Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Recreation and Sport Management (EdD)

Degree Level



Health, Human Performance and Recreation


Merry L. Moiseichik

Committee Member

Steve Langsner

Second Committee Member

Valerie Hunt

Third Committee Member

Bart Hammig


Social sciences, Boy scouts, Community development, Recreation, Youth development


The purpose of this dissertation was to explore character-based recreation programs as a potential factor in youth drug use. Specifically, the study sought to find evidence that the Boys Scouts of America (BSA) might help prepare youth to avoid drug use or delay drug use to later in life. Using Positive Youth Development and Community Capital Theory as frameworks, the study explored character-based youth recreation as a holistic tool for engaging and nurturing youth. Positive Youth Development suggests that youth are best raised in a comprehensive and healthy environment. Community Capital Theory suggests that each community contains valuable resources that can be utilized for the advancement of its residents.

Using qualitative methodology, this study examined leaders affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America in Washington State. Participants were asked about their experiences with the BSA, if/how the BSA works to prevent youth drug use, and their personal experiences with drugs and alcohol. Twelve leaders were sampled and given semi-structured interviews which were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using the process of Thematic Analysis, a systematic approach to generating themes and patterns in the data.

The data revealed a total of five themes and 16 sub-themes. The major themes were: program delivery, drugs and the Boys Scouts of America, current prevention techniques, future prevention techniques, and lack of technical skill. The data revealed that program features of the BSA such as the Boy Scout Oath and Law were highly meaningful to leaders. Participants also suggested that the strong Social networks provided by the BSA were valuable to youth development. Participants reported very low drug use and alcohol use which suggests that the BSA could be a viable tool to the prevention of youth substance use.