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Need help to get through Scout Master conference for Eagle

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My son is going to have a very tough Scout Master Conference for Eagle, as his scout master doesnt like him, and the feeling is mutual. Could use with some advise as to how to deal with a potential negative Scout Master Conference. I will get right down to the facts of the matter.

Sorry if this takes a while but I want you to get a full picture.

-Son Started shortly before 13th birthday,very gung ho, extremely active in everything scouts. Great scoutmaster dealt well with him.

-Had Some documented memory problems and ADHD that caused him to be pretty wild and forgetful, enough so that i went on almost all campouts just to help keep him on track and not wondering off.

-He went on every single campout, activity, scout meeting, every chance to do a merit badge he did them.

-I admit he was a handful.In fact there was a time period i wasnt sure if he was going to graduate high school or end up in Juvenile hall.

-Move forward a couple years, several scoutmasters later

-He is now a sophomore in high school and so significantly different than he was, people cant believe it. He joined a venture crew for a year although the crew folded. He went to Philmont and had a great time, He completed NYLT. He became a camp counsolor last year. He even has taken extra First aid training classes through the red cross. He likes the concept of scouting, and has expressed a desire to continue with another venture crew but at the age of 16 cant stand his troop activies and more so just doesnt like most of the adult leaders.

-i have watched from the sidelines this past year and if he hadnt been so close to his Eagle would have begged him to switch troops. It seems like anytime he is not with his troop but with other scouts he excels in leadership and the adults have nothing but great things to say about him. But put him back in his old troop its like the adults especially the scoutmaster havent forgotten how he was and dont see how he is.

-Present day...he has completed everything required for Eagle except the scoutmaster conference. However he now has a job on the weekends (so misses the majority of the campouts in the last 5 months but does try to attend them) and its wrestling season and so is now missing the troop meetings. He has never missed one activity just because he didnt want to go, it has always been due to his work schedule or his high school wrestling schedule.

Scout master has hinted that since he isnt 'participating' he wont pass him at the conference. Its taking everything in his power just to stay in the troop, he just wants to finish up and get on with a venturing crew. He is pretty blunt and is honest so when asked what he will do once an Eagle he tells them - the truth, ok not very PC but basically not staying with the troop.

If ever i have seen a person desrving of becoming a Eagle scout it is my son. The obstacles he has faced and overcame to become the young man he is have been extrordinary.


So when he goes to a conference with a scoutmaster that only remembers all the negative in him no matter all the good he has been doing how should he respond...or is the scoutmaster right since in the past 4 months he hasnt been very active tough luck all his hard work is for nothing. Please help with advise.

Thank You

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Here is the good news. Your son cannot fail a Scoutmaster's Conference.


It is not a pass or fail requirement. It is a "had" or "hasn't had" situation.


Sit down with your son and read the actual requirement and you will see that it simply says "Participate in a Scoutmaster Conference" once your son participates the requirement has been met.


Here is what I would do. Remind your sone to wear a clean, neat unoform. Be polite, andswwer questions in a positive and polite manner no matter what else happens.


Ask the committee chair to meet you wherever the conference is going to be. While your son is talking to the scoutmaster you talk to the Chairman. Explain to him or her atht you are concerned that after this meeting the scoutmaster may say that your son has failed the conference. Have the Chairman read the requirement and point out that it is not a pass or fail requirement but simple says that the confernce must take place.


Ask him or her to talk to the scoutmaster immediately following the confernce should he choose to try and fail your son, so that he or she can explain to the scoutmaster how the advancment requirement actual works works.


You should be able to leave with a signed advancement.


Good luck to your son and congratulations to him on his eforts to attain the Eagle Rank.




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To start with I would suggest that he read the Eagle requirements very carefully. Requirement 6: "Take part in a Scoutmaster conference". It doesn't say "pass" it says "take part in". Scoutmaster may not see it that way but it has been said time and again on this site that there is no pass or fail here.


Requirement 4: "While a Life scout, serve actively for a period of six months" in one or more of the listed positions of responsibility. It doesn't have to be the six months just before he gets Eagle. Did he fulfill this requirement at anytime while he was a Life scout? If so there should be no impediment to his getting Eagle. I have seen considerable debate on this forum as to what constitutes serving actively but the consensus seems to be that the bar is pretty low. Others can argue whether that is right or wrong, good or bad. If he completed this requirement the SM should sign off on it.


That being said: I would recommend that he approach the Scoutmaster conference politely and in a non-confrontational manner. It is a great life lesson to to have to interact cordially with someone you don't particularly get along with. A smart man I know once said that in every meeting you should "assume good will".


If in the end the SM refuses to sign the application then he not following the requirements and the scout will have grounds to take this to other authorities: Committee chair, Chartered Organization Rep, Institution Head and/or District Advancement Chair.


Frankly I don't think it will come to this. I think if the scout knows that the SM does not control the outcome it will take a lot of pressure off and help the SM conference go smoothly.

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Requirement 4: "While a Life scout, serve actively for a period of six months" in one or more of the listed positions of responsibility. It doesn't have to be the six months just before he gets Eagle. Did he fulfill this requirement at anytime while he was a Life scout? If so there should be no impediment to his getting Eagle


Thanks Im afraid several of our boys have given up for awhile because the scoutmaster has everyone believing if they arent participating at that very moment they arent qualified. We had almost resigned ourselves to the recourse he would have to wait until he got a different job so he could make all the campouts.


He is a great boy and i am proud of him, but i think we will practice answering politely questions designed to push his buttons as i am sure this will occur. Being his mom i just wish once the scoutmaster would acknowledge how far he has come and how great he is doing. Unfortunately his son was one of those kids that never seemed to have issues, you know good in school, polite all the time, very mature for his age. Scoutmaster doesnt quite know how to deal with scouts with issues nor have the patience for them. I am just glad although he wants nothing to do with his troop when done he still wants to be active in scouting by continuing with a venture crew.

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Yah, while there's no pass or fail on da Scoutmaster's conference per se, there is a pass or fail in terms of the Scoutmaster recommending a boy for Eagle Scout. No signature on the form, no BOR without an appeal. And there's nuthin' particularly wrong with a troop expecting a lad going for our highest award to actually be present and contributing to his unit. Leastways, as our mission is teaching character, that's an aspect of character which is important.


I'd take a different tack on this, eh? If your son doesn't care for the troop and the feelin' is mutual, why does he want to receive Eagle from the troop? He's only 16. He should find another crew where he feels comfortable as a regular participant and leader, and apply for Eagle from the crew with the approval of his new advisor. All the project stuff still counts. It'd be a quick thing.


People of strong character don't hang out at the edges of organizations they disagree with strongly just to get an award. They voice their disagreement, and either stay and fight for changes in an active way or leave and go do somethin' more worthwhile.




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As Beavah stated, he can earn his Eagle as a Venture Crew member.


I think that your son should go forward with the SMC, though. Work with him on how to handle questions that may be purposefully pointed to rile him. Work with him on staying calm and cool, and not blowing his lid. If the SM tries this tactic, just have your son ask the following question as the answer; "No disrespect meant sir, but is not a scout suppose to be helpful, friendly, courteous and kind? If so, how is this question relevant?" If the questions are open ended, have him steer the answer toward his achievements. Tell him to answer honestly, but be diplomatic at the same times. Have him express some of his concerns about the troop, and what he feels may help.


My oldest had a few off the wall questions thrown at him at his DEBOR relating to his Native hertiage to see how he responded. One was how he felt about Natives running casinos, and if that was "Morally Straight"? Luckily, he has always had a quick wit about him, and answered "We took our lead from the Whiteman".


If asked what he will do after achieving Eagle, inform the SM that he feels a Crew will be a better fit for him in the future. Have your son make an offer to the SM during the conference, asking the SM what your son may be able to do to help the SM with the troop? Maybe the SM will finally see a new and interested scout, not the old one, and finally except your son.


If your son stays and has his ECOH with the troop, he will have a few minutes to talk and thank people who helped him on his road to Eagle. Have him discuss how he overcame some of his obstacles, being ADHD. Have him make light of some of his challenges, he was camp staffer. They know how to find the humor in things and make fun of themselves and others. If the other scouts see that he can do it, it may give them incentive to continue toward their goal.(This message has been edited by ASM915)

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Here are my thoughts ...


1) I am not 100% sure here but I think it may be possible for a Assistant Scoutmaster to sign off the SM Conference


2) If the SM is not helpful you may need to talk to some one at District level like maybe the District Commissioner or District Advancement Chair may be able to guide you ... also Council can give you some guidance and tell you what the appeal processes are ...


3) I have a friend that had problems and ended up going through a long drawn out process but got appeal and got a board -- he is now an Eagle ....


Hope my ramblings were helpful...


Scott Robertson




Helping leaders one resource at a time....

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Folks have posted that the SM Conference is not pass or fail. They are correct. KSscoutmom - I hope things work out for your son. My post is not meant to imply that your son is like the Scout I'm writing about, but merely to show perspective from the SM point of view about an Eagle candidate that didn't like me very much.


He was what I refer to as a legacy Scout - earned his ranks up to Life with our much loved former SM. I came in and changes were made. My goal was to turn the troop around to a boy-led troop. A hard road that took about four years to achieve.


The Scout in question was SPL during our first year in transition. He did a reasonably good job considering the former leadership had never required the boys to do much of anything in a POR. After six months and after completing the required time for rank, he stepped down and for the most part we never saw him again. Oh he'd pop in from time to time to see about finishing a few requirements on merit badges, but nothing else. He became, at that point, in it for himself with no regard to the Troop. Yes, he had satisfied being active and holding a POR. I couldn't require him to be there, but it would have been nice.


He was never overtly rude, but I could feel a real dislike for me and for what I was trying to do with the Troop. Simple things like never wearing the uniform, not even our Troop T-shirt - he'd wear some other scout related T, but not the one the boys designed. He'd show up late for a Court of Honor, not in uniform, pick up his awards and leave. I prefer to be addressed as Mrs. B..., but he called me by my first name. Lot's of things like that.


I approved his Eagle project, but when I emailed him to check on his progress he never responded. Then, suddenly the project was done. He showed me pictures of its completion and the sign off from the organization. I've never been excluded from an Eagle candidate's project. I know he does not have to ask the boys in the Troop to help, but I've never known a project to be done without some boy scout helpers.


His mother emailed me several times about setting up his SM Conference. In the years he was a Scout she never contacted me, or even answered emails I sent to her, now she is suddenly involved. She said it's because she knows I didn't like her son and was afraid I would not pass him on his conference. Fact is I liked her son. I was impressed with his commitment to school and civic activities. I explained to her that it was not a pass or fail situation, but a final chance to talk about his years in Scouting, to make sure all the requirements had been completed for Eagle, that his application was filled out properly. I also told her that it was up to him to contact me to schedule the conference. He did finally get in touch, but turned down every date and time I suggested. Finally, he (with his mother) came to my office and we had his conference. Signed him off and congratulated him. I said I would get in touch with the District Advancement Chair to schedule his BOR and that they are normally held on the same night as our District roundtable, which would be coming up the next month.


The next week the troop went to summer camp. When we returned, I called the Advancement Chair to schedule the BOR. To my surprise I found out that the Scout had arranged it himself and it was done. I was hurt. I always like to be there to congratulate the Scout on completing his Eagle BOR. Scout in question even took his application to the Council Office himself. Several weeks later I picked up his award. It was no surprise to me that he didn't want a Court of Honor. He simply came to my office and picked up his packet.


Congratulated him once again and that was that.


"I am just glad although he wants nothing to do with his troop when done he still wants to be active in scouting by continuing with a venture crew."


If that is so, then as others have said have your son join a Venturing Crew now. He can have his conference as part of a Crew and receive his award and recognition from a group he enjoys.

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I don't have my handbooks in front of me, but a training session is on the Scouting.org website.



There are points there are re-emphasised throughout this training, and a requirement for each rank. Scout Spirit. I usually ask if Scout Spirit is just for one hour on Scouting night? I expect them to tell me it is every day. Then I ask if they would say hi to me in the mall, if I walked thru in my Scout uniform. I ask them not to memorize and repeat the Scout law to me, but to actually explain what it means.


There are many sample discussion topics that can be found in the handbooks and in various troops websites. But I would ask you son to concentrate around his Scout Spirit and Scout Law, and to be able to understand it, explain it, but even more to demonstrate and live it. Have you son go back and review the first couple of chapters in the Boy Scout handbook, and not only to repeat it, but understand it.


Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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As others previously posted, the scoutmaster conference is not a pass-fail situation. However, the leadership and scout spirit are requirements that the scoutmaster can use to encourage "remedial" work.


Sounds like your son has already severed ties with the troop and enjoys his time with the venture crew. Have him complete his final steps with them.

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With respect to the several other posters who have suggested that the boy earn the Eagle from a Crew.


One can do that. No problem. However, if one has spent several years in a Troop, joins a crew and then two weeks later applies for Eagle from the Crew it certainly can cause some furrowed brows. IT would likely provoke some very pointed questions from a Board of Review.


I know of Crews and units who would argue that if a Scout transfers into their unit without a reason beyond their control (like moving to another part of the country) they want to see the Scout for a significant period of time before putting him up for advancement. In the limiting case, they might want him to do his 6 months tenure and 6 months position of responsibility in the crew. Granted, he has already accomplished those requirements but are they signed off formally anywhere and will his former Troop give him a reference saying they were done? You get the idea. Could be tricky.


There is a formal procedure in the "Advancement Rules and Regulations" for what happens if the Scoutmaster or Committee Member refuses to sign the Eagle application. Read that and, if necessary, put it into play. Since your son has been a camp staff member, etc. be sure to have letters of reference from his boss at camp, etc. for the Board of Review. Have Scouting people who will submit the letters of reference in his behalf. If there was a previous Scoutmaster, get a letter from the previous Scoutmaster.


There likely won't be a problem but if there is a problem, that's why there is an appeal process.

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A little bit late to the game - but just in case he hasn't had his conference yet, a couple of thoughts on physical reactions. While you're practicing the problematic questions, ask him to make sure he keeps breathing. No kidding. Especially nice, deep breaths. It feels funny when you first start doing it, but it works. The first thing we do when we start to get defensive is our breathing gets shallow - from that point on, the brain doesn't stay oxygenated, adrenaline starts pumping, and we don't have a prayer of staying in control. I also advise folks to try to put a breath in between the stimulus and the reaction - keeps you from saying something without thinking and has the added advantage of making you look really thoughtful (that one is really hard). Also, look for a physical cue that you're getting defensive/angry - for me, it's my elbows tingling. For someone else I know, it's their shoulders knotting up. Then do what it takes to relax - for me, it's leaning back in my chair and unobtrusively adjusting my arms. Leaning back has the advantage of stretching my diaphragm/lung combo which helps breathing:

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