baylor-study

New study shows 46 ways Eagle Scouts are different

Eagle Scouts are a different breed. You know it; I know it.

And today, we’ve got independent, scientific proof to back up our claim.

At last, the results are in from the 2010 Baylor University study, Eagle Scouts: Merit Beyond the Badge, conducted by the university’s Program for Pro-Social Behavior under a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

The researchers found statistically significant differences between Eagle Scouts, former Scouts who didn’t make Eagle, and men who were never in Scouting. The differences were grouped into seven areas: Health and Recreation, Connection, Service and Leadership, Environmental Stewardship, Goal Orientation, Planning and Preparedness, and Character.

The timing’s perfect with the 100th anniversary of the Eagle Scout Award this year. But what were the findings? How did Eagle Scouts rate? Read on for my complete analysis.

Introduction

With the help of the Gallup Organization, Baylor University researchers contacted 81,409 potential respondents. From those who were contacted, 2,512 adult males agreed to be re-contacted for the survey. Of that group, 134 are Eagle Scouts.

Researchers asked the men 55 questions, touching on topics such as well-being, civic engagement, and character development.

They sought to answer these questions: Do youth participating in Scouting receive character-building advantages over youth that have not participated in Scouting? More specifically, do Eagle Scouts, because of the additional commitment and effort required to reach this rank, experience additional positive attributes that provide advantage and benefits to them over non-Scouts as well as other Scouts who never attain the rank of Eagle?

I have studied the complete report and want to share all 46 findings divided into seven thematic categories.

For each of the below, “Scouts” means men who were in Scouts as youth but didn’t reach Eagle, while “non-Scouts” means men who were never in Scouts as youth.

Ready? Let’s go.

Health and Recreation

Eagle Scouts exhibit an increased tendency to participate in a variety of health and recreational activities.

  1. Exercise every day for 30 minutes: Eagle Scouts are approximately 58 percent more likely than other Scouts but are not significantly different from non-Scouts.
  2. Regularly participate in boating (sailing, canoeing, kayaking): Eagle Scouts are 59 percent more likely than non-Scouts, although there is no significant difference between Eagle Scouts and other Scouts.
  3. Regularly participate in fishing: Eagle Scouts are 36 percent more likely than non-Scouts, while they are not significantly different from other Scouts.
  4. Participate in camping: Eagle Scouts are approximately 40 percent more likely than other Scouts and 95 percent more likely than non-Scouts to report camping.
  5. Satisfied with the amount of leisure and free time they have: Eagle Scouts are 51 percent more likely than Scouts while there is no statistically significant difference between Eagle Scouts and non-Scouts.
  6. Attend plays, concerts, or live theater: Eagle Scouts are 72 percent more likely than non-Scouts but are not significantly different from other Scouts.
  7. Play a musical instrument: Eagle Scouts are 38 percent more likely than non-Scouts. However, Eagle Scouts and other Scouts are not significantly different.
  8. Read books: Eagle Scouts are 39 percent more likely than non-Scouts but are not significantly different from other Scouts.
  9. Visit a local, state, or national park: Eagle Scouts are 42 percent more likely than non-Scouts, while they are not significantly different from other Scouts.
  10. Drink alcohol in the last seven days: Eagle Scouts are 25 percent less likely than other Scouts, although they are not significantly different from non-Scouts.

Connection

Eagle Scouts show a greater connectedness to siblings, neighbors, religious community, friends, co-workers, formal and informal groups, and a spiritual presence in nature.

  1. Report being very close with their siblings: Eagle Scouts are 38 percent more likely than non-Scouts. Eagle Scouts and other Scouts are not significantly different in their relationships with siblings.
  2. Report being extremely close with neighbors: Eagle Scouts are 97 percent more likely than Scouts. Eagle Scouts are not significantly different from non-Scouts.
  3. Report being extremely close with their religious community: Eagle Scouts are 66 percent more likely than Scouts. Eagle Scouts and non-Scouts are not significantly different.
  4. Have extremely close relationships with friends: Eagle Scouts are 60 percent more likely compared to Scouts. Further, Eagle Scouts are also 37 percent more likely to be extremely close with friends, compared to those men who never participated in Boy Scouts.
  5. Report being extremely close with their co-workers: Eagle Scouts are 57 percent more likely than Scouts but are not significantly different from non-Scouts.
  6. Have talked with or visited with neighbors at least once per month: Eagle Scouts are 36 percent more likely compared to Scouts. Moreover, Eagle Scouts are 46 percent more likely to have interacted with immediate neighbors at least once per month than men who never participated in Boy Scouts.
  7. Belong to at least four formal or informal groups: The likelihood of Eagle Scouts is 54 percent greater than Scouts. Additionally, Eagle Scouts are 87 percent more likely than non-Scouts to belong to at least four formal or informal groups.
  8. Agree they find a spiritual presence in nature: Eagle Scouts are roughly 44 percent more likely than Scouts. Also, Eagle Scouts are 50 percent more likely than non-Scouts to agree they find a spiritual presence in nature.

Service and Leadership

Duty to God, service to others, service to the community, and leadership are traits that are especially strong in Eagle Scouts.

  1. Have donated money to a religious institution within the last month: Eagle Scouts are 53 percent more likely than non-Scouts but are not significantly different from other Scouts in donating money to a religious institution.
  2. Have donated money to a non-religious institution or charity in the community within the last month: Eagle Scouts are 34 percent more likely than non-Scouts. However, Eagle Scouts and other Scouts are not significantly different.
  3. Volunteer time to a religious organization: Eagle Scouts are approximately 55 percent more likely, compared to other Scouts. Also, Eagle Scouts are 66 percent more likely than non-Scouts to volunteer time to a religious organization.
  4. Volunteer their time to a non-religious organization: Eagle Scouts are 58 percent more likely than other Scouts. In addition, Eagle Scouts are 62 percent more likely than non-Scouts to volunteer time to a non-religious organization.
  5. Work with their neighbors to address a problem or improve something: Compared to Scouts, Eagle Scouts are 68 percent more likely . Also, Eagle Scouts are 56 percent more likely than non-Scouts to work with others in their neighborhood to address a problem or improve something.
  6. Have voted in the last presidential election: Eagle Scouts are 73 percent more likely than non-Scouts, while they are not different from other Scouts.
  7. Have held a leadership position at their workplace: Eagle Scouts are roughly 39 percent more likely than other Scouts and approximately 55 percent more likely than non-Scouts.
  8. Have held leadership positions in the local community: Compared to Scouts, Eagle Scouts are about 53 percent more likely. Moreover, Eagle Scouts are around 76 percent more likely than non-Scouts to have held leadership positions in the local community.

Environmental Stewardship

Eagle Scouts are more likely to engage in behaviors that are designed to enhance and protect the environment.

  1. Be active in a group that works to protect the environment: Eagle Scouts are 89 percent more likely than other Scouts and 92 percent more likely than non-Scouts.
  2. Avoid using products that harm the environment: Compared to Scouts, Eagle Scouts are 38 percent more likely. Further, Eagle Scouts are 31 percent more likely than men who have never been Scouts to say they avoid using products that harm the environment.
  3. Report trying to use less water in their household: Eagle Scouts are 71 percent more likely than Scouts, while they are not significantly different from non-Scouts.

Goal Orientation

Eagle Scouts are more likely to be committed to learning, and to set and achieve personal, professional, spiritual, and financial goals.

  1. Feel it is extremely important to learn something every day: Eagle Scouts are 42 percent more likely than other Scouts. Further, Eagle Scouts are 40 percent more likely to believe it is extremely important to learn something every day, compared to those men who never participated in Boy Scouts.
  2. Report taking a course or class in the past year: Eagle Scouts are 30 percent more likely than Scouts. Eagle Scouts are 80 percent more likely than non-Scouts to report taking a course or class in the past year.
  3. Report achieving a personal goal in the last year: Eagle Scouts are 39 percent more likely than Scouts. Eagle Scouts are also 64 percent more likely than non-Scouts to report they achieved a personal goal in the last year.
  4. Report they achieved a professional goal in the last year: Eagle Scouts are roughly 29 percent more likely than non-Scouts.
  5. Indicate they achieved a spiritual goal in the last year: Eagle Scouts are about 81 percent more likely than other Scouts and 81 percent more likely than non-Scouts.
  6. Report achieving a financial goal in the last year: Eagle Scouts are 57 percent more likely than other Scouts. Also, Eagle Scouts are 49 percent more likely than non-Scouts to say a financial goal was achieved in the last year.

Planning and Preparedness

Eagle Scouts show higher levels of planning and preparedness than do Scouts who never attained the rank of Eagle Scout and men who were never Scouts.

  1. Have a disaster supply kit in their home: Eagle Scouts are 94 percent more likely than other Scouts. Also, Eagle Scouts are 124 percent more likely than non-Scouts to have a disaster supply kit kept in the home.
  2. Report a kit with emergency supplies is kept in their car: Eagle Scouts are 43 percent more likely than other Scouts. Moreover, Eagle Scouts are 81 percent more likely than non-Scouts to report a kit with emergency supplies is kept in their car.
  3. Have a specific meeting place for family to reunite in an emergency: Eagle Scouts are 94 percent more likely than other Scouts and 100 percent more likely than non-Scouts.
  4. Have CPR certification: Eagle Scouts are 50 percent more likely than other Scouts. Also, Eagle Scouts are 90 percent more likely than non-Scouts to have CPR certification.

Character

Eagle Scouts are more likely than other Scouts and men who were never Scouts to indicate they have built character traits related to work ethics, morality, tolerance, and respect for diversity.

  1. Agree they always try to exceed expectations: Eagle Scouts are 54 percent more likely than other Scouts. Additionally, Eagle Scouts are 52 percent more likely than non-Scouts to agree they always try to exceed.
  2. Agree they always do what is right: Eagle Scouts are approximately 47 percent more likely than non-Scouts, whereas Eagle and other Scouts are not significantly different.
  3. Agree they work hard to get ahead: Eagle Scouts are 88 percent more likely than other Scouts, although they are not significantly different from non-Scouts.
  4. Agree they always treat people of other religions with respect: Eagle Scouts are 109 percent more likely than other Scouts. Moreover, Eagle Scouts are 45 percent more likely than non-Scouts to agree they always treat people of other religions with respect.
  5. Strongly agree that most religions make a positive contribution to society: Eagle Scouts are 29 percent more likely than non-Scouts, but are not significantly different from other Scouts.
  6. Say respecting religious leaders outside of your religion is at least somewhat important: Eagle Scouts are 133 percent more likely than other Scouts and 109 percent more likely than non-Scouts.
  7. Say it is important to show respect to the American flag: Eagle Scouts are 89 percent more likely than other Scouts. However, Eagle Scouts and non-Scouts are not significantly different in their attitudes toward the American flag.

Summary

Analysis of the nationally representative survey reveals significant differences between Eagle Scouts and other Scouts as well as non-Scouts. Eagle Scouts consistently indicate their experience in Scouting contributed to positive and prosocial development as measured by responses to a wide range of issues and subjects, including the following:

  • Eagle Scouts exhibit an increased tendency to participate in a variety of health and recreational activities.
  • Eagle Scouts show a greater connectedness to siblings, neighbors, religious community, friends, co-workers, formal and informal groups, and a spiritual presence in nature.
  • Duty to God, service to others, service to the community, and leadership are traits that are especially strong in Eagle Scouts.
  • Eagle Scouts are more likely to engage in behaviors that are designed to enhance and protect the environment.
  • Eagle Scouts are more likely to be committed to setting and achieving personal, professional, spiritual, and financial goals.
  • Eagle Scouts show higher levels of planning and preparedness than do other Scouts and non-Scouts.
  • Eagle Scouts are more likely than other Scouts and non-Scouts to indicate they have built character traits related to work ethics, morality, tolerance, and respect for diversity.

In sum, when compared to Scouts and non-Scouts, Eagle Scouts exhibit significantly higher levels of health and recreation, connection, service and leadership, environmental stewardship, goal orientation, planning and preparedness, and character.

Read the complete study

There you have it. Click here to read the complete, 74-page study (PDF).

What do you think?

What finding (by number) surprised you the most? The least? How will you use this information in the future? Leave your thought below.

124 thoughts on “New study shows 46 ways Eagle Scouts are different

  1. I am intrigued by the number of times that I read “Eagle scouts are not significantly different from non-Scouts.” But it seems that the differences between Eagle and Scout was significant.

    • While this is just one study, there is and has been a lot of subjected interpretations placed within a study, but I have been in life a long time and I have witnessed that a lot of scouts have the ability to succeed in their goals. To those who are leaders of scouting (boys or girls) are in my opinion great people, but on one hand I have witnessed parents who often intercede and put their own values ahead of the scout leaders instructions, this makes it difficult for a child to decide what values of life to hold to. This Should have been one of the questions asked in the study.

    • I think when they say “significantly different,” they refer to tests of statistical significance, not an actual, real-life significance. This is just a math technique used in social sciences to denote mathematical correlations that are very strong. It doesn’t mean that there is no difference between the two!

    • It has been my experience that many boys in scouting are from separated parents, underprivileged backgrounds or other circumstances that make them less “citizenship-oriented” than eagles and non-scouts. Scouting makes boys good and makes good boys better!

    • I commend the researcher(s) for having an adequate sample size to provide reasonable data. Regardless of whether or not a person was a scout or attained Eagle Scout, it’s great to know that scouting has made a difference! You’ll find, here in Canada, that many of our country’s leaders were in scouts or guides as youth. Perhaps one of my fellow scout leaders will be able to provide data to show this which I don’t have at hand.

  2. The question is; did ataining the rank of Eagle make the kid that way, or did he attain Eagle because that was already in his nature to do so? I suspect the answer is a little of both.

    • Agreed — the study did not show that the journey to Eagle was the reason Eagle Scouts were so different… it just showed they had significant differences from Scouts and non-Scouts. It’s possible that the type of young men that are drawn to strive to the rank of Eagle are also the type of young men that will develop further in all the areas mentioned. But I have no doubt that the journey to Eagle definitely had a role in shaping at least some (if not all) of those traits in the Eagles.

      • When I read “not significantly different from non-Scouts” my take away is those without the benefit of some Scouting still had “good values” compared to the Scout (non-Eagle) group – meaning Scouting’s effectiveness could be questioned and the Eagle rank could be viewed as a reflection of the Eagle Scout’s personal nature.
        I wonder if the participant’s willingness to be involved in this survey biased the non-scouts group (all groups really) to have these “desired values.” (My values wouldn’t have been counted because I never participate in surveys, or leave comments.)

    • Mr. Bubbles, In my experience it is a little of both and a LOT how much the parents are involved and influence the kid.

      • i have to agree with you about this my mother was in cubscout and push me and my father was with my older brother and me and i recieve my arrow of light and both of us became eagles so i have to thank my for them for belivings in us . I have stayed in scouts and my son is also an eagle and he has his son in tiger cubs

    • As a mother of two Eagles scouts, I would say that scouting makes the difference in them. Our nature, or moreover the nature of our youth predispone them to dropped when things gets tuft. Their leaders, their parents, their friends in scouting makes the differences in their life. To have support, love, teaching and great experiences will feed their apttitudes toward the completeness of a goal or simply drop out. Vision of their goals need great support, and scouting does it!!

      • Study schmuddy, I am an Eagle scout. I owe it all to my fantastic leaders, my scoutmaster and my parents, both of them. Both parents helped me all the way through the tough going at times. Eagle is not easy and it is the man who makes the award not the award making the man. Its the attitude and how they deal with the stuff of life. Baden Powell was one tuff ombre, and very sly, with a smile. My son is a Life scout and he is already an Eagle and he doesn’t even know it yet. When talking to him he is begining to wake up to what the Eagle scout rank means to him and how people in society relate to it and him. The Eagle rank is VERY special stuff because once you have it you are in a differnt group of people for life, like the Marines, Special forces, Religious leaders. Your a role model even if you don’t think you are, you are. People look at you differently. Good or bad. Most people who have their head on straight see the good in Boy Scouts.

      • I have to agree with Vanessa: Scouting make the difference. And we’ve to think that Scountig is nothing without family, without example leaders and, of course, all stuff we learn and live outdoor. I joined scounting in 1987, with 13, and I’m a braziliam Eagle Scout.
        We certainly make the world better, going foward.
        (sorry for my bad english)

  3. Being a Scout as a youth and leader as adult I see a large change in confidence when a boy attains the rank of Eagle he has proven to himself and his peers that he can lead and organize and uses these skills to enhance his life I have serious regret that I did not put in the effort as a youth to attain Eagle ASM Troop 1 Suffolk VA.

    • I think overall the values of Scouting (either boy or girl scouts) are not as valued as they used to be. As a Cub Scout leader I see that Parents don’t seem to want to put in the time, they’d rather sit on the bleachers and cheer from the sidelines. Also to be fair there are a lot more activities for kids to be involved in now that there has ever been. Scouting just becomes another “thing”, it’s hard to emphasize what the difference is to the parents.

  4. I’d also love to see if there’s any corresponding study to the Gold Award for the Girl Scouts. It appears that the Gold Award isn’t as recognized or valued as the Eagle Scout…anyone wonder why??

    • The Gold Award is not as hard to attain, either time wise or commitment wise. You could join Girls Scouts and earn it all in a week, with BSA there are checks and balances, as well as, specific time frames for leadership positions.

      • That is NOT true. You can not earn the Gold Award in one week! It does take time and effort and it does make a difference in the life of the girl who puts in the effort to attain the award=which is the whole point of scouting awards.

        • I’m a life long scout and future Eagle scout. I’ve spent over 6 years of my life working towards the rank of Eagle ( a fourth generation Eagle in my family). In the 6 years I have worked towards this I have seen several girls get their gold award in less than 2 years. There is a significant more amount of commitment and dedication to the Eagle process than to the Gold process.

    • As a Girl Award Girl Scout who has spent six summers working in Boy Scout camps, Eagle Scout is harder to attain requirement-wise. An Eagle must join Scouts at a young age and stick with it earning each rank. A Girl Scout, however, must only get older to become a Senior Girl Scout. I believe that my Gold Award is of equal merit because I started as a Daisy, earned all my wings, bridges and many badges, as well as earning Bronze and Silver. Although Gold Award can NOT be earned in a week, it can be earned in only about a year while Eagle Scout MUST take at least 1 year and 10 months bare minimum.

      I wish girls had the option of a great program like the Boy Scouts, but I am proud of what being a Girl Scout has made me.

      • You may alread know this from working at Boy Scout summer camps, but the BSA has a coed program for boys and girls 14 to 21. It’s called Venturing. I’m in it and it’s really fun, I just wish there was an option for younger girls.

        • There is an option for younger girls. The BSA has signed a memorandum of mutual support with the American Heritage Girls. This is much more in line with the values of Boy Scouts than Girl Scouts. If You think becoming an Eagle is tough, Check out the requirements for the AHG Stars and Stripes award. It makes becoming an Eagle seem like a cake walk.

      • Girls can join Venturing, a co-ed branch of Boy Scouts that is for 14-21 year olds. They still can’t earn Eagle as that is specific to the Boy Scouting program, but Venturing is designed as a next step from Boy Scouts so the Silver continues on the leadership path, Ranger on the outdoor skills and there are also sections for sports, religious studies and arts/hobbies. It’s only been around in its current form since the late 90s so it’s not as well known as the BSA’s other programs.

  5. And this is precisely why I dislike troops that are Eagle Mills and why I’m not impressed with 13-year-old Eagles. These people have missed the point entirely and have been cheated out of a far more beneficial scouting experience. They may have met the letter of the law but have totally missed the spirit and intent of the law.

    • Personally I did earn my Eagle at the age of 14 and I feel that I completely understood the point. At that point I was already the SPL of my troop as well as on our council’s National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) staff. I used the last four years of of being a youth in scouting to just have fun with it and do more things without having to worry about rank advancement. I continued on to becoming the first Junior Assistant Scoutmaster for my troop in serveral years and ran the NYLT course as the SPL in my final year as a youth. Getting my Eagle at a young age gave me more time to do more things and have much more fun with the program. It all depends on what the scout decides to do with their new rank after they achieve Eagle. You just cannot put out a blanket statement like that for all young Eagles.

    • I don’t disagree with you about the so-called “Eagle Mill” Troops. However, if a young man is motivated and earns his Eagle Scout Badge at age 13, I have no problem with that. How can you judge whether or not the Scout was cheated?

      • I believe the Troop and younger Scouts are the ones cheated when a Scout earns Eagle at minimum age. I support that the Scout has earned it, as long as the adults on the board of review have done their job. Where I do have a sense of “cheated” is that most of these new Eagles become distracted with other adventures and are no longer involved in the Troop. Troops need those 15-18 yr old Scouts to offer guidance, friendship and mentoring. As always, there are exceptions so don’t get bunched up on me… just understand what I am saying. If adult leaders are leading a TROOP of 11-13 yr olds, is it really a Troop??? I feel it is a glorified Pack. I am an Eagle, proud class of 1989, Troop 43, Bath, PA. YiS, Dave

    • What exactly is the “spirit” Jim if it is not the ability to set goals and meet the requirements as written? Maybe you know more about the program than the guys who wrote the book? Enlighten us as to why impressing you is more important than simply working the requirements.

    • Jim I totally agree. Kids are being pushed through this mainly because their parents are behind them doing most of it for them. They turn being an Eagle into a family project than to an individuals goal.

      • What could possibly be wrong with a family helping a Scout earn Eagle? Isn’t the importance of family cooperation why we included Family Life as an Eagle required MB? What Scout doesn’t need help wih motivation and goal setting and achievement? Review the requirements Neil – a Scout needs cooperation from MANY people (not just his family) to achieve Eagle. If the Scoutmaster, Committee, and Merit Badge counselors don’t have the discernment to tell if the Scout is fulfilling the requirements as written (and with integrity) then it is doubtful they are producing many Eagles anyway.
        Sad to say but these kinds of comments (and the ones about Eagle age) usually come from folks that are in marginal programs that cannot see the forest for the trees.
        Calculate the number of people that would have to be complicit in the improproper awarding of an Eagle rank. Statistically, in an organization build on integrity, it’s rare.

        • Because when my parents forced me to get merit badges, I didn’t feel like I was earning anything. I never want, wanted, nor ever want to be an eagle scout. But I guess I have to.

    • I do agree with you about troops that are eagle mills. I think that kids need to actually do the work to earn their eagle. Now I myself am 14, and earned my eagle scout rank when I was 13. And I did every bit of the work, and pushed myself to earn it. I was SPL of my troop for about a year, and I constantly had my kids work on rank advancement to help them earn their eagle, but it’s finally up to them to do the work.
      Which in my mind is what it’s about. Learning how to keep yourself focused on a goal and figure out what you need to do to achieve it.
      I just thought I’d throw in my two cents <3

      • Alex – we have one boy in my troop who is the youngest, yet highest rank. Each year his parents each sign up for five new merit badges, and suddenly the boy has ten new ones at the next Court of Awards. Do we not turn them in because his parents are ‘milling’ them? So yes – it is possible for parents to be part of the problem, and not the help we would hope they are.

      • Depends on your definition of ‘helping’ Alex…when the kid has 25 merit badges at the age of 14, and his parents have been ‘counselors’ for every single one, that’s a problem.

    • being an eagle scout it is my expierence that honestlyt if a scout don’t reach eagle by 16 they get distracted by extra cirricular school activities, a job, and girls. and they kinda just give up.

      • My father, as a Scoutmaster, had 4 young men leave the troop at Star around 15 and return at 17 asking, “Do you think I can make it to Eagle?”

        Three of them made it. That situation takes work on both sides, but it’s possible.

    • I’m the advancement coordinator for our troop, and I agree that Eagle mills do the boys and the community no favors. However, I do know one young man who will almost certainly earn his Eagle before his 14th birthday. He is truly exceptional, though, and is to my knowledge the only Scout in the history of our troop to be moving at such a rapid pace — and self-motivated. My own son earned his Life rank at 13, but has spent the last 3 years maturing and completing those Eagle-required merit badges. His Eagle project is scheduled for this Saturday. His is a much more typical path to Eagle.

    • Being both a former Scoutmaster and a proud father of an Eagle Scout I can tell you that every scout is drastically different. There is no cookie cutter rule of when a Scout earns Eagle asking as he earns it. If he is willing to step up and truly take on the responsiblity and show both the spirit of scouting and the drive to complete the requirements early. Where is the problem? My son earned his Eagle 2 weeks prior to his 13th birthday under the Scoutmaster the preceded me. That Scoutmaster then became our Council President. It was no easy task to become Eagle the other Scouts made him earn it, but he demonstrated it in his actions. He was elected by his peers at age 11 to be SPL and set the tone for all the scouts on how it should be done. After he earned his Eagle he ran for SPL again when he was 15 and carried that position for another year. He just turned 18 this past December. He now has 10 palms to go with his Eagle Rank and is an Assistant Scoutmaster. If that is the type of young man that comes from earning Eagle at a young age give me 20 of them and we can change the world.

      • And just for the record we have not had any scout since he earned his Eagle achieve it before their 15th birthday any many right up to 2 days prior to their 18th.

        • My son earned his Eagle Rank at age 13. He was SPL and ASPL when he was 12. Additionally he earned 32 merit badges. Yes, the family helped him, because it would be impossible for him to go and do many of the requirements without an adult. However, he was responsible for doing ALL of the work. As a family (his brothers are scouts as well), it gave us a gift that we didn’t expect, wonderful family time together, and memories that will last a lifetime. He was mature for his age. Not all scouts could handle the focus at such a young age, but he did. Therefore I would caution people against making blanket statements about age. I have met some pretty immature 17 year old Eagle Scouts.
          However, there is a benefit to the troop. Our son asked for our help, and we did what we could along HIS Trail to Eagle. However, he is expected to give back to the troop. You would be amazed at how the younger scouts respond to him. They can see an Eagle Scout at the meetings, They see an Eagle Scout working along side of them. It serves as motivation to for them, AND it helps him keep his commitment to help other scouts along their Eagle Trail. So, take each case on its merits. Younger Eagle Scouts with involved families, who support the troop afterwards can be very beneficial to everyone.

        • Thank you Old School Girl for your answer. The Eagle Scout Rank has no maturity requirement, the younger Eagles seem to have more maturity and uses more self initiative than youth that wait till they are nearing there 18th birthday. Some parents micromanage there kids life and he never earns enough self esteem or responsibility on there own to mature till the youth is older. In today families, parents don’t allow there kids to make mistakes and the youth matures later in life.

  6. Christina, having been a trainer and leader in Girl Scouts for over 10 years and now have been active in boyscouting for the past 12 years as well, both represent the highest rank you can achieve in scouting, the big difference is the journey. Boy Scouting requirements to make Eagle are much more intense. Both require a lot to get there, I think of it like a walk down the rugged mountain vs a hike up the rugged mountain. My daughter has Silver, my son should make Eagle this year. We love SCOUTING!

  7. As an Eagle myself, I feel that the older a boy is when getting the rank of Eagle, the more they appreciate it and the more true this study is. Younger more immature boys just don’t really pick up and learn all the lessons earning Eagle brings. Granted there might be a few exceptions, but I feel generally not.

    • What about the boys who wait till the last minute and cram their project into a matter of months? Is that really the boy scout spirit of ‘be prepared’?

      • It is not necessarily about “being prepared”. Some are overscheduled/overcomitted to other activities. The light bulb of what is important to them sometimes comes on a little later than others. Also if they have all the merit badges, the project is not really about months but the hours spent planning, directing and carrying out the project and the lessons learned while doing so. I have sat on several Eagle boards and have asked why so late with the project and the light bulb coming on is
        usually why.

    • Yes there are always exceptions and I personally consider myself to be one of those exceptions. I have taken a lot away from earning my eagle, even though I got it whenever I was 13. But that is just me, I’ll agree that there are plenty of kids in my troop that are about 13 or 14 and just aren’t mentally ready to earn it and truly respect it for what it is.

  8. Very interesting study! As an Eagle Scout myself, along with my 2 older brothers, we do try to live by the same values and principles we learned through Scouting. I wouldnt trade that time in my life for anything! And thank you to all the volunteer leaders who stiil dedicate their time to keep this valuable program moving forward.

  9. Still confused on the over 100% differences. How can you have a 133%. Guess math wasn’t one of the requirements! Yes, even the non-Scouts would be more involved with life and such because they are willing to answer the poll ~ this will make some difference in the results. I’m more interesed in the difference between the Scouts and Eagle Scouts. Some of those were suprising.

    • As an Eagle Scout myself, I do not think that some of the differences between Eagles and other Scouts was that surprising. Many boys are forced into doing boy scouts because thier parents want them to; either because they were involved as a boy or because they think that it would be good for thier son. At the age and time that leadership and the upper ranks come into play in scouting is the time when many boys tend to rebel against thier parents’ wants; even at the expense of hurting something good they have going for themselves. Even when it isnt something as complex as that, many boys arent interested in the ranks and the badges and are involved just for the time that they spend out doors and with other boys thier age. The Eagle rank takes responsibility, determination and maturity. And for more than a few, that is not what they, or even thier parents, want from the Scouting experience.

      • So true, but like many things in life, you don’t realize the value or that it is doing anything for you while you are going through it. Only when you look backwards will you realize that it made a difference. It is not what you are with it, it is what you might have been without it.

    • If, for example, 30 Non-Scouts wash their hair and 66 Eagle Scouts wash their hair; then Eagle Scouts are 120% more likely to wash their hair.

    • Excuse me, but are you serious?

      I really want to walk you through the math of statistics step by step, but it seems redundant… Say I had 100 cows, and the next year I had 150 cows. That is a 50% increase, because the additional 50 cows is 50% of the original 100. But say instead of having 150 cows the second year, I had 233. That is 133 more than the original 100, which would in turn be an increase of 133%.

      I am an Eagle Scout. I dont think it matters what age you earn the rank, as long as it was your own drive and commitment that got you there. I do wish this study covered more, like the difference between college graduates, annual incomes in adults, how many children, etc. Those would be interesting differences to look at I think.

    • Statistically you can have numbers that are over 100% different. Example: If the price of a book was $5 in 1980 and is now $13 then it would have increased by 260%. In the study they were comparing the total population of Eagle Scouts with the total population of non-Scouts (in the Survey)

    • Have you not heard of someone being 3 times more likely to do x than someone else? That is the same as 300% more likely.
      As an Eagle Scout myself, I can attest that while it does take a certain innate character and motivation to achieve the rank, earning it also provides it’s own set of perceived accomplishment and responsibility.

    • Maggie – difference between percent of total and percent of difference. Move the decimal point over 2 places to the left. 133% difference is 1.33 times more likely or IOW, if 100 people would do something, 233 Eagles would.

  10. I was intrigued by the instances where Eagles and Scouts were statistically different, but Eagles and non-scouts were not (e.g. lines 1 and 10)… The implication being that being an Eagle is not necessarily a predictor of achieving the trait in question, but being a Scout who dropped before reaching Eagle is a predictor of failing to achieve it.

  11. I plan on sharing this important and very relative information with my Scouts (currently Webelos I) and their parents at our next meeting this Saturday. Thank you for a great review of a wonderfully informative study.

  12. As the wife of an Eagle Scout and the mother of an Eagle Scout I believe that I have a lot of experience with “Eagle Scout Men”. Although possibly bias, I believe that boys and men who are involved in scouting, however brief, are better men all around than those who aren’t. Scouting is more than outdoor recreational activites it makes boys into men who are healthy, thrifty, reverent, clean and the other eight attributes that are part of the scout law. Unfortunately in my research, Girl Scouts do not seem to make girls into women. I am sure many will disagree but some of the local troop’s practices do not make better women which is most unfortunate in today’s world. For example…”sleeping out inside a mall” is not a camping experience nor is promoting “going out on a date” while still in elementary school. Boy Scouting is great!

    • So true. Girl Scouting has so much to counteract in the culture of today. Girls who dream of looking like The Little Mermaid or Belle or Snow White do not want to go days without a shower and a hairdryer on a multi-day backpacking trip, and rare is the female Scoutleader who can leave her family long enough to do such a thing because hubby back home can’t or won’t manage the house and other kids, even if she is willing to be grungy. I have been a GSA leader and also a Venturing-BSA advisor where many of the girls have come out of GSA but want the broader outdoor experience that they can get with BSA. Many of the GSA girls have a better environmental ethic than the boys (even Eagles), and their outdoor skills are as good even if their experience level is not as broad. We do what we can.

    • I am going to a “Boy Scout” camporee in two weeks with my son’s troop. They will be camping in a college field house. Not a troop the entire council. Is that any different than sleeping in a mall? I am also a volunteer adult for Girl Scouts and we can take the girls, and do, with only 2 adults as daisies and not require their parents to attend. I can give the girls the same types of projects as the Cubs, WEBELOS and Boy Scouts and they do just as good. Don’t lump all Girl Scouts into one group. Oh, and by the way, when my son earned his Pioneering Merit Badge, I spent two hours teaching him the 6 basic knots all scouts should know. After ready the results of this study, I can assume that if my son or any of the boys don’t totally display the characteristics during their journey, then we should quite trying to guide them to Eagle and only spend our time on those who do show the special traits. “WE WANT PARENTS TOTAL COMMITMENT TO SCOUTING AS LONG AS THEY KEEP THEIR MOUTHS SHUT AND KEEP GIVING MONEY” I am just tired of “SCOUTERS” patting themselves on the back and putting down any other program. I guess this is the scouting way. Maybe HUMBLE should be a trait taught in Boy Scouting.

      • Sorry, I wasn’t an Eagle Scout, so I am not perfect. I was not typing what I really wanted to say.

        “I am also a volunteer adult leader for Girl Scouts and se can take girls camping, and not in a mall, with only w adults as daisies and not require their parents to attend.”

        “Oh and by the way, when my son earned his Pioneering Merit Badge. I spend 2 hours teaching a 15 year old “Eagle Scout’ the six basic knots all scouts should know.”

  13. As a former scout (not eagle) and assistant scoutmaster, I believe that scouting is a good program, but it is not perfect. It can be a big help for shy boys who need to develop courage and confidence in themselves. On the other hand, I have seen arrogant boys advance to eagle without developing the humility or empathy that would make them better citizens. This is supported by a minority of scout leaders who believe that the scouting program is not just good, but perfect, and who believe that advancing to eagle defines a boy as “good”, overlooking character flaws like bullying. Let me stress that the bad apples, both adults and boys, are a minority, but a few arrogant boys can discourage many young scouts.

    • I was hazed in boy scouts, and it me want to quit, but instead i used that energy and distaste to drive me to become an Eagle Scout and show the young scouts how a young man should be and behave like young men should. But you are correct. A few bad apples can ruin the experience. But i chose to beat it instead of letting it beat me.

  14. One of the reasons the Gold award just isn’t up to par with the Eagle scout is that the young ladies just need to warm a seat to gain the merit badges and activities. In Boy Scout they have what another person called checks and balances. It is also a system where the scout must prove proficiency of the task. I am a merit badge councilor and I will NOT sign a boys blue card until they show me they absolutely know their stuff. That is one basic reason Eagle stands alone. If you wanna play you gotta pay, pay in time, effort, brains, desire, heart, soul, attitude, work ethic, empathy. I am also an Eagle Scout and I have NEVER taken it lighly because it was not just handed out to me. I had to work very hard and long to achieve the award.

  15. It’s alway good to go to the original research. Thanks for posting the link to the study which I’ve read. Pease keep in mind that we cannot show cause & effect from this study. Did the process of becoming Eagle cement prosocial behaviors into these men, OR, are those who have the drive and discipline to stick with the process this way because they ALREADY have a predisposition (independent of scouting) to these prosocial behaviors? I know what I BELIEVE (that the process has a great impact) but this research neither proves or refutes what I believe. It DOES tell me that I want to hire Eagles, and I want my Daughter to marry one. :-)

  16. Pingback: Scoutmaster Minute – Scouting Statistics – Leadership | YouCanRelate

  17. I read the survey results with interest. I’m one of those in the “Scout” category as I didn’t advance beyond Star. I didn’t drop out and remained active in Scouting until I joined the USAF just before I turned 21. What kept me involved past age 16 was OA. Interestingly, many of the traits attributed to Eagles are things I do, and I’m not the only non-Eagle Scouting volunteer to do so.

    While becoming an Eagle Scout would have been nice I don’t feel that I missed much by not achieving the rank. That said, I am absolutely in line with all the comments about what achieving Eagle Scout does for a young man. As a former Scoutmaster and still active volunteer with the same troop I have seen this transformation many times and look forward to seeing many more. I’m also in line with the opinion that boys who achieve Eagle by age 14 usually end up missing most of what Scouting has to offer since, often, we never see them again after their Eagle COH.

  18. I agree 100%.I,also will like to know,how many left hand eagle scout?Because,I am a left hand eagle scout.Thank you all for the info.

  19. Pingback: This Eagle Scout infographic pretty much says it all « Bryan on Scouting

  20. I found it intriguing that when the President visited Ft. Hood after the mass murder there, in commemorating one of the victims, he mentioned that the man had been an Eagle Scout. The President did not comment on any of the others’ GPAs, batting averages, rushing yards, or golf handicaps–Eagle was worthy of distinction. Parents pass up Scouting for their kids in favor of sports, but by the time a child is 12, for most, his sports career is over and he finds himself with lots of free time on his hands. In Scouting, the program is just getting better for kids at that age. Many of the most successful (and expensive) rehab programs for teens utilize methods similar to the Scouting program of group accountability and leadership (patrol system), self esteem building through skill development and meeting challenges, and positive reinforcement (merit badges), so the program works. I never met a man who said he wasted his time becoming an Eagle Scout–I have met many who regret not sticking with it, though.

  21. I came on to make one comment….but I have to say after reading the other comments….very insulted over here about the Gold Award discussion. Where I earned the Gold Award at least, it was as hard if not harder than the Eagle requirements and I have an entire family of Eagles, including my husband and his family of Eagles, to back me up on this. Just had to say that. But I guess since there are Boy Scout troops out there that let the scouts get away with bare minimum requirements, there are Girl Scout troops who do the same. Just had to say that.

    What I came to say though was I was not surprised by the number of Eagle scouts who have a disaster supply kit in their home. When the hurricane hit the east coast last August we were among the few people in our neighborhood that didn’t need to run around finding batteries and flashlights and other supplies. We realized that as Scouts, and especially credit to my husband for all his camping and backpacking experience, we could easily live without power for quite a while. How many non-scouts can say that?

  22. I’m back again lol wanted to add that generally I don’t like comparing eagle to gold because how different they are. And YES I get that in order to become eagle you have to work your way through the ranks and that takes a high level of commitment. But to say that the Gold Award is some walk in the park is just insulting. That’s all.

  23. I’ve reread this again and I feel that in many ways noneagle scouts are being slighted. I have known many a scout where Eagle was of no interest to them. What was of interest was being the best in Scouting spirit, scout skills, teaching younger boys those skills and making the program fun.

  24. You are probably an Eagle scout if people regularly ask you “How do you know these things”. My point is that scouting in general, and obtaining the Eagle in particular, makes one a rounded individual. You are forced out or your comfort zone into areas that you might never have experenced otherwise. The outdoors, Philmont, walking historical trails, travel to other places, learning skills that others do not possess, all make for an experience in life that most others will never know. You know about these things because you have lived them.

  25. I just made Eagle last year and all I could think of through reading this whole thing was that this is quite alike what I was told as a scout was right and wrong. personaly I am not suprized with any of these findings.

  26. Pingback: Study Shows 46 Ways Eagle Scouts Are Different | Scout Wire

  27. In my 7 years as a boy scout, I can say that I did not see a single boy who was fully committed to the program not attain the rank of eagle. Scouting is sort of beautiful in the sense that the ranks create a natural progression, such that by the time you
    reach the rank of first class, many scouts find themselves seeking a leadership role withing the troop. Many of the merit badges required by the eagle rank can be completed by going on traditional scout outings like backpacking, canoeing, etc, supplemented by written work that verifies that the scouts have learned the associated skills.
    Personally, I believe that the perceived “prestige” of the eagle award lies in the eagle service project. It is head and shoulders above any other requirements in terms of difficulty, as it requires a lot of initiative on the part of the scout. And we all know initiative is a highly valued quality the world over.

  28. It is not the goal of Scouting to get each boy an Eagle. Scouting knows the vast majority will not earn an Eagle so the goal is to get them to First Class. The core values of the Scouting are covered in the early ranks. Give me a Scout or an adult leader whose Scouting is in his heart, not his uniform. I’m amazed at the number of adult leaders who tell their Scouts to live by the Oath and Law, yet they do not. They are not fooling their Scouts. It’s unfortunate these adults teach their boys that to become a Scout leader means you can pay lip service to Scouting’s principles.

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