Adding ability pin for video games could be way for Boy Scouts to stay current
Friday, April 30th 2010, 2:55 PM
Bleier/GettyThe Boy Scouts' adding a video game award to the list of achievements members can earn may not be a bad thing, some say.
Actually, the award may be a way for the Boy Scouts to survive.
“The Boy Scouts are struggling for relevance in the digital age and they realize their target audience has dramatically changed,” says, an authority on consumer marketing and social trends. “They need to speak to that market to recruit new members. The Boy Scouts is about camping and developing skills, but this is a recruiting device.”
The award actually isn’t a “merit badge,” but a belt loop or a more advanced “video game pin,” according to . And the video game that the Scout chooses to play must be parent-approved. It’s not Grand Theft Auto, in other words.
, whose son is working on his Eagle Scout award right now, says he’s not really in favor of a video game award, but he understands that it’s almost necessary to keep scouting vital.
“Boy Scouts in general is not something that is growing,” says Parks, who works in marketing at Mercy Medical Center in “To some extent, scouting is faith-based. It has a lot of competition from sports – soccer, basketball. So while you could think that the badge is getting the scouts away from their core mission, which is to get them outdoors, the Scouts are just trying to attract an audience. If this badge gets kids interested in participating in Scouts, I think it’s okay.”
A video game award doesn’t spell the end of traditional scouting activities, says co-author of the forthcoming “The Scouting Party.” It’s a way to make Scouting cool.
“The Boy Scouts aren’t going to survive if they don’t have some grounding in reality,” he notes. “You have to be cool to appeal to boys today.”
And though the video game award may be criticized by traditionalists, says Hanft, it’s “probably something they should have done a long time ago.”
The video game award’s not the only one added to the academic awards categories, according to Msnbc.com. Other new awards deal with family travel, disabilities awareness, good manners, pet care, and reading and writing. Sounds like there are a lot of reasons to cut back on sports and enroll your kid in Cub Scouts.