Citizenship In Society Merit Badge Answers: A ScoutSmarts Guide


If you’re preparing to earn the Eagle-required Citizenship In Society (CIS) merit badge, you’re in the right place! In this guide, I’ll be providing you with all of the answers that you’ll need to fully understand diversity, serve as an upstander, and finish the CIS merit badge worksheet in your own words.

You’ve reached part 2 of my ultimate guide to the Citizenship In Society merit badge! If you’re new to ScoutSmarts, you should first check out part 1 for the answers to requirements 1-3 of the Citizenship In Society merit badge.

If you’ve just come over from part one, congratulations! You’re halfway done. Once you finish this badge, you’ll be equipped with important knowledge for acting as an ethical leader. This is real-world wisdom you’re learning! Give yourself a big pat on the back for making it this far. 🙂

Now, it’s time to get back into it! Take a minute to closely read and think through requirements 6-11 of the Citizenship In Society merit badge. Are you ready? Let’s dive in…

What Are The Citizenship in Society Merit Badge Requirements?

(“Discussion” requirements will be either with a counselor and another individual (in accordance with Youth Protection Guidelines https://www. scouting.org/health-and-safety/gss/gss01/), or with your counselor and a small group (of Scouts), depending upon your preference.)

  1. With your parent’s or guardian’s approval, connect with another Scout or youth your own age who has an identity that’s different from yours. (This means a trait, belief, or characteristic different from you.)
    • a. Share with each other what makes the different aspect of your identity meaningful/special to you.
    • b. Share with each other either one of the following:
      • i. A time you felt excluded from a group.
        — What was the situation?
        — How did it make you feel?
        — What did you do?
        — Did anyone stand up for you?
        — What did you learn?
        — Would you do anything differently today?
      • ii. This imaginary situation: You’re attending a new school and don’t know anyone there yet. You notice they dress very differently than you do. At lunchtime, you decide you’ll try to sit with a group to get to know other students. People at two tables tell you there is someone sitting at the currently empty seat at their table, so you end up eating by yourself.
        — How would that make you feel?
        — What could the students have done?
        — If that happened at your school, what would you do?
    • c. Discuss with your counselor what you learned from the discussion with the other Scout or youth.
  2. Identify and interview an individual in your community, school, and/or Scouting who has had a significant positive impact in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. If you feel your community, school, or local Scouting group does not have such an individual, then research a historical figure who meets these criteria, and discuss that person with your counselor.
    • a. Discover what inspired the individual, learn about the challenges they faced, and share what you feel attributed to their success.
    • b. Discuss with your counselor what you learned and how you can apply it in your life.
  3. With the help of your parent or guardian, study an event that had a positive outcome on how society viewed a group of people and made them feel more welcome. Describe to your counselor the event and what you learned.
  4. Document and discuss with your counselor three or more areas in your life outside of Scouting where you feel you can actively provide stronger leadership in.
    • a. Making others feel included.
    • b. Practicing active listening.
    • c. Creating an environment where others feel comfortable to share their ideas and perspectives.
    • d. Helping others feel valued for their input and suggestions.
    • e. Standing up for others
  5. Discuss with your counselor how stereotyping people can be harmful, and how stereotypes can lead to prejudice and discrimination. Share ideas you have for challenging assumptions and celebrating individuality.
  6. Scouting strives to develop young people to be future leaders in their workplaces, schools, and community environments. As you look at your current involvement in school, your family, Scouting, your job, and/or community, think about how you can have a positive impact in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
    • a. Describe your ideas on how you can and will support others with different identities to feel included and heard at your school, workplace, and/or social settings in your community.
    • b. Explain how including diverse thoughts and opinions from others with
      different identities can:
      — Make your interactions more positive.
      — Help everyone benefit by considering different opinions.
    • c. Give three examples of how limiting diverse input can be harmful.
    • d. Give three examples of how considering diverse opinions can lead to
      innovation and success.
6) With your parent’s or guardian’s approval, connect with another Scout or youth your own age who has an identity that’s different from yours. (This means a trait, belief, or characteristic different from you.)

If your troop is anything like mine was, you’re fortunate enough to have scouts from a range of diverse backgrounds. I’d suggest speaking with one of them, as that’ll be the easiest way for both of you to complete this requirement! 🙂 Remember, a difference in identity can be any of the following:

  • Race (Example: Asian)
  • Ethnicity/Nationality (Example: Peruvian)
  • Religion (Example: Mormon)
  • Disability (Example: Aspergers)
  • Sexual Orientation (Example: Asexual)
  • Gender Identity (Example: Non-Binary)

If you don’t already have a friend in mind to chat with, you could make a quick announcement before the end of your next meeting to ask for a partner, after getting permission from your SPL. Here’s what you can say:

“Hey everyone! I’m working on Citizenship In Society requirement 6 and was wondering if anyone’s down to discuss our differences in identity after the meeting? This difference could be based on race, religion, or even mental differences like having ADHD. BTW, you’ll get the req signed off too!”

6a) Share with each other what makes the different aspect of your identity meaningful/special to you.

When speaking with your individual, remember to be respectful, curious, and understanding. It can take people a lot of courage to share parts of their identities — especially when knowing that you don’t have those traits in common. Remember, a Scout is friendly and kind! 🙂

First, break the ice by discussing aspects of your identities that are meaningful and special to both of you. Personally, being part Japanese, I love our cultural cuisines like sushi, ramen, and curry, although I know those foods aren’t for everyone. What do you love about your identity?

6b) Share with each other either one of the following:
Option i) A time you felt excluded from a group.
— What was the situation?
— How did it make you feel?
— What did you do?
— Did anyone stand up for you?
— What did you learn?
— Would you do anything differently today?

Option ii) This imaginary situation: You’re attending a new school and don’t know anyone there yet. You notice they dress very differently than you do. At lunchtime, you decide you’ll try to sit with a group to get to know other students. People at two tables tell you there is someone sitting at the currently empty seat at their table, so you end up eating by yourself.
— How would that make you feel?
— What could the students have done?
— If that happened at your school, what would you do?

Both of these options are great topics for better understanding the identities of your partner! After going through either of these scenarios, I’d recommend also taking some time to chat and discuss your personal experiences. Here are a few prompts you can discuss:

  1. If people weren’t inclusive and tolerant, how would that impact our society?
  2. How would you recommend people be more inclusive of different traits, beliefs, and characteristics, especially for individuals of your background?
  3. What’s something interesting that you learned about your partner’s trait, belief, or characteristic over the course of this conversation?
6c) Discuss with your counselor what you learned from the discussion with the other Scout or youth.

The goal of this requirement is to understand that despite having different traits, beliefs, or characteristics, as human beings you probably share a lot in common! Remember that the next time you meet someone “different.”

Afterward, it’ll be time to speak with your counselor and discuss what you’ve learned. Consider, did you discover something interesting about your partner’s identity? Are you surprised by how much you have in common? I hope you have an enjoyable conversation, and learn a ton along the way. 😀

Encouraging open, friendly conversations among scouts is a great way to make your troop more welcoming. When that happens, scouts stay around, build friendships, and grow! If this is something you want in your own troop, check out my article on Troop Scout Retention Tips!

7) Identify and interview an individual in your community, school, and/or Scouting who has had a significant positive impact in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. If you feel your community, school, or local Scouting group does not have such an individual, then research a historical figure who meets these criteria, and discuss that person with your counselor.

This requirement is an exciting opportunity to meet with someone who’s done a lot of good for your community! I’d recommend asking your parents or Scoutmaster if there are any DEI role models they think you should talk to. If you’re pressed for time though, you can always research a historical figure!

7a) Discover what inspired the individual, learn about the challenges they faced, and share what you feel attributed to their success.

As an example, let’s take a look at the inspiring legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. However, there are plenty of other upstanders who fought for diversity, equity, and inclusion, whom I’d encourage you to research. Here’s a quick list of some of these individuals:

Now, back to Martin Luther King Jr’s inspiring story… Born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King Jr was raised in an era of extreme racial prejudice. At that time, schools were segregated and people who were not fully white were treated as second-class citizens.

Raised in a religious family with his father being the pastor of a Baptist church, Martin Luther King Jr fostered strong values at an early age. When the Civil Rights Movement began gaining traction in the mid-1950s, King found himself right in the middle of it, fighting for racial justice.

Now that the scene is set, I’d highly encourage you to watch this short video (4:29) explaining Martin Luther King Jr’s pivotal role in Civil Rights Movement. Then, jot down your ideas on what inspired MLK Jr, the challenges he faced, and why he was successful. Later, discuss this with your badge counseler!

7b) Discuss with your counselor what you learned and how you can apply it in your life.

As humans, one of our greatest gifts is our ability to learn from history. How has learning about the injustice of Martin Luther King Jr’s era made you more grateful for the times we live in now? How can you take inspiration from MLK Jr’s courage and values in your own life? Really give it some thought!

I challenge you to come up with 3 values that your individual embodied, and discuss them with your merit badge counselor! Figure out how you can use them on a day-to-day basis and the effect they’ll have on the people around you. Doing this will help you grow into a kinder, more well-rounded person! 🙂

8) With the help of your parent or guardian, study an event that had a positive outcome on how society viewed a group of people and made them feel more welcome. Describe to your counselor the event and what you learned.

One of the most recent and impactful events that had a positive outcome on society was the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling to legalize same-sex marriage. In the past, since homosexual couples often face greater degrees of prejudice and discrimination in our country, gay marriage was illegal in most states.

However, in 2015, enough people realized that the government was overstepping its bounds and took action! Through protests and nationwide demonstrations, your fellow citizens rallied states to change their policies on marriage bans. Eventually, this issue was brought before the Supreme Court.

Finally, on June 26, 2015, in a landmark 5-4 decision for the Obergefell v. Hodges case, the Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality was a right for all couples! To learn more about the magnitude and positive impact of this historical event, check out the moving video (3:13) below.

Same-sex marriage wasn’t the only historical event that positively changed how society viewed a group of people! I’d encourage you to do a bit of your own research if you can think of any other events where such a shift occurred. Here are a few ideas for inspiration:

  • World War 2:
    • Women stepped up and entered the workforce, providing necessary support to our frontlines.
    • Americans of all ethnic minorities valiantly sacrificed their lives to fight for our freedoms.
  • Barack Obama was the first person of color to be elected as our president in 2008.
  • Interracial marriage was legalized by the Supreme Court in 1967.
  • Princess Diana challenged the stigma around HIV and AIDS in the ’80s by showing compassion and even making physical contact with those suffering from the illness.
9) Document and discuss with your counselor three or more areas in your life outside of Scouting where you feel you can actively provide stronger leadership in.

I’ve covered the underlined knowledge-based requirements below. However, I strongly encourage you to consider completing any of the requirements that I don’t cover! 

Many of these options will teach you useful skills that will enhance your personal relationships. If you have the extra time, definitely work on what’s most interesting to you!

9a) Making others feel included.
9b) Practicing active listening.

9c) Creating an environment where others feel comfortable to share their ideas and perspectives.
9d) Helping others feel valued for their input and suggestions.
—9e) Standing up for others
9a) Making others feel included.

Do you want to build close friendships? If so, you’ll need to practice the social leadership skills of helping to make the people around you feel included, understood, and valued! First, let’s talk about how to keep a warm demeanor and act inclusively.

My best tip for helping to make others feel included is to put yourself in their shoes.

Imagine, you’re at school and get paired with a group where everyone is already friends. As they dive into discussing the project, you want to share an idea too but are nervous. You keep quiet and begin feeling awkward…

Then, someone in the group pipes up, “Hey, what do you think, (your name here)?” Relieved, you tentatively explain your idea — and it’s a hit with the group! The same person says, “Wow, that’s a great idea! Let’s definitely build on that. Thanks for sharing!”

Wouldn’t that make you feel great?

Helping others to feel included is easy if you pay attention to their feelings and are curious about their thoughts. Plus, while some people may not have the courage to include others, a true leader always steps up. I know you’ll be the leader who treats everyone with kindness and openness. 🙂

9b) Practicing active listening.

Have you ever had those times where you’re talking to someone, but feel like your words are going in one ear and out the other? That’s what it feels like when you’re not being actively listened to. Not a great feeling, right? Here’s how to make sure you practice active listening:

  1. Drop the distractions: If you’re on your phone, watching TV, or working on anything else when someone is talking to you — STOP! Instead, pay full attention and listen closely.
  2. Be engaged: Whether you’re nodding and saying “uh-huh,” asking relevant questions, or expressing your agreement, active listening requires your participation too. Just be sure not to interrupt!
  3. Restate their point: Repeating someone’s point back to them in your own words is a great way to listen actively. It clears up misunderstandings and makes the other person feel understood.
  4. Empathize and relate: If someone is telling you about themselves, put yourself in their shoes. Once you give them space to talk about their experience and feelings, share how you might relate. An important part of active listening is opening yourself up to the other person as well!!
9d) Helping others feel valued for their input and suggestions.

The best way to make others feel valued for their input is by actively calling out their good ideas. If you hear someone say something you genuinely think is useful, you can say “Hey Brian, that’s a great idea! Guys, did you hear that? Brian, was there anything else you wanted to add?”

Whether it’s a 1-on-1 or group conversation, another great tip is to take action on what you’ve learned, and mention it back to the person later on. Seeing that you remembered what they said and hearing how it helped you in practice is one of the best ways to make someone feel heard and valued! 😀

Tip — How to gently change people’s minds: Never shoot down an idea without giving the other person a chance to explain it fully. Even if you disagree, highlight points of agreement to soften the blow. Avoid ever attacking someone’s character due to a disagreement — be sure to only focus on the ideas.

While it’s important to speak up for what you think is right, remember to be kind and firm in your words while assuming the best intentions. Ask critical questions and give them space to rethink their stance. This helps to reduce misunderstandings and increases your chances of changing their mind!

For more tips on making others feel important and heard, I’d definitely recommend checking out my guide to the Communication merit badge. It was one of my favorite badges to lean and a scout, plus it’s Eagle-required!

10) Discuss with your counselor how stereotyping people can be harmful, and how stereotypes can lead to prejudice and discrimination. Share ideas you have for challenging assumptions and celebrating individuality.

Stereotyping occurs when someone unfairly believes that all people from a specific group share the same qualities. For example, if someone heard on the news that an immigrant committed a crime and then afterward drew the conclusion that all immigrants were criminals, that would be stereotyping.

However, stereotyping isn’t only limited to race and gender. Whenever you classify an entire group in a certain way, that’s also stereotyping. In fact, you may not realize it but your school probably has a ton of stereotypes about different types of students:

  • All of the students in AP classes are nerds with poor social skills.
  • People who excel in sports are just meatheads who must not be very smart.
  • The “popular” kids with big friend groups are mean, cliquey, and self-absorbed.
  • Everyone interested in the arts must be quirky and not academically focused.
  • People who are scouts must be dorky, goody-two-shoes.

Clearly, these stereotypes can’t apply to all students who fall into the group, so why incorrectly hold these beliefs in the first place? This is why we should look for any unconscious stereotypes we hold, and try to break free from them!

While stereotyping is often done around negative qualities (all immigrants are criminals) harmful stereotyping can occur by labeling groups of people with ‘positive’ qualities too (All Asians are good at math). Since not all Asian people are good at math (me 😛 ) it’s harmful to make assumptions and treat people differently because of any stereotype.

Today, widely held stereotypes continue to cause racial profiling and discrimination in our society. Following the murder of George Floyd, our nation collectively realized that police brutality overwhelmingly targeted black Americans. Around the same time, American citizens of Asian descent were facing prejudice and even random violence from aggressive racists due to the news around Covid-19. Stereotypes are everywhere, but the first step to overcoming them lies simply in identifying our own bias.

Remember, people are individuals, first and foremost! Try to judge people solely by their actions, and not by your perceptions of the groups they belong to. You and I would hate to be incorrectly judged based on stereotypes, so we should avoid doing the same to others!

Now that we know how harmful stereotypes can be in society, let’s discuss some ways that we can challenge stereotypical assumptions and celebrate each others’ individuality! Here are a few steps I’d recommend:

  1. Identify your bias: Have you been unconsciously stereotyping people? Be honest with yourself. If you have any ideas about entire groups of people, this may be a bias you’ve picked up at some point. However, today is the perfect time to make a positive change!
  2. Reconsider your response: How could you be wrong about your stereotype? What would you need to see or learn to adjust your views? If you are wrong, how could your views possibly be harming others? Asking questions and rethinking your thought process is a sure sign of maturity and wisdom!
  3. Educate yourself: If you’ve identified some of your own stereotypes and thought through how they could’ve hurt others in the past, it’s time to do something about it! Spend time meeting people from the group, learn more about their life, and keep an open mind. You’ll grow to see them as unique, beautiful individuals, and not just members of their group. Avoiding narrow-mindedness and staying curious is the best way to crush stereotypes!
  4. Keep others accountable: Most people around you have stereotypes of their own. Now that you know the harmful nature of stereotypes, it’s your duty to be an upstander! Whenever I hear a stereotype, I kindly ask people to explain their thought process, and then gently point out logical inconsistencies with what they’re saying. By doing the same, you can help create a better society! 🙂
11) Scouting strives to develop young people to be future leaders in their workplaces, schools, and community environments. As you look at your current involvement in school, your family, Scouting, your job, and/or community, think about how you can have a positive impact in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

I can definitely attest that Scouting will help you to become a better, more ethical leader in your school, troop, and personal life! In fact, to learn just how much Scouting will help you later on in life, you should check out my article on 10 Reasons Why Scouting Matters (Now, More Than Ever).

Part of your leadership journey revolves around helping others to feel included and valued. Throughout life, there will surely be times when you’ll notice something is wrong, and be faced with the decision of whether or not to be an upstander. This requirement will help you to be prepared for that!

11a) Describe your ideas on how you can and will support others with different identities to feel included and heard at your school, workplace, and/or social settings in your community.

Ask yourself for a second, what can I do to help make others feel heard and included? Often, you’ll find your answer to this through the Golden Rule: treat others the way you’d want to be treated. To me personally, this means putting the Scout law into action throughout life. What does it mean to you?

Below are some ideas for helping individuals with different identities feel supported and included:
  • Make a point to remember their name, and do your best to pronounce it correctly.
  • Introduce them to other kind friends, and include them in your discussions.
  • Strike up a friendly conversation with anyone new you meet, especially if they look nervous.
  • If you notice something about them that you like, tell them. Whether it’s their unique accent or some stylish article of clothing, genuine compliments are always appreciated!
  • If they say something helpful in a group convo but are talked over, cut in to let everyone know that they were saying something insightful. Then, ask if they’d mind repeating themselves!
  • Share your personal phone number with a new classmate or scout, and let them know they can come to you with any urgent questions.
  • Share parts of your culture with them, and then ask them if they have anything similar in their culture. Be curious, and you’ll find out some really cool things! 🙂
11b) Explain how including diverse thoughts and opinions from others with
different identities can:
— Make your interactions more positive.
— Help everyone benefit by considering different opinions.

Every interaction you have with another person is an opportunity to improve the way you think! When speaking to people who share a similar identity with you, you’ll likely learn more about yourself and your culture. However, when speaking to people of diverse backgrounds, you learn more about our world.

Recognizing the vastness and diversity of our planet will open your eyes to so many positive opportunities in life! Yet, the only way to truly see from a diverse lens is to speak with people who are unlike you.

If you can be accepting, kind, and curious with people from different identities than your own, the whole planet becomes your home. Not only will you have much more fun, positive experiences with others — you’ll also learn to see more of the wonder and magic in humankind!

Considering diverse thoughts and opinions helps to make society better, and it’ll also help to make you a better leader! If you understand the wants and needs of all the people around you, you’ll be able to learn from each other and prevent misunderstandings. A peaceful, helpful, inclusive society benefits everyone! 😀

11c) Give three examples of how limiting diverse input can be harmful.

The ability to think critically is one of the most important skills we humans have. However, by limiting diverse input and pushing away individuals with different identities, we take the lazy way out. Below are some ways that excluding diverse ideas can harmful in the short and long term:

  • Exclusion: If the people around you can’t comfortably share their ideas, they’ll feel resentful and lose enthusiasm for your cause.
  • Missed Opportunities: Many brilliant ideas have been discarded throughout history because bad leaders were unwilling to consider diverse opinions.
  • Small-mindedness: If someone is unwilling to consider diverse thoughts, they’ve also likely stopped trying to learn and grow.
  • Fear: Limiting diverse thoughts in part means being afraid. However, being needlessly afraid limits your happiness and success in life.
11d) Give three examples of how considering diverse opinions can lead to innovation and success.

Considering diverse opinions can be your key to success in many situations! Many of the historical innovations we hear about today, from the lightbulb to the airplane, were achieved when people tried something different. New ideas and different ways of thinking are what diversity is all about!

Whether it’s as a leader in your troop, a student participating in a group project, or an employee in the ‘real world,’ being able to work with people of all backgrounds is a surefire path to success! Here are a few reasons why considering diversity can be so powerful:

  1. Studies show that by including diverse opinions, a group will think more thoroughly and form better decisions.
  2. Understanding diverse viewpoints will help you to avoid the mistake of saying something ignorant/hurtful.
  3. Diverse, unconventional ideas drive the most successes since they haven’t been tried before!

There are plenty of other reasons why diversity leads to success, so POP QUIZ: I challenge you to come up with a few more examples of why diversity is so important, based on your own experiences! Share these with your counseler, and then be sure to start putting diversity into practice in your own life. 🙂

Conclusion

Using the knowledge we’ve covered together in this guide, you’re now ready to begin acting as an upstanding, ethical leader! By calling out bias and promoting diversity wherever you go, you’ll help to make our world a kinder, more accepting place. Great job finishing this important badge!

If you found this walkthrough helpful, I’ve also written guides to many of the other Eagle-required merit badges. I’d definitely recommend checking out my comprehensive difficulty rankings for every Eagle-required merit badge if you haven’t seen it already. 

I hope my guide has helped you to answer every requirement of the CIS merit badge worksheet in your own words! Be sure to visit ScoutSmarts again soon, because I’ve written tons of articles aimed at helping scouts like you to lead and succeed. Until next time, best of luck on your Scouting journey!

(Click here to return to part 1 of my guide to the Citizenship In Society merit badge!)

Cole

I'm constantly writing new content because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making our world a better place. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle and beyond!

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