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We had this situation come up in our troop (not my son) and I am wondering what the policies are concerning not passing a scout for his board of review.


First of all, I have read that the board of review is for the purpose of reviewing the troops, not the scout so retesting is should not be an option. That being said, the scoutmaster has the authority to sign off during the SM conference and that validates that all the requirements have been met.


The board was for a young scout that was advancing to Life Scout. The board felt that because it was the rank before eagle the scout had not shown enough leadership in his position and should spend more time doing so before advancing. The scout did hold the position for 6 months but did not function in that role more than once or twice.

I'm interested to hear your comments on what the purpose the board of review should serve and when should a scout be denied advancement?


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That is complete bull. A board can not make any changed or require additional things beyond what it states in the requirement. I suggest reading the Guide to Advancement, it is extremely enlightening.

I suspect that the BOR members are adding requirements for the Life rank - which would be a violation of policy.   What requirement did the boy not complete?   The Scoutmaster already signed of

Not passing a bor should not be a susprise to the Scout. He should have known before as it should have been discussed with him about his lack of leadership. That being said.

Your Scoutmaster signed off the boy during the SM conference. Therefore in the view of your SM the boy HAD met all the qualifications for the next rank to include leadership. So I assume that the board members and the SM should sit down and discuss this in detail.

The boy only has to be in the leadership position. If nothing is required of him during that six months that is not the fault of the boy. He was put in that position and he served his time. If no one gave him anything to do then he did was he was told to do. May be the lack of a duty is instead the failing of an adult?

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I suspect that the BOR members are adding requirements for the Life rank - which would be a violation of policy.


What requirement did the boy not complete?


The Scoutmaster already signed off on the POR, right? I don't believe that the BOR has the right to undo that signoff. If he didn't complete the POR then the SM shouldn't have signed off. Now that he did - that is too late - it should not be the boy who pays the price of that misunderstanding between the SM and the Committee members.


I feel sorry for the Scout and would most likely advise him to find a new troop.


Yeah, I know that procedures say the BOR team - Troop Committee members - have the responsibility to "to determine the Scouts attitude and his acceptance of Scoutings ideals", "make sure that good standards have been met in all phases of the Scouts life", and have a "discussion of the Scout Oath and Scout Law" "to make sure that the candidate recognizes and understands the value of Scouting in his home, unit, school, and community."


BUT, to considering most Troop Committee members have marginal background in Scouting to begin with, I would say it had better be a MAJOR transgression from the ideals of Scouting in order for a BOR to reject a Scout.



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If I were the SM of this Troop the committee could expect my resignation today!!

How dare they!!

I signed off saying that this Scout had done what was required.

Now it would seem that the committee is saying that I don't know what I'm doing.

While of course I don't know all the details.

But from what you posted it seems this committee feels that this Scout is not old enough?

Someone needs to talk with this lot and explain what a BOR is!

The board of review should be a way of encouraging the individual Scout. The Board of Review is the most personal method in Scouting to assess the needs and desires of a Scout, to encourage and support him, to learn of his fears and hopes, to help him to see himself in the greater context of Scouting, and to encourage his personal growth, both in skills and in living up to the ideals of Scouting.

Maybe it's the Committee that should resign?


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This scout was a Star for the exact time (6 months) and met all the merit badge requirements. I do not believe this scout was able to shadow anyone in his position or if the PLC made any arrangements to prepare him. I am not sure if the SM had any training with him. This is not an isolated problem as we have had other boys come to the board with the SM conference signed off but no evidence of them working in their position.

Does the board of review have the authority to deny the scout advancement? I think that the boards position is to bring it up with the SM and fix it at the troop level, not an individual scout.

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I just want to say the scout does not yet know that it was advised that he failed the BOR. At this time, I think we need to pull the board back together and explain what our job as a board is and let the SM know that we have concerns with the scouts fulfilling their positions. His position was Instructor.

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Playing Devil's Advocate here. One thing we need to remember is that even IF a SM doesn't advise a scout seek a BOR for advancement during a SMC, the SM still gave a SMC and needs to sign off on it per regs.



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"Take part in a Scoutmaster conference." is all the requirement says. And, yes, the SM can and I have said, I don't advise you proceeding under these circumstances. When they do and have trouble and the BOR comes back to the me and questions it, I tell them what I advised the boy and yes, he doesn't pass the BOR.


Just because one has a SMC doesn't mean the SM has dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's. It's not his responsibility to review the boy's progress, only give a conference. The BOR is to review the boy's progress, (thus the title) and if they find the boy lacking they have the responsibility to act on it.


"Complete your board of review." The members of the board can postpone their decision, thus the review is not complete until they say so. There is no such thing as failing a BOR. If they say he's failed the BOR, he has in fact completed it. The requirement does not say successfully complete your BOR, just complete it.


Technicality? Sure, but there are a lot of assumptions floating around Scout Spirit, SMC's and BOR's that aren't spelled out in the requirements.


1) the PL marks off his buddy's Scout Spirit requirement.


2) SM has a conference and says nope, not acceptable. Yep, but the boy did - "Take part in a Scoutmaster conference."


3) BOR says nope, you don't pass this board's recommendation for rank, we're done here. Yep, but the boy did - "Complete your board of review."


However, when all is said and done, the boy has in fact at this point met all the requirements for rank and should get it if one sticks to the letter of the law in the requirements.



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Yes, the Board of Review absolutely has the right to deny an advancement. It is not a rubber stamp and as Scoutmaster I do not believe that if I say he advances he should advance. (Sorry, Eamonn, but if I were Committee Chair, I would accept your resignation.) While one of their functions of the board is to evaluate the overall troop program and report back to the troop committee, its primary function is to determine if the Scout as met the requirements for the rank. While it's not a re-test, a well-trained board understands how to get at this without tossing the kid a rope and demanding he tie knots.


For example, if your Scout appeared before me I may ask what subjects he taught as an Instructor. Hopefully, the kid will tear into a long discussion of the three or four subjects he's accomplished with, how he makes the instruction fun and a story about how cool it is to watch the light bulbs come on when his students finally "get it."


On the other hand, if the answers I get are a lot of "I dunno" and grunts, I'm going to dig and really question the boy about his service as Instructor. If the board doesn't feel he completed the requirement satisfactorily, the board may ask the Scout to step out while they contact the Scoutmaster for clarification. As SM, I've been called into boards when kids have gone into brain lock and couldn't remember anything about a particular requirement.


In the end, the Board of Review may deny the rank to the Scout. If so, they are obligated to provide in writing their reason for the denial, what the Scout needs to do to meet the requirement and the process for appealing the denial, if the Scout chooses to do so.


All this is laid out in the Advancement Committee Guidelines and Policy manual which should be available at your local Scout shop.


This sounds to me that your advancement committee and Scoutmaster are out of sync in terms of their expectations of the program. I don't know enough about the situation to say if the committee, Scoutmaster or both are out of line. I absolutely agree that you need to sit down with the Scoutmaster and work out the differences.


Personally, I agree with the board on the point that as a Life Scout candidate they need to hold this kid's feet to the fire. They're right. Now is the time to have that conversations, not in another six months when they are facing the same issues at his Eagle Board of Review. Currently there's another thread open about minimal standards for Eagle Scout. One of the most important points in that thread is that Scouts who are doing borderline work need to be challenged from Tenderfoot on -- don't wait until their Eagle board. It sounds to me like this board is doing just that.(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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I some what agree Eamonn in that it reflects badly on the SM and his program.


But the committee of one scout unit out there kicking back a scout who is not in their interpretation ready for the advancement is in fact good for scouting.


I see a lot of posts citing the root cause of all these matters as scout spirit. I am convinced that the root cause is in the POR's. Most scouts aren't ready at 11, 12 even 13 for the high demands of being an SPL, PL or quartermaster. The maturity and sense of responsibility isn't there for most.


In the original post it was identified that the POR function was fulfilled just twice over a six month period. Hardly enough to pass judgment on the scouts leadership development (one of the eight methods of scouting).


The committee should speak with the SM and assess the leadership development program within the troop and the expected responsibility of the scouts. The SM must feel comfortable in the knowledge that the committe will support him requiring POR's be fully completed or to give only partial credit.


Then and only then will the unit's program side and Parent (read committee) will be in allignment with one another.




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From the BSA Board of Review Training -


>>"The board of review is how the troop committee (or the Eagle Scout board of review) tracks the progress of a Scout to determine his understanding of the ideals of Scouting and how he applies them in daily life in the troop. If the board of review is for rank advancement, the board will satisfy itself that the Scout has done what he was supposed to do for that rank and will review with the Scout the requirements for the next rank. The board of review is also a way of reviewing the troop's progress.">"But be aware that a Scout who is poorly prepared for the board, one who clearly has not achieved what his book says that he has, is a product, as much of his own merits as of the merits of those who have brought him the board, to those who have signed off his accomplishments without actually having them properly achieved. Thus, a Scout may not be as responsible for his lack of preparation as might be thought. This does not grant carte blanche to the ill-prepared Scout, but it does give the board a way to understand what must be done and to assist the Scout in doing it."


You state that the problem of not training, or mentoring, a Scout in his POR is an ongoing problem in your Troop. What has the BOR recommended in the past? What has the Committee done about this problem?


It sounds to me like this Scout did his POR in the only way he knew how, or was allowed to do it. He was then signed off on having properly completed his POR, and submitted for advancement by his SM.


The Troop program needs to be fixed ASAP so that this does not continue any longer.


One other thing you mentioned did stand out to me as a problem.



>>"I just want to say the scout does not yet know that it was advised that he failed the BOR.">"Once you have interviewed the Scout, the board will ask him to leave the room so that the members may deliberate. As this is often the most stressful part of the process for the Scout, this deliberation should not be long. However, it should be long enough to have a discussion that leads to a unanimous decision. When the meeting is finished, the Scout should be invited back in to hear the board's decision, which, of course, should be delivered in a friendly and supportive manner, regardless of what the decision is.">"If the Scout is not advancing, the board should certainly give the Scout the opportunity of learning what he needs to do to advance. He should be given a definite time for a subsequent board of review. Finally he should be given information about appeal procedures.">"In a good troop, having a Scout deferred for advancement by the board of review is unusual. If there is a problem with a Scout, normally he will not be presented to the board of review."

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When the board ended, the scout was asked to step outside so the board could discuss his advancement. Since it was time for the troop meeting to end, the scout ended up seeing his parent in the parking lot and leaving. His 6 months of Star actually is in the middle of the week so he knew his book could not be signed until the next meeting.


We did have this problem before, we called in the scout master and discussed POR problems. We had a scout who was the OA rep, but our OA was having problems so they weren't meeting. Our scout then had no information to report. Our problem now is we passed him, is it fair not to pass the other scout who actually did do a few instructions.


Fortunately, we have a wonderful troop where we are not fighting over this. We are trying to find what is right and not take it out on the boys because we do believe the root of it is in our program. However, what do we do NOW with the scouts that are advancing. Thanks for all your input.

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Which Life or Eagle requirements involve the need to "hold this kid's feet to the fire"?


That is the kind of nonsense that drives me crazy. Let me spell out the Life requirements:


1. Be active in your troop and patrol for at least 6 months as a Star Scout.


From the Advancement Committee Policies & Procedures:

"A Scout will be considered active in his unit if he is

(1) Registered in his unit (registration fees are current)

(2) Not dismissed from his unit for disciplinary reasons

(3) Engaged by his unit leadership on a regular basis

(informed of unit activities through Scoutmaster conference or personal contact, etc.)"


That last part is in the book - I didn't make that up.


2. Demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath (Promise) and Scout Law in your everyday life.


From the Advancement Committee Policies & Procedures:

"Scout spirit is defined as living the Scout Oath (Promise) and Scout Law in a Scouts everyday life."


3. Earn 5 more merit badges (so that you have 11 in all), including any 3 more from the required list for Eagle'


4. While a Star Scout, take part in service projects totaling at least 6 hours of work. These projects must be approved by your Scoutmaster.


From the Advancement Committee Policies & Procedures:

"This may be done as an individual project or as a member of a patrol or troop project. Star and Life service projects may be approved for Scouts assisting on Eagle service projects.

The Scoutmaster approves the project before it is started."


5. While a Star Scout, serve actively 6 months in one or more of the positions of responsibility listed in requirement 5 for Star Scout (or carry out a Scoutmaster-assigned leadership project to help the troop).


Note that this doesn't specify that a Scout has to complete a project, or a series of tasks, or attend a number of meetings or outings. From what I can tell this is the requirement most adult leaders use to mess with Scouts by telling them that they didn't do enough, or didn't shown enough leadership.


6. Take part in a Scoutmaster conference.


From the Advancement Committee Policies & Procedures:

"The requirement for advancement is that the Scout participates in a Scoutmaster conference, not that he passes the conference."


7. Complete your board of review.


From the Advancement Committee Policies & Procedures:

"The review has three purposes:

To make sure the work has been learned and completed

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

To encourage the Scout to advance to the next rank"


"The review is not an examination. The Scout has learned his skill and has been examined. This is a review. The Scout should be asked where he learned his skill, who taught him, and the value he gained from passing this requirement.


The Scout reviews what he did for his rank. From this review, it can be determined whether he

did what he was supposed to do. The review also reveals what kind of an experience the Scout is having in the troop. With that knowledge, the troop leaders can shape the program to meet the needs and interests of the Scouts.


The board should attempt to determine the Scouts ideals and goals. The board should make

sure that a good standard of performance has been met. A discussion of the Scout Oath and Scout Law is in keeping with the purpose of the review, to make sure the candidate recognizes and understands the value of Scouting in his home, unit, school, and community."


Again, which requirement did he not complete?

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What do we do now?


First get with the SM and review what your concerns were. Then establish what the scout must do. For example, lead a or plan an outing. If its a scribe, present a topic or two on advancement. What ever is needed have the SM be specific as (two canpouts, and two more months).


This literal and itemized approach by some is over the top. Its in the scout's interest to make sure he has fulfilled his POR.


The world of scout is not dis-served by the actions of your committee. Its functioning much as it should. By not passing a scout while maintaining a sense of compassion for the youth the body of adults is doing the right thing.


Just be clear in what is expected of this scout.





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