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tddbr00

SM conference/ board of review

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Im a newly appointed assistant scoutmaster and one of the boys came to me last week asking for a SM conference. Now when iwas a boy these were a time when the scoutmaster could have a one on one with the boy find out how he is doing and to ensure that he is learning. But I read on one post here that this is not to be a test nor shall the board of review be a test? Then A. why do we call it a board of review? B. How do we know that the boys are really learning the things the should be toward advancement? ( For example, I had a Life scout who did not know how to tie a a two half hitch!!!) and C. What am i suppose to be discussing with the boys in a SM conference?

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One of the functions of the BOR is to determine if they really did the requirements of if Mr. Smith just signed off because he wanted to go to lunch that day. Another is to determine how the Scout is dealing with the program and if there are any problems with the SM or other leaders, including youth.

 

I would have loved to have been able to say, "You have to know your knots" but that's not in the rules.

 

SM conference? Don't know.

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A SM Conference is nothing more than a chat with the Scout about his experience in Scouting so far, It isn't a pass fail requirement. All the Scout is required to do is participate.

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Well the Board of Review, reviews what the scout did to reach the rank he is going for. So it is fair to ask a scout, "Tell me about the meal you planned for your patrol." It is not fair to ask a scout to cook a patrol meal. Same goes with knots, you can ask does he know his knots? Who taught them to him? Who passed him on his knots? Does he find them useful? etc. But it's not fair to ask him to tie a knot. If he has done this to the satisfaction of whoever was authorized to test him, he passed. It's not fair for a BOR to test him again. If he didn't demonstrate the skill and was still signed off, the issue is with whomever signed him off for that skill, not the scout.

 

SA

 

 

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" If he didn't demonstrate the skill and was still signed off, the issue is with whomever signed him off for that skill, not the scout."

 

However, if you determine that the Scout did not actually meet the requirements and was signed off "just because," you send him off without advancing and then have a meeting with whomever signed off for work not done.

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As a newly minted Assistant Scoutmaster I would recommend you help the scout schedule a time to meet with the Scoutmaster to do the Scoutmaster Conference, it is realy his or her job to do. As you gain training and experience you will learn more about how to do thses should you become a Scoutmaster down the road.

 

As for Boards of Review as an Assistant Scoutmaster you are prohibited from taking part in them, So as long as the Troop Committee members are trained and understand their role then things will be fine.

 

To learn more about both the Scoutmaster Conference and the Board of Review I would recommend attending Scoutmaster/Assistant Scoutmaster Leader Specific Training, and reading the appropriate chapters of the Advancement Committee Guide/Policies and Procedures, that refer to those topics.

 

While previous posters have covered elements of each there is more to them and you will get a more complete understanding through the BSA training and resources.

 

Congrats on becoming an Assitant Scoutmaster

BW

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I can understand the angst at having a Life scout unable to tie two half hitches. Remember that the term "board of review" cuts both ways. Is the scout "bad" because he doesn't know his knots or is the troop program "bad" because it has a Life scout who can't tie two half hitches? OK, "bad" is a "bad" word, but its the one I chose.

 

The answer is most likely a mixture of both, but thats what the Board of Review is to find out, what is working well and what isnt for both scout and program. So the scout cant tie two half hitches, was he assigned to teach that knot to the next 5 scouts who need to learn it? I am sure other ways of including a simple scout skill into the troop's program can be done.

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I forgot to add that Im not new to scouting as I said I was in scouts as a youth. Earned my Eagle. Served at 3 different camps across the country...not going into my resume. But when I taught my 'students' at camp and my boys in the troop, I know they know there stuff. If we are just signing boys off and, as SM or even ASM's how do we know that the boys are actually earning their rank. They say its easier to get an Eagle now a days and I can see why. My camp director told us each year that 'we are not a merit badge factory'. So if we are not to 'test' them then why is it called a board of review? and then say congratulations for earning your 1st class scout when their answers are 'I went to the winter camporee for my outing'. Is it wrong to ask what kind of footwear should you have? show me how to check for breathing on an unconscious victim. If they know their knots why is it wrong to "REVIEW" them at a board of REVIEW?

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OLD GREY_

mind you, none of my boys are 'bad' but i know where you were going with that. I don't feel that i test them, I just want to make sure the boys are earning their rank and actually know this stuff and not being passed through an advancement factory. Its funny because when I first came back to my troop they weren't winning, heck they weren't even competing in the district camporee games...now they are taking first and second place in almost every category. This is building their teamwork, pride, communication, leadership, trust. So, it has been my experience that if you teach the boys and ensure that they know these things like knot tieing, that when it comes to actually needing to use it they will be proud that they actually EARNED their ranks. Afterall is the Eagle rank becoming less honorable with these rank advancement factories?

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You will learn that the view as an adult leader is different from the view as a youth participant.

 

It's fine to ask what kind of shoe you should wear, (its kind of a boring way to test, but it is one way to do it) but the time to do that is during the teaching and testing phases of the skill not during the board of review.

 

If you want to know if you scouts have the skills then put them in a situation where the skill needs to be applied, then observe and evaluate as they apply their knowledge. Knowing how to tie a sheet bend is only a part of the skill, knowing when to apply it is just as important. Rather than quizing scouts, teach them skills and put them in situations where the skills are used.

 

From the BSA Advancement Committee Guide...

The members of the board of review should have the following objectives in mind when they conduct the review.

1)To see that the Scout has done the work that he was supposed to do for the rank

2) to see how god an experience the Scout is having in the unit

3) To encoiurage the Scout to progress further.

 

The review is not an examination; the board does not retest the candidate. Rather the board should attempt to determine the Scout's attitude and his acceptance of the Scouting Ideals.

 

 

You will learn more about this as you take your basic leader training. But again, as an ASM you will not be allowed to sit on a board if review, it is the committee members who need to know this information, and it is covered in the their basic training materials as well.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Its a Board of Review, a review of what was done, who did, where it was done, it's not a re-test. Its a review of the program. If you ask a scout to tie two half hitches, thats ok. It is a review of the prgram as well. What's not ok is to have the scout fail the Board of Review because he can't tie two half hitches. You can ask the scout why he doesnt know how to tie two half hitches and what should he do to learn to tie two half hitches. You might ask him when was the last time he had to tie two half hitches, does he think he would remember how to tie the two half hitches if he did them more frequently.

 

I am not saying that scout skills should be learned, signed off and forgotten, never to have their ugly heads reared again. I am saying once learned, scout skills should be an intergral part of the program to the point you don't have to ask a scout to do a knot or a scout skill (such as a compass reading) during a board of review or a scoutmaster conference because you have seen the scout doing what you are asking multiple times during the troop's meeting or campout.

 

Bob White's post come up while I was working on mine, He is right, as a ASM, you won't be on Boards of Review, but that's ok, you can concentrate on helping the PLC deliver the program they planned and you can help them be sure there are plenty of times to use the scout skills they learn.

(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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I use SM conferences to also help prepare the scouts for the BOR. For example, we'll talk about how he lives by the scout oath & law in various ways. I may give him some examples of things I've seen, or ask him about examples.

 

I've also used this time - on occasions - to work on a scout with discipline problems. In one case, I used our SM conference (of which we had many, not just for rank advancements) to discuss his issues. I "held him back" from the BOR until he could demonstrate some measurable improvement in some areas. All of this is based on the "demonstrate you live by the scout oath and law in your every day life" requirement. Some have criticized me for being too hard on a young scout (this was several years ago when he was working on 2C, 1C & Star. He's now a Life Scout and is planning his Eagle Project. While he still has some "issues", it's amazing how far he's come. When I think about all those "talks" (i.e. SM Conferences) we had four years ago, I never would have thought he would be where he is today.

 

My point is, the SM conference is a great time for a Scoutmaster. It's an opportunity to talk, uninterrupted with your scouts, 1-on-1. Those don't come very often, and I encourage you to make the most out of them.

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To answer your point C - as a newly appointed ASM, if you have questions about how to do an SM conference, I would first ask the SM. In the troops I've served or had associations with, the SMs hold on to the right to do SM conferences pretty closely. It's only in the really big troops that I've seen it delegated to an ASM on anything but an emergency basis. If I were the SM, I think I'd do the same thing - it's the one opportunity they get for concentrated one-on-one time.

 

Not knowing your situation, I can only observe that you may have a real opportunity here to step on your SM's toes pretty hard.

 

Vicki (ASM)

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So, when you have this situation - "However, if you determine that the Scout did not actually meet the requirements and was signed off "just because," you send him off without advancing and then have a meeting with whomever signed off for work not done."

 

When you have the conversation with the SM who signed off the kid, and the guy's completely indifferent about cheapening the requirements by simply signing off - then what??

 

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Then you decide whether or not this is the troop for you. Perhaps there is something redeeming about the troop (they have a great program that emphasizes the other methods of scouting). Perhaps your son absolutely loves the troop and would be seriously hurt by his parent yanking him out. Perhaps there's a realistic option that when cool heads prevail, a calm and quiet chat with the CC, SM, and COR will help set things right. Perhaps the SM is planning to step down soon and you can manage to stay cool until that time.

 

Perhaps it is the right troop for your boy but not for you, and so you graciously step to the side and let your boy enjoy scouting without dealing with the blood-pressure-raising annoyances, yourself.

 

Or, perhaps none of the above, you can't stand it any longer, and you find another troop to serve instead. But still don't burn your bridges.

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