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updated: 1/30/2013 8:55 PM

Research shows impact of Eagle Scouts on communities and nation

2012 local class all time high

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  • Logo and patch for the Eagle Scout Award

    Logo and patch for the Eagle Scout Award

Nancy Loftus

One hundred years after Arthur Eldred of New York earned this nation's first Eagle Scout Award, new, independent research demonstrates the significant and, positive impact Eagle Scouts have on society every day. Since it was first awarded in 1912, more than 2 million young men have achieved the Boy Scouts of America's highest rank. Three Fires Council had 414 young men earn their Eagle Scout rank in 2012, which was the Centennial of the Eagle Scout Award and an all-time high for council's Eagle class. Eagle Scout service project hours totaled 67,484.This Eagle Scout Class will be honored at a dinner on Friday, February 8, 2013 at the Wyndham in Lisle, IL.

A study conducted by Baylor University, called Merit Beyond the Badge, found that Eagle Scouts are more likely than men who have never been in Scouting to:

• Have higher levels of planning and preparation skills, be goal-oriented, and network with others

• Be in a leadership position at their place of employment or local community

• Report having closer relationships with family and friends

• Volunteer for religious and nonreligious organizations

• Donate money to charitable groups

• Work with others to improve their neighborhoods

"Eagle Scouts have made their marks throughout history--from walking on the moon and working behind the desk in the Oval Office to running the bases in the major leagues. And while we're proud to claim some truly great men in American history among our ranks, we're even more proud that everyday Eagle Scouts become wonderful husbands, fathers, and citizens," said Matt Ackerman, Scout Executive of the Three Fires Council. "This research validates for the world something we've known about Eagle Scouts for years. They lead. They vote. They donate. They volunteer. They work hard and achieve their goals. In short, Eagle Scouts are exceptional men."

Baylor University's Program for Prosocial Behavior received a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to measure the lifelong effects of being in the Scouting program, and more specifically, of attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.

"Our study measured if achieving the rank of Eagle provides an advantage and benefits throughout a Scout's life," said Dr. Byron Johnson, lead researcher, Baylor University. "We found that the effort and commitment required to earn this rank produces positive attributes that benefit not only these men in their personal and professional lives, but also benefits their communities and the country through the service and leadership they provide."

The Eagle Scout badge has become widely recognized as a mark of distinction both within and outside of Scouting. Once earned, it is worn for life. About 4 percent of Boy Scouts earn the Eagle Scout rank. To do so, Scouts must demonstrate their understanding of leadership, service, character, personal fitness, and outdoor skills at multiple levels.

In addition to the 21 life skills merit badges required to earn the Eagle Scout rank, each Scout must complete an extensive self-directed service project. The Scout must plan, organize, lead, and manage the entire service effort prior to his 18th birthday. Eagle Scouts spend an average of 130 hours on their final service project.

The Boy Scouts of America, Three Fires Council will be recognizing the 2012 Eagle class on Friday, Feb. 8 at 7:00 pm at the Lisle Wyndham. The 414 young men who earned Scouting's highest rank of Eagle Scout last year are from DuPage, Kane, Kendall, DeKalb and parts of Cook and Will counties. Rear Admiral [Ret.] James J. Carey, an Eagle Scout as well, will be the event's honorary speaker.

While not a household name, a clear example of what Baylor University defines in its research is Graham Novak, from Troop 8 in Naperville. Graham is the 2012 Eagle Class Representative and built benches, removed tree stumps and did some landscaping for Mutual Ground in Aurora for his Eagle Scout project. Graham was selected as the class representative after auditioning against fifteen of his fellow Eagles. He will give the class address at the dinner and be awarded a $500 scholarship. Please visit if you're interested in attending or sponsoring an Eagle Scout.

About the Three Fires Council:

The Three Fires Council serves over 25,931 youth throughout Kane, DuPage, Kendall, DeKalb, and parts of Will and Cook counties. Our mission is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetime by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. For more information on Scouting, please visit

About the Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be "Prepared. For Life.™" The Scouting organization is composed of 2.7 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and more than a million volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, please visit

About Baylor University

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

For more information about the Baylor University Institute for Studies of Religion, Program on Prosocial Behavior, please visit To review the Eagle Scout research, please visit