Requirement 5 for the Scouts BSA Citizenship in the Community merit badge reads:
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.
I am a counselor for this badge. Sometimes when I am doing an initial interview with a Scout, they don’t have any idea of which movie to watch for this requirement. So I make a few suggestions. I always remind them that the movie must be approved by their parent also.
For parents and counselors, a good resource for checking out movies is Common Sense Media. This site not only gives age guidelines for movies, but it also tells very specifically what parents might find objectionable. Different families have different standards about what might be appropriate for a 12 year old, so I find this very helpful.
There are lots of movies out there which will work for this requirement. Here are some which I recommend:
- 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 Scouts BSA 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.
So that should give you an idea of the types of movies which work well for this requirement. Sometimes the Scouts will surprise me with a very thoughtful recommendation of their own.
Add your own recommendations for movies for Citizenship in the Community to the comments below.