Millions of youth in the U.S. participate in out-of-school-time programs. These programs seek to impact the character of youth in a manner that will enhance their individual health and achievement and enable them to contribute positively to, and to be leaders of, their communities. The Big Question addressed in this research is whether a program directed to the enhancement of character can in fact promote character development among young people. Does Boy Scouts of America (BSA) constitute such a program? Does character development impact other facets of positive youth development, such academic achievement and contribution to community and civil society? Do the strengths of youth increase the impact of BSA on such positive development? To address these questions we test a theory of change that involves a Quality Unit Executive program that, if supported by the evidence, can be a national model for recruitment and retention for BSA, and for enhancing the pathways of BSA youth to becoming young men of high character. A longitudinal study will examine the relationships among Cub Scout program attributes, scout retention, and youth outcomes including character, contribution, intentional self regulation, and academic success in youth served by the BSA Cradle of Liberty Council.
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