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GernBlansten

BOR success rate

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Gern, I apologize about the obfuscation. I do want wish to give you credit that you have pushed skills testing down to the SM conference level and away from the BOR. I didnt realize the troop has made that progress and you should be applauded for it. I hope your improvement continues. My answer was targeted for you as well as anyone else, the lurkers who may have a similar question about BOR and wanted to see the replies and I felt if I didnt point out the error of having a scoutmaster test for skills that someone could come away thinking it was a fine practice. The scouting program should be set up so when the scout is signed off on a requirement, there is no doubt that the requirement is met and the skill learned. Ok, so a handy camp gadget was made, perhaps a sedan chair for the scoutmaster (!). Is this the last time a handy camp gadget is used? DOes the PLC set the expectation that a towel rack, sign post, etc and other devices is part of setting up camp? Are scouting skills used in any part of every outing? As a freshman in high school I got an B in french first semster and an A second semester. By the time I graduated high school 3 years later, I barely remembered how to say hi and bye in fench because I didnt use it. To expect scouts to learn knots, never use them in the troop program and then berate the scout for not knowing their knots is nuts.

 

The more I think on it the 5% not successful rate is probably high, it does happen, I am not sure what the reasons were. I can say all the ones I attend have always been successful.

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Our success rate is about 95%.

The only "failure" I recall in recent memory was about 2 years ago.

To paraphrase from the BOR guidelines, the purpose of the BOR is for members of the TC to ensure that all requirements have been met.

When questioning a scout about what he had accomplished as Troop Librarian, his reply was "nothing." More questions revealed the fact that he had never so much as opened up our library cabinet to take a look at it, much less take any action whatsoever. More questions revealed that he had never been trained or received guidance about what he was supposed to do. The scout admitted he hadn't made any effort and agreed shouldn't be advanced at the time.

This whole episode was a clear failure of the troop's leadership development program run by the SM.

The BOR chair had a long chat with SM to discuss the problem. Within a few weeks, adults and jr leaders all on track to make sure this didn't happen again. Scout in question has been very successful in multiple PORs since that time, has grown in confidence and skill, and is well on his way to finishing up all of his requirements for Eagle in the next few months.

 

-mike

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Yah, Mike's example illustrates why BOR's should ask some POR and skills-based questions, eh?

 

OGE is correct that in a properly run program, a signoff shouldn't happen until a boy has truly learned a skill well. But we all know that people get lazy, it's easy just to sign off rather than work harder with a boy, and some signoffs at some summer camps are completely bogus (if a troop allows them).

 

In order to prevent even a good program from "going downhill" and becoming a subtract-from-requirements advancement mill, there has to be some verification and feedback. Some of dat should be the SM; some of it should also be the committee.

 

So a BOR needs to do some spot-checking/retesting in order to do its duty to keep the program high quality for kids.

 

Remember, repeat the Scout Oath and Law from memory and explain it in your own words is a Tenderfoot Requirement. Once it is signed off, a strict view of "no retesting" would not allow any BOR to ask a boy what the scout Oath and Law is, or how he thinks about it.

 

In answer to the original question, our troop's pass rate for T-2-1 is probably 85%, S-L is 95%, Eagle is 100%.

 

 

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Oh Beavah, and it started off so well. No, the BOR is not the place for restesting, the fact troops do it does not make it right.

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The purpose of the Board of Review is not to retest you but rather to ensure that you have completed all of the requirements, to determine the quality of your troop experience, and to encourage you to advance toward the next rank.

 

I do not see how a BOR can ensure a scout has completed all of the requirements if it is not allowed to ask such as described by Mike F. I suppose they could take the view that if the requirement was signed off, that must mean it was completed. But who gets shortchanged in such instances is the scout. Oh sure, he gets the rank award, but it is hollow - and the other scouts will see that the adults give lip service to scout spirit, if they advance scouts such as the librarian in the example given. That scout got more out of how Mike F.'s troop handled the situation than he would have had they not checked on what he actually did.

 

I think that just as there are learning curves and growing pains among scouts, there are similar experiences for adults. How a BOR can best benefit a scout is at least in part dependent on the strenghts and weaknesses of the SM, and that is highly dependent on the exerience level of the SM. From my observation, a new SM that has had only a short time as an ASM, is more likely to sign off on sub-standard POR and scout spirit performance. It is of benefit to the boy if the BOR is able to perform like Mike F.'s board did. And then the feedback back to the SM can help the SM to improve; to provide better training and guidance, and to hold scouts to a more appropriate standard.

 

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Concur with OGE.

BOR is not a retest - just a review to make sure everything was done.

For POR, it's appropriate to ask questions about what they did, what was the hardest, what they learned, etc.

For skills, it's appropriate to ask how they learned about the knots, lashings, etc., but not to hand them ropes and ask for demonstration. For campsite gadget mentioned earlier, it's appropriate to ask them what they made. Then continue asking what did you use it for, did you find it useful, etc.? Have you made another one or something like it since you passed the requirement? You said you found it useful, but you haven't made one since then - why not? If you find things like this in Boards of Review, it's time to provide SM some feedback that the guys could use a recharge on campsite gadgets. Maybe the next campout could include a patrol competition to see who can develop the most elaborate campsite with pack rack, lantern stand, etc.

In short use active program to provide refreshers not threat of failure from TC at BOR. TC run BOR is not supposed to be another test step for the scouts. Think of them instead as a quality control step where the TC gains insights and ensures the troops (and SMs) program is on track. It should be very rare when the BOR discovers a scout was totally deficient in a requirement and has to insist on remedial action before advancement is approved.

 

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The following are not necessarily the views or indicative of the practices of the poster and are presented for discussion purposes only;

If the boy is expected to meet the requirements as stated no more no less can someone show me any place in the National publications where serve actively is defined or explained? If I have been given, or have accepted if you prefer, the position of Librarian and either no one has asked to use the library for 6 months of the existing policy/practice has been that scouts take and replace books unsupervised, how have I failed to execute my position? As a police officer my job would be to enforce the law, if no one breaks a law or even calls the police station for six months should I be asked to return my pay checks? When I was a scout the requirement read Serve to the satisfaction of your Scoutmaster in one or more. The wording has changed several times, for a while all the boy had to do was hold the position. Who decides what serve actively means, the Scoutmaster? Which is actually what the training materials suggest, the SM the person who decides what each of the requirements mean, or is it the BOR which is what the advancement procedures suggest. If it is the SM then how can a boy fail a BOR and if it is the BOR then shouldnt the BOR be allowed to satisfy itself that all other reqs have been met read restest. How can a BOR possibly determine if the req to Demonstrate tying the bowline knot was properly met?

Most of what we say in this forum should be read as if it had IMO preceding it. This has been said before.

LongHaul

 

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haha thanks OGE.

 

but this will raise the discussion of why have uniforms at all?

 

Enough digression. BOR success rates should be near 100% for the very reasons brought up. The SM, advancement chair and others should not present a scout to a BOR if he is not ready to pass it. If he fails he wasnt ready and the SM wasnt doing his job at the SM conference.

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Borrowing from OGE's post in Beavah's thread ("The Role of a BOR and "Retesting""), I read the following from the BSA Publication, Advancement Committee, Polcies and Procedures

 

 

"The Scout should be neat in appearence and his uniform should be as correct as possible, with the badges worn properly."

 

Now, that's not policy, that's guidance. I agree with OGE, btw: It also does not mean full Class A uniform. I do read it to mean: What uniform elements a Scout has should be worn to a BOR with pride."

 

So, it's not an excuse, it's within the left and right boundaries of evaluating the program by visiting with the Scout. It also provides a tool in the box for ongoing open ended questions :)

 

So... as long as I CHAIR BORs, I believe it reasonable the Scout show up "neat in appearence and his uniform should be as correct as possible, with the badges worn properly" to the extent the Scout has articles of the Scout uniform.

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Then, John, until you understand the advancement policies, you shouldn't chair or even sit on a BOR for any rank.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Yah, John-in-KC. I generally agree with you.

 

It's funny, though, if you look carefully in the book, the section you quote applies only to BOR's for Tenderfoot through Life. There is no such "uniform guidance" for Eagle BOR's.

 

And of course, guys can earn Star, Life, and Eagle in a Venturing Crew, and drop da uniform entirely, eh?

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I admit to struggling a bit with the retesting/just checking aspect of BORs. While I understand the clear prohibition on retesting, I also agree with Venividi's comment that:

 

"I do not see how a BOR can ensure a scout has completed all of the requirements if it is not allowed to ask such as described by Mike F. I suppose they could take the view that if the requirement was signed off, that must mean it was completed. But who gets shortchanged in such instances is the scout. "

 

Someone else mentioned that if the BOR finds deficiencies in the program, as reflected by hollow sign offs or skills that were learned once and then quickly forgotten due to lack of use, then this is something the committee should be discussing with the SM.

 

In my admittedly limited experience so far with troops, it seems like there is frequently a break-down here. What I've seen is that different people have different visions for how to deliver the program, and the SM is generally considered to have the final (operative) say in this. Yes, I understand the SM works with the committee, etc., but as the SM is the hands-on person actually implementing the program, his or her particular "vision" shapes the troop.

 

So what happens is, the BOR becomes a place for contending visions to pop up. Some committee members undoubtedly use this as a way to highlight their discontent with the SM's vision and to advocate their own vision instead; some SM's seem impervious to feedback from the BORs because they view it as criticism of their own vision and become defensive. Rare is the troop that seems to have a broad agreement on the vision, and how to achieve it.

 

Lisa'bob

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Since we are speaking of Venturers, we should note that the Crew, as a collective body, makes a concious decision on uniforming.

 

In my district:

 

- One Crew wears a Class A uniform, substituting Cabela's gray cargo pants (at $19) for BSA Supply Corporation items.

- One Crew wears a polo.

- One Crew wears blue jeans and a Crew T-shirt.

 

BTW, all three Advisors say "your choice, but you wear what you've chosen."

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"I do not see how a BOR can ensure a scout has completed all of the requirements if it is not allowed to ask such as described by Mike F."

 

The board IS allowed, and encourged to ask those kinds of questions. The questions the board should be asking are exactly what Mike F listed in his post. They generate a useful discussion between the boy and the board. Those are the kinds of questions to ask to determine that a boy has indeed learned and completed the work.

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So what happens is, the BOR becomes a place for contending visions to pop up. Some committee members undoubtedly use this as a way to highlight their discontent with the SM's vision and to advocate their own vision instead; some SM's seem impervious to feedback from the BORs because they view it as criticism of their own vision and become defensive. Rare is the troop that seems to have a broad agreement on the vision, and how to achieve it.

 

Dat's pretty scary there, eh?

 

Differences in vision between parents and scout leaders can create all kinds of destructive energy. Differences in vision between the committee and the SM are worse, and really should be resolved, eh? Even if it means makin' a change in one or the other.

 

Differences of opinion in how to achieve a vision are OK, tho, as long as everyone understands and stays within their role, and understands that the SM and PLC get to select the "how."

 

Quality control doesn't just apply to the program. It also applies to the committee. A good CC or AC should train BOR members and sit in on BOR's... and occasionally decide not to use certain people ever again. Back when I was a CC, I remember a BOR I just dropped in on. Two members were railing on the boy over minor uniform infractions. Way out of line. I made sure we never used them again.

 

If you use inexperienced MC's, that's also a good reason for putting a scouter or a youth member on a BOR, at least as an observer. It helps keep the adults polite, provides some on-the-job training, and includes someone who can "excuse himself" to go get help!

 

 

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