"Seems that I read somewhere that it is national policy that Scout leaders and Assistant Leaders are forbidden to participate in an Eagle Board of Review? Can the Local Council ignore national policy and staff the Eagle Board of Review with ASMs"?
Thank-you for the counsel to get BSA national policy straight from the source, i.e., The Advancement Committee Guide. Policies and Procedures, publication 33088, 2006 printing, available in printed form through local Scout offices. Citing from 33088 , The 12 Steps from Life to Eagle, page 32:
The board of review for an Eagle candidate is composed of at least three but not more than six members. One member serves as chairman. Unit Leaders, assistant unit leaders, relatives, or guardians may not serve as members of a Scouts board of review. The board of review members should convene at least 30 minutes before the candidate appears in order to review the application, reference checks, and service project report. At least one district or council advancement representative must be a member of the Eagle board of review if the board of review is conducted on a unit level. A council or district may designate more than one person to serve as a member of Eagle Boards of review when requested to do so by the unit. It is not required that these persons be members of the advancement committee; however, they must have an understanding of the importance of the Eagle board of review.
The candidates unit leader introduces him to the members of the board of review. The unit leader may remain in the room, but does not participate in the board of review. The unit leader may be called on to clarify a point in question. In no case should a relative or guardian of the candidate attend the review, even as a unit leader.
It behooves all Scouters to refer to source national policy on a regular basis to assure that the quality product offered conforms to the CURRENT national will. It appears that many well-intentioned Scouters perpetuate the status quo (homeostasis not always being wonderful) without checking the pulse of the national will. Of course, what Scouter wants to continue BUYING source, policy material? Not me.
Bottom line: A very strong case can be made that all national BSA policy be made available NOW for on-line, literal text search via the BSA national web-site. This will significantly alleviate the pressure on our well-intentioned volunteers. Instead of having to interpret a stale policy statement or to resort to Weve always done IT that way, modern leaders will be empowered to lead based on a factual basis, not hearsay.
A secondary point raised in my initial posting: Are there any sanctions against local units/districts/councils that choose to ignore stated NATIONAL policy? Are inspections or audits done by any BSA official outside the council to assure compliance? Are there any penalties for failure to comply? No answers have been posted yet to those questions.
"Seem to recall reading that national policy permits two types of Eagle Boards of Review: A District one or a Troop one.
Can the Local Council deny a Scout's choice of requesting a District review"?
Referring to Publication 33088, page 30, Eagle Scout Boards of Review, National policy does not permit a Scout to choose who does his review:
The Boy Scouts of America has placed the Eagle Scout board of review in the hands of either the troop, team, crew, or ship committee or the district or council committee responsible for advancement. The council will decide and promulgate which method or methods may be used.
The board of review for an Eagle Candidate is comprised of a minimum of three members and a maximum of six members, 21 years of age or older.
Again, Scouting is replete with many well-intended volunteers who have valiantly tried to piece together interpretations, while in reality diminishing the intent of the Scouting national will. Case in point: http://www.eaglescout.org/finale/bor.html Buried within the Guidelines is a statement (as if fact): A Scout may request a District Board of Review which will consist of members of the District Advancement Committee and/or District members who have an understanding of the importance of the Eagle Board of Review. This is NOT accurate, per national policy.
IMHO: BSA National would be well-served to create an Ombudsman and policy answer desk designed to unite the volunteers. The Ombudsman also would be invited to scour the on-line sources to do quality control spot-checks. The Ombudsman could be charged with posting changes to policy (synopses), so that the long-term Scouters can be kept apprised. Not all volunteers have the time or diligence to notice an un-official v. official ruling. Successful organizations encourage an open door policy, or a mechanism by which straight, current answers are produced. This is the age of the Internet. There are no real excuses to keeping policy buried.
Thank-you for listening to one persons thoughts.