The Positive Effects of Scouting Have Been Scientifically Proven

Robert Proctor

The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America is to build character in young people. Many parents put their sons in the Boy Scouts with hopes of their children being better people, being kind to others, and making more responsible decisions in the future. But does Scouting really make a difference? A new study a Tufts University proves that it does. According to the study, Scouting has a strong positive effect on the character development of young people.

This study involved almost 1,800 Cub Scouts and 400 non-Scouts under the age of 12. Over a period of three years, these children were observed in order to measure the difference Scouting makes in the lives of young people.

So how exactly was the data collected? There were five different intervals during the study at which observations were made in order to find out if and how character changes were occurring. As the start of the study, there was not a statistically significant difference in the character between the group of Cub Scouts and the non-Scouts. This data was important because it ruled out the possibility that people of higher character tend to enter the Scouts in the first place.

After three years, the Scouts reported significant increases in a number of positive qualities, including helpfulness, trustworthiness, obedience, cheerfulness, and hopeful future expectation. In the group of non-Scouts, there were no significant increases in these qualities. There were even a few qualities for which there was an observed decrease.

The study, funded by the John Templeton Foundation and led by Dr. Richard M. Lerner, found that there was a direct correlation between the amount of time spent Scouting the the positive impact the Scouting had. Higher character attributes were reported for boys who spent more years in the program. In addition, boys who attended the regular meetings reported higher character attributes than those with lower meeting attendance.

Michael Surbaugh, the Chief Court Executive of the Boy Scouts of America is certainly not surprised. He sees the positive influence of Scouting each and every day by looking at the many accomplished young people who go through the program. While the members of the Boy Scouts of America never doubted its positive effects, these results are still great to have out there for recruitment purposes. Parents can now see the value of participating in the Boys Scouts through a qualitative study and will be more likely to put their children through the program.

Scouting is largely focused on providing social experiences, but the young boys who enroll in the Boy Scouts of America also learn a number of other helpful life skills. After completing the Boy Scouts of America, a person will be able to overcome obstacles, take advantage of opportunities, and be better equipped for life.