This video could be the greatest Scout recruiting tool yet

Updated, 2017: Find links to Spanish and Chinese versions of this video at the end of this post.

“Everyone knows the goal of Scouting is to prepare young people to succeed in life,” the young narrator says. “But is it working?”

That tantalizing question begins a new, highly shareable video that could amplify your recruiting efforts in unprecedented ways.

Show the 93-second video below to a parent considering Scouting, and you’re handing over proof of what you’ve known all along: Scouting changes lives.

The video is a visual representation of a 2.5-year study from Tufts University and Dr. Richard M. Lerner. The researchers surveyed nearly 1,800 Cub Scouts and 400 non-Scouts to see whether Scouting changed the boys’ character.

Short answer: It did indeed. As the video explains, Scouts were more likely than non-Scouts to be cheerful, helpful, kind, obedient, trustworthy and hopeful about their future.

The video, first shared on Scouting Wire, “showcases the study’s findings in a brief, animated summary that’s easy to understand and fun to watch.”

Watch the video below, and share it with everyone you know. You can use the YouTube link or download the video for offline viewing at the Marketing and Membership Hub.


  1. I think Scouting works, but does the study really mean that Scouting truly affected the boys or are the attitudes measured a result of parental upbringing/family values? A family interested in reinforcing positive character traits in their children will be more likely to be attracted to Scouting than a family that is not so focused.

    This reminds me of the study that said that children who grew up with nightlights were more likely to be nearsighted. The reality was that nearsighted parents were more likely to buy nightlights so they could see to get to their children in the dark and that children of nearsighted parents were more likely to be nearsighted.

  2. Randy while that is somewhat true, remember peer pressure! If your best friends are 6 other boys in a patrol or den surrounded by another 50 boys with the same values, then that is a significant thing!
    Scouring also makea parenta better people!

  3. While I love the message and wholeheartedly agree Scouting has a tremendous impact on boy’s lives & futures compared to non-Scouts.

    I kind of question their numbers, picking 1800 Cub Scouts to compare to 400 non-Scouts…a factor of over 4 times, to me means the differences in their comparisons would have to reflect that difference? I think the results would have more value if the number of test subjects were equal.

    But still, Scouting RULES!!!

  4. Oh, use the South African video! “Learn it young, remember it forever”. That’s what we, as Scouters should always strive for.
    Really, if this is considered the “best recruiting video” and Irving thinks so, why isn’t it being shown as a PSA all over the country? I know no one here on Bryan’s blog needs convincing. “preaching to the choir”?
    The hard part is not the WHAT, I think, it is the WHERE and HOW and TO WHOM… PTAs, church groups, school Back To School Nights?

    • To answer your question “…why isn’t it being shown as a PSA all over the country?” remember that the BSA doesn’t pay for PSAs to be shown “all over the country”. Your local television station or cable provider pays for PSAs by offsetting a *paying customer* at that period of time.

      So if you want this to be shown as a PSA:

      – contact your local television station or cable provider and beg and convince them that it needs to be aired. And get your fellow Scouters and parents to do the same.

      – copy and post a copy of the video to your Facebook or other social media venues, particularly to those outside of Scouting (in other words, don’t post it to your Council or District’s space on FB….post it to your kids’ school or church space on FB…and in ALL cases, if you’re going to post it, give those interested a POC (point of contact) if not you.

      – come up with a “fairy Godfather” (some firm or business — banks work well, particularily smaller regional ones; grocery chains and regional oil companies do also) to pay to the station for the difference between the time you want and any additional costs to show the PSA at the time.

      – promote it by “localizing the campaign”. The BSA has lots of tools to help you to localize the PSA on their marketing and communications web slice.

      Finally DON’T LOOK TO THE BSA to do all of this. There’s some 144 or so television markets around the nation, and in most of those markets, there’s a Scouter like YOU and ME there to “champion” the video. If you’re waiting until the BSA has enough money to send a copy to every market and lobby for its presentation, you’ll be waiting a very long time.

      Hope this helps!

    • That South African scout video was awesome! I love how he was back as a scout to perform the steps! and then an adult to see them pay off. Wow!

  5. Some years ago I had a Scouting display at a mall during a United Way Agency Fair… A man approached my table and said,’You should be very proud of what you do’ and I said I was but asked him why he said that. His response has stayed with me for over 30 years, ‘I served in Vietnam and a lot of us came back, not because of what the military taught us but because of the things we learned in Scouts’. Pretty powerful!

    • I love the story of a Marine battalion in Afghanistan where the plastic gizmo adjusting the tension on the guy line of one Marine’s tent broke, and having learned and used taut-line hitches in the Scouts, he was able to replace the gizmo with a functional knot. The Battalion Commander had him teach the taut-line to the rest of the marines!

  6. The synopsis of the study has me skeptical – the parents who would encourage their kid to be in scouting are also the kind of parent who would raise good, moral kids.

    And this video as a recruiting tool? Yawn. It would recruit a certain kind of parent, but it would certainly never recruit a boy.

  7. And exactly how much did BSA pay Dr. Lerner to conduct this study? Because so many studies are bought and paid for these days most people just don’t equate them as credible. Sadly there is just so much “bad science” that has been purchased most people don’t pay much attention to ‘studies” like this… notwithstanding the length of study, sample size, control groups, etc.

    Dave B hit it spot on in that boys would have zero interest in this video.

    Target audience for the video might be parents, but comparing Scouts to sports with today’s parents is an enormously risky gamble and likely won’t be well received by many.

    It is pretty rare to find a Scout these days who is not playing at least one sport and many play on multiple teams during the year. Most of these athletes are working hard to land a scholarship. The number and amount of scholarships awarded from scouting is a drop in the bucket in comparison to what is available through athletics so none of us should be surprised when parents follow the money and encourage their son(s) to choose athletics.

    Scouting has many positive attributes, but comparing scouting to athletics isn’t going to win over hearts and minds.

  8. We “armchair sociologists” critiqued the study in an earlier post (

    The Templetton Foundation funded the study. You can look them up to get a sense of their interests. But, it seems like the researchers, while working closely with Cradle of Liberty council, recieved no compensation from them. Rather, the investigators were looking for a “societal probe”, found a convenient one in cub scouting, built relationships, and applied for funding (no doubt competing with colleagues across the country with proposals along a similar vein), and were deemed to have a proposal worthy of funding.

    As far as the economic advantages of scouting or sports, I think both are overblown. These things provide social advantages. For a small percentage that converts to cash for college. For most it converts to skills and vision that make life just a little better for them and their community. But the skills and vision are clearly different amoung the groups. This study affirms that.

    How we market that difference is one of the issues.

  9. How is this video “the greatest scouting recruitment tool”? It is completely bland, and conveys the same generic information that everyone already knows. Also, your target audience is completely wrong. This video is for adults to push their kids into scouting, and marketing efforts should instead be directed at kids and why scouting is cool. All the kids that don’t last in scouting are the ones that are pushed into it by their parents, and the ones that last to become Eagles are the ones who want to be there (like myself). So why not direct marketing efforts at kids who want to be there?? Why not show how awesome Philmont is? Or white water rafting? Or other high adventure stuff? Or fun camp stuff? I mean Scouting offers kids so many opportunities that they will never be able to experience any where else, so why not show that in a video that is marketed to kids? You really think kids are going to care even a little bit about this study and how scouting will make them more “obedient”? Nope. Not at all. Stuff like this just furthers negative stereotypes that scouting is up tight and un-fun; when it totally is fun. Also, years of research and study all for a 1 minute 30 second video? Yeah that sounds like it was great investment of time and resources.

    • I think this is safe to say that this is directed towards parents. Maybe the title “the greatest’ may be a little overboard but it did get us all to look, didn’t it? Then we can make the judgment as to the audience. I agree that for the scouts, a recruitment tool would be something that would be directed towards them and their interests. It is important that we do have videos directed towards parents though. As a parent of two eagle scouts, the most important thing for me was to have my boys have fun and learn a lot! The extra incentive was to get involved because of the great values and outcomes the program has for the boys. So before being completely negative, please consider alternate audiences.

  10. Scouting works! Yes, and not only for the boys who are in scouts. At least in my experience I have seen moms, dads, and sisters of scouts learn how to speak in front of others, get involved in their community, volunteer, and fully embody the scout principles of the scout oath and law.

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