Eagle Scouts are Making a Difference
Eagle Scouts really do make a difference. That is the conclusion of a Baylor University nation-wide study.
We all know the issues troubling the Boy Scouts of America. And, many are struggling with the concept of the admission of girls into Scouting. There is the possibility that the entire organization may even go bankrupt. But it is also important to keep in mind the great contributions that Scouting has and continues to make in our society.
“Merit Beyond the Badge” Study
The “Merit Beyond the Badge” research study surveyed three categories of individuals: Eagle Scouts, Scouts who did not achieve the Eagle Scout Rank and non-scouts. The goal of the study was to determine if achieving the role of Eagle Scout is associated with pro-social behavior, and development of character that lasts into adulthood.
The study found significant differences between those who achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, and those who did not, or were never in Scouting. Generally, Eagle Scouts showed positive and pro-social development. The significant differences included:
- Higher levels of participation in a variety of health and recreational activities.
- Greater connection to siblings, neighbors, religious community, friends, coworkers, formal and informal groups, and a spiritual presence in nature.
- Greater belief in duty to God, service to others, service to community and leadership.
- Behaviors designed to enhance and protect the environment.
- Commitment to setting and achieving personal, professional, spiritual and financial goals.
- Higher levels of planning and preparedness.
- Character traits related to work ethics, morality, tolerance, and respect for diversity.
Becoming an Eagle Scout is Hard
About 4 percent of Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. An Eagle Scout must earn 21 life skill merit badges and complete an extensive service project prior to his or her 18th birthday. It is Scouting’s highest honor.
More importantly, our society can use all of the Eagle Scouts we can get. I suggest it is time to move past Scouting’s current issues and controversies (while holding those culpable of wrong-doing accountable). Instead, let’s support an organization that helps shape individuals into contributors in our world. We can use that help these days.
Duty On. Be Your Best.
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