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skeptic

Eagle Scout Reference Letters

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Very confusing info coming out of our roundtable this evening about the Eagle references, and the traditional letters. I am still trying to get the specific details on the council advancement decision regarding this, but if I understood the executive correctly, they have decided that the letters are no longer required to be requested by the candidate or his family. If the board wants letters, they themselves will need to contact the scout's references.

 

Now this makes no sense to me, and seems to take another mode of showing responsibility and ability to communicate with adults away from the scout. It also is putting an unfair burden on board chairs.

 

The executive said that the decision is based on the advancement committee's interpretation of the National guidelines; that nowhere are letters required to be obtained by candidates. They simply are told to list references; and contacting them is the board's responsibility.

 

Tried to find written specifics on National site, but of course could not. Maybe someone can point me to the right link, if it exists on line. Will try to read anything in the council office, and also speak with the district advancement chair.

 

Thanks for any clarification someone here might give me.

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The requirement as listed on the Eagle Application itself:

 

"REQUIREMENT 2. Demonstrate that you live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law in your daily life. List the names of individuals who know you personally and would be willing to provide a recommendation on your behalf."

 

Think of it as you would a job resume and application where one lists references and the potential employer contacts the references directly. This is how it is in the "adult" world.

 

Now the scout should always ask the references first before listing them on the resume as a courtesy.

 

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Advancement Committee Guide, Policy & Procedures, pg. 31, Twelve Steps to Eagle, #5:

 

"When the completed application is received at the council service center, its contents will be verified and ther references contacted. the council advancement committee or its designee contacts the person listed as a reference on the Eagle Scout Rank Application either by letter, form, or telephone checklist. The council determinse the method of methods to be used. The candidate should have contacted those individuals listed as references before including their names on the application. The candidate should not be involved personally in transmitting any correspondence between persons listed as references and the council service center."

 

Somewhere else, and I can't find the reference right now, the book specifies that collecting reference letters in not the responsibility of the Scout and that an application or Board of Reveiw MAY NOT be delayed due to the failure of a reference to provide a letter in a timely manner.

 

Sounds like your council is operating by the book. I wish they would talk to our advancement committee.

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That said, I think it is a very healthy excersize to have the scout collect reference letters.

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Here is a quote from the "Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures" guidebook http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf

 

"When the completed application is received at the council service center, its contents will be verified and the references contacted. The Scout shall have listed six references (five if no employer, and parent if no organized religious association). The council advancement committee or its designee contacts the references on the Eagle Scout

Rank Application, either by letter, form, or telephone checklist. (The council determines the method or methods to be used.)

 

The candidate should have contacted individuals listed as references before including their names on the application. If desired by the council, the candidate may be asked to deliver a blank reference form and envelopes to the listed references. The candidates should not be involved personally in transmitting any correspondence between people listed as references and the council service center or advancement committee.

 

If the initial reference letter or form is not returned to the council in a timely manner, the council advancement committee must make direct contact with the reference(s) listed on the Eagle Scout Rank Application on its own, by follow-up letter, phone contact, or other methods as it chooses. The candidate shall not be required to make a follow-up contact with the reference or submit other reference names.

 

A Scout cannot have a board of review denied or postponed because the council office or council advancement committee does not receive he reference letter forms he delivered."

 

What Twocubdad quoted was from a previous revision, what I have is current. The basic information is the same, the boy cannot transmit the letter from the reference to the board. This has been the procedure for a long time.(This message has been edited by click23)

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Read the wording "A list of references willing to provide a letter.."

No where in National's materials does it say letters of recommendation are required, and the method of contacting those references is left up to the council.

 

My take is this is yet another case where there is total inconsistency in the manner which this is interpreted nationwide, and it seems to left to the sole discretion of the SE. In my current council the SE decided letters were unnecessary and the council person may call one or two references listed on the application at their discretion.

 

 

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So, while the scout themselves apparently should not be required to obtain letters, the council/district could arrange to have the troop send out the requests; or they could add additional burden to the actual board of review and ask them to do it, or call.

 

I think National really needs to review this, and make sure that supporting references "are required in writing". If they feel that somehow this is overburdening the candidate, then they need to specify where the contacts should be made; but it seems to me they should be made by those closest to the candidate. Not sure why it is such a problem to have the candidate request the letters; they are simply mailed to the council or the district directly in some manner. Then the scout will not have them personally. But, as pointed out, this is one more opportunity for the scout to inter-relate with adults on an adult level; it is part of their growth.

 

Totally agree that a reasonable time frame for the letter receipt should be expected, and no board should be held up due to a missing letter or two. They also need to clarify the "religious" reference, making sure that unchurched scouts understand they can have anyone that is deemed able to reflect on their adherence to the twelfth law.

 

What I see happening here is that the contact is being thrown back on the review board; and it is not likely to happen consistently, nor be able to be reviewed easily by the whole board. That is why the letters are so important.

 

 

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Having letters was never required, but if I were the scout in question, I'd provide the letters with teh ap. No only does this look good, it removed potential road blocks.

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Gotta applaud your council with following the procedure! Most don't. They place the burden on the Scout or the unit to get letters when they are not required then they hold up EBOR's because they don't have them.

 

Also not the wording

 

The council advancement committee or its designee contacts the references on the Eagle Scout

Rank Application, either by letter, form, or telephone checklist. (The council determines the method or methods to be used.)

 

Nowhere does it state anyone, INCLUDING the Scout, contact any of the references by any method.

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The candidate should have contacted individuals listed as references before including their names on the application. "If desired by the council, the candidate may be asked to deliver a blank reference form and envelopes to the listed references." The candidates should not be involved personally in transmitting any correspondence between people listed as references and the council service center or advancement committee.

 

 

The sentence with the quotes is where our problem appears to lie. If this is the current, most up to date reading, then I am even more confused as why this is suddenly an issue. We have for many years given the candidate the letter forms and cover, then told them to have them mailed to the district board chair or the council office. He has not been directly involved in the actual transmission of the letters, unless he somehow did not follow instructions. A few "have" been asked to follow up; and there is where the flack has apparently occurred.

 

But our advancement committee's recent decision seems to fly in the face of the above statement, and pretty much discourages the letters.

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Our district will hold up a BOR until they have 4 letters. Letters are mailed to the BOR chair so the scout has to call to check and see if the letters are in. If not he has to call and hound the referenes to send in their letters.

 

 

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I am amused by my council's Eagle guidelines, which says (a direct quote): "The application requires six references to be listed, with only the employer reference allowed to be omitted if the candidate has no employer."

 

I pointed out to someone on the district advancement committee that there might be six lines listed, but the wording clearly does not require that all six lines be filled in. When I asked our committee chair (his son recently went through an Eagle Board of Review) he said they didn't fill out all six lines (so, by extension, the committee isn't really requiring six references).

 

Other council guidelines place the burden of getting reference letters directly on the unit Advancement Chair, which I don't think is unreasonable. A single unit presumably has fewer Eagle candidates a year to deal with than an entire district advancement committee.

 

Guy

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You need to be carefull when quoting: Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures since is somewhat dated.

 

Since the 12 steps to Eagle on the Project work book and the Eagle Application have some updated wording that is not in Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures. The application and the 12 steps superceed procedure spelled out in ACP&P

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To throw another monkey wrench into this situation, maybe with the fact that more boys are receiving the Eagle these days, with the easing of the requirements, that National/Council doesn't want to spend the time and resources necessary to do a thorough reference check of the candidates for Eagle.

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I can't say the letters add much to the process. For one, there is the usual problem with references that no one ever provides a contact for someone unless they're sure they will provide a good reference. Secondly, with most Eagle BoRs being conducted by troop members with one rep from the district, most of the folks on the board have known the candidate for years.

 

So a candidate shows up for his board with his Scoutmaster's and Committee Chairman's signature on his application having met all the requirements, but is turned down by the BoR on the basis of a poor reference. What do you think will happen on appeal?

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