Can I get a Girl Scout badge for being a couch potato?

Couch potato (artwork by oddsock - CC-BY)

Couch potato (artwork by oddsock - CC-BY)

Believe it or not, you can earn a Girl Scout badge for being a couch potato. Well, you can if you are a Girl Scout.

Girl Scouting is supposed to be “for every girl, everywhere”. So girls in five Californian troops created the Couch Potato Interest Project. Not surprisingly, earning this badge requires watching TV.

The required activity includes keeping a log of your television watching for a week, and calculating what percentage of your life is spent watching TV. You must then come up with a list of activities that you could do instead of some of that TV watching, and in the following week you try them. You compare your TV log for that second week, and evaluate whether you feel “better, healthier, happier”. Officially there's no “correct answer”, of course, but you don't need to be Einstein to see what they're getting at here.

You choose your other activities from a list, which includes:

  • Watch two hou

    rs of TV and take notes about the women and girls in the shows and commercials,

  • Make a list of healthier TV snacks, and stick to them for a week (my daughter, although not a Girl Scout, likes to munch on frozen peas while watching TV),
  • Watch one hour of TV in order to log and analyze the commercials,
  • Review and analyze a program that's directed towards youth,
  • Watch a cooking show and make a healthy recipe from it,
  • Visit a local TV station,
  • Prepare a “couch aerobics” exercise program for the living room,
  • Watch two hours of educational television (Sesame Street doesn't count, they say),
  • Host a TV dinner party where you and your guests watch and discuss a TV show. The TV dinner must include potatoes (but not instant or microwavable potatoes)

Finally we get to the real nitty-gritty:

  • Don't watch TV for a whole week. Keep a diary of your withdrawal symptoms
  • Organize a “Turn the TV Off Week” in your community
  • Research and deliver a presentation on the connection between time spent watching TV and undesirable effects including weight gain, poor school performance, violence, drug abuse and sexual misconduct…

The Girl Scouts have certainly changed with the times. What's next? Mouse Potato badge? Chat Room Junkie badge? Facebook Supremo badge?


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