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Tips for teaching citizenship merit badges

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I taught ILST last week, and one thing that came up was how Sergio the merit badge fair was. Some say in class for six hours to earn a citizenship badge. I love social studies. I was history major in college, so I signed up as merit badge counselor for the three citizenship badges, and I want to organize some activities that he's ours will enjoy. I want to share my ideas here, and j hope you will share your ideas, too.

 

Hike up and down the historic district in the neighboring town

 

Attend the cinco de mayo festival downtown.

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My citizenship merit badge ideas ...

  • Tour.  Be active.  Do something special.  
  • Take advantage of any historic or appropriate item in town.  
  • No power point presentations or the absolute minimum possible ... Scouts get that enough everywhere else.  
  • No class room.  Best ever citizenship merit badge session was sitting on a bench at a scout camp.

Citizenship merit badges have the advantage of being the simplest badges but also the most boring because scouts cover these topics really well in school.  As such, I think our coverage is light weight at best.  IMHO, the best away to make the citizenship badges memorable (aka not a waste of time) is by doing something special.

 

My favorite is touring a national historic landmark that I was qualified to give tours of as a tour guide (the real tour guides smiled at me as we know each other).  I'd give scouts tours and work in the topics of the badge.  Then, sit on the front steps covering remaining topics while having a snack.  Sometimes it worked out well.  Other times, it was just okay.  But it was always memorable.  

Edited by fred johnson

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Bless your boys and their feedback! I've heard the same from other scouts. Thus I have never promoted MB fairs!

 

More ideas:

 

Hold an opening/closing flag ceremony for court or town council.

Visit a jail. Visit the mayor. Visit the chief of police.

Have a councilman or other elected official visit. This is especially cool if the person was a scout.

Have someone who travels a lot internationally visit and show the boys their passport.

Have the boys visit the post office while someone applies for a passport.

Have someone who is about to be naturalized come talk to the boys about their experience, arrange to visit his/her naturalization ceremony.

Invite scouts who from other countries (perhaps international students from a nearby college) to visit or camp with you all.

Welcome some refugees.

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Our Troop recently did a trip to Washington D.C.  A bunch of the guys were working on Citizenship in the Nation badge.  For my son, we took a trip to the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island over the summer and he used that for his merit badge discussion.

 

For Citizenship in the Community, an orienteering or geocaching event in town would be a lot of fun.  You could follow that up with a movie night -- heck we all have a ton of microwave popcorn.  Heck, the boys can even camp out in someone's back yard.  Sounds like something fun for a Saturday in the summer.

 

For Citizenship in the World, we are fortunate enough to be able to go into New York to visit the U.N. and some of the diplomatic missions.  If you are close to D.C. you can visit foreign embassies or elswhere there are foreign consolates.foreign consolates in the U.S.  Spring/Summer 2015 [PDF]

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