Scouting Builds Character


Does Scouting Work?

With fifty-million alumni, anecdotal evidence of Scouting’s impact is plentiful. Scouts have saved lives, explored the reaches of our planet and led the Nation with the skills and attributes learned in Scouting.  Now, Scouting has the opportunity to scientifically and empirically prove Scouting is fostering positive character development in young people. Scouting is a well-balanced youth development program increasing positive youth development in kids.

Does Scouting Work? | Spanish Translation | La Meta de Scouting

La Meta de Scouting

Con 50 millones de exalumnos, podemos evidenciar el gran impacto del programa de Scouting. Scouts han salvado vidas, han explorado los alcances de nuestro planeta y han dirigido a la Nación con habilidades y atributos aprendidos en Scouting. Hoy en día, Scouting tiene la oportunidad de demostrar científicamente el cambio positivo que creamos en el desarrollo personal y profesional de los jóvenes. Por favor, mire este video que describe un estudio reciente, de la Tufts University, sobre el desarrollo del carácter de los jovenes que participan en Scouting.

Does Scouting Work? | Mandarin Translation | 「參加童軍的宗旨」

The Goal of Scouting | Mandarin Translation | 「參加童軍的宗旨」



Tufts University Character & Merit Project

The Boy Scouts of America, John Templeton Foundation, and the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University
Study Question
These groups joined forces to study over two-thousand Scouts and non-Scouts in a 3 year study designed to better understand character development, as it was happening.
Outcomes Overview
At the beginning of the study, there were no significant differences in character attributes between Scouts and non-Scouts. By their third year in the program, Cub Scouts reported significant increases in: cheerfulness, helpfulness, kindness, obedience, trustworthiness and hopeful future expectations. If you would like to read the official study, please click here.
Key Findings
  • As Scouts’ tenure in the program increases, they report higher levels of trustworthiness, intentional self-regulation, hopeful future expectations and better grades.
  • Scouts who regularly attend meetings, report higher outcomes when compared to those with lower attendance.
  • Scouts are more likely to embrace positive social values than non-Scouts.
  • Scouts showed a four-fold increase in obedience and helpfulness when compared to non-Scouts.
  • While Scouts showed a two fold increase in cheerfulness and helpfulness, non-Scouts showed a two-fold decrease in these attributes.
  • Scouts showed a three-fold increase in hopefulness when compared to non-Scouts.  When youth are hopeful about the future, it is proven they are more likely to do well in school, have higher career aspirations and make more thoughtful choices.
What is Positive Youth Development?
Youth development programs must have the following “Big Three”:

  1. Positive and sustained adult-youth relationships
  2. Life-skill building curricula
  3. Opportunities for youth leadership

It has been proven Scouting has the “Big Three” and implements programs to positively impact character development. To learn about positive youth development and Scouting, click here.


Tufts Study Outcomes Infographic Tufts Character Study Character Study Talking Points