Success in life often comes down to making the best of any situation. Scouting hands youth situations and shows them how to make the best of them. It shows them how to build their own shelter in a hailstorm so they will know how to weather any storm life throws at them. Scouts learn how to navigate the woods without getting lost so that they can navigate life without losing the principles and values instilled in them. Scouting helps youth realize what they’re truly capable of doing in a fun and responsible way.
Learning is foundational, as it allows life-changing experiences and provides confidence to overcome obstacles in life. When so many extracurricular activities were halted this spring due to COVID-19, Scouts learned how to adjust. They continued to earn merit badges and rank advancements through virtual meetings, adventures, and even virtual campouts from their living rooms and backyards. When it was safe to enjoy some adventures in the outdoors, they learned how to socially distance in nature and how to complete tasks alone that normally require close contact with others. In fact, since mid-March, Scouts have worked on or completed more than 190,000 Cub Scout adventures, more than 150,000 merit badges and contributed countless hours of community service helping their communities during times of need by making masks out of their neckerchiefs and donating face shields to local hospitals.
How does Scouting help youth develop a lifelong love of learning? Youth learn the Scout Oath and Law and live by their principles – to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, and do their best to do their duty to God and country for example. They also learn from one another. Dr. Richard M. Lerner, a psychologist and youth expert at Tufts University and his team measured the character attributes of nearly 1,800 Cub Scouts and nearly 400 non-Scouts.
“As a former Cub Scout myself, I’ve always shared the belief that Scouting had beneficial effects on kids’ character, but as researchers we must be rigorous and give it a fair test,” says Lerner. “We did, and the results are strikingly positive. After three years, Scouts reported significant increases in cheerfulness, helpfulness, kindness, obedience, trustworthiness and hopeful future expectations.”
In the beginning, the group of kids had no statistically significant difference in the character traits being measured. Through five different times over the course of 2 years, the youth were asked to describe themselves in relation to situations such as kindness, trustworthiness, hopeful future expectations and helpfulness.
The Scout group reported significant increases in the character attributes, while the non-Scouts showed no significant increases. Scouts also were more likely than non-Scouts to say that “helping others” or “doing the right thing” was more important to them than “being smart” or “being the best.”
“Now the organization can go beyond anecdotes and show how Scouting helps build character in kids,” Lerner says. “If I were parent and wanted to put my young person in a program that leads to being hopeful, trustworthy and helpful, the answer is Scouting.”
“Each and every day we get to see the positive influence Scouting makes in young people’s lives,” says Sam Thompson, Scout executive/CEO of Circle Ten Council. “And while we weren’t surprised by the study’s results, it is great to be able to quantify the impact of the program and show parents the value of participation.”
Scouting fosters the spirit of learning for future innovators and leaders by investing in their development of academic skills, self-confidence, ethics, leadership skills, and citizen ship skills – creating a platform to learn important life skills that will help them combat major societal concerns. As today’s youth become adults, they will not only need the desire to learn throughout their lives, but they must also have the skills necessary to do so. Scouting teaches those skills to America’s youth in a fun and exciting way, and parents love the fact that their children are learning new skills and strong values in the process. With millions of youth members and adult volunteers, Scouting is one of the most influential and time-tested youth organizations in the world.
All youth (boys and girls, Kindergarten through age 18) are invited to join the Circle Ten Council today.