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Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge

The Citizenship in the Community merit badge is an exciting journey for Scouts. It’s about learning about the place you call home and how you can make it even better. This merit badge isn’t just about doing tasks; it’s about becoming a hero in your community by understanding what makes it tick, who the leaders are, and how services are provided to everyone.

Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge Emblem

Earning the Citizenship in the Community merit badge teaches Scouts to see their community with new eyes. They learn that being a good citizen means more than just living in a place. It means being a part of it, caring for it, and contributing to its improvement. Scouts will explore, ask questions, and get involved in projects that help their community shine.

This process doesn’t just benefit the community; it helps Scouts grow too. They gain confidence, learn leadership skills, and discover how they can make a real difference. The Citizenship in the Community merit badge is not just a badge to sew on a sash; it’s a badge of honor that says, “I care about my community and I’m here to make it better.”

The Citizenship in the Community merit badge isn’t just any badge; it’s one of the required badges for reaching the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest achievement in Scouting. It lays a foundation for leadership and community service that are essential qualities of an Eagle Scout.

So, let’s take a closer look at the Citizenship in the Community merit badge and see how Scouts can become champions of their community.

Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge Requirements and Workbook

Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge Answers and Resources

Help with Answers for Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge Requirements

Find specific helps for some of the Citizenship in the Community merit badge requirements listed below. Some of these resources will just give the answers. Others will provide engaging ways for older Scouts to introduce these concepts to new Scouts.

Requirement 1: Rights and Duties

Discuss with your counselor what citizenship in the community means and what it takes to be a good citizen in your community. Discuss the rights, duties, and obligations of citizenship, and explain how you can demonstrate good citizenship in your community, Scouting unit, place of worship, or school.

Requirement 1 Helps and Answers

When working on the Citizenship in the Community merit badge, requirement 1 is your first step into understanding your role in your community. Being a citizen in your community means more than just living there. It’s about being involved, caring for others, and making positive contributions. To be a good citizen, you should know your community’s needs and how you can help meet them.

Good citizenship in your community involves understanding your rights, duties, and obligations.

  • Rights are the privileges you have, like freedom of speech and the right to privacy.
  • Duties are things you must do, such as obeying laws and paying taxes.
  • Obligations are the moral responsibilities you have, like helping your neighbors or volunteering.

To demonstrate good citizenship in your community, you can start small. Participate in local events, support local businesses, and learn about your local government. In your Scouting unit, you can lead by example, follow the Scout Oath and Law, and take part in service projects. At your place of worship or school, you can volunteer for activities, help others, and be a positive role model.

Remember, the Citizenship in the Community merit badge is about understanding your role as an active member of your community and taking action to be a force for good. By discussing these concepts and putting them into practice, you’re not just earning a badge; you’re making your community a better place.

Requirement 2: Local Details

Do the following:

  1. On a map of your community, locate and point out the following:
    1. Chief government buildings such as your city hall, county courthouse, and public works/services facilities
    2. Fire station, police station, and hospital nearest your home
    3. Parks, playgrounds, recreation areas, and trails
    4. Historical or other interesting points of interest
  2. Chart the organization of your local or state government. Show the top offices and tell whether they are elected or appointed.

Requirement 2 Helps and Answers

For requirement 2 of the Citizenship in the Community merit badge, you’re going to become an explorer of your own community, mapping out key locations and learning how your local government is organized. This activity is like a detective mission, helping you understand the services and landmarks that make your community special and how it’s governed.

Mapping Your Community

First, let’s start with mapping out important locations. Grab a map of your community. You can find one online, at your local library, or even use a digital mapping tool. On your map, you’re going to look for and mark the following places:

  • Chief Government Buildings: Locate your city hall, county courthouse, and any public works or services facilities. These are the places where decisions are made, services are coordinated, and community needs are addressed.
  • Safety Services: Find the fire station, police station, and hospital nearest to your home. Knowing these locations is crucial for emergencies and understanding how your community keeps you safe.
  • Recreation and Leisure: Mark all the parks, playgrounds, recreation areas, and trails. These spots are essential for community health, leisure, and connecting with nature.
  • Historical or Interesting Points: Identify any historical sites or points of interest. These places tell the story of your community and its unique identity.

Charting Local Government

Next, charting the organization of your local or state government will help you understand who makes decisions and how they’re made. Start by researching your local or state government’s structure. Create a simple chart or diagram that includes:

  • Top Government Offices: List the main offices in your government, such as the mayor, city council, governor, or state legislators.
  • Elected or Appointed: Next to each office, note whether the position is elected by the public or appointed by other officials. This helps you understand how leaders are chosen and the role of citizens in selecting their government.

Understanding your community is the first step in making a positive impact as a good citizen. This requirement for the Citizenship in the Community merit badge helps you become more familiar with your community’s layout and governance. By completing this, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the people, places, and structures that keep your community running.

Requirement 3: Get Involved

Do the following:

  1. Attend a meeting of your city, town, or county council or school board; OR attend a municipal, county, or state court session.
  2. Choose one of the issues discussed at the meeting where a difference of opinions was expressed, and explain to your counselor why you agree with one opinion more than you do another one.

Requirement 3 Helps and Answers

For requirement 3 of the Citizenship in the Community merit badge, you’re stepping into the real world of civic engagement. This is your chance to see local governance or the judicial system in action, and understand the complexities of decision-making in your community. Attending a meeting or court session is like having a front-row seat to democracy. It’s where you get to witness how leaders and citizens interact, and how laws and policies affect your community.

Choosing an Event to Attend

  • Council or School Board Meeting: Look up the schedule for your city, town, or county council, or your local school board. These meetings are where decisions about your community or schools are discussed and made.
  • Court Session: If you’re attending a court session, check the schedule for your municipal, county, or state court. Court sessions give you insight into the judicial process and how laws are applied and interpreted.

Attending the Meeting or Session

  • When you attend, bring a notebook. Pay attention to the different issues discussed, especially where opinions differ. Note down the key points made by different speakers or parties.

Analyzing a Discussion

  • Choose one issue from the meeting or session where opinions were clearly divided. This could be anything from a new community project, a change in local laws, or a court case with differing arguments.
  • Reflect on the different opinions expressed. To do this, consider:
    • What are the main arguments or points of each side?
    • Why do people have different opinions on this issue?
    • How do these opinions reflect different values or priorities within the community?

Forming Your Opinion

  • After considering the issue, decide which opinion you agree with more. When explaining your choice, consider:
  • Why does this opinion make more sense to you?
  • How does it align with your values or understanding of the issue?
  • What potential impacts on the community do you think this opinion would have if it were followed?

The goal of this requirement for the Citizenship in the Community merit badge isn’t just about choosing a side. It’s about understanding the complexity of community issues, recognizing that reasonable people can have different opinions, and learning how to form and articulate your own opinions based on observation and critical thinking. This exercise is a key part of becoming an active, informed, and thoughtful citizen in your community.

Using the Same Event to Fulfill Two Different Requirements

Regarding the Citizenship in the Community merit badge and the Communication merit badge, it’s possible for one meeting to count for both, but there’s a catch. While both badges require attending a public meeting, what you do at the meeting differs for each badge. For the Communication badge, you focus on active listening and reporting on all viewpoints. For Citizenship in the Community, you analyze differing opinions and take a stand on one. So, yes, one meeting can fulfill both requirements, provided you meet the specific tasks set out for each badge. This dual approach helps Scouts engage more deeply with their community and develop a range of critical civic and communication skills. Read more.

Requirement 4: Interview

Choose an issue that is important to the citizens of your community; then do the following:

  1. Find out which branch of local government is responsible for this issue.
  2. With your counselor’s and a parent or guardian’s approval, interview one person from the branch of government you identified in requirement 4a. Ask what is being done about this issue and how young people can help.
  3. Share what you have learned with your counselor.

Requirement 4 Helps and Answers

For requirement 4 of the Citizenship in the Community merit badge, you’re diving into the heart of local government and seeing firsthand how issues that matter to your community are handled. This step encourages you to be curious, proactive, and engaged with your local leaders. Here’s a straightforward way to tackle this task:

Choose a Community Issue

Start by selecting an issue that’s important to the citizens of your community. This could be anything from environmental conservation, public safety, education, or even local parks and recreation improvements. Think about what matters to you and your neighbors.

Identify the Responsible Government Branch

Research to find out which branch of your local government is responsible for addressing the issue you’ve chosen. Local governments can include city councils, county boards, or specific departments like Public Works, Parks and Recreation, or Education.

Plan and Conduct an Interview

  • Find a Contact: Once you know which part of the government handles your issue, find someone you can interview. This could be an elected official, a department head, or a staff member.
  • Prepare Your Questions: Write down a list of questions to ask during your interview. Be sure to include questions about what is currently being done to address the issue and how young people or Scouts can contribute or help.
  • Conduct the Interview: Reach out to set up a time for your interview, whether it’s in person, over the phone, or via email. During the interview, be respectful, listen carefully, and take notes.

Reflect and Share

After the interview, reflect on what you learned. Think about how the information you gathered connects to the Citizenship in the Community merit badge. Consider how you and your fellow Scouts might be able to help with the issue based on the suggestions from your interview.

Completing requirement 4 of the Citizenship in the Community merit badge not only gives you insight into how local government works but also shows you how young people can play a significant role in shaping their community. This requirement is a great opportunity to build communication skills, understand civic responsibility, and see the impact of government actions on community issues.

Requirement 5: Movie

With the approval of your counselor and a parent, watch a movie that shows how the actions of one individual or group of individuals can have a positive effect on a community. Discuss with your counselor what you learned from the movie about what it means to be a valuable and concerned member of the community.

Requirement 5 Helps and Answers

For requirement 5 of the Citizenship in the Community merit badge, you’re tasked with watching a movie that illustrates the powerful impact individuals or groups can have on their community. This part of the merit badge is about understanding the ripple effect of positive actions and how one person or a collective effort can bring about change. It’s an engaging way to see examples of good citizenship and community improvement in action.

Movie Recommendations

Here are some suggestions of movies to watch:

  • October Sky (1999) – This movie is set in the 1950’s in a rather bleak mining town. One boy brings hope to the community by following his dream of becoming a rocket scientist. Based on a true story.
  • We Are Marshall (2006) – When most of the football team at a small West Virginia university die in a plane crash, the football program almost falls apart. But a few people work together to prevent that. Based on a true story.
  • The Blind Side (2009) – A wealthy family takes in a homeless young man and he becomes part of their family. With their support, he goes on to play football. Based on a true story.
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – I almost said no the first time a Scout asked if he could use this movie, because usually I tell them to stay away from fantasy. But he convinced me. This classic does a great job of showing how one person can make a difference in many lives.
  • Follow Me Boys (1966) – The boys in a small town are getting into trouble because they don’t have anything positive to keep them occupied. A young man (played by Fred MacMurray) decides to start a Scout troop. The movie is fictional, but shows how one man’s decision to become a Scoutmaster can have a positive influence on many boys.
  • Pay It Forward (2000) – In this movie a young student turns a class assignment into a lesson about how helping others can increase goodwill in our world.
  • Radio (2003) – This is a heartwarming movie about the relationship between a coach and a football player. It shows how a a little care for the another person can transform a life.

Ideas for Discussion

  • What specific actions did the characters take to impact their community positively?
  • How did the community respond to these actions?
  • What challenges did the characters face, and how did they overcome them?
  • How can you apply the lessons learned from this movie to your own efforts in community service?

Watching a movie for the Citizenship in the Community merit badge is more than just entertainment; it’s a learning experience that shows the power of initiative and how even small actions can lead to significant positive changes in a community. It’s a reminder that everyone has the potential to make a difference.

Requirement 6: Services

List some of the services (such as the library, recreation center, public transportation, and public safety) your community provides that are funded by taxpayers. Tell your counselor why these services are important to your community.

Requirement 6 Helps and Answers

For requirement 6 of the Citizenship in the Community merit badge, you’re diving into understanding the essential services your community provides, all funded by taxpayers. This requirement is about recognizing the role these services play in maintaining the health, safety, and well-being of your community.

  • Library: Libraries promote literacy and learning outside of the formal education system. They provide free access to a vast range of information and resources, support lifelong learning, and serve as community hubs for meetings, programs, and classes.
  • Schools: Schools are the backbone of educational growth and personal development for the youth. They prepare individuals for future challenges, careers, and civic responsibilities, creating an educated and skilled populace.
  • Waste Management: Proper waste management is essential for maintaining public health, preventing pollution, and protecting the environment. By efficiently managing waste, communities can reduce their ecological footprint and promote sustainability.
  • Health Services: Access to health services ensures that community members can receive preventive care, treatment for illnesses, and health education. This contributes to the overall well-being of the population, reduces the spread of diseases, and supports a healthier society.
  • Public Parks: Parks provide a natural escape from the urban environment, offering spaces for physical activity, relaxation, and community events. They enhance mental health, encourage a connection with nature, and serve as communal spaces for families and friends to gather.
  • Recreation Center: Recreation centers promote physical health and social interaction through sports, fitness classes, and leisure activities. They provide safe and accessible venues for individuals to stay active, meet others, and engage in community life.
  • Public Transportation: Public transportation facilitates mobility, reduces traffic congestion, and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. It’s crucial for economic development, allowing easy access to education, jobs, and services, especially for those without private vehicles.
  • Public Safety: Services like police, fire, and emergency medical services are fundamental to ensuring community safety and security. They respond to emergencies, protect citizens from harm, and work to prevent crime and accidents, fostering a safe living environment for all.

Each of these services contributes significantly to the fabric of the community, enhancing quality of life, promoting equity and accessibility, and ensuring the safety and well-being of its members. The Citizenship in the Community merit badge emphasizes the importance of these services and encourages Scouts to understand and appreciate their roles and responsibilities within their community.

Requirement 7: Volunteer

Do the following:

  1. 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.
  2. Pick ONE of the organizations you chose for requirement 7a. Using a variety of resources (including newspapers, fliers and other literature, the Internet, volunteers, and employees of the organization), find out more about this organization.
  3. With your counselor’s and your parent or guardian’s approval, contact the organization you chose for requirement 7b, and find out what young people can do to help. While working on this merit badge, volunteer at least eight hours of your time for the organization. After your volunteer experience is over, discuss what you have learned with your counselor.

Requirement 7 Helps and Answers

Working on requirement 7 for the Citizenship in the Community merit badge involves exploring and engaging with charitable organizations that strengthen your community. Here’s how you can navigate this requirement and contribute meaningfully to your community.

Identifying and Researching Charitable Organizations

First, identify three charitable organizations outside of Scouting that play a vital role in bringing people together for the community’s good. Look for organizations that address issues you’re passionate about, such as hunger relief, environmental conservation, animal welfare, or supporting families in need. This step is crucial in understanding the diverse ways you can contribute to your community’s welfare beyond Scouting.

After picking one organization that interests you the most, it’s time to dive deeper. Use various resources to gather information:

  • Newspapers and Literature: Look for articles or flyers that mention the organization’s work and upcoming events.
  • Internet: Visit the organization’s website and social media pages for the latest news, projects, and impact reports.
  • Volunteers and Employees: If possible, speak directly to people involved with the organization to get a firsthand account of its mission, needs, and how it benefits the community.

Volunteering and Service Project Ideas

With approval from your counselor and parent or guardian, reach out to the organization to inquire how young people can assist. Commit to volunteering at least eight hours of your time. Here are some service project ideas for Scouts BSA members:

  • Organizing a community cleanup day.
  • Helping at a food bank or soup kitchen.
  • Participating in a tree planting event.
  • Assisting in organizing and running a donation drive for clothes, books, or school supplies.

See more service project ideas. Also see What Can Scouts Use as Service Hours?

Tracking Your Service Hours

Use a Service Hours Form to document the time you spend volunteering. This form can help you keep track of your contributions and is useful for discussing your experiences with your merit badge counselor.

By engaging with charitable organizations and dedicating your time to volunteer, you’re taking significant steps towards fulfilling the Citizenship in the Community merit badge. You’re also learning valuable life skills, such as empathy, leadership, and the importance of community service, all while making a positive impact in your community.

Requirement 8: Presentation

Develop a public presentation (such as a video, slide show, speech, digital presentation, or photo exhibit) about important and unique aspects of your community. Include information about the history, cultures, and ethnic groups of your community; its best features and popular places where people gather; and the challenges it faces. Stage your presentation in front of your merit badge counselor or a group, such as your patrol or a class at school.

Requirement 8 Helps and Answers

For requirement 8 of the Citizenship in the Community merit badge, you’re stepping into the role of a storyteller and ambassador for your community. This task allows you to creatively showcase what makes your community special, its history, diversity, and the challenges it’s facing. Here’s a guide to help you create a compelling presentation:

Research Your Community

Begin by gathering information about your community. Look into its history, how it was founded, key events, and how it has evolved. Understand the various cultures and ethnic groups that make up the community, appreciating their contributions and how they’ve shaped its identity.

Identify Best Features and Popular Places

What are the landmarks, parks, or institutions that stand out in your community? Highlight these features and the places where people love to gather, such as community centers, local parks, historic sites, or popular local businesses. These are the spots that add vibrancy and character to your community.

Address Community Challenges

Every community faces its own set of challenges, whether it’s environmental concerns, economic issues, or social problems. Identify a few key challenges your community is dealing with. Discussing these openly shows your awareness and concern for its well-being and future.

Choose Your Presentation Format

Decide how you want to present your findings. Here are a few options:

  • Video: Create a short documentary-style video interviewing community members, showcasing landmarks, and discussing its history and challenges.
  • Slide Show or Digital Presentation: Use slides to tell the story of your community with photos, historical facts, and data. This format is great for a structured, informative presentation.
  • Speech: Write and deliver a speech that takes your audience on a journey through your community’s past, present, and future.
  • Photo Exhibit: Compile photographs capturing the essence of your community and organize them into a narrative exhibit.

Include Diverse Perspectives

Try to include a variety of voices and perspectives in your presentation, especially when discussing cultures, challenges, and community pride. This diversity will enrich your presentation and provide a more comprehensive view of your community.

Prepare and Practice

Once your content is ready, organize it in a coherent, engaging way. Practice your presentation multiple times to ensure you’re confident and clear in your delivery. If you’re making a video or photo exhibit, review it for quality and flow.

Present with Pride

Remember, this presentation is not just a requirement for the Citizenship in the Community merit badge; it’s an opportunity to express your pride and hopes for your community. Share your work with enthusiasm, whether it’s in a Scout meeting, school project, or community event.

By completing this requirement, you’re not only working towards your Citizenship in the Community merit badge but also connecting more deeply with your community, understanding its roots, celebrating its diversity, and thinking critically about its future.

More Resources

Citizenship Troop Program Feature for Scouts BSA

The Citizenship Troop Program Feature for Scouts BSA is an invaluable resource for incorporating the Citizenship in the Community merit badge into troop activities. This program not only enlightens Scouts about their rights as U.S. citizens but also emphasizes the responsibilities that balance these rights, such as paying taxes and voting. It provides a structured approach to exploring the complexities of government and civic duty through activities and discussions.

From understanding the branches of the United States government to participating in community service projects, the feature offers a range of ideas suitable for different levels of knowledge and experience. Whether discussing the checks and balances system, engaging in mock elections, or camping at historic sites, Scouts are equipped to become informed and active members of their community, all while working towards their Citizenship in the Community merit badge.

Messengers of Peace

The Messengers of Peace initiative complements the goals of the Citizenship in the Community merit badge by encouraging Scouts to actively promote peace and understanding within their communities and beyond. This global program, which the Boy Scouts of America joined in 2012, inspires Scouts to engage in service projects that foster harmony, justice, and equality.

By participating in the Messengers of Peace’s stages—Inspire, Learn & Decide, Do, and Share—Scouts can contribute to a culture of peace that resonates with the Citizenship in the Community merit badge’s aim to develop responsible and engaged citizens. Qualifying projects can range from promoting social harmony to enhancing environmental stewardship, reflecting Scouts’ commitment to making a tangible difference in their communities and the world. Participating Scouts are recognized with a special ring patch, symbolizing their contribution to a global network of peace messengers.

Frequently Asked Questions for the Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge

How do I start working on the Citizenship in the Community merit badge?

Begin by reading the Citizenship in the Community merit badge pamphlet. This will give you a solid overview of the requirements and the knowledge you’ll need. Then, discuss your interest with your Scoutmaster and get permission to officially start working on the badge. They can help you find a Citizenship in the Community merit badge counselor.

Can I work on requirements for the Citizenship in the Community merit badge out of order?

Yes, you can work on the requirements in any order, but it’s often helpful to follow them as listed because they build on each other. However, always check with your merit badge counselor, as they might have a preferred method.

Do I need to live in a city to earn the Citizenship in the Community merit badge?

No, you don’t need to live in a city to earn the Citizenship in the Community merit badge. Whether you live in a city, town, suburb, or rural area, you can fulfill the requirements by engaging with and learning about your local community, understanding its governance, services, and ways you can contribute.

For requirement 3 of the Citizenship in the Community merit badge, does watching a city council meeting online count?

Yes, attending a city, town, or county council meeting online is acceptable with your counselor’s permission, especially if in-person meetings are not feasible. Ensure you actively listen and understand the issues discussed to fulfill the requirement properly.

What kind of volunteer work counts for the Citizenship in the Community merit badge?

Volunteer work that benefits your community directly is ideal. This can include participating in clean-ups, helping at local shelters, volunteering at community centers, or any work with local charities. Always get your project approved by your Citizenship in the Community merit badge counselor beforehand.

How can I find a charitable organization to volunteer with for the Citizenship in the Community merit badge?

Start by researching local organizations that focus on areas you’re passionate about, such as the environment, education, hunger relief, or animal welfare. You can also ask for recommendations from your Scout leader, Citizenship in the Community merit badge counselor, or community center.

Do I need to complete the Citizenship in the Community merit badge before working on other citizenship merit badges?

No, you don’t need to complete the Citizenship in the Community merit badge before starting Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, or Citizenship in Society.

Can group projects count towards the Citizenship in the Community merit badge requirements?

Yes, participating in group projects can count. However, ensure that your contributions are significant and meet the requirement as outlined. Always discuss group projects with your Citizenship in the Community merit badge counselor for approval.

What should I do if I can’t find a local government meeting to attend for the Citizenship in the Community merit badge?

If you’re having trouble finding a local government meeting, reach out to your Citizenship in the Community merit badge counselor for guidance. They might suggest alternatives or provide information on when and where meetings are held. School board meetings or court sessions are also acceptable.

Shaping Tomorrow’s Leaders

It’s clear that the Citizenship in the Community merit badge is more than just a set of tasks to complete. It’s a journey of discovery, learning, and active engagement with the place we call home. By diving into the Citizenship in the Community merit badge, Scouts embark on a meaningful path that sharpens their understanding of civic responsibility, community service, and the invaluable role they play within their own communities.

This merit badge challenges Scouts to not only observe and learn but to participate and make a difference. From attending local government meetings to volunteering and creating presentations about their community, Scouts gain a deep appreciation for the intricacies of community life and the importance of their contributions to its well-being.

The Citizenship in the Community merit badge is the foundation of a Scout’s journey towards becoming a knowledgeable, engaged, and caring citizen. It teaches the values of leadership, empathy, and active participation, ensuring that Scouts are well-equipped to contribute positively to their communities today and in the future.

As Scouts move forward, the lessons learned and the experiences gained from working on the Citizenship in the Community merit badge will influence their paths, inspiring them to continue making a difference wherever they go.


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