May 4, 2010 11:29 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Life skill? Boy Scouts merit badge for video games

Nothing about the scene in the Siegel's living room is surprising. Two boys, 10 year-old Jared Siegel and nine year-old Michael Place, are playing baseball on Wii.

"You're going down! You are!," they taunt each other.

Both are Cub Scouts. Siegel joined four years ago, to get better at the outdoorsy stuff, to make things and get rewarded for them.

"Another reason why I joined, you have to build something, you have to create something," Siegel said.

He has lots of different pins and belt loops for various things he's done. Siegel's favorite is archery.

He also likes baseball so much, he got a video game to play during the cold months.

"When I was first playing outside, I shot five balls over the fence and I said, 'I can't keep buying tennis balls.' And it was starting to get towards winter, so I was like, 'I can't not play baseball for like 5 months. I have to play inside.'"

What could be surprising for some, is that Siegel and Place can now earn a belt loop or pin for playing a video game, one of the new achievements the Boy Scouts of America released this year.

One of the requirements to earn a video game pin is to teach an adult how to play.

"It's a life skill," said Gerry Place, Cub Master for Pack 683. "It's something they need to come to grips with today. That helps them for their growth and development as they become young adults."

There are three requirements to get a belt loop, including knowing about the rating system for video games, being able to explain it and managing video game time.

There are nine requirements to get a video games pin. Those include comparison shopping and teaching a friend or an adult to play.

"They have to go and figure out where they can buy it, for the best cost. They have to figure out what the return policy is and what some of the warranties are associated with that game," said Place. "It actually teaches them a lot of life skills that some adults don't have full grasp of."

Place said the video game achievement is among 13 new ones the organization released this year. The last time the Boy Scouts added to the list of achievements, was about five years ago, Place said.

The list includes rewards for disability awareness, good manners and nutrition.



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