NORTH SALEM, N.Y.— Christian Duffy, a 15-year-old North Salem High School freshman, is looking to better understand how government works, particularly in North Salem. A member of Boy Scout Troop 1, he is working on his Citizenship in the Community merit badge and has been attending town board meetings to experience and understand local government in action.
“I wanted to take a closer look at the way the town works and thought this was the best way to do it,” Duffy said, “It was moderately easy to understand and follow along.”
As part of his badge, Duffy has enjoyed following along with several recent agenda items including planned revisions to the town’s solar panel code and its recent discussions regarding an immigration resolution.
According to the Boy Scouts of America, the badge calls for the scout to discuss with his counselor what citizenship in the community means and what it takes to be a good citizen in his community.
Requirements include attending a meeting of the local government, or school board, or a municipal, county or state court session. The scout is also required to choose an issue that’s important to citizens of the community and interview one person from the branch of government. Duffy has spoken with Town Supervisor Warren Lucas who has enthusiastically shared insights into how town government operates with him.
Scouts earning their Citizenship in the Community badge are also required to learn about some of the town or municipality’s services, such as the library, recreation center, public safety, transportation or other services that are funded by taxpayers. They also must watch a movie that shows how the actions of one person or group can have a positive effect on the community.
Once those requirements are met, the scout must identify a charitable organization in the community and volunteer at least eight hours of his time with them. Finally, he is required to develop a public presentation about important and unique aspects about the community and stage the presentation before his merit badge counselor or a class at school.
Duffy had words of praise for his father, Tom Duffy, who he says has been instrumental in helping him prepare and better understand the workings of local government.
The Citizenship in the Community merit badge is required for Eagle Scout rank.