Boy Scouts earn video game honor

You might think the Boy Scouts was a way to encourage children to spend more time on healthy outdoor pursuits and less time slumped in front of a screen. But now the movement is offering an award for video gaming.

The awards, from the Boy Scouts of America, are not for in-game achievements but rather about life skills related to gaming. The new honor is not the better known merit badge, which is for scouts aged 11 and over. Instead it is available in two forms, for Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts aged from 6 to 11.

The first is a belt loop. Its requirements include explaining how video game age ratings work, building gaming into a schedule alongside chores and homework, and learning a new video game (the choice of which must be approved by an adult.)

The second honor is an academics pin, available to those who have already achieved the belt loop. It requires the successful completion of five tasks from a list of nine, ranging from the simple (play a game with a friend for an hour) to more complex (teach an adult how to play a game) to the downright dangerous (produce a comparison between two game consoles, presumably while wearing flame-retardant clothing.)

One task I particularly like is for the scout to choose a game and compare offers from three different stores, taking into account return policy’s and warranties as well as the price.

In scout geek news of another type, we must offer our congratulations to 18-year-old Walker Lansbarkis who has become the first person in his troop’s history to earn all 126 merit badges on offer. That’s not bad going considering you only have to earn 21 badges to become an Eagle Scout, the highest ranking available.

Among the badges Lansbarkis earned were basketry, bugling, fingerprinting, golf, journalism, nuclear science, plumbing, pottery, salesmanship, space exploration and truck transportation.

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