Professors Receive $5.7 Million Grant to Explore Character Development in Scouts

What combination of training and experience of scoutmasters and other volunteers best builds character in scouts? How can their training be enhanced to strengthen the scouts’ character development? These are some of the questions that Family Science and Human Development professors Jennifer Urban and Miriam Linver are asking in a new research project that seeks to reveal how adults build character in scouts.

The researchers, who are also co-directors of the Research on Youth Thriving and Evaluation (RYTE) Institute at Montclair State University, will receive $1,868,050 for the first year of a two-year, $5.7 million Boy Scouts of America (BSA) National Character Initiative sub-award funded by the Stephen D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation.

Jennifer Urban and Miriam Linver study character development in scouts.
Jennifer Urban, left, and Miriam Linver study character development in scouts.

The grant supports the second phase of an ongoing BSA national character initiative project that is focused on uncovering the role adults play in youth character development.

“We’re very excited to have this opportunity to study one of the longest-running youth-serving organizations in the nation,” says Urban. “The RYTE Institute is focused on understanding what goes right with youth. A study of this magnitude could potentially impact hundreds of thousands of young people – as well as the adults who care about promoting their positive development.”