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National Study Proves Eagle Scout Badge Improves Character Development

We don’t think you need any other reasons to appreciate the Boy and Girl Scouts, but we still have one for you.

Baylor University Institute of Religious Studies has just released the results from a survey called “Merit Beyond the Badge.” The two-year, nationwide study sought to determine the impact of the Eagle Scout badge.

Byron R. Johnson, the co-director of IRS, said that the researchers’ intent was to “determine if achieving the rank of Eagle Scout is associated with prosocial behavior and development of character that carries over into young adulthood and beyond.”

In other words, researchers wanted to know if becoming an Eagle Scout creates a man who has strong character traits and goes on to have a positive impact on society.

The study compared Eagle Scouts, Scouts who had not achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, and non-Scouts. Participants answered questions about their well-being, civic engagement, and character development.

If you know an Eagle Scout or are in tune with Scouts, the findings of the survey will not surprise you. IRS released a large list of findings, which can be viewed in its entirety by clicking here.  Here are a few highlights:

Eagle Scouts are significantly more likely than non-Scouts and Scouts who never achieved Eagle Scout to:

  • Show a greater connection to siblings, neighbors, religious community, friends, coworkers, formal and informal groups and a spiritual presence in nature
  • Engage in behaviors that are designed to enhance and protect the environment
  • Indicate that they have built character traits related to work ethics, morality, tolerance and respect for diversity

Do you think this study is accurate?