A little behind the times on this but I did want to comment.
I’m of two minds. On the one side, I’m justifiably thrilled that my hobby of twenty five years is pervasive enough that even the Scouts have to recognize it as a cultural force. On the other, I am disappointed that they did so. Gaming, despite the wonderful social interaction one can experience through it, focuses a great deal on the individual sometimes in an unhealthy way. To me Scouting exists in part, to get boys and young men away from their computers, video games, and other aspects of pop-culture. To expose them to the wider world, to help them develop an appreciation of the natural wonders and of their community. To get them away from themselves.
In my opinion the requirements for the beltloop award and the Academic pin do neither and instead smack of a commercial exploit of the scouts.
The three requirements for the Belt loop include the following:
- Explain video game ratings and why they are important
- Create a schedule for yourself that includes time to play video games
- Play video games
I’ve paraphrased them, if you’re curious, here are the official requirements.
Those seem simple enough, right? The thing is, these aren’t aimed at the scout. They’re being aimed at the parents of scouts. Why does an eight year old even care about ESRB ratings, let alone be able to explain why they are important?
It also dodges a lot of questions about what role video games, and gaming in general, play in our culture as well as being gracious in play. Having fun also seems to have escaped the scouts with the way this has been organized for the Cubs and Webelos.
All in all, this is a step forward in recognizing that gaming is an important part of our culture but lacks important cultural contexts that gaming creates for both the parents and for the kids playing them.