May 11, 2012, 7:05 PM — You have to admit, the Boy Scouts of America do try to keep up with the times.
Not energetically. Not consistently, even, but local leaders and (to a lesser extent) even the national governing body does try to push forward a bit.
Last year the Boy Scouts added a Robotics merit badge . It is a little dumbed down, of course. The scout can qualify for the badge even if the project robot fails to successfully kill all humans, for example.
The national organization has also tried to distance itself from traditional biases against African Americans and Jews in favor of a much more modern and politically defensible rejection of gay kids and parents.
The main curriculum does spend a lot of its focus on skills that aren't quite as current as the last few hot seconds of pop culture.
Fire-making. Sleeping on dirt. Primitive cooking.
Many troops still teach "Indian skills," that involve woodcraft and tracking, even though modern Native American skills would be just as likely to include Casino Management and Tax Accounting for Gaming Organizations.
But the Boy Scouts are traditional, not uniquely recidivist. Other organizations for kids have the same conflict with tradition.
Despite encouragement (and doing lot of the curricular ahead of time) from MIT engineer, EFF Pioneer and FastCompany Most Influential Women in Technology member and high-tech DIY guru Limor Fried, the Girl Scouts of America haven't adopted all the new skill badges Fried thinks it should. Python. 3D Printing. Laser-cutter skills. Biohacking, open-source hardware engineering, Android hacking, No-Television watching, UAV flying.
The Boy Scouts, on the other hand…the Boy Scouts just announced a merit badge in Game Design.
Sounds cool, right? Very 21 st Century? Very next-generation Skills You Will Need (in your future career designing 3-D slasher games for Xbox 720)?
Not so much.
Scouts can choose to design lots of kinds of games. Not FPS and side-scroller and puzzle/mystery and MMORPG. Nope.