Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I agree with you! On everything you say about the BOR. I know the rules. I know its not a retest. I have never said any such thing.


I am not saying the BOR member needs to use the book to ask the scout questions.


Before advancing a scout, the BOR member should check to see all the requirements have been signed off.


Scout gives BOR member book.

BOR member looks at it.

Requirement 1 signed off. - Good

Requirement 2 signed off. - Good


Scout Spirit signed off. - Good

Scoutmaster Conference given - Good


Then he thinks to himself. Wow this scout has everything signed off for the rank. Now we can give him a board of review.


If the BOR member can not ask for proof, nothing stops a scout who has not have all the requirements done from getting a BOR. Still silly.


I was aware of the phrase, "A board can expect a Scout to be neat in appearance and properly uniformed."


But "expect" is far different from a requirement.


You wrote, "It is the Scouts responsibility to show up to his BOR, neatly attired, & ready to answer questions put to him."


To me that says a scout is required to be neatly attired and ready to answer questions?


Where in the BSA literature does it say they have to be ready to answer questions anyway? He can answer the questions and still be very unready to do so.


But those are all minor points of wording. My main point is if the BOR member asks for proof that the scout has all the requirements SIGNED off. Someone should be able to show him that. Thats being a responsbile BOR member.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 54
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I don't really want to get into a semantics debate. I will speak from what I have seen and what I would probably have done, as a committee member.


If a boy came to a BOR seeking advancement and there was no record of any sort of his having completed the requirements, I'd start by asking questions of the advancement chair and the SM before proceeding further. Now the 6 requirements for Life rank (other than a BOR) are all things that the SM should be able to verify easily - not like the minutia of skill requirements for T-2-1 ranks - and so the SM should be able to sign off more or less on the spot. If the lack of sign offs in the book is simply a formality, great, then ask the SM to sign the book RIGHT THERE. Then the BOR can proceed with no problem. If the problem is that the boy may not have completed a requirement then that's another matter. Ideally, the SM and the advancement chair would catch this before the BOR occurred. However, I have seen cases where that did not happen - in lower ranks with specific skills, in a Life BOR with service hours or MBs. Your committee member probably has too, and this may be the source of his reticence to proceed without some written record.


CNY I feel like I may be missing something. Why does it make any sort of difference what policy his old troop followed? (You yourself have indicated numerous times that the former troop doesn't exactly do things in ways that are up to snuff. So why would you even want to rely on their standard? Maybe the committee member's troop has their act together on this matter in ways that your son's former troops did not.) But the big thing is, this scout is seeking advancement through the ship. This scout has done the work - you are the Skipper, right? Are you not authorized to sign off that the boy did meet the requirements? Couldn't you have fixed this problem (pragmatically) by just signing the book? Or, if the scout did not have the book with him, by signing a statement indicating that you (as Skipper) would vouch that the scout had completed the requirements?


You could then have dealt with the underlying issue - conflicting or unclear expectations - later on. And I do think that's important to address as well, in order to keep from having these problems in the future. But from the sound of it, your committee member wasn't way off in left field and this is a minor misunderstanding rather than a major problem.



Link to post
Share on other sites

I was the Advancement Chair for my unit for awhile. When the SM conference was completed, tech SM would let me know. I would wait for the Scout to ask for a BOR but I had already lined up the necessary people to sit on the BOR. When the Scout came to me & asked for a BOR, I would tell him when it would be (usually the following week) and requested he bring his Boy Scout Handbook. On the date of the BOR, the Scout would give me his handbook & I would compare what was signed off to my records. Then the BOR would convene. The BOR lasted no longer than 1/2 hour. If the Scout didn't bring his handbook, we still held his BOR but the questions asked were more to verify the requirements were completed than general Scouting questions.


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

Link to post
Share on other sites

Having had a chance to sleep on this:


There may not be a rule in ACP&P which says a Scout needs to bring his Handbook to his BOR. The handbook is, however, the closest thing to a "source document" we have for advancement. At Star, Life, and Eagle, of course we have the Scout copy of MB blue cards... but do we really want to see those one by one?


The challenge is cross-talk and cross-communication. We should, as adults, be talking amongst ourselves. We should be setting for clear guidelines going into things like Boards of Review. This young man was surprised. That is a bad thing. We Scouters have a duty to set the young men up for success by clearly defining expectations. That means active listening between Program Officer and Committee. That means cross-communication between program and support sides.


When I sat BOR chairman's seat, if I adjourned the board, all parties knew the reconvening time. That the Board failed to set a reconvene, is, imo, inexcusable.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is what galls me about BSA policies, there are precise guidelines for a myriad of minutia type issues yet when it comes to BOR procedures it seems to be whatever the custom in the district is okay. And then we wonder why the boys get fed up and quit. While I agree there should be some written record kept by the boy we all know thats not always the case. So instead we can take a signed statement from the SM or Advisor giving as much detail as possible or we can be gestapo police and deny the advancement, which is in the best interest of the boy?


If the boys handbook becomes lost or destroyed every BOR should have alternatives allowable to every BOR, this should be a National BSA policy, not a local one. I have sat on some BOR's where certain individuals have gone way beyond their authority in their demands, and when they were called on it became extremely hostile. What kind of example were these adult scouters demonstrating to the youth? If we ever want to understand why our numbers keep dropping look at the way the program is being administered in your district by the adults. There are reasons certain districts are thriving while most others are struggling keeping their heads above the water, and these reasons involve the adult leadership, not the youth.

Link to post
Share on other sites

One method of keeping track is to have a wall chart with the Scouts advancement dates on it. So "if" there is a question, simply check the chart. The Troop Scribe could be the one to keep the key to the display case so there won't be any "inadvertent" rank completions.



Link to post
Share on other sites

For the sake of this response, I am assuming that the committee member wants to see a Handbook with signoffs for all ranks, not just Life. If this is the case, I can only see two possible reasons he wants this:

1. He thinks it is somehow required or mandatory for advancement for there to be a signed-off Handbook. This is not the case, and if this is his reason, perhaps the Advancement Chair from the Council could clear up the problem.

2. He doesn't believe the requirements were actually met. If this is the problem, you may need some documentation, but blue cards and Advancement reports should help. The advancement report is evidence that all the requirements for the relevant rank were signed off.

Link to post
Share on other sites

From the Supplemental Scoutmaster Conference Training


in the advancement conference, you will assess the Scout's readiness for his board of review and his progress since his last Scoutmaster conference. This should not be a time of retesting his competence in Scouting skills; someone has already attested to that. The Scout must have completed all of his requirements for rank before the conference can take place.


Further down it reads....


A young man who is not ready to face a board of review (the last step in the advancement process) can be counseled if you sense a lack of Scout spirit or leadership.


From these statements I don't think it is the BOR's responsibility to see if a Scout has all the requirements signed off in his book

If he is in front of a BOR for Advancement it should be taken that he has them done and not have to show proof.

If a Scout is up for an Advancement BOR it was the SM's responsibility in the Scoutmaster Conference to make sure they are signed off.


I talked with my son about this over the weekend. Some points he brought up is that this will be the only Boy Scout rank BOR that the ship will be doing in the foreseeable future as he is currently the only ship member that can work on Boy Scout ranks.

EBORs are done at the district level and although most Troops do an EBOR at the unit level it is not required.


BORs for Venturing/Sea Scout awards and ranks are done differently.

They put together and run by the youth but do have both youth and adult members on them.


As some have pointed out we can use more committee members. It really shows why you need a functioning Committee, which is something I cant seem to convince to the other adults.


Another thing my son brought up as to how unprepared this MC was for this BOR. Back in Jan. or Feb. I said to him that we were going to need a BOR for the rank of life in the next few months and if he could head it up.

When the BOR started my son was asked about his PORs and this MC wasnt sure if his PORs (a Chaplins Aid in his Troop and a Boatswain Mate in the Ship) met the requirements.


I think this really shows why it is important to get out and meet other units as there is no one right way to do things. I think this MC just assumed that all Troops do BORs the same way and has never talked with other Scouters on the way others units are run.


This BOR was scheduled to be re-held this week with my son bringing in signed proof that he did the requirements.

On Saturday the Ship held a work day.

This CM told me he couldnt make it this week. N

ext week my son is at camp and the week after he cant come as his daughter is doing a week at one of the military academies.


At this point Im not sure when this is going to be scheduled again.




Link to post
Share on other sites

The Scoutmaster runs the advancement program in a troop. Working with the committee advancement chair they may set up expectations that a Scout appear before a BOR in uniform with his handbook. That would be similar to a Scoutmaster expecting Scouts to wear the field uniform while traveling to and from a monthly camp outing. Now, I can already hear howls of protest by some claiming that adults are "adding to the requirements" and have no authority to set these expectations. Au contraire. While correct that a Scoutmaster may not make the wearing of the field uniform a requirement for advancement he is well within his right to make the expectation that the field uniform be worn for certain events (such as a BOR). For example, I (a SM) have set the expectation that the Scouts bring to every troop meeting their own copy of The Boy Scout Handbook, paper and a writing instrument. Do they always follow suit? No. However, if a boy repeatedly does not meet these expectations a Scoutmaster may deem that the Scout is not demonstrating Scout Spirit (a requirement) or a BOR may determine the Scout's attitude and his acceptance of Scouting's ideals, both in the troop and outside of it is lacking.


I think this is the fine line many confuse. In an indoor setting (my house, the Scout's house, CO facility, etc.) I fully expect the Scout to wear his field uniform during a Scoutmaster conference (I've never heard of the reference advancement conference). However, I've given Scoutmaster conferences "in the field" and fully understand that a Scout may wear his activity uniform.


Link to post
Share on other sites

First to answer some questions or statements:


My son is going to a camp that will be covering the aquatics requirements for Sea Scout Advancement so getting done at camp isnt a possibility.

I would ask our Commissioner Staff to BOR but since our district doesnt really have one I dont think this is an option either.

I don't think getting people from his troop is going to be much help. He wasn't with his second troop long enough form them to know hin very well and after 2-1/2 years away there are very few people left from his first troop that could sit on a BOR.


I think the point is that if there is ever a dispute or question (such as verifying the Eagle application), the signed book is the final determinant for rank advancements


Both Troops I have been with had advancement disputes for Eagle candidates between what the council had and what the Troop had the Scout earning. In none of these cases was the handbook used to verify what a Scout had earned but the Troops advancement record were used.


Then how does the Board know a scout has completed the requirements!


Directly from the training:

In the advancement conference, you will assess the Scouts readiness for his board of review and his progress since his last Scoutmaster conference.

It is appropriate to review the Scouts achievements and to discuss them without retesting. Of course, this may be the time for you to check his advancement record for the appropriate signatures. .


I read this as it is the SMs responsibility, not a BOR, to verify that a Scout has passed all the requirements.

If I am reading the training right that a Scout should never be in a BOR for rank advancement without the SM approval that he has completed everything.


In all the responses what I am seeing is there is no set National policy on using a handbook to verify what a Scout has finished. A unit can use a wall chart or keep records in a book or on a computer and all are correct. It is up to each unit to set a policy on what it uses.


I do agree that each Scout should be responsible for his rank advancement whatever method is being used.


As far as verifying at a BOR that rank requirements have been completed it is also up to the Unit to set what it wants to use.


For what I see in my situation mistakes were made in that the MC took that his Troops policy in using the handbook was National policy and expected every unit to do this the same way so no expectations were set for the Scout for the BOR.

Also because the Ship had no policy set on this a verification from the unit leader (myself as Skipper) should have been enough to verify that all rank requirements have been met.


I am not sure where we will be going with this.

Since I don't see us doing any more Boy Scout ranks anytime soon I don't really want to spent a great deal of time on this.

I may try to see if someone from our district can help do a BOR.


This does lead to other questions but I think I will spin off a new topic.


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really don't see that there is a real need for a Lad (Be he a Boy Scout, Sea Scout or Venturer) to have a copy of the Handbook at a BOR.

Being as he isn't going to get there without the go ahead from his adult leader. (Be he or she the Scoutmaster, Skipper or Crew Advisor)

Hopefully the Committee Members have a good idea of what the requirements are? But are BOR's really about having met the requirements? After all as I just posted the adult in charge has by allowing the Lad to attend the BOR has said that the Lad has met the requirements.

I have sat on a lot of Eagle Scout BOR's and have never asked to take a look at a handbook. I do look at the computer print out from the Council, just to make sure that everything is in order.

In the case of a Sea Scout or Venturer, who isn't in a Troop and maybe hasn't been active in a Troop for some time. Do the signatures in a dogeared old handbook really mean anything? (Who knows who these people are or were? Who is going to check? Why would they?)

I can't help but think someone is guilty of making up their own rules as they go along!!

As ever when this happens it is the Scouts who suffer.


Link to post
Share on other sites

From the Advancement Committee Guide Policies and Procedures, #33088, 2006 printing:

Page 28:

- To make sure the Scout has done what he was supposed to do for the rank.

To see how good an experience the Scout is having in his unit.

To encourage the Scout to progress further.


And then similarly stated on Page 29:

The review has three purposes:

- To make sure the work has been learned and completed.

- To check to see what kind of experience the boy is having in his patrol and troop.

- To encourage the Scout to advance to the next rank.

Other than stating that the review is not an examination, I do not see anything in the guide that specifies how the board is to accomplish the first item, so I would expect that the troop advancement chair would have some leeway in determining how to do this, and would expect it to be applied consistently.


Additional note, since uniforming was asked about:

Page 30: The Scout should be neat in his appearance and his uniform should be as correct as possible, with the badges worn properly.




Link to post
Share on other sites

So, the bottom line answer for CNY is that his BOR can do whatever they want...if he doesn't like it, appeal to district. Of course, for the future, it would be wise to meet with the Committee ahead of time and nail down expectations and procedures, to avoid any last minute surprises for the scout.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the troop I work with AND in the Crew I work with, we require the BOOK be present. Not so much that we NEED that book, but so we can review the dates for discrepancies or errors and make sure that these dates match MY records (I'm advancement chair for both). We don't want these boys coming up for Eagle and finding out at that time there were errors. Everyone present checks the book, satisfies themselves it is acceptable and filled out correctly since it is THE "blue card" of rank advancement. We will not do a BOR w/o this book, but the boys are told in advance to be sure to bring the book, and the parents are reminded as well. We have one scout who actually brought his a week early for me to keep b/c he knew the next week he'd be coming from soccer practice and was afraid he'd forget. It's all in the initial expectations, and it would seem that you need to revisit your expectations where assumptions had been before. I tell people all the time, if it's not in WRITING it doesn't happen and that includes what to do in a BOR for my crew. They have a written policy for just about everything. Makes everyone's life much easier from the get go.


What should you do for your boy now? I've actually requested some district help for a BOR before. We had several older committee members in one troop I worked with and they were all very frail one winter. It was time for a boy's BOR and they were just frankly too ill to come for like, two months. I asked my DE for district assistance, and he helped me out by finding people to sit for the BOR. We had me and the CC and that was all we had, so he found as I remember two more people in our area that I had no knowledge of at that time. It's been a few years ago, but I remember contacting the DE over it so this fella could finish his BOR. The older members have since been very proactive in finding younger members (mostly family members), but it made a point.


The point? Sometimes it takes lemons to make lemonade.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...