June 1, 2010

Over the last century, The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) developed one of the largest youth organizations in America based on its tradition of building character, teaching practical skills and developing a spirit of community service. Today BSA combines these goals with modern technology by offering new achievement badges focused on computer and video games.

Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts can earn a video game belt loop by demonstrating an understanding of what the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) game ratings mean, how they work and why they are important. Scouts must play video games that have been approved by their parents and create daily schedules that include time for video game play, chores and homework.

"I don’t know of any household of anyone less than 30 that doesn’t have some kind of gaming system," said Renee Fairrer, a spokesman for BSA. "It’s at the home, it’s at the library, and nine times out of ten, in some form or fashion, it’s at their school."

Earning the academic achievement pin requires additional work that helps Scouts learn about games and gaming systems, how to interact appropriately with others while playing and how to teach others how to play. Scouts must research a number of video games to find one that is appropriate for their age group, report on the differences between two gaming systems, play a game with a family member and teach someone how to play. The program also encourages Scouts to play a game that teaches math or spelling skills, and requires that they attempt to install a gaming system under adult supervision.

The game-related achievement badges were introduced along with 13 new merit pins this year dedicated to a wide range of topics, including Disability Awareness, Family Travel, Good Manners, Hiking, Hockey, Horseback Riding, Kickball, Nutrition, Pet Care, Photography, Reading and Writing and Skateboarding.

The addition of the video game belt loop and achievement pin provides a valuable opportunity for Scouts to learn about the ESRB ratings and experience video games in a supervised, educational manner.

You can learn more about the video game achievement awards and the new merit badges on the BSA website,

Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on,,, Boing-Boing,, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
Read other articles by Daniel Pickett.




No Comments

Comments are closed.