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Mock or Practice Boards of Reviews

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I am pretty sure you know the difference between a BOR that is a bit more formal and a job interview.


Yah, sure, I do. But what I know ain't particularly relevant, eh? ;). Da issue is the perception of the boy and the adults in his unit.


I'm not advocatin' for these mock review things. I think they're silly. I'm just sayin' that they're a natural response. When yeh have a hurdle and da focus is on da hurdle, the natural response of many if not most folks is to teach to the hurdle. Have a test, teach to the test. Have a formal BOR, teach to the formal BOR by doin' a mock one in advance. Lots of folks approach MB and advancement requirements the same way, eh? Have a list of requirements, teach to da requirements. :p


I don't think yeh can fight people's natural responses, eh? That's a losing battle. I think if we're not getting the responses we want, we have to change our approach. Too much teaching to da requirements? Stop emphasizing the requirements and emphasize proficiency in the skills. Too much BOR-as-interview? Stop emphasizing da BOR as a big formal thing with a set time appointment with a bunch of strangers where yeh bring your letters of reference, your resume, and your statement of philosophy. ;).


That's a lot easier than tryin' to tell folks not to treat it like a job interview when it looks to them exactly like a job interview. :)



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I've been an ASM for most of my unit Scouting career, but there was a very short time when we returned to our old troop that I wasn't officially registered as an ASM, and a shrewd committee member roped me into sitting in on a couple BORs.


A Scout is Helpful, so I obliged...


Halfway thru, I started asking a few questions that weren't on the notecards the coordinator had passed out with the prepared questions. Her canned questions focused on how the Scout had done things, what they found fun, what they'd like to do...


Halfway into the session, I asked a few questions not on the sheet... I started asking stuff like how effective their PL had been, and if the calendar had helped or hurt their ability to finish their rank requirements.


That caught one of the other participants a bit off guard. We discussed it afterward, and they'd never considered that the reason the committee conducted the BOR was so that they could evaluate how well the SM and ASM were doing *their* jobs.


Shocking to some, but boys at the TF, SC, and FC level can tell when a program is lacking. All you have to do is ask the right questions...

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So what happens when a Scout shows up for his EBOR totally unprepared and his spontaneous answers do communicate to the board his character, citizenship and personal fitness?


Is national going to accept the judgement of the board that the Scout isn't ready to be an Eagle or will they simply look to see that all the boxes and been checked, regardless of what was or wasn't said at the board of review?


National has turned boards of review -- especially Eagle boards -- into an anachronism. It's a traditional part of the program but its REAL function is no longer needed -- at least according to national policy. No one has the cajones to pull the plug so we struggle trying to create a process that doesn't appear to be a rubber stamp. We can dance around it; we can create some though-provoking questions; we can throw some procedural stuff in there; but at the end of the day the circumstances under which a BOR can turn down an Eagle -- and be upheld -- are both narrow and blatant.


This silly Tweet thing is part of the charade. The real reason they don't want mock boards is they are afraid units are going to go off reservation and create a shadow review process outside the control of the districts. Units can ask all the non-PC questions -- you know, dangerous stuff like the symptoms and treatment for heat stroke or how many campouts have you attended in the last year -- and defer the Scout until he is, in the eyes of the board, ready to be an Eagle.


If BORs are like job interviews, it's like being interviewed by a committee with no power to hire.


And, no, my unit doesn't do mock boards unless the Scout requests one (which hasn't happened in a good while.) When I became SM they were basically required, but we've created a program which makes them uncecessary. By the time a Scout gets to his EBOR, his is thoroughly prepared and everyone in the troop is in agreement that he is an Eagle Scout. Consequently, our boards do become somewhat of a victory lap.

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I work in an environment where "adults" (college students of varying ages) sometimes are called upon to present their work and defend their conclusions in front of others, as capstone/honors, master's, or dissertation defenses. My advice to nervous adults in these situations is to understand that usually, by the time they get to that point, they've already been deemed "worthy" by their mentors and instructors, and that the folks interviewing them have a stake in their success, too. And that they are likely to be the single-most knowledgeable person in the room on the topic of their own research! Still, many are so nervous that they feel ill, can't sleep the night before, stumble for the first few minutes, flub a softball question or two, might need to stop and take a slow drink of water before continuing, etc. These are adults.


Now, turn to the typical 14 year old EBOR candidate.


While we adults may know that the BOR is primarily a formality (in most cases), the boys often do NOT know that. And even if you tell them so, by virtue of their age, they have far less experience in their reserves to draw upon, to maintain a reasonable perspective. For many, Eagle will be the first significant accomplishment of their young lives. Of course some of them will be nervous about going before a board of strangers that has the power to render judgment on their "worthiness."


I don't think mock EBORs are a great solution, but I certainly do understand why some folks might do it.


(By the way, in my district there is one guy who has been known to get kids real twisted & panicky about religion, then hangs them out to dry as potential agnostics when they don't have clearly-enough articulated beliefs. As if very many typical 14 year olds can articulate a coherent and internally consistent statement of their beliefs - heck, I doubt many adults could do that! IMO, it's a BOR, not the Spanish Inquisition! But the likelihood of changing this guy's approach is about nil, and he's quite influential in the council. Consequently, a lot of boys from troops in the know get advice from their SM about how to handle this guy's questions.)




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bnelson44 wrote: "The EBOR is not a job interview, at least it isn't intended to be one."


I wish this was published somewhere. Our district EBOR leaders absolutely believe it is to be treated as a job interview. They've used that analysis time and time again. I disagree with that, but that's me.


bnelson44 wrote: "If the Scout is walking into the room for a EBOR he should have for all intent and purposes already earned the rank."


Fully agree. Scouts earn the rank. We are not hiring them as Eagle scouts. And it's an outlier for a EBOR to not approve a scout.




As for mock EBORs, I don't see the purpose. Scouts have plenty of practice with BORs for tenderfoot, 2nd class, 1st class, star and life. They also have practice presenting thru their PORs and their eagle service project.


A bit of prep time is a great idea, but a mock EBOR is more for the people wanting to inject themselves into the process than to help the eagle candidate. Heck, each EBOR I've been on is different enough that I don't think a mock run would help.


Plus the scout has essentially already earned his rank. EBOR is just the last step. Let the EBOR happen as it will. Some are smooth. Others are bumpy. Fine. Let each scout have his own experience.




I always feel strange when I'm in agreement with Beavah. I think I'll go take an asprin, eh.



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I agree with those who state that an EBOR should be largely pro forma. Ours are run at the district level and are very scout friendly. I don't think any adult who wanted to turn these into an inquisition on a scout's beliefs would be invited back.


We have an entire cadre of experienced adult volunteers who treat their participation in these EBORs as one of the highlights of their own adult scouting experiences. I have participated in a few and it is heart warming to meet youth are positive about themselves, their accomplishments, and their futures.


I think routinely running formal mock EBORs would be largely a waste of everybody's time. I do agree with Beavah that these practices may grow out of some sour experiences. To me it is primarily the SM's responsibility. Part of the SM conference for the eagle rank should be a discussion to find out if the eagle candidate is at all nervous or worried and offering assistance at that time. If such a candidate wanted more adult input to help him prepare there would not be anything wrong with offering such a scout a mock EBOR, but I don't think it should become standard practice.


In my mind the most valuable potential contribution a district EBOR can provide is a review of a situation where there is controversy or open questions about the record being presented. That is not something that a mock EBOR would help a scout with in any event.(This message has been edited by eisely)

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Hmmm.... Board of Review

A "board" that..... "reviews."

"Board of Review," not "Crucible of Confrontation."


"Board of Review" sounds cordial, non-confrontational, maybe interesting. What's being reviewed is being reviewed... it has already been accomplished. So maybe the review is a chance to discuss how the accomplishments play into the bigger picture... talk about what worked well, what didn't... maybe check whatever organizational vital signs can be checked via this review... maybe talk about how lessons learned might play into what's next in the near and long term future.


Wanna practice for it? OK. It won't hurt anything. But none of this sounds like it requires a "mock" session to practice. If the scout is nervous about the first one, that one ought to cure him of it.

(This message has been edited by Callooh! Callay!) for poor punctuation - which might still be faulty - somewhere.(This message has been edited by Callooh! Callay!)

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It might not be a bad idea for the board members to have a mock BOR, without the scout. They can recruit new board members, get the, trained up to understand what the purpose of a BOR is, as stated is to gauge the effectiveness of the troop leadership, from the Sm to the lowest APL.

I can't tell you how many troops I know of that have rope and compasses in the BOR room.

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Personally, I mock practice boards of review.


If one would study up on the reasons for holding BORs (for advancement) one would not be debating who should be eligible to serve on the board, proper attire or the need for practice boards.

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