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Board of Review - how do you schedule?

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Our committee is very small. We only have 6 people on it. Most of the time only 2 committee members are present at all the troop meetings. We have one committee member who cant even make the meetings until soccer season is finished. My question is how should we handle scheduling board of reviews for the scouts. I know we need a minimum of 3 people to hold a bor. It is becoming difficult to get 3 committee members to show up to the meetings to do the review. I dont think its fair to make the scout wait a long time before giving him the review. If we require the committee to do the bor within 2 troop meetings after the scout requests one is this unfair to the committee members? I had a committee member complain that we shouldnt do BOR's at troop outings. What do you think about that? I think its fine to do them at campouts or at troop outings. Any thoughts? How do you handle your BORs?

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Our troop schedules boards of review at a time and place convenient for those involved. It is never during a troop meeting because we feel it is not fair to pull a boy out of a meeting. Sometimes they are done in the hour before the meeting starts.

 

If members of the committee find it difficult to "show up" for their job, one might question why they were selected for the job.

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Our troop has regularly scheduled Boards of Review on the second Tuesday of the month, during the troop meeting. The CC always reminds the committee members in advance that we are having Boards, just to be sure there will be at least three people there, but since it's such a regular thing, we all put it on our calendars. With 50+ scouts in the troop, there is ALWAYS at least one Board on that second Tuesday. :) Often two or three. Something like 65% of our scouts advanced this year (and that doesn't count the ones who joined during the calendar year, most of whom also advanced).

 

Having a pre-planned time for BoR has made it much easier for everyone.

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For advancement BORs, pPretty much what FScouter said. Scout asks, we check and confirm. Sometimes we have to drop to 2 weeks lead time, normally we can do a week's lead.

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We schedule Scoutmaster conferences for the fourth Wednesday (meeting night) of the month and BOR's on the first Wednesday of each month. If there is a COH coming up, we will schedule an extra BOR to make sure all is covered before the COH.

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We do ours pretty much the way mschwartz describes - pre-planned weeks during the troop meetings with emails from the BoR chair ahead of time to insure enough attendees.

 

On occasion we've done them on demand for special situations. I'd see nothing wrong with doing them on outings if you have enough committee members there.

 

I think you do need to check with your committee members and see what would work for them. They are volunteers and it will need to be some plan that works. In the Scoutmaster handbook it says that BoRs can be quarterly, but most troops do it more frequently than that for the reasons you suggest.

 

FScouter, I'm always disappointed at the quick denigration of other volunteers. I'd prefer to assume the committee members are helpful volunteers who are doing the best they can.

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"FScouter, I'm always disappointed at the quick denigration of other volunteers."

 

Perhaps I could have worded my comment differently.

I tend not to apologize for volunteers that don't have the time to do their job. Actually instead of "don't have time", I should say "choose to spend their time in other ways". If the committee member chooses to work with soccer instead of Scouting, one might reevaluate why the person was selected to serve on the committee. Is that really denigrating a volunteer?

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Our BORs were on Sunday nights, twice a month. We had a subcommittee to conduct's BOR's, with the requirement that everyone get some degree of training so had an idea of what Boy Scouting is about. Some nights, we'd have three BORs running simultaneously.

 

I only had to cancel a BOR once because no one could make it, except me.

 

My son's troop also holds BORs at summer camp where we've done advancements from Tenderfoot all the way up to Life. There seemed to be something special for a boy, even an older boy, to come home from camp with a new rank.

 

We also did BORs on campouts if I had enough trained adults around. It is actually a great place to do them. After dinner when Scouts are building their giant fire, a small group of adults sits down for a chat with a Scout.

 

I did one once after a campout while the troop was packing up to leave because the boy in question was moving 200 miles away the next day.

 

Committee members do what they can and sign on for different jobs because of what they can do and their time constraints. A person might volunteer to be treasurere because he understands money matters and can free up the fourth Wednesday of each month to come to a committee meeting. I wouldn't think less of him because he doesn't show up for troop meetings. However, I might have an issue if he didn't bother showing up for any committee meetings.

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We tend to set them up on demand, or a week ahead--but we almost always have at least three committee members present at troop meetings. Perhaps you could get some more parents to sign up as committee members, and agree to be available at the beginning or end of meetings? That's a good first way to get them involved, too.

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Both troops I've served have done them pretty much on demand - and scouts serve on them. General rule being, for up to first class, one scout Star and above can serve. For Star it has to be Life or Eagle. For Life it has to be an Eagle. (One rank up after first class would be another way to put it.) One parent can serve as long as it's not the parent of the scout doing the BOR. So only one member of the committee HAS to be part of the BOR.

 

Vicki

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Our troop does BoRs pretty much on demand, but we also have the luxury of a large committee. We do the standard 3-5 committee members, no parents of scouts who are sitting for the BoR, etc., pretty much by the book. If there's one thing I'd like to see done differently, it is to actually provide some training on how BoRs work to all of our parents (committee members too!). Most of the parents of younger scouts have no clue.

---------

Vicki,

That's an interesting way of doing things. I'm guessing you are aware that it doesn't quite jive with the procedures spelled out by the BSA? Have you ever been questioned on this by your district advancement chair or some scout who did not successfully conclude his BoR? (I've often thought it would make more sense to have some youth input on the BoRs anyway - I'm just wondering where your troop is coming from on this.)

 

 

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We actually invite parents/inexperienced committee members to sit in on the BoR (as long as it's not their son who's up for advancement!) to see how they work. We also distribute a guide (found at http://www.macscouter.com/Scoutmaster/BoR_Guide.asp) that explains a bit about the expectations at the different ranks and provides some sample questions for each rank level. We've found that extremely useful. :)

 

We have also (with the permission of the scout being reviewed) brought in the newly-crossed-over Webelos-now-Boy Scouts to quietly sit in the back during a BoR so they can see what's coming.(This message has been edited by mschwartz)

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Let me see if I've got this right:

 

6 Committee Members - check

2 Committee Members that are almost always at Troop Meetings - check

1 Committee Member that is committed elsewhere during soccer season - check

A member stating that BOR's shouldn't be done at Troop outing's - check.

 

That leaves 3 other Committee Members that can serve on the BOR and can potentially be available during soccer season.

 

It also suggests that you have at least 3 Committee Members attending most every Troop Outing, and at the same time suggests that there is a Committee Member who can't attend outings but likes being involved with BOR's.

 

In my experience, larger units tend to have set meetings for BOR's (1st and 3rd meeting of the month, or whatever), as has been mentioned here already. Smaller units tend to do BOR's on demand. The question is what will work best for you. Some units schedule BOR's for completely different times than meeting nights (my personal opinion - a waste of time and resources - if you have everyone gathered at a meeting or outing, why not hold it there - taking a lad in for his BOR during meeting hours for a few moments won't disrupt the meeting that much).

 

Factor in amount of time for a BOR - for instance, a BOR for a Tenderfoot to First Class shouldn't take more than 15 minute; Star and Life no more than 20 to 25 minutes - and I see possibilities.

 

Have a committee member who always drops someone off at the meeting and need a BOR for a Tenderfoot? Maybe this person can spare 15 minutes before or at the beginning of the meeting (you can work a little around the Committee Member's schedules too - no need to have the Committee Members there for the entire meeting (unless they choose to be there) if there is only one 15-minute BOR that needs to be done.

 

And if you have 3 Committee Members at a troop outing? I'd say use the resource and have the BOR. Heck - if the Scoutmaster is there too, and still needs to do the SM Conference - do that in the morning and the BOR in the afternoon or evening.

 

If you have a parent willing to serve on BOR's, sign them up as a Committee Member.

 

I personally prefer the "On Demand" style of BOR (with the understanding that "On Demand" doesn't mean "in 15 minutes from time of the request" but means a reasonable lead time (and 2 weeks does seem reasonable to me) mainly because it continues the momentum of advancement.

 

It sounds like you may have the flexibility to offer BOR's at both Troop Meetings and at Troop Outings, as needed. Work with the flexibility but at the same time, remember to honor a committment to a Scout for his BOR. Only promise what you can deliver but deliver more than you promise - take our collective suggestions and talk amongst your committee members for a solution that works for all of you.

 

Calico

 

 

 

 

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Lisabob wrote "Vicki,

That's an interesting way of doing things. I'm guessing you are aware that it doesn't quite jive with the procedures spelled out by the BSA? Have you ever been questioned on this by your district advancement chair or some scout who did not successfully conclude his BoR? (I've often thought it would make more sense to have some youth input on the BoRs anyway - I'm just wondering where your troop is coming from on this.) "

 

Yep, I'm aware of that. My understanding is that it's actually kind of a throwback to the way things "used to be." Two different districts and nary a question asked by any poobah. But then the entire council is sometimes a little contrarian as far as national is concerned (mainly because we're kind of a 300 lb. gorilla, from what I hear - I'm not far enough up the food chain to have more than hearsay, thank heaven). Scouts don't know any better as a rule, but the ground rules for our BORs are really clearly set out, so we don't have many that don't complete it successfully and the ones who don't know exactly what they need to do.

 

The main point is to get the older scouts involved with the younger scouts and let the younger scouts see that we do value the opinions and viewpoints of the scouts - it's not just more lip service from adults. They take it pretty seriously - it's an indication of the respect they've earned and they don't mess it up.

 

Vicki

(This message has been edited by Vicki)

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