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New merit badge draws on youth’s sense of wonder about animation and design

Animation While many people associate animation with cartoons or entertainment, kids today are becoming more engaged with what’s going on behind the screens. In response to this interest, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is launching a new merit badge to teach kids how to create these moving images. Created and developed by experts in the field, the animation merit badge is the 136th addition to the BSA’s bank of merit badge programs and is now available to Scouts nationwide.

“Boy Scouts of America programs are designed to reflect the changing interests of our youth members and the new merit badge is just one way the BSA continues to evolve its programs to give Scouts unique experiences they can’t get anywhere else,” said Wayne Brock, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive. “As Scouts become more interested in STEM-related topics, we’re excited to expand our merit badge offerings to continue to show youth the exciting careers possible in these fields.”

To earn this merit badge, Scouts will be asked to demonstrate their knowledge of animation and its rich history. They will learn the principles of animation, complete hands-on design projects, have opportunities to participate in virtual or in-person tours of animation studios and businesses to see how animation is used and meet with career professionals to explore future opportunities. Scouts will learn how animation is not only used in their video games and movies, but also for practical business purposes – factory simulations, satellite tracking, medical procedures and even predicting the weather.

The animation merit badge is the first to be delivered to Scouts in print and digital forms. The digital functionality enables Scouts to achieve this merit badge using their wireless device and provides a new level of convenience and interactivity young people have become accustomed to. Complete with search capabilities and visual directives, the new digital format brings the merit badge to life with live examples to further engage and educate Scouts. The BSA plans to roll this capability out to other merit badges in the near future.

To develop this robust program, the BSA partnered with several animation experts, including the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), to identify which components of animation would most appeal to youth and provide them with a window into the potential career opportunities this skill can provide.

The BSA merit badge committee began developing this program in 2014 when they identified animation as an interest among Scouts and teamed up with several animation experts. This team contributed their expertise in outlining the qualifications and projects now included in the merit badge curriculum and will begin hosting introductory sessions for Scouts in May 2015.

Tony Stanley, Scout leader and animation professional, who has been working closely with the BSA to develop this merit badge, said, “The merit badge is a great addition to the BSA program as it teaches youth the basics of animation from seasoned experts – and that’s hard to come by for youth at this age. Just like any other STEM career, it’s important for kids to gain hands-on experience to understand their passions and guide their career path.”

Rick Folea, animation merit badge team lead, and senior technical marketer for AutomationDirect.com, added, “Animation as a career or a hobby is all about teamwork, leadership and communication – the same values represented by Scouting. This merit badge is a natural fit.”

The animation merit badge is available to youth members, ages 11-18, who participate in the Boy Scouts program. For more information about the merit badge program, visit www.ScoutingNewsroom.org.

About SCAD: The University for Creative Careers

The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor’s and master’s degrees at distinctive locations to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers degrees in more than 40 majors, as well as minors in more than 60 disciplines. With over 29,000 alumni worldwide, SCAD demonstrates an exceptional education and unparalleled career preparation.

At locations in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia; in Hong Kong; in Lacoste, France; and online through SCAD eLearning, the diverse student body consists of nearly 12,000 students, from across the United States and more than 100 countries. SCAD’s innovative curriculum is enhanced by advanced, professional-level technology, equipment and learning resources. The university, students, faculty and alumni have garnered acclaim from respected organizations and publications worldwide including Time, Vogue Magazine and U.S. News & World Report. For more information, visit the official SCAD blog.

June 2, 2015