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scheduling boards of review

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Beavah wrote: "Others like artjrk like the consistency and order of havin' a simple notebook procedure.


I think that's a fine way of doing things, fair and keeps things organized. 100% okay with it. I bet the scoutmaster makes a good number of the entries in it himself. But, I don't view that so much as a troop process / procedure as much as the SM way of managing troop chaos. I'd be very okay with that.


I'm pretty much even okay with saying "walk over to the CC and ask for a BOR" or write your name in that book to request a BOR. Yes adding requirements, but fairly innoquious and exists to simplify or organize thigns.


I'm okay with simple steps to keep large troops organized.




BUT, it's very different than what I often find on troop web sites, eagle adv committees, etc. Person after person establishes the next improved process. Scouts are expected to read their Boy Scout handbook, BSA advancement materials and then also the local custom stuff. If it gets rough, then a checklist is added. Or a process diagram. Or another form. Or a .... I'm fine with that for business, engineering and ISO type of environments. You must do it there.


But this is scouts. We are trying to promote human interaction, adult mentorship and good character traits.




The second is believing that others will always respond appropriately to that sort of interpersonal approach. Generally speakin' it only works when there's the sort of person Eagledad talks about - the long-time, well-respected person in the unit who is alpha-dog "keeper of the vision".


The trouble then is that the new troop specific procedures become the long-time, well-respected procedure in the unit who is the alpha-dog "keeper of the vision". I'd much much rather have it be a person and not a procedure.




I don't think we are that far apart. I'm just generally against advising that special troop procedures are even necessary. Buf if really needed or if all else fails, fine. But minimize them. artjrk has a good practice. I'm 100% fine with it. It promotes fairness and organization. BUT I've seen many other troop processes that I just smile at and quickly walk away from. Especially when justied with some reason similar to producing a better scout.




There's plenty of examples out there. Google finds them quickly.


- "Print Board of Review Request Form" ... "When item 1 above is complete, a Scout shall access the Troop website and print a 'Board of Review Request Form,'" ... "Complete this form prior to requesting a SMC and BOR." ... IMHO, the only "form" the scout needs to bring to a SMC is his Boy Scout Handbook. ... Also think about the timing... Complete the requirement (usually at a scouting event). Go home to print form and fill it out. (week delay). Bring it back to schedule review. (2nd week delay). SMC. Schedule a BOR. (3rd week delay).


- "The Advancement Coordinator will fill out and sign a Request for Scoutmasters Conference and Board of Review form for you." - Pretty common practice. A little formal.


- "When all requirements for a rank are completed (other than Scout Sprit, Scoutmaster Conference, and Board of Review) you must bring your Scout Handbook to the Advancement Chairman, who will review your handbook and give you an Advancement report authorizing a Scoutmaster Conference" ... huh? Need permission to talk to the scoutmaster? Really? Also, isn't the BOR to review the handbook to see things are completed? That's why BORs are there.


- "Your Patrol Advisor will conduct your Scoutmasters Conference. Contact him 2-3 days in advance for an appointment. ... The Patrol Advisor is to complete the Personal Growth Agreement Worksheet" - The what ????


- STAR & LIFE - "Obtain a Pre-Service Project Checklist and a Service Project Report Format from the Scoutmaster. Complete checklist and have it approved by the Scoutmaster before you start work on your project." - For star and life ????


- "Complete a Scout Law paper...." -


- "Scouts are required to use a "Leadership Card" to document that they have completed the necessary requirements of their position. These "Cards" are available from the Troop ## Leadership Coordinator and/or the Troop 10 web site: Leadership Position Web Page. .. TO RECEIVE CREDIT THESE "CARDS" MUST BE RETURNED TO THE LEADERSHIP COORDINATOR WITHIN 60 DAYS AFTER A (6 month) LEADERSHIP PERIOD ENDS. NO PARTIAL CREDIT WILL BE GIVEN AFTER THE 60 DAY PERIOD."


- "It is the policy of Troop ## to not accept or make changes to our attendance records after 60 days have passed from the date of the activity."


- "When complete with all other requirements, (including leadership credit), the Scout should see the Advancement Chairperson to get a participation report that indicates his current involvement in the Troop (Scout Spirit Card)."


- Many refer to filling out a form or other document and that SMCs/BORs will NOT happen at the same meeting when requested. It automatically builds one, two or three weeks delay or longer as scouts get the paperwork, fill it out, submit the request, wait to hear when it's scheduled for and then wait for the actual review.


- "Troop ## does not allow a Scoutmasters Conference and the Board of Review to be held at the same Troop Meeting."




I always find it interesting that most scout camps have the rules as the scout oath and law. A few big rules such as don't feed the bears, no flames in tents and don't walk on the frozen river. Otherwise, the whole camp runs under the oath and law.


But for advancement, we need to document and control every nook and cranny.

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I always find it interesting that most scout camps have the rules as the scout oath and law.... Otherwise, the whole camp runs under the oath and law.


You're jokin', right?


Have yeh ever thumbed through the National Camp Standards book? I reckon it's a mite longer than da Oath and Law. ;)


And procedures? Egad! Bring medical forms, do medical check-ins, store medications here, get medications there, check in to waterfront here, move tag there, sign up for MB using this form at this registration process, fill out Blue Card and deposit here, pick up Blue Card there, send hopper to dining hall at this time, pick up stuff here, put cleaning stuff there, set a rule that everyone has to drink XX glasses of water at lunch, ....


BSA Summer Camp by and large is the most over-bureaucratized youth experience yeh can find. :p In some camps, boys spend all of Sunday marching from program area to program area being told procedures and rules. On camp accreditation, I spend most of my time sayin' stuff like "Yeah, but what about customer service?"


I'm with yeh on most of your examples. As a Commish, I'd be sittin' with folks and askin' whether they really felt their procedural stuff was necessary or worth it. Again, though, it just depends. In a small to mid-sized troop where the SM knows everybody and can put in a huge amount of time, yeh can do with less. But yeh hit a certain size, and then a quiet, more shy boy gets lost in the shuffle with so many things goin' on. Having a set of "requests for SM conferences" or other such tracking efforts helps bigger units to make sure lads don't get lost and adult time gets used effectively. Once boys learn the system, it's not a big deal.


Yep, our first question of ourselves should be "Yeah, but what about service to the boys?". But within that, some procedure stuff is OK. And we have to be wary of the tendency of thinkin' that just because we wouldn't do things that way that it's necessarily a bad thing for other people in other situations to do.





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Scouts are expected to read their Boy Scout handbook, BSA advancement materials ....


Scouts should be expected to read their handbooks. There is a bunch of information in it that is useful and they do need to know.


BUT as we have shown in another thread, information that has been in previous editions is no longer in the BSHB, i.e. advancement information. 1 reason why the G2A came among many others.


But unfortunately it's not just info on advancement. When I did a IOLS a few weeks back, I was surprised at the lack of info in it on outdoor topics. I had to creat a booklet with information on traditional scout skills that is no longer covered by teh current BSHB. I had to use older BSHBs, BSFBs, and websites to get the info needed.


Upon reflection, maybe the new author of the BSHB thought William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt miswrote how much outing is in scouting, and thought it should be 2/3rds instead of 3/4ths. But all you have to do is simple 3rd grade math to figure out 6/8ths simplified is 3/4ths. ;)

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Beavah ... Good points. Well taken. And no, I've never seen the national camp standards book. I've got several for shooting sports and they are very detailed with plenty of rules. And I have been through many years of Sundays with health form inspection, camp drills, 100 page camp manuals, and such. So point taken.


Perhaps it's just the weekend camps where the camp ranger tells the scouts to use the Scout Oath and Law as their guide.




Agreed that some procedure stuff is needed. In our troop that would be things such as permission form needs to be in by the last troop meeting before the camp out. To get reimbursed, you have to fill out the reimbursement form.




Beavah wrote: "And we have to be wary of the tendency of thinkin' that just because we wouldn't do things that way that it's necessarily a bad thing for other people in other situations to do."


Your right in that some groups can make such examples work very well. BUT ... what do we represent as the scouting program: What do we teach as best practices?


Example: There's a local troop that has 17+ forms for one camp out. And they teach the scouts when to apply each form and who uses each form. AND IT WORKS. They are an outstanding scouting unit. The leaders are outstanding mentors, great examples and good people. BUT ... IMHO ... from my experiences ... from what I've read ... that's not scouting. They make it work, but I don't think that's an example we should promote.


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" But yeh hit a certain size, and then a quiet, more shy boy gets lost in the shuffle with so many things goin' on. Having a set of "requests for SM conferences" or other such tracking efforts helps bigger units to make sure lads don't get lost and adult time gets used effectively."


Beavah, I concur completely. But I must say that if your unit is so big you loose the connection with the boys and you have to invent too many processes just to keep up, your troop could just be too large.

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Many of the examples you posted, fred, are clearly over the top. Others, however, are reasonable expectations in line with the program. Obviously they suffer from some over-the-top bureaucratese (perhaps penned by an under-employed member of the Bretheren, eh Beav?). For example, Star and Life service projects do require pre-approval of the Scoutmaster. While I'm less formal with the Star projects, for Life I ask the Scouts to give a little more thought to their project and come to me with a written project proposal -- no form involved, just two or three hand written sentences is enough. Adding to the requirement? No. The requirement says the project must be approved by your Scoutmaster. This is how the guys in my troop obtain my approval.


I disagree with the whole notion that we shouldn't ask the boys to take responsibility for arranging boards of review and Scoutmasters' conferences. The skills involved -- approaching an adult and making a request, setting and keeping an appointment, preparing for the meeting -- are not only important life skills we should be teaching our Scouts, but they are EXACTLY the same skills and procedures we require for working with a merit badge counselor. In fact, those goals are an important part of the merit badge program. Why should they be specifically excluded from another part of the program?


Personally, if I'm required to know exactly where every Scout stands and to know when he's eligible for a conference and/or review, and for ME to be the one to approach the Scout to arrange the conference/review, we may never have another Scout advance again. It's just not in my constitution to keep up with that level of detail. With crossover next week, we'll be over 70 Scouts. I'll tell you flat-out, if that's the job description they've got the wrong guy.


Interesting bit of feedback -- The Scout Shop finally has hard copies of the new advancement guide so I bought a couple for the troop. We had a round of BORs last night and while the board volunteers were gathering, I gave them the books and mentioned there are a few thing in the policy which are different from the troop's procedures. They asked for an example and with this thread in mind I explained that boys may not be expected to schedule their own review.


After a very brief discussion, one of the moms piped in and summed up the feeling of the group: "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. I WANT my son to responsible. My younger son is much better at dealing with adults than his brothers (who are not scouts) and I really think it's because he's had to learn how to talk to adults in Scouts."


From her lips to God's ear. And keep in mind these aren't a bunch of curmudgeonly old Scoutmasters who spend their time on online Scouting forums and thinking of roadblocks to throw in front of the boys. These are our paying customers, the parents who foot the bills and send their boys to Scouts to learn these very skills.

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Twocubdad: - I think the reason the GTA says in " Boards of Review Must Be Granted When Requirements Are Met"...



"Scoutmasters, for example, do not have authority to expect a boy to request one, or to defer him, or to ask him to perform beyond the requirements in order to be granted one."



... is that troops were going so overboard with forms, checklists, processes and procedural diagrams. It's one thing to ask the scout to put his name in a notebook to ask for a BOR ... or to ask him to walk accross a room to request a BOR. It's very much another to send him home to print out a BOR request form from the troop web site, fill it out, submit it at the next meeting to schedule the BOR and then wait for yet another meeting to get the BOR done.


IMHO, SMC and BOR is to be a simple way to see how things are going with the scout, with his scouting experiences and with the troop. Adding beaurocracy onto of that defeats the purpose. Adding hoops to teach the scout a lesson is also defeatist. It's obvious at the end of a SMC that the scout needs a BOR. Why not follow the GTA and make it happen?


IMHO, the perfect solution is the scoutmaster, at the end of a SMC, walks the scout over to the advancement chair and says "this fine young man needs a BOR." I'm even okay with (though technically adding requirements) the scoutmaster telling the scout to walk over to the advancement chair and ask for a BOR. Or even to have the scout write his name in the book to be the next in line for a BOR.




BORs are like quality control on a manufacturing line. Manufacturing quality control processes need to not affect throughput, to not inject defects and to not mask real defects. That's why SMC / BORs need to be kept simple and easy.


BOR processes to make BORs fair, orderly and to minimize impact on the troop and volunteers, ... fine.


BOR processes making the scout jump additional hoops or to teach additional lessons, ... not fine.


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I suppose we will have to agree to disagree, Fred. I think you're using an incredibly minor point of the G2A to remove an element of the program many units use very successfully and without unduly burdening the boys. I don't see where a more formal approach to SMCs and BORs is defeatest in the least. It's just a different way of doing things and an opportunity for the Scout to learn a different lesson. Nor do I believe the quality of the feedback the unit receives is changed by the methods which lead up to the conference/board.


Aside from a philosophical perspective, there are a number of reasons for making the board and the procedures for them more formal. In my troop, I don't do SMCs during troop meetings. Troop meetings have instruction going on, time to meet with your patrol and activities with your patrol. Taking time to work on individual advancement issues takes away from the patrol. SMCs take place before the troop meeting, another day after school or on a campout. Our advancement chairman isn't present at any of these (although if we're meeting before the troop meeting, she will likely be at the troop meeting.) At the conclusion of the conference, I hand the scout a slip of paper with his name, the rank he's going for checked and my signature. The slip has every possible means of contacting the AC listed and I usually conclude with "you know who Mrs. X is right? Jeremy's mom? She she will be talk to her and she'll be glad to set up your board of review."


Occasionally, I'll conduct a SMC for a scout who is NOT ready to advance. Maybe he's close and we go ahead and do the SMC on a campout because it's convenient. Or maybe we sit down for the conference and discover he hasn't completed all the requirements. I continue with the conferece and sign his handbook since we have, in fact, conferred. I won't give him a BOR slip until he comes back to me and shows me all the requirements are complete.


We have a system that works for our volunteers and Scouts. That's good enough for me.

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