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Are Board of Reviews rubber stamps?

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Yah, as someone else has mentioned, the program outline hasn't changed too much over the years. What has changed is the definition of words. The definition of words has become increasingly legalistic and strained.


So where Green Bar Bill defined "active" as being a serious commitment by each and every scout to attendance, to his patrol, and to a personal standard of excellence (as in da quote BrentAllen uses to define "active" in his troop), the more modern definition of an active scout is much less than that, and for some includes leavin' his patrol high and dry so long as he goes to robot club. Even though da requirement pretty much says the same thing it said all those years ago.


No different here, eh? What Green Bar Bill meant by "review" was a much more meaningful and substantive review than the version bnelon44 came up with for his district training activity. The words and guidance are the same, but the meaning people are takin' from those words is often very, very different.




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Every BOR should begin with a required reading from a list of "don'ts" to prevent commonly practiced inappropriate behavior by members of the board.


Every time I sit in on a BOR, invariably some joker will try to turn the experience into an oral defense on the part of the scout of their behavior and beliefs and probe them for weakness.


Some stupid things I have heard asked in BOR's:


* Do you believe in God?

* Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?

* Which is better - socialism or capitalism?

* Who are you planning to vote for?

* How often do you go to church?

* Are you gay?


Yep - I've heard all of these at one time or another asked by chuckleheads who have no idea what they are doing. I was asked one of those questions in my BOR many, many years ago, but a commissioner was present and stopped the interrogation and focused everyone back on ensuring my handbook was signed off, project approved, write up approved, application filled out properly, merit badges earned, and all badge requirements fulfilled.


Frankly, I wonder if the BOR truly serves any purpose. In corporate America, we call a meeting like that a pro-forma hoop to jump through. A meeting with a known outcome which serves no real purpose or goal and which is easily hijacked for a different, often sinister purpose.


Listening to scout leaders gloating about a boy they don't get along with saying, "He'll find out during his BOR how much that ticked me off"... really, the BOR's should just be done away with.


I am reminded that Baden Powell called scouting a jolly game. It's supposed to be fun. It's not supposed to be a tribunal or a torture test. Boys are supposed to enter into activities laughing and leave in the same condition. So are leaders.


The BOR should be like any other scout activity: something boys look forward to. Something that they relish participating in. Something that was awesome.


Anything that happens in scouting that causes frowns or serious faces should be questioned.(This message has been edited by BSA24)

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Most people think of BORs as the last step in advancement for a particular rank and that is one of the purposes of a BOR. The other is to evaluate the program that the Scoutmaster is carrying out. There is a reason that the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters should not be present at a BOR and why a committee member should not necessarily be performing SA tasks on outings.


If a requirement is signed off, it has been completed in the vast majority of circumstances. Now, if the BOR is noticing a trend that indicates to them that Scouts are coming to them with requirements signed off and they feel the scouts have no particular skill in that area - that is a warning sign of a possible poor program.


As for uniforming - if a Scout's family has the means and the Scout appears for a BOR, that was schedule in advance, in disarray, it is quite natural for the board to politely ask the Scout to return at a later date when properly uniformed.


Like others have said, BORs, like SMCs, can be held for the purposes of advancement or for other reasons. I don't like prearranged BORs - i.e. the committee will make itself available for BORs next Wednesday evening. Get with Mrs. Smith to set up a time if you are interested. Why not teach the Scout some responsibility and have him call the troop advancement chair to set up a date and time for a BOR. That does a couple of things. First, the committee knows the Scout scheduled it for advancement. When the committee schedules a BOR, it should be for other purposes (like lack of advancement). Second, it teaches the Scout how to address adults and take some responsibility (don't have him pencil in a date, email or text message - have them have an honest to goodness phone or personal conversation). This will be valuable "job interview" experience later in life.(This message has been edited by acco40)

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