If you had to guess how many merit badges there were in the Boy Scout catalog, how many would you say there are ... 50? 75? I was surprised to learn there are no fewer than 126 different merit badges a scout can earn during his years with the troop. Actually, the number has recently increased to 127-- a new "Robotics" badge was just introduced.
It took a full year to narrow down the requirements for the badge, and input was amassed from NASA, Lego, and the University of Texas. It was decided that the scouts would have to build a robot with at least two degrees of freedom and at least one sensor. According to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), the badge will take about 14 hours of work to earn, and they expect to hand out 100,000 Robotics merit badges in 2011.
Pretty great, right. But hey, what about the Girl Scouts?
They have the badge, too! This is great. As camping, archery, and orienteering become less and less handy in the real world (last time I checked, Monster wasn't exactly flooded with job posts searching for Paul Bunyan), the more our youth organizations do to promote technology, the better.
There are badges for Computers, Graphic Arts, and Nuclear Science, and badges for Salesmanship, Public Speaking, and Space Exploration. Our little ones are going to be such multifaceted Renaissance men and women that they'll out us to shame! I guess that's the goal though, improving society one generation at a time.
As the interest in tech badges grows, maybe we could get one for App Development, or Social Media, or Java Script (or whatever the computer language is du jour ... I wouldn't know, I wasn't a Girl Scout). Or perhaps the GSA and BSA could get really creative and give out badges for iPhone Unlocking and Home Internet Set-Up for Old Folks, and OS Troubleshooting. Gosh, I'd hire a Girl Scout for $10 an hour to come in my home and help me figure out all this doggone technology shiz.
What technologically focused badges would you like to see in the Boy and Girl Scouts?
Photo via KOMUnews/Flickr