7:28 pm ET

I do have one thing to say, to those that want to see the scouting program get boys outside, active, and become young adults, I say this: Scouting is a volunteer program, that is it needs adults to run it. Without leaders then there can't be a program. With no program then these boys will be playing ivideo games anyway. As leaders we need to do what we can to keep boys in the program. Volunteer become a leader, or committee member, cubmaster. And don't say you don't have the time, make time, these boys are our future. I am a leader, do the work of the cubmaster and help other leaders with their dens, and I am unit commissioner, I have four kids two boys and two girls, and they are all in scouting. I work 40-45 hour week and also working on my house, I volunteer my time to my town as well, so time can be found one only needs to look.


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joseph (cubmaster)   August 9th, 2010 2:38 pm ET

I have been in scouts most of my life this is crazy. I am a cubmaster and i Disagree with this and i will not give this belt loop or pin out in my pack. what is this world coming to?


Dauntless2000 (Life Scout)   August 30th, 2010 7:54 pm ET

IF the people look at the requerments of the belt loop and pin for video game they would see it as teaching scouts how to play games responable with their hobby. That means that the BSA is more logical about video games then society in general. Many people need to understand that video games are now part of are culture thanks to people growning up with them. Games have changed from the simple Pong to now more complex forms of Mass Effect, World of Warcraft, and Halo: Reach, they still hold the core idea that this is a media to entertain the masses not just kids.

The BSA is at it's main core is to prepare boys to the challenge of adulthood. If the BSA was about being outdoors then why was one the the first merit badges was about navagating around your hometown. Maybe the people that call themselves scouts FORGOT THE CORE IDEA OF SCOUTING! Camping and hicking was a tool to the goal of preparing them by making them responsable for themselves, think ahead, problem solving, and working with other people as a team player or lead the way. BSA changes with the times, the boy scouts of old don't work in today's world. MB were added or deleted as the world change because they are or not needed in the world or the world of tomorrow. Saddly the older generaton still thinks that they understand the world the children will take on but the way the public understand video games, even thou half of America plays video games and half of them are 18-49 years of age. Basicly the public are still stuck in the hase of the Columbine shooting panic while the BSA is thinking with a clear head

LIfe Scout
Brotherhood member of the OA
Member of Trails West Council's 1997 and 2001 National Jaboree troop
SPL for Troop 12 for two years, ASPL for one, Troop Guide for three, Liberian for one year for Troop 12, Liberian for one year for Troop 46, Patrol Quartermaster for 1423 sitting bull patrol,

Served as Den Chief of pack 28 den 1 from bobcats to 2nd year Webelos and was their for their reciving of the Arrows of Light like my Den Chief did for me when I graduated to boy scouts


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