Scouting Series: Citizenship
GorT has been remiss in following up his earlier posts about Boy Scouts and merit badges in particular. Today, I am sharing thoughts on a three merit badges: Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, and Citizenship in the World. At first blush, these sound like they could have a strong nationalistic, socialistic, or communist bent to them. But fret not, they are civic educationally focused. All three are required in order to earn the Eagle Scout rank.
Citizenship in the Community is focused on your local community government – think town or city level. A scout needs to identify where various buildings are located such as the city government buildings, fire stations, police stations, hospitals, etc. They learn the difference between elected and appointed positions and what the local or state government’s structure is. Of note, to GorT, are two specific requirements:
- 4a – (in reference to choosing an issue important to your community) – find out what branch of local government is responsible for this issue.
- 7a – Identify three charitable organizations outside of Scouting that interest you and bring people in your community together to work for the good of your community.
For the first one, I can’t tell you how many grown adults in this country do not understand the roles and responsibilities and limitations each branch of government has. This critical piece of civics is key to being a knowledge voter in our country.
With regards to the second, I’m impressed that Boy Scouts is pointing out that non-government entities are a primary place to look to in order to help promote things for the good of the community and not the government. Also, it encourages the scout to learn more and get involved with a charity*.
Citizenship in the Nation might be the key merit badge when it comes to educating a young man on civics (as it does seem poorly done in our education system). I don’t think I can pick out any specific requirement that is more relevant than another as they are all on point. The requirements range from learning about historical landmarks and context to understanding the founding documents of our nation (Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Constitution, etc.) to knowing the three branches of government, their functions, and why checks and balances are important. I suggest you click through to read the requirements. And for those of us of voting age, if you can’t confidently address each of these requirements, I’d suggest a refresher. Maybe use them as a set of topics to get smarter over the next few weeks.
Finally, there is the Citizenship in the World merit badge. This may be the one worthy of some scrutiny when pursuing. While having some key requirements like:
- Explain what citizenship in the world means to you and what you think it takes to be a good world citizen.
- Explain how one becomes a citizen in the United States, and explain the rights, duties, and obligations of U.S. citizenship. Discuss the similarities and differences between the rights, duties, and obligations of U.S. citizens and the citizens of two other countries.
- Do the following:
- a. Pick a current world event. In relation to this current event, discuss with your counselor how a country’s national interest and its relationship with other countries might affect areas such as its security, its economy, its values, and the health of its citizens.
- b. Select a foreign country and discuss with your counselor how its geography, natural resources, and climate influence its economy and its global partnerships with other countries.
It does have some requirements that, as a parent, I’d might want to guide my son a bit:
4c. Select TWO of the following organizations and describe their role in the world.
- 1. The United Nations and UNICEF
2. The World Court
4. World Organization of the Scout Movement
5. The World Health Organization
6. Amnesty International
7. The International Committee of the Red Cross
8. CARE (Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere)
9. European Union
Hint: I’d lean towards the Red Cross and Interpol. Regardless, this merit badge’s requirements do educate the scout on some key items on a global scale. Something that they should keep in mind when reading current news and events.
* Charitable participation hits on many aspects of the Scout Law. A boy scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
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