Have you ever done something difficult and thought I should get an award for this? Or wished you could be recognized for doing something crazy and outside of your comfort zone, like bungee jumping off of a bridge, or even just riding on an airplane for the first time? This is the idea behind YouTube star Alex Day’s new project, Lifescouts. Day’s inspiration for Lifescouts came from the Boy Scout merit badges, which reward participants on the knowledge they demonstrate in certain areas such as tying knots, kindling fires, and camping. Day has created a badge system for all ages which pays homage to the life experience individuals have had.
The first component of Lifescouts is a tumblr (www.lifescouts.com) on which new badges are being uploaded every week. They range from travel badges like the Mona Lisa Badge and the Taj Mahal Badge, to badges which could be earned any day of the week, such as the Sunrise Badge and the Picnic Badge. To earn a badge, there is no specific criteria one must meet. Alex Day explains, “It’s up to you. The biggest thing is that you have a sufficiently valuable experience, or story, or anecdote, related to that badge that justifies you having it, and that you personally don’t feel guilty for claiming that badge.” On tumblr, if you see a badge with an experience you’ve had, you reblog it and share your story for other people to read. This way, they learn something new about you, and hopefully your experience with, say, riding in a hot air balloon, encourages someone else to go out and take a trip in the air themselves. Day says, “If you’ve always wanted to skydive, and you never have, and the skydiving badge goes up and suddenly you click the notes and there’s, you know, 100 notes of all these other people that have skydived, and some of them are your age, and they’re talking about what is was like, and how they felt, and how you can do it too, it might encourage more people to do those things. And then they can go back to Lifescouts, and reblog it and share their story to inspire other people. It’s a great big circle of inspiration!” The badges are also a reminder that life can be imbued and swollen with newness, excitement, and simple pleasures, if only one takes the initiative to make it so.
(The Parade Badge)
(The Easter Island Badge)
(The French Language Badge)
The second component of Lifescouts is the actual badges themselves. If you’d like tangible evidence of your experience, Alex Day has created physical Lifescouts bagdes which you can purchase online for $5 and ship to the US for less that a dollar. He made them solely because he himself wanted them to exist so that he could have a proper collection, which he keeps in a display case. He imagines YouTube gatherings where users might wear their badges and be able to discuss their experiences with one another.
Day says he currently has 15 badges, the same as his cousin Danny, and they’re in competition to see who can get more badges. Day says, “It’s the best thing to compete with someone against because you’re competing with life experience.” When creating new badges, Day says he’s not thinking about the things he’s already done which could earn him more, but what he wants to do, but hasn’t experienced yet. Additionally, he thinks about what’s a good balance of badges, what’s interesting, and what’s fair for people around the world. Day is so thrilled with his new idea, he has booked a skydive for February and looks forward to sharing his experience and his badge with his audience.
If you’d like to hear Alex Day explain Lifescouts in more detail, watch the video below.
I for one, am currently sitting outside and earning my sunrise badge, wondering why I haven’t done this sooner.
Buy physical pin badges here: http://www.lifescouts.bigcartel.com/
Alex Day’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/nerimon