The United Way of the Suncoast is partnering with the Greater Tampa Bay Area Council to study the impact that Scouting has on the academic success of boys in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. The United Way has engaged DIME, Inc., an outside agency to compare boys in Scouting with similar non-Scouting boys in the same school. DIME will analyze data provided by the schools, while maintaining strict confidentiality. The reports given to the United Way and the Council will not identify individual youth, only give composite data for the school district—and the company will destroy all records once they have compiled the composite data. Similar studies have been conducted by DIME in Polk County and the boys in Scouting have consistently shown higher academic achievement and better behavior than comparable boys not in Scouting. We expect to see similar results in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties and will be able to use the data in recruiting as well as maintain our United Way support.
Before the school district can release student data to DIME they need written parental permission. Every new Cub Scout and Boy Scout who registers this fall in the two counties will be asked to fill out a Parental Permission form along with their membership application. The form will ask for the child’s name, birth date, school name, and student ID number to help the school district correctly identify the student. Packs and troops are asked to encourage their new members to fill out the DIME forms as completely as they are able and to turn the forms in with their new member applications.
In addition, certain packs and troops will also be asked to collect the DIME forms in December as part of their recharter process so existing members can be included in the study. This is critical since these boys will have been in Scouting longer and would be expected to show better results, which we can then share with the general public to highlight Scouting’s successes.
Please encourage the parents in your unit to complete and return these forms to either Council Service Center as the more Scouts included will provide improved results. If you have any questions or concerns about this study, please contact John Baringer at the Seminole Council Service Center, by email or phone, (727) 391-3800, ext. 207.