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BOR and POR Fullfillment

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Beevah responded to a comment in another thread:


(original thread) "Also, what about a POR that the scout has done "in name only" for the entire time he has had the job. If the Scoutmaster signs off on his book, then I'm assuming the committee must approve."


(Beevah's Response) "The reason there's a committee is as a check and balance on the SM, eh? If da committee in a BOR really doesn't feel the lad has met the requirements, they are honor-bound to say "no." The SM may choose to appeal on da boys behalf, and the district or council or Irving may agree and award the rank. None of that changes the committee's duty to call it like they see it, and be honest about whether the boy has fulfilled da requirements."


Interesting quandry which we've had great discussions on in the past in my unit. There's a couple of issues here:

1. If I sign off on a requirement, how can the BOR turn down the Scout because they feel he didn't meet the requirements? Isn't this adding to the requirements? Isn't this re-testing?


My understanding has always been that if the committee has a problem with this, they are supposed to address it with me, as an issue of MY performance - not the Scouts'.


2. Is the Committee/BOR really qualified to know if a Scout has met the requirements of a POR?


This discussion has come up in our unit because members of the BOR didn't feel a Scout was doing a very good job as XX (pick a position, it really doesn't matter). As committee members, all they ever see is quite literally - 1 hour a week. Based on their observations, which do tend to be much more superficial, they are making a judgement about something much larger. Often it comes down to "he doesn't seem very enthusiastic in the meeting", or "I'd like to see the Librarian become much more active in promoting the use of the Library", or "I think the Quartermaster should be doing this".


For the SPL/ASPL, that one hour may be enough to get an idea, but most of the time "meeting the requirements" is going to happen outside of the weekly Troop meeting. Unless you are on a campout, you're not going to see the bulk of the real work done by a lot of the youth. Some of the best examples of leadership, I've found, come in the middle of the week of summer camp when everyone is melting down and the youth leader steps forward and keeps things going. Other examples are much more subtle - quite often it seems that the Committee is looking to define "leadership" as being "the boss" and being out front all of the time. However, if I am really doing my job well as SM, then you're not going to see me at the front of the room during the meetings. This is a concept we work hard to educate the Scouts about (the difference between leading and bossing).


While most of the positions have a meeting time component, I would argue that most of their work happens before, during and after a campout,or some other outing. That said, how can a committee member determine if the Scout has met the requirements, if they don't truly see the Scout in action?


Just wondering how others see/handle this situation?


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Bob S.


1. No

Read the Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures manual regarding the board of review. It is the board's job to make sure that the scout completed the requirements according to the handbook. So while they cannot say "here are ropes and spars lash together a useful camp gadget" as that would be restesting, they can say, "For one of your requirements you were to use lashings to construct a useful camp gadget. What did you make?


This can be done with any requirement to see if the scout completed the requirements according to the BSA required elements. If the Scout did not then the board can withold the advancement until the requirements are completed correctly.


2. If they aren't then they have only themselves to blame. Why have they not been talking with the scoutmaster about the operations of the troop and the growth of the scouts? Do they only talk about what they do at the Committee meetings or are they asking questions of the Scoutmaster about the program. Is the adult treasurer talking to the youth treasurer? Is the adult equipment coordinator talkling with the youth quartermaster? Is the Advancement Chair talking to the SM and the SPL?


If the Committee doesn't know what is going on in the troop then what are they doing?


Is the scoutmaster going into the board before the scout and talking with the board members about the growth or growth needs of the scout? If not why not?


Communications is an important part of leadership isn't it?



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Bob White:


I agree completely with what you said - from a philosophical point - it's the implementation that's always a challenge. In my experience in our unit, the committee is usually made up of parents who don't want the day to day involvement in the program, but "know" how it should be done.


Myself and the Assistant Scoutmasters have all gone through various levels of training, including Wood Badge (5, including me, have their beads and a 5th is working his ticket currently), however no one on the current committee has yet to complete any training. I understand your viewpoint and explanation of the BOR responsibility, but still don't see how it can be done practically and on a consistent basis (at least in our unit). As SM, I've had discussions with the Committee on a number of these issues because it comes down to personal opinion and agendas. Here are a couple of examples of the issues I've had to work with/on with regards to this situation:


1. Committee members felt that a Scout should not be allowed to pursue Eagle after they turned 17, because if the Scout really wanted/was Eagle material they would have completed the requirements before then (old committee). They were "tired" of Scouts cramming at the end of their Scouting careers.

2. CM felt the SPL wasn't doing a good job, because he wasn't running the PLC meetings as efficiently as they wanted.

3. In the example you gave, interpreting the requirements (while I've not had to argue that a weather rock is "useful", I've had some other equally insane discussions)


These are just a small sample of some of the issues that we've run into, along with the usual "Does this qualify as an Eagle Project because there's not 100 hours of work, it doesn't seem hard enough, is that really a worthwhile cause, wouldn't (this) be a better or more worthy projcet?" etc.


I believe the question/answer comes down (once again) to training. Our unit needs to get the committee members trained. I know that. Until then these discussions will continue, however I don't think that's a bad thing. I personally believe these "philosophical" discussions within the unit are a training opportunity in themselves, and the more we can get everyone involved in the discussions, the better the unit ultimately is.


One question for you - under your description, do you consider it proper for the BOR to turn down a Scout for rank advancement, because they don't feel he earned (met the requirements) for a merit badge?


Again, a couple of different situations in the past. The Advancement Chair didn't like the fact that one of the Scouts earned a MB at a "one-day clinic" and wanted to not count that badge toward Star or Life. In another situation a candidate for Life could not remember what he did for a specific requirement for one of the first merit badges he earned his first summer at camp.


In both of these situations, I met with the Board after they met with the Scout, but before they made their decision. Just curious, how would you handle this?

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No, it's not proper to turn a kid down at a BOR if they don't feel he has met the requirements for a merit badge. Once a MB counselor has said he met it, he's met it. It would be overturned on appeal in a heartbeat. I'm assuming, of course, that the Board followed procedures by telling the boy he had the option of appeal (silly assumption I'm pretty sure). Your board seems to view their role as preventing advancement.


As for remembering something specific on a requirement from x years ago, Ask the Advancement Chair what he had for lunch on such and such a date 2-3 weeks ago. If he/she can't do that, ...


(This message has been edited by molscouter)

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Yah, BobS, da problem is that the materials tell us how to run a program well, eh? They don't tell us what to do when some particular aspect of the program isn't running well.


What you're describin' has nothing to do with my original statement on how the program is supposed to run, eh? What you're describin' is a committee that perhaps wasn't chosen very well, and that doesn't have a lot of skill or training. Forget the BOR issue, you've got a bigger fish to fry.


I'd suggest that your CC and COR start by placin' expectations on the committee for training, and then at recharter and for the future actually takin' time to select committee members. Recruit people with knowledge and skills from the CO, from the parents, from the community (a mix!). Vet people to make sure they understand and buy into the mission of the CO and share the vision for the unit.


Just because you're SM and have beads doesn't mean you own that vision yourself. It's somethin' that you properly share with the committee, and that includes takin' feedback and negotiating parts of the vision with those other people of good will. So just as an example, while the committee shouldn't necessarily reject a badge earned at a one-day clinic, they certainly could tell you not to participate as a troop in such things in the future, and they certainly should go have a pointed conversation with the district staff if their examination shows that BSA's expectations for merit badge counseling weren't met.


But yeh first need a committee that's a real partner, and that really represents the mission and vision of the Chartered Org.




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Lets look at the trhee situations you offer and see what the solution could be Bob.


"1. Committee members felt that a Scout should not be allowed to

pursue Eagle after they turned 17, because if the Scout really wanted/was Eagle material they would have completed the requirements before then (old committee). They were "tired" of Scouts cramming at the end of their Scouting careers."


The committee has no say in the matter as this is a matter of BSA policy and it cannot be altered by the committee. Your jon as the Scoutmaser is to be the manager of the advancement program. You are in charge of advancement the committee plays a role but they gave no authority over the BSa policies, and it is your role to help them understand what those policies are.


There are not asked to determine whether or not a scout should cram, I am sure when they crammed for their exams in highschool and college that no teacher was allowed to not pass them because they crammed.


Just because they have personal issues should have no effect on your role as the mmanager of advancement. If they say they don't like scouts cramming simply remind them that are not asked to make that determination., They re restricted to determining if the scout followed the requirements.


"2. CM felt the SPL wasn't doing a good job, because he wasn't running the PLC meetings as efficiently as they wanted."


How would the committee member know? Committee embers are not suppposed to be at PLCs Bob, just the Scoutmaster and the PLC members.

You need to get the Committee chair to get the committee members doing their job, and allow you to do your. Let committee members know that if they are needed aat a PLC they will be invited, unitil then it ios the SPLs meeting and not theirs. You will be happy to keep them informed as to the decisions of the PLC.


3. In the example you gave, interpreting the requirements (while I've not had to argue that a weather rock is "useful", I've had some other equally insane discussions)"


Bob, when you read the handbook beyond the pages that the requirements are listed on you find the explanation of the requirement. in this case you will see examples of the kinds of camp gadgets that the scout can build. Hopefully you know what the scout has built long before he gets top a BOR because you were at the outing observing him when he built it and making sure he used the correct knots and that the items was useful BEFORE you alllowed the requirement to be signed off.


Notice the commonality in all three cases that you provided Bob, The solution in each case was not the committee, but YOU taking a leadership action and responsibility as the Scoutmaster.


There is nothing wrong in the unit that you cannot fix by applying leadership to the Methods of Scouting.





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