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Country Muses How savvy counselors can lead Scouts across borders without boredom.

IN AN ERA WHEN global events often dominate headlines, Citizenship in the World might be among Scouting’s most important merit badges. It might also be among the least exciting to earn. Handled incorrectly, the Citizenship in the World badge can seem like an endless slog through vocabu- lary lists. Handled correctly, it can help Scouts under- stand what it means to be a citizen in a global society. The merit badge underwent recent review and approval by United Nations staff members Amy Ruggiero and Troy Wolfe to make sure it’s reflective of today’s international environment. Scouter Steve Molde

has discovered ways to add excitement to sometimes- dull topics. A merit badge counselor from St. Cloud, Minn., Molde often teaches Citizenship at a merit badge clinic in nearby Avon, one of America’s smallest and least-diverse communities. As of the 2010 census, Avon had 1,396 residents, 97.85 percent of whom were white. Yet in recent years, Molde has

brought the world to the town by involving guests from Benin, Burkina Faso, China, Colombia, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan. “I encourage them to share customs, culture, government, economy, the struggles of the country, what the country excels at, what the country needs help with,” he says. So how does Molde find so many


international representatives in land- locked Minnesota? Most are students at a local university, which offers foreign students in-state tuition if they meet certain requirements such as completing two “cultural sharing activities” each semester. Others are members of the town’s growing immi- grant community, including the pastor who leads a Sudanese ministry run by his troop’s chartered organization. Whether they’re students or

immigrants, Molde’s guests assist with requirement No. 2 (explain citizen- ship rights, duties and obligations) and No. 3 (study a world event and a foreign country). “The Scouts who attend this particular event are from small farming communities that don’t

get a lot of exposure to people from other countries,” he says. “They find out that people from other countries are more like us than different from us.” That’s also a lesson Scouter

Ian Greig learned long ago. A naturalized U.S. citizen who grew up in Great Britain, Greig has worked in Australia, the Philippines and the Dominican Republic. In his role as inter- national representative for the Gulf Ridge Council, Greig leads regular Citizenship in the World clinics for Tampa-area Scouts. Greig’s international experi-

ence comes in handy, especially when he’s talking about different

forms of government (require- ment No. 5). “That’s the hardest thing for boys to understand,” he says. “The average Scoutmaster here wouldn’t be able to explain all the intricacies of a parliamentary

system, because he isn’t experienced with it. He would have to explain it from a book. I grew up with it, and I can answer all of their questions.” Well, most of their questions. Greig

and his fellow counselors are careful not to pass judgment on other coun- tries and forms of government. “We don’t say one system is better than another,” he says. “We’re out to explain that to be good citizens of the world, you’ve got to try to understand how other countries run.” Whenever possible, Greig suggests offering examples that are relevant

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