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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


  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)

    • Mr. B, my older brother with our Father had the desire to become an Eagle Scout. Then our Mother decided she wanted two Eagles….and that was that. It was for Scout Mother bragging rights Haha. It was the same for our sisters.Big sister had the want whist little sister was pushed. Both sisters attained First Class ( top rank) for Girl Scouts.

      So, your suspicion is spot on. It is a positive foundation for a better future. Good question.

      I’ve wondered the percentage of First Classers & Eagles that become burdens of society? Mental health notwithstanding.

  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.

  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.

      • Regarding girls having the opportunity to join the BSA, we can, after age 14. My daughter had a terrible experience with her Girl Scout leader when she was 7 and announced that she would wait until she could join the BSA. She became a Sea Scout and had a terrific time.

        Something the BSA has kept a low profile about is that they beta tested girls in their NYLT (National Youth Leadership) program a few years ago. My son took it and went back and taught it for 2 years, and gained a tremendous amounnt from it, so when my daughter was offered an opportunity to be one of the first 5 beta testers, we were excited, even though there would be 95 hormonal boys to 5 girls. That turned out not to be an issue – at least not for my dd and the other girl I got to know well. They are both strong confident young women who can take care of themselves – and being tested in that area proved to be the sole benefit they got from the program. Unfortunately the female leader the BSA hired hated females and did everything she could to make life uncomfortable for them. My daughter did the training and went back to teach it for one year, but the female leader made life miserable for all the girlss, and especialy my daughter. She repeatedly demanded my dd dress like a Boy Scout, though her blue Sea Scout uniform is a regulation Naval uniform and to obey this woman meant wearing a uniform she is not entitled, nor has ever been allowed to wear. She insisted her shorts were too short, though they were longer than any of the other girls ( my dd is 5’11” and was the tallest girl by 5″ = she’d have shown more leg than the others if she’d been in capris), and again, they were part of a uniform. This woman had no issue with those who were in their green Venturer uniform, presumably because some who were were male, while my dd was the only Sea Scout of either sex. She sent male trainees out for tampons for her, and publicly accused her of flirting with a life long platonic friend because she could see they were familiar with each other. When that program was over, one of the male leaders phoned to tell us he was baffled by the review this woman gave her, because he thought she was exemplary. We told him what had transpired and his response was “I’ve worked with (the female leader) for years and I’ve never seen her do as you describe” Of course not – their association is with Boy Scouts, and her issue is with females. I asked him if he ever saw my daughter flirt with anyone and he said absolutely not. Not there nor anywhere else.

        It is a real shame the BSA did not take this possibility into consideration when they chose the female leader, because she singlehandedly destroyed the program, which was intended to be a step towards allowing girls into all levels of the BSA. The last I heard the BSA was unable to get any more girls to take the training. Not that they put a lot of effort in, They relied on the first group to sell it on the next, but it went so badly they couldn’t recommend it. Perhaps the thing that disappoints me the most is that the BSA never went back to that first group and asked how it went and where they could make things better. While the beta group viewed themselves as an important element of an important experiment, the BSA viewed them as guinea pigs to be sacrificed when no longer needed. They were completely disrespected and their efforts – with challenges the boys never get, went unappreciated. Shame on the BSA leadership for that.

        I reccomend Sea Scouts and Venture Scouts to Girl Scouts every time we buy cookies, because if you get into a good troop or ship, it can be as good as anything the BSA does for boys. I would warn them away from what, for boys, can be the best thing the BSA has to offer. That and NAYLE, which my son also did, did him more good than earning an Eagle award. It was astounding, how different the experience was for the girls. I guarantee you, no boy has ever been continually distracted from the training to defend their body type, hair length, eye color or body language. No boy has ever been told that if they share a joke with another Scout they are flirting. All my daughter got out of it was training in deflecting the manipulations and attacks of bitter and jealous past their prime females. Perhaps the BSA is willing to filrt with allowing girls into their other programs, but they are not ready to treat them as equals.

      • Boy Scouts of America does have an option for girls. Actually they have three – Venture Crew, Sea Scouts, and Explorers. My son participated in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venture Crew and received the highest awards in all three programs. One really neat thing about that particular path was that each program offered an increasing amount of independence on the part of the youth. In Cub Scouts, the parents and leaders did all of the planning and leg work for the activities and administration of the Pack. In Boy Scouts, the boys decided what they want to do, and the adults helped where needed to make it happen. The adults also took care of all of the administrative details for the Troop. In Venturing the role of the adult is to sit back and advise as the youth (ages 14-20) decide what they want to do, do all the research on how to do it, and then make it happen (ie. if they live in Nebraska and want to go hiking and white water rafting in Maine they research flights, rental cars, outfitters, and camp sites and make any arrangements and reservations needed). In Venturing the youth also handle all of the administrative details (submitting tour permits, tracking finances, tracking and submitting awards) with guidance from the adults.

        My son’s faith is a huge part of who he is, and yet when he wrote an essay his senior year in high school about the biggest influence on who he is as a person he had one short paragraph about his faith and multiple paragraphs about his Scouting experience. During a Board of Review I sat on for another young man who was going for his Eagle rank I asked, “if you had to remove one point from the Scout Law which one would it be?” He thought hard about it and really struggled to come up with an answer. Finally he said, ” I can’t do it. It would be like tearing off a piece of myself.” Great answer!

        Scouting isn’t the only great program out there for our youth, but I definitely think it’s one of the best.

  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.

        • If it were my troop, I’d be proactive. When a boy joins, I’d make it clear that Scouting is not a race and certainly not a race to be run by parents. As soon as I saw that behavior, I’d nip it in the bud. They may leave but as long as they are there they are robbing al the other scouts of their own chance to shine – on their own merit.

          I’ve been faced with the awkwardness of this as a teacher for classes on field trips. Not with parents but their regular teacher. You’d be surprised how many feel their students represent their abilities as a teacher, so they interfer with my asking questions. I had one who jumped in and answered for her kids – every single time, and no matter what I did. After that I found ways to corral the teachers out of reach of the kids. BTW, the teachers who did this had good cause to be embarrassed. Theirs were the ones who couldn’t answer questions.

          As we all know – there is a lot of live and learn to working with kids, and often it is the other parents we get the toughest lessons from!

      • 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.

        • As Alex mentions, the system has checks and balances in place to avoid this inferred behavior. If the parents are the ‘mill’ then it’s up to the SM to take the corrective action. Also, all MB counselors must be registered, therefore if the council is doing it’s part, then there is another check in place to ensure that qualified MB conselling is in place. Finally, you have an obligation to the Scout and the program to raise this to the attendtion of the Troop, District and Council leadership.

    • 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.

    • Either change the age requirements, or accept that some troops and kids are more ambitious. At the end of the day, stop complaining about kids meeting requirements.

      • I think the real complaint is that some troops and some parents fudge those requirements. That is a valid complaint because it diminishes the award for those who earn it honestly ( and it is not the Scout himself I am accusing of being dishonest). The solution is to set it up so that there is oversight of the troop and parents to keep things honest. To compare, take FIRST Lego league, which is another fabulous organization, The kids must prove themselves and defend research to strangers. I was very impressed by how their competitions were set up and run.

        As others have said age isn’t necessarily the problem, though I bet we’ve all seen times when a boy got an Eagle long before he was ready for it. It’s also true that an older boy has a heavier workload at school and the lure of dating and other older boy activities, so there are some inherent challenges middle schoolers don’t have. FWIW, my son was one who got his a week before his 18th birthday. And then he spent the last 5 days completing merit badges he had half done, earning 8 extras in a week. I think he’s prouder of that then the Eagle!

    • One of our frustrations as parents (and an assistant leader) of Boy Scouts was that our (Atlanta) district discourages any project that isn’t simple and cookie cutter, or that takes more hours than the minimum 100. I don’t know what they hope to accomplish, but I do know what it does – it encourages the mills and discourages the boy from making a real investment in the process. I believe more moms and dads end up driving – oh, lets’s be honest – DOING the work because it’s incredibly boring to build a walkway or a bench for their church ( how is that even allowed?) especially when they know it will be torn down to make room for the next one.

      My son, who put 400 hours into his project, and only claimed 300, for fear it would be rejected (!?!) tells every Boy Scout he meets to spend some tiem researching possibilities and to make sure they do something they can look back on all their life with pride. The biggest moment of pride for me in the entire process was that the project he chose ( replicating a Middle Mississipan mat for a museum) so completely engaged the problem child of the troop that he found a goal for his life and went on to become an Eagle Scout himself. I guarantee you that never happened while clearing brush for a pathway or building a wayside sign. I also guarantee you that putting 400 hours into a project they believe in goes faster than 100 hours on one that is meaningless.

  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. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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?

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. I’m an Eagle Scout, and i have a lot of friends who are and are not Eagle Scouts, and where in scouts and not in scouts. I think that it’s not so much the achievement, but the person having the will power and natural drive to try and get this achievement. It’s not easy and i have seen several very close friends come to the point where they have waited to long (their 18th birthday) and either barely got it or not at all. The ones who did not get it have shared with how they wish they had stuck with it. But they are no less than a man than i am, and i look up to and respect several the guys who did not achieve this award. So i don’t think you can simply judge someone based on their attachments or lack there of. But on how they take that defeat or success. Because it could go many different ways. Like the achievement could go to their head and get extremely arrogant. Or they could use this, for lack of a better word, failure to motivate them through life. Take it how you want, but the award doesn’t make the men, the men make the award.

    • I have a friend of mine who came close to getting his Eagle, but didn’t. He said later on that “failure” prompted him to stick it out and finish his Ph.D. I would say his time in Scouts affected him positively.

  27. Ok so through reading this article and then reading these comments I must say that I agree mostly with those who have said scouting has “lost its value” career wise and socially, as well as allowing troops to become a sort of machine in which pumps out eagle scouts for number/pride purposes without allowing growth of a boy into a young man through scouting (please DO NOT argue and brag to me how being 14 you have been challenged by your peers socially, mentally, and physically than a 17 year old, you haven’t and you will eventually understand). I myself am an Eagle Scout from troop 198 and I earned my rank of eagle at the age of 17. I am not saying that this is a more appropriate age to attain the rank of eagle scout, but I do feel that there are troops which are becoming “eagle mills” and pushing kids out for higher numbers and bragging rights if you will. too many times I have met kids who have been, not very honest in their ways of attaining merit badges by either cheating or dare I say, kissing a scout master/leaders ass for a free sign off/pass on a merit badge or requirement sign off. I feel that this lack of seriousness/commitment by leaders, scouts etc has transcended into scouting losing its social value in the United States with career opportunities, internships, and just jobs in general. So many times I have identified myself as an eagle scout to employers (former and present) to only hear, “oh so what is that again”?. Then to be told by others that, “well theynjust arent important enough to understand”. If a compqny CEO or owner of a store is telling you this, they are not lying to you. from your first days in scouting you have been promised how it will be a GOD SEND resume wise and setting you apart from the rest (let me tell you now, if you have no extra curricular actitivities and a sub-par to par GPA, DO NOT sleep on this). Scoutings inability to adjust to the future and technology is hurting its ability for employers to see what scouting passed what it is so commonly thought of as “rubbing 2 sticks together in the woods”.

    That being said, Scouting can once again become relevant and important again if and only if it commits to adjusting to technology of the future, taking time to make new merit badges and making new requirement for merit badges and class rank harder to achieve by pushing the character and perseverance of the scout himself than scoutmasters and leaders priding themselves in churning out 14 year old eagle scouts who wouldn’t last 36 hours in the woods by themselves with only the clothes on their back, water and matches. (yes they would of had to known how to do this had they properly completed their wilderness survival merit badge)

    • Whoever sold you the idea that Eagle Scout is a worthwhile endeavor to improve a resume should be keel hauled. We might as well have a personal grooming and resume writing MB if that was the case.

      BTW, if Eagle was the penultimate goal in Scouting, how did OA, Senior Scouts, Exploring, Venturing, Eagle Palms, the National Outdoor Achievement Medal, not to mention staffing summer camp or high adventure ever take off?

      There is much more to the game than Eagle. One of the main issues in Scouting today is that some units don’t understand that. In those units, Those are the units in which 17 is considered the target age for Eagle.

      I’d like to see a study of Eagles who earned their badge before 15. I bet you would see a higher incidence of Vigil Honors, Eagle Palms, jamboree and high adventure attendance and staffing, and Religious Awards. And, I bet your 14 old Eagle would be a better qualified outdoorsman at 17 than a Scout who was still struggling for Eagle at 17.

      • I’m vigil, been to two national and one world jamboree, have the Ad Altarei Dei award, and am currently and assistant director at a Summer Camp, with plans of staffing at Northern Tier next year. Most of the staff here got Eagle at 15 or above, and almost all of them have the same achievements that I do. I think you’ll find that the dedicated scouts that achieve Eagle later were too busy in other areas of Scouting to finish Eagle. Between NYLT, OA, Camp Staff, and helping to lead my troop I was one of thos “struggling 17 year olds” because I barely had time between the rest of scouting and school to do so,

      • Alex, I’m curious about where you are in your life now.

        There are a lot of factors that might make someone earn their Eagle later. There are varying degrees of family support. I’ve been an Eagle for 24 years now. I’m a physician and career military officer. I had a lot of obstacles to overcome that the 14 year old Eagles I knew didn’t and overcoming them taught me tools for success that have helped me since.

        In my troop, wood craft and outdoors skills was dependent more on the individual than the age they earned Eagle, although I’d bet the 14 year old Eagles had better gear.

  28. Only one problem with this study, there is no proof in science. It is supported not proven. Although being an Eagle Scout I do see a lot of support for their claims.

  29. I have read through all of this conversation. I must say that I am appalled at those who claim they are “Eagle Scouts” and still belittle another youth organization. I spent a large majority of my adult life in the military and part of a very elite special forces unit. I never put down another service or service member who didn’t attain what I had done.
    I am so tired of scouters putting down others. The worst is the arrogance of leaders who earn “Wood Badge”. I see them at scouting conferences patting themselves on the back and spending most of their time in the staff “donut room”. While the non-woodbadgetts are trying to teach leaders and scouts classes. I am so tired of them telling me that I will become a better leader by attending “Woodbadge”. I have lead young men into combat and trained them to lead others for years in the military. I quote one of those who is a Woodbadge leader “it will change your life”. Living 8 weeks behind the lines during war changed my life, so a week of someone telling me to how to lead won’t change me.
    I am tired of the BSA telling everyone that they have invented this new program of some kind. 99% of the time I can find a program that already exists that is just the same. BSA just puts their own special program name on it and tries to sale it as their creation. For example E.D.G.E is nothing but text book vocational or workforce step by step instruction. The patrol method is nothing but military organizational and operational guidelines for boys.
    I watch boys at 15 and 16 drop out of troops. Usually it is because of sports. Let’s face it, when you score a touchdown on Friday night it will be in the paper on Saturday morning in large print. If it was the touchdown or homerun that won the big game, it might be on the front page. If you make Eagle after 7 years of “Doing Your Best to Be Prepared” you might get a small 1 paragraph input on the last page of the paper. You see athletics on TV every day even high school sports now days. I don’t ever think I have seen a 2 hour program on scouting on Mondy Night Scouting. The only big media display for Boy Scouting is when there is a major negative event happens in the program. Ever thought about doing a little mass media advertising for Scouting?

    Scouting is becoming all about Eagle. If you don’t make Eagle then any time you put in before is worthless in todays scouting. This study basically says you are better off never getting into scouting if you don’t make “Eagle Scout”. Maybe that should be the point of this study. Those who quit the program might have discovered that it was detrimental unless you were willing to commit every waking moment of your life to the program.
    I recently recieved a email from the council. They were concerned that Boy Scouting was giving the appearance that it was only for elitest white people. It may not do it on purpose, but the way it is currenlty running sure makes it out to be that way. For an example. We are no longer going to do mailings due to cost of postage. I guess that the person at the council who gets paid a nice salary and has a computer on their desk doesn’t realize that in low income rural america not everyone has a computer at home. They would argue that someone in the unit will have a computer and can get them the information. MMMMMMMMM aren’t the people at the council suppose to get information out to the people. My community alone has an elementary school where 46% percent of the students are on free or reduced lunch programs. Many of these kids only get a meal at school through that those programs. To reduce cost to the council, we will now make 2 extremely large districs so that our executives don’t have to travel as much and that will reduce costs. Now, instead all of the volunteers will almost all travel to meetings in different places. This will reduce cost to the council and put it on the volunteers and boys. When we loose a boy. I can imagine this statement by his parents (usually a single mother) “We can’t afford for you to be a scout anymore. I am sorry.” When I recharted my units this year, I refused to turn in a Journey to Excellence Document.
    Journey to Excellence is nothing but another way for big city rich troops to show off to those rural poor troops.
    For men who have reached what their program considers to be the pinacle of achievement to put down another youth program, is in my eyes, unforgivable. It shows the arrogance that has come to be a scar on the face of Scouting. If this is what Boy Scouting is teaching “the elite” then they should be ashamed. I am ashamed to be part of it.
    I have come to believe that Boy Scouting has become nothing, but a for profit program. I know it shows on the books not to be, but every program the boys, their leaders and parents attend have a profit for the council and/or national program. I am a day camp director and my wife is the operations director. Tomorrow we will attend the monthly planning meeting. We are to provide complete examples of each of the stations we will be having at our camp. So, basically we will have paid for any special equipment needed for out day camp out of our pockets. No, we did not get a dime yet for our camp. We get the use of a County Fair Grounds to hold our camp. We do all the planning and travel each month 40 miles each way at our expense. We get the archery and BB guns from the council, who hasn’t purchased a new item in years. They are donated by a sporting goods company. We get a grand total of $500.00 for expenses. So in cash the council has provided at most $700.00 to the camp. They charge boys, leaders and leaders on average $45.00 to attend the two day camp. We have on average 150 paying scouters attend. Simple math 45X150= $6,750.00. Council investment maybe $1000.00. Nice profit for the council. I make $0.00 and probably spend $600.00 out of my pocket. Yet, I am not as good a leader as someone with “Wood Badge” or as good as the “Eagle Scout” executive who is working their first job out of school.
    Are you getting the point for the reason boys are not joining or dropping out of scouting? Why you are loosing or can’t recruit leaders and adults. I will make it easy for you, seeing as you are looking through Boy Scout goggles. “If Boy Scouts Elite are what the program stands for, then I want something else for me and my son. Quit saying we are all inclusive and demonstrating we are all inclusive as long as you can afford it. If you are a paid executive and are not in it for all boys, then take your super self and go work for a corporate giant and get a big check. Leaders, quite bragging about how many years you have been a scout leader and pumping your chest out to show how many knots you have on your chest. Quit thinking people find it funny when you and other woodbadgers put down each others little animal or private group you are part of.

    In other words, look in the mirror and be honest with yourself.

  30. If only the Eagle Scouts of the old generation wanted to help Gay kids achieve and excell past their peers then we could really say something about Eagle Scouts. Until that is changed what it means to be a Scout or to achieve the highest rank in scouting remains tainted by the choices of their leadership. I’m sorry to say but I am not nearly as proud to call myself an Eagle Scout as I once was.

  31. If attaining Eagle rank makes boys significantly more likely to be the kind of model citizen that BSA strives for, then why would BSA put restrictions on any boy’s ability to participate in this program? I’d want all boys, regardless of sexual orientation or religious beliefs (on non beliefs) to benefit from the opportunity to become an Eagle Scout. Who knows how it may change them for the better?

  32. I’m 18, and received my Eagle at the age of 16, and I have to agree completely with everything in this study. We as Eagles set ourselves apart in every way. It starts out as something fun…..well it’s always enjoyable…but through the journey to Eagle you learn more about yourself and mature thrift the process. It is a very high honor, with most presidents, astronauts, and famous or important leaders being Eagle Scouts, just proves we have what it takes. I will place my boys in scouting for sure and bring then up through Eagle as well. Once an Eagle, always an Eagle! No matter what your age!

  33. I believe the God given character of the boy who achieves the rank of Eagle is simply of a character that has a desire to achieve a worthy goal and be the best at what he chooses to do in his life.. The BSA is a place that attracts boys to this kind of challenge… Once their part of the BSA they see the opportunity, become committed to the opportunity and then strive to succeed in becoming the best scout they can become… through a perseverance and focused commitment to work hard at a goal they’ve chosen to attain they choose freely to not let failure enter into the equation… it’s truly a character trait and the BSA allows them the opportunity to distinguish that character ultimately leading to it’s recognition in a boy attaining the rank of Eagle.. Eagle Scouts are good characters; and I mean that in a good way…

  34. You know,we went to the moon,saved billions of lives with medicine,etc,but we don’t have a simple test for puberty.Would help a lot to know precisely when to set extra time aside,and walk the kids through the basics, inplants,or what ever is best,rather than deal with consequences of failure to protect,least educated need more attention

  35. I was one of those that barely earned Eagle before the age limit. I had teenage-itis and couldn’t swim and used it as an excuse not to go hard in scouting. Finally I got over my fear of the water and kicked it into high gear but it was almost too little too late.

    I do think that program does help in the leadershiop/maturity POV because I was always lauded as having a cool head, remaining positive, being more mature for my age because the BSA teaches alot about maturity but also alot about respect. Most of it should be common sense, but sometimes other programs focus on the leadership aspect and nothing else.

    To be honest though, I didn’t really care that I got Eagle. Scouting to me was all about the experience of doing things you normally wouldn’t do with your bros. I stayed in only because the “class” behind me (I was a senior in HS, they were juniors) stayed in and were going for their Eagle. Once I finally got the swimming requirement for (second class?) and that merit badge I saw that I had just enough time to get Eagle and it would correspond with those guys getting their Eagle. It worked out and we had a group ceremony but it wasn’t that big a deal to me. I was just happy we finished the journey together.

    I would find leading teams, squads, or platoons in the US Army was easier with BSA background. You pretty much lead the same people in both institutions, and have a somewhat basic understanding of military structuring before you even start. Made the transition feel somewhat natural.

    And it didn’t hurt that some of the crappiest moments in BCT and AIT involving weather, sleep dep, and food issues had already been experienced beforehand in the Scouts.

    No real comparison to overseas deployment though.

  36. Coming in late here, but though this study is interesting, correlation doesn’t prove causality. What I mean is that, perhaps it is those whose personality would normally do certain things are more likely to become Eagle scouts if they join scouting. I’m not saying it’s necessarily the case, and I have my boys in scouting now and I hope that they become Eagle scouts, and I believe that they will definitely become more self-confident and self-assured by trying so many new things, but since it is up to them to achieve something like Eagle, it also depends a lot on their environment and their motivation and how much they enjoy scouting in order to achieve it.

    Anyway, my two cents.

    • Scouting presents appropriate problems in front of members to encourage survival skills and independant thinking.
      The big problems facing todays youth are about not enough stimulating problems dealing with survival.Having every sort of problems encourages acti ities and thinking that either works well on down in results and this is the sort of exercise these kids need not luxuries of every concieveable distraction such as modern media..roughing it brings out appreciations for help theyve gotten all along.
      As a nation the genes degraded from bad thinking skils such that support narcissisum and feminism at any and all expense to the nations detriment.With the sell out to drug cartels and saudi arabia our imposters in office created this dilema that ends us in chains was not an accident.Feeding freebies to immigrants puts a favela near you soon.
      Who to thank …idiots like your parents

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