The Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge: Your Ultimate Guide In 2020


Becoming a good citizen within your community is all about being informed, contributing often, and taking action. The Eagle-required Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge will have you do all three of these things and teach you the skills necessary to become an upstanding member of your community.

In this guide, I’ll be walking you through the answers to each of the Citizenship in the Community knowledge requirements so that you can complete your merit badge worksheet and earn this Eagle-required badge. Later, you’ll use this information you’ve been learning to get involved in your community and practice the skills necessary to make a difference!

Before we get started, if you have other Eagle-required merit badges to earn, I’d recommend checking out my Difficulty Ranking Guide to Every Eagle-required Badge. There, you’ll also find the links to my other merit badge guides, as well as a description and summary of each badge’s requirements. I’m certain this resource will be helpful to scouts on their road to Eagle!

Also, remember that ScoutSmarts should just serve as your starting point for merit badge research. In school, we’re taught not to plagiarize, and the same is true for Scouting worksheets. Answer these questions in your own words, do further research, and I promise you’ll gain much more from every merit badge you earn!

Now it’s time to begin earning your Citizenship in the Community merit badge. First, thoroughly read through each of the badge requirements below. Then, I’ll help you to answer each question and better understand the qualities it’ll take to become an upstanding citizen within your community!

What Are The Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge Requirements?

  1. 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.
  2. Do the following:
    • 2a. On a map of your community or using an electronic device, locate and point out the following:
      • 2a I. Chief government buildings such as your city hall, county courthouse, and public works/services facility
        2a II. Fire station, police station, and hospital nearest your home
        2a III. Parks, playgrounds, recreation areas, and trails
        2a IV. Historical or other interesting points of interest
    • 2b. Chart the organization of your local or state government. Show the top offices and tell whether they are elected or appointed.
  3. Do the following:
    • 3a. Attend a meeting of your city, town, or county council or school board; OR a municipal; county, or state court session.
      3b. 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.
  4. Choose an issue that is important to the citizens of your community; then do the following:
    • 4a. Find out which branch of local government is responsible for this issue.
      4b. With your counselor’s and a parent’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.
      4c. Share what you have learned with your counselor.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Do the following:
    • 7a. 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.
      7b. 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.
      7c. With your counselor’s and your parent’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.
  8. 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.

1) 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.

A community is a small group of people with whom you share commonalities. You can belong to many different communities. For instance, your school, friend group, family, scout unit, and local area are all examples of communities that you are a part of.

To be a good citizen in your community, aim to give more than you receive. Connect with those around you. Show compassion towards their struggles. Help others unconditionally, and you’ll become a community citizen that others can rely on.

Although being a citizen in your community doesn’t come with the same rights and responsibilities as being a citizen in your nation, there are still obligations that you should uphold. Here are a few qualities of what makes a good community member:

  • Being concerned for the well-being of others.
  • Staying up-to-date with local plans and events.
  • Offering assistance to those in need of help.
  • Voicing your opinion in favor of what you believe is right.
  • Respecting the opinions of others.
  • Reporting any wrongdoing or crimes that you may witness.
  • Volunteering or giving to charity in support of your community.
  • Initially accepting all people with compassion and open arms if they should become a part of your community.

These guidelines can be applied to almost all of your different communities. Whether you’re attending church, school, or your troop meetings, being accepting and willing to help others will make you a loved and valueable member of your community.

2a) On a map of your community or using an electronic device, locate and point out the following:
2a I) Chief government buildings such as your city hall, county courthouse, and public works/services facility
2a II) Fire station, police station, and hospital nearest your home
2a III) Parks, playgrounds, recreation areas, and trails
2a IV) Historical or other interesting points of interest

With a parent’s permission, I’d recommend using Google Maps on your phone or computer to locate each of these facilities nearest you. In addition to being able to easily find each area in a matter of seconds, by clicking the location you’ll be able to ‘bookmark’ it on the map. I’ll demonstrate how to do this in the pictures below. 🙂

First, locate a facility and click on it. Then, click the ‘save’ bookmark icon. When saving, set the group as ‘favorite.’ All saved locations will appear on the map.

After bookmarking all of the above locations, either print or save a picture of the map to show to your counselor. On top of just completing the requirement, Google maps will also provide you with a summary of the purpose and historical background of the site. This will help you to learn even more about the landmarks within your community.

2b) Chart the organization of your local or state government. Show the top offices and tell whether they are elected or appointed.

You can use the official locator from usa.gov to find your state’s website outlining the structure of your local and state governments. After finding your state’s page, the sections on government organizations are typically in the ‘government’ section near the top of the page in the header.

Do some exploring throughout the website to find the top offices of your local and state government. Important positions include your governor, mayor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. These pages should also note whether the officials holding these positions are elected or appointed.

3a) Attend a meeting of your city, town, or county council or school board; OR a municipal; county, or state court session.
3b) 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.

Being informed and socially active is an important part of belonging to a community. When attending the meeting of your choice, try to understand the stance of each speaker. What is their background? What are they trying to accomplish? This will help you to determine whether you agree or disagree with their message.

If your school board has any meetings planned in the next few months, that will likely be the easiest and most interesting to attend. To find other types of local meetings, Google search “find neighborhood board meeting (your city).” You could also ask your merit badge counselor if they have any meetings they’d recommend you attend. 

Attending a meeting is a great opportunity to also complete requirement 4 which asks you to learn about an issue that’s important to your community. Before or after your meeting, speak with one of the community members and ask them their take on the issue they’ll be discussing. More on this in the next section.

4) Choose an issue that is important to the citizens of your community; then do the following:
4a) Find out which branch of local government is responsible for this issue.
4b) With your counselor’s and a parent’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.
4c) Share what you have learned with your counselor.

I’d recommend first selecting a school or local government meeting to attend. These meetings often revolve around important community issues that relate to the government’s legislative branch. Call ahead to learn about what issues they’ll be covering and do some research beforehand. 

Attend the meeting with your parents, and, at some point, introduce yourself to one of the speakers. You can say something along these lines:

“Hi, my name’s Cole; I’m a scout from troop 100. I’m working on completing my Citizenship in the Community merit badge and found this meeting to be really interesting. Do you have 2 minute free so that I can ask you a couple of questions?” 

Once they say yes, you can ask them what branch of government their program most closely relates to. Afterward, ask them what’s being done about this issue and how a young person could help. Report what you’ve learned to your merit badge counselor.

5) 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.

Check out my previous article on the 17 best movies demonstrating Citizenship in the Community. I spent a good chunk of time finding the most entertaining and educational movies for scouts like yourself. The movies I’ve included range from Scouting classics like Follow Me Boys, to sports movies, and even lighthearted, animated films like Zootopia.

After finishing your chosen movie, take five minutes to write out a short summary. Include details about the movie’s protagonist, their message, as well as the sacrifices they made to serve their community. You’ll be discussing these points with your merit badge counselor later on.

6) 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.

Most communities dedicate a portion of taxpayer money to fund public services. These public services help to improve citizens’ overall levels of safety and well-being, improving life within your community. Common community-funded services include:

  • Libraries
  • Recreation centers
  • Parks
  • Public Schools
  • Road repair
  • Emergency response services
  • Art installations
  • Public landscaping
  • Community recreation activities

Services that improve a community can also help to bring people together. Just like how many Americans take pride in their nation, you should also have a sense of pride in your community. By using the services offered by your community, you’ll become a more connected and aware member of society.

Taxpayer-funded services can also help to improve the community over time. By building libraries and public schools, a community can increase the opportunities available to its young people. Many of these young people will eventually start their own families within the community, contributing to future services and helping society grow even further.

7a) 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.

In addition to taxpayer-funded services, most communities also have charitable organizations that help to support those in need. Three organizations that you could volunteer with for the good of your community include:

  • Homeless shelters and soup kitchens: Homeless shelters always need more volunteers. Whether you’re handing out food, collecting supplies, or checking in visitors, your community homeless shelter will have plenty of roles that you can take on to be of service to others.
  • Your local library: When completing my Citizenship in the Community merit badge, I volunteered at my local library for a few weeks. During that time, I reshelved books and helped visitors find what they were looking for. I had a blast recommending books to others, and learned a lot about our public library systems along the way!
  • Humane societies and adoption centers: If you like working with animals, you might consider volunteering at your local Humane Society or adoption center. There, you’ll be able to make a difference by connecting adorable creatures with loving homes.
7b) 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.

After selecting a charitable group, I’d recommend first looking online and learning more about your chosen organization’s mission and practices. Afterward, use Google maps to locate their headquarters in your area. Find a number to call and speak with a member of the organization.

Once you’re speaking with an employee, ask them any questions you may have. You’ll later need to volunteer with a charitable organization, so I’d recommend asking the following:

  • What are some of the responsibilities of new volunteers in your organization?
  • How does your organization benefit our local community?
  • What is the process to begin volunteering with your organization?

If, from the employee’s answers, the charitable organization seems like one you’d enjoy volunteering with, make plans to help. Schedule out eight hours within the next three weeks to volunteer your time with the charitable group. Volunteering is a great way to become an impactful citizen of the world.

7c) With your counselor’s and your parent’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.

While volunteering, track your responsibilities and service hours. Notice the tasks you enjoyed working on, as well as the ones you didn’t like as much. Understanding your own work preferences will be valuable information when choosing your career in the future.

After you’ve completed the required 8 hours (at minimum) of volunteer work, speak with your merit badge counselor. Discuss what you learned from your time with the organization. I’d recommend preparing your answers to these questions beforehand.

  • How did your chosen charitable group promote good citizenship within your community? 
  • How did your work directly affect the needed? 
  • Are you planning to volunteer again?

Volunteering and contributing to others brings a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Hopefully, you found that when volunteering with your charitable organization. I’m sure that those you helped really appreciate your efforts!

8) 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.

To complete your presentation, I’d recommend creating a PowerPoint or using the browser application, Prezi. Prezi lets you create large maps within your presentation, which will work well in highlighting different aspects of your community. Whichever option you choose, be sure to make your presentation engaging and visually appealing.

A local library or the Internet will likely be your best tool for learning more about the history of your community. Use everything you’ve already learned in completing the other requirements to create the best presentation on your community, possible.

Conclusion

Great work! If you’ve been sticking with me this far, you’re now ready to earn your Citizenship in the Community merit badge. Being an active member of your community can make you feel connected and inspired, especially later on in life. Make an effort to contribute to your community, and you’ll be rewarded tenfold.

Thanks for helping make the world a better place through Scouting. I’m constantly writing new content for ScoutSmarts.com to help scouts like you, and I would really appreciate it if you could share this website with your troop buddies. Doing so will help to grow the site so that we can impact even more scouts!

On a final note, if you’re pushing to reach Eagle, you might also want to check out some of my other Eagle-required merit badge guides. Anyway, I hope to see you here again soon and, until next time, best of luck on your Scouting journey! ?

Cole

I'm constantly writing new content for this website because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making this 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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