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Misrepresentation During A Board Of Review

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Because they are playing it over and over. Why would I want a scout to learn a skill and never use the skill in the program? Since program is the SMs area he should be checking and making sure that the program calls for the use or teaching of the skills. The repetition is what keeps the skills fresh in the scouts mind.

Right. And we've all seen kids who learn and use skills but then forget them. Happens all the time.

 

Not the SMs fault. Where is personal accountability?

Edited by Bad Wolf

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Right. And we've all seen kids who learn and use skills but then forget them. Happens all the time.

 

Not the SMs fault. Where is personal accountability?

 

  Its not a matter of fault as much as what should be reported to him. Let's say 5 kids in the last 3 months have had problems with say knots. Well the Board should be letting him know that maybe we need to up the ante a little when it comes to this area. Acco is a little bold with "finding a new SM" but it should be used to help the SM know the weakness and strengths in say training or teaching and maybe a little adjustment to program.

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@@eagle77 agree it's good feedback. Not grounds for a new SM.

 

I still maintain kids need to be held accountable too.

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@@eagle77 agree it's good feedback. Not grounds for a new SM.

 

I still maintain kids need to be held accountable too.

 

  That's kind of the reason that the PLC at one time did the T-1st Class BORs. No good PL would want to hear any of the scouts in his patrol didn't know or couldn't remember something. That is why at meetings (both troop and patrol) PL's would work with the patrol members on advancement .  But I agree too that scouts need to be held accountable.

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Here's a thought. More than half of the requirements are pencil-whipping hoop-jumping. (Do service hours, participate, positions, etc ...) why do you think the "skills" requirements are any different?

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Right. And we've all seen kids who learn and use skills but then forget them. Happens all the time.

 

Not the SMs fault. Where is personal accountability?

 

acco40's comments may have jumped too quick to finding a new scoutmaster, but the point is right.  

 

The BOR is a quality check on the troop and the troop program and much less so on the scout.  The scout quality check is when each requirement was tested and recorded as passed.  The whole point of acco40's comment is that you can ask a scout to perform a skill.  But if the scout fails the skills test, feed the failure back into the troop program to improve the troop program so that scouts retain skills better.  You can't fail the scout on the skill unless further investigation reveals that the scout was never tested or had never passed.  

 

Acco40 used the example of the square knot.  The example I see regularly is the scout oath and law.   It is a requirement for tenderfoot and the scoutmaster tests them on it.  But I repeatedly hear them wrong at first class, star and life ranks.  Heck, it's often said wrong at EBORs.  So we used that feedback to improve the troop program and re-emphasize oath and law during the troop meeting openings.  

Edited by fred johnson

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acco40's comments may have jumped too quick to finding a new scoutmaster, but the point is right.  

 

The BOR is a quality check on the troop and the troop program and much less so on the scout.  The scout quality check is when each requirement was tested and recorded as passed.  The whole point of acco40's comment is that you can ask a scout to perform a skill.  But if the scout fails the skills test, feed the failure back into the troop program to improve the troop program so that scouts retain skills better.  You can't fail the scout on the skill unless further investigation reveals that the scout was never tested or had never passed.  

 

Acco40 used the example of the square knot.  The example I see regularly is the scout oath and law.   It is a requirement for tenderfoot and the scoutmaster tests them on it.  But I repeatedly hear them wrong at first class, star and life ranks.  Heck, it's often said wrong at EBORs.  So we used that feedback to improve the troop program and re-emphasize oath and law during the troop meeting openings.

 

I get what is point was. I guess my point was this, once a FC, Star or Life scout learns their bowline, if they fail to be able to demonstrate it at their next SMC, how does an SM compel them to RELEARN the skill? Let's face it, once most scouts feel they've check the box they have little desire to relearn anything. I was curious how the SM (assumedly through the the PLC and Patrol Method, since that's who should be teaching these skills anyway) get these forgetful scout to relearn anything AND make sure it sticks?

 

In my unit we require scouts to know their core scout skills in order to be able to participate in their SMC and BOR, so we don't have this issue. I was wondering how others manage this problem.

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I get what is point was. I guess my point was this, once a FC, Star or Life scout learns their bowline, if they fail to be able to demonstrate it at their next SMC, how does an SM compel them to RELEARN the skill? Let's face it, once most scouts feel they've check the box they have little desire to relearn anything. I was curious how the SM (assumedly through the the PLC and Patrol Method, since that's who should be teaching these skills anyway) get these forgetful scout to relearn anything AND make sure it sticks?

 

In many ways, this is the point of the board of review, but not, I think, in the way you assert.  My interpretation of the latest guide to advancement (2015), specifically Chapter 8, give the function of the board of review two primary functions to the Scouts' development.

1. The interaction with adults in the manner prepares the Scout for job and school interviews.  It gives them the skills, confidence, and practice for this necessary life skill, skills such as being properly attired and prepared.

2. It provides the troop committee a forum to REVIEW the TROOP program and how the SM and ASMs are running the program.  This is part of the reason why troop leadership is discouraged from being present.  I think this is also why (in part), many years past, even the Tenderfoot, 2nd and 1st class BORs were moved from the PLC (as it was in my days) to the Troop Committee.

 

Is it appropriate to ask the scout to tie a bowline? Sure, but as said above, the purpose is to learn how well the troop program is teaching that skill.  For the concern about "learn and forget", again, the BOR can ask to see or ask about Scout skills learned for earlier ranks, but the purpose should be to assess how successful the troop program is at helping the Scouts maintain those skills, either through mentoring and teaching them to younger scouts, or constantly challenging the scouts to use and improve on those skills (or the lack thereof).

 

I have no love for "Paper Eagles", and and I am not sure what the best way would be to make sure Scouts know the skills.  If the expectation is established (in the GTA) that Scouts CAN be retested to ensure an understaning of the materials, I would generally support that, but I would also be concerened of the potential for the committee to intentially or unknowingly abuse or discourage the Scout from further progress.  Cramming for a test (or BOR) is not the answer - we need programs that truly encourage the Scouts to constantly use the skill.

 

For now, however, I think the point is moot.  The BOR is explicitly not there to retest the Scout and their knowledge of the skills, and are not permitted to decline advancement to the Scout for that reason.  We cannot (or at least should not - a Scout is Obedient) disregard these rules because they challenge or notions or insult our sensibilities.  We should work within the program to change the rules to fit our program needs.

 

Circling all the way back to the original question ...

 

I think that in the Scout's view, he did demonstrate leadership in teaching the skill - why he had to teach the skill not not withstanding.

 

When you complimented him on his initiative in taking on that task, he failed to enlighten you on the circumstances.  Here I can see many paths: (1) maybe he was knowling committing a lie of omission, or (2) you already mentioned that this was surprising to you and thus the Scout may have been blinded by the enexpected compliment that he did not have it within him to correct you.  From here there are also different paths: (1) He may feel that he got away with it - rewarded for poor Scout behavior, which I think is partially your concern, or (2) He may take this as an opportunity to recognize that in the future, if he did take initative of his own accord, more praise would result.  In either case, I'd share your concerns with the SM, and let him discuss it with the Scout.  If you are inclined, you could make it an issue of how did the Scout use this as an opportunity for personal growth at his next BOR.

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Is it appropriate to ask the scout to tie a bowline? Sure, but as said above, the purpose is to learn how well the troop program is teaching that skill.  For the concern about "learn and forget", again, the BOR can ask to see or ask about Scout skills learned for earlier ranks, but the purpose should be to assess how successful the troop program is at helping the Scouts maintain those skills, either through mentoring and teaching them to younger scouts, or constantly challenging the scouts to use and improve on those skills (or the lack thereof).

 

 

Agreed. So a few things we see in our unit:

  • If BOR or SMC feedback tells us a scout or scouts are weak in (x) core skill, they program plan is adjusted by the PLC to insert that skill at either meetings or camp outs or some other activity. The most frequent of the core skills we see a weakness in is orienteering, first aid and pioneering, so we hit those hard in our annual program plan.
  • Our unit (and by that I mean scouts, leaders, COR and parents) have bought in to the concept that a scout must know these core skills in order to be able to "take part in a Scoutmaster conference" or to "successfully complete a Board of Review". When we first stated this many, many years ago the first 10 or so SMCs went rough. Once the word go around that the scouts needed to have these core skills down, they really learned them well. Nearly 10 years later we do not turn away anyone from an SMC or BOR for their inability to participate in an SMC or BOR. They know their stuff.

I sat in on EBOR one time (not our unit) where the candidate stumble through very badly. The district rep asked him what he thought was a fluff question: "Who was the founder of the Boy Scout movement?" Not BSA (the Boyce, Seaton and Beard crowd) but B-P, of course. The candidate could not answer. The question was expanded to include BSA....the district guy was looking for just one of five names at this point. Crickets. The scout was asked to come back. The board did not feel they could pass an Eagle who did not know who B-P was. The next week the kid knew every name, date, person, place, etc., that was historical significance to Scouting.

 

BTW, the district guy ran in to the scout (now out of college) a few months back. The young man STILL could recite all those names and dates and things. This is why I have no problem "failing" someone if there is good reason. I have yet to see a kid fail on the second chance.

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What is our purpose?   Is it to "graduate" kids with a knowledge of knots and first aid?  Absolutely not.  Those are only methods, not the aim.  I see so many Scouters forget this simple fact.

 

I was a Scoutmaster for many years.  My career has honed my skills as an expert in physics based modeling and simulation.  Or, as some would state, with no useful practical skills!  So, I was usually only a step or two ahead of the Scouts wrt knots, first aid, etc.  After awhile, I got it.  Practice makes perfect.  After ten years as Scoutmaster I was teaching these skills to my fellow Scouters.  Since then, I've been on the sideline for about ten years and not really teaching the youth or adults these skills.  My Eagle Scout sons and I were fooling around last week and they asked me to tie a bowline.  Well, it took me two tries!   How embarrassing!  

 

Yes, we do forget skills we don't use day in and day out.  My French is rusty after having studied it in elementary school, junior high, high school and college and then not having practiced it for about 35 years.  It happens.  I don't think anyone is going to rip away my college degree.

 

I've seen the joy on the face of an 11 year old when they've mastered a skill they've put effort into learning.  I've then had them demonstrate that skill to me and signed off on that particular requirement.  But, going forward I "trick" that Scout to keep honing that skill by asking him to demonstrate and teach other Scouts what he has "mastered."   That is what a good Scoutmaster will do.  I really mastered geometry when I took trigonometry.  I really mastered trigonometry when I took calculus.  I really didn't master calculus until I took differential equations.  Not sure if I really mastered "diffy q."  :)

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What is our purpose?   Is it to "graduate" kids with a knowledge of knots and first aid?  Absolutely not. 

 

The purpose is clear: That our unit's scouts retain the core scouting skills that are part of the core of scouting. Take hiking. I would not want one of my scouts to make the mistake this Eagle Scout made which cost him is life. Proper planning and the Ten Essentials and this kid would be alive today.

 

Why is it we expect kids to remember English grammar, mathematics, science, etc. they learned in third grade, but we don't expect them to remember cooking, orienteering, first aid, swimming/water safety, etc., they learned at 11 or 13 or 15?

 

People die daily from failing to do simple things; things we train scouts to know, learn, teach and retain. I don't think it is a stretch to expect scouts to retain these core skills. 

 

Forgot basketry? Radio MB? Stamp collecting? Fine. Forgot first aid? Eprep? Swimming? Lifesaving? Then we are passing kids that may end up being a danger to themselves and others.

Edited by Bad Wolf

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Again, the purpose of BSA Scouting, is not to retain the core scouting skill like hiking or swimming.  I remember back in the day, parents would have their kids join Scouts to learn to swim.   

 

The purpose is to develop character, citizenship and personal fitness.  Now, if we sold that to the boys, nobody would sign up voluntarily.  So, we use the Outdoor Program to lure the kids and Advancement to lure the parents (my opinion only and stated somewhat tongue in cheek). 

 

It is highly beneficial that the boys learn orienteering, pioneering, hiking, first aid, camping and a host of other skills - but that is only the means to develop character, citizenship and personal fitness.  Can these aims be achieved by different methods?  Of course they can but as Scouters, we've pledged to deliver the Scout program as constructed by the BSA which uses the Outdoor program and other methods such as Advancement, Personal Growth, Association with Adults, Patrols, the Uniform, and Leadership Development, Ideals (Oath, Law, Motto, Slogan, etc.) to obtain the purpose.

 

So don't get your undies in a knot if an Eagle Scout can't remember exactly how to tie a clove hitch.  But do raise your eyebrow if they lie about being able to tie a clove hitch.

Edited by acco40

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Again, the purpose of BSA Scouting, is not to retain the core scouting skill like hiking or swimming.  I remember back in the day, parents would have their kids join Scouts to learn to swim.   

 

So fat Scouts cannot be Eagle? How do we define "personal fitness"? If a kid can't make it up a mountain but another can, we pass the more personally fit scout? Used to be back in the day you could not make Eagle without the Swimming MB, which meant you had to know how to swim.

 

I think we are coming at the same answer from two different directions.

 

Goal of BSA, as they state in their mission statement, is "to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law". Physically strong? Sure, but does not mean you have to Hulk Hogan. Help other people at all times? To me that means you know how to render first aid, among other skills.

 

Our parents agree with this approach. They'd rather have their kids actually LEARN and KNOW the core skills of scouting AND live by the Oath and Law. By doing this our scouts have deep character, outstanding citizenship and are physically fit. Same result...but our guys won't die in the Grand Canyon on a day hike.

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Again, the purpose of BSA Scouting, is not to retain the core scouting skill like hiking or swimming.  I remember back in the day, parents would have their kids join Scouts to learn to swim.   

 

The purpose is to develop character, citizenship and personal fitness.  Now, if we sold that to the boys, nobody would sign up voluntarily.  So, we use the Outdoor Program to lure the kids and Advancement to lure the parents (my opinion only and stated somewhat tongue in cheek). 

 

It is highly beneficial that the boys learn orienteering, pioneering, hiking, first aid, camping and a host of other skills - but that is only the means to develop character, citizenship and personal fitness.  Can these aims be achieved by different methods?  Of course they can but as Scouters, we've pledged to deliver the Scout program as constructed by the BSA which uses the Outdoor program and other methods such as Advancement, Personal Growth, Association with Adults, Patrols, the Uniform, and Leadership Development, Ideals (Oath, Law, Motto, Slogan, etc.) to obtain the purpose.

 

So don't get your undies in a knot if an Eagle Scout can't remember exactly how to tie a clove hitch.  But do raise your eyebrow if they lie about being able to tie a clove hitch.

Really? From the congressional charter:

The purposes of the corporation are to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916.

So the "to train them in scoutcraft" part, and the "teach self-reliance" bit imply that one of the original purposes at least was for the scouts to retain the core scouting skills like swimming and hiking skills. That is why they are called "core skills".

 

The congressional charter also agrees with the early BSA writings. From the 1911 edition of the Boy Scout Handbook, Chapter 1:

Aim of the Scout Movement By John L. Alexander, Boy Scouts of America

 

The aim of the Boy Scouts is to supplement the various existing educational agencies, and to promote the ability in boys to do things for themselves and others. It is not the aim to set up a new organization to parallel in its purposes others already established. The opportunity is afforded these organizations, however, to introduce into their programs unique features appealing to interests which are universal among boys. The method is summed up in the term Scoutcraft, and is a combination of observation, deduction, and handiness, or the ability to do things. Scoutcraft includes instruction in First Aid, Life Saving, Tracking, Signaling, Cycling, Nature Study, Seamanship, Campcraft, Woodcraft, Chivalry, Patriotism, and other subjects. This is accomplished in games and team play, and is pleasure, not work, for the boy. All that is needed is the out-of-doors, a group of boys, and a competent leader.

So Scoutcraft is the method, but the aim is "to promote the ability in boys to do things for themselves and others". Which tells me that the skills were part of the purpose.

 

Note, an electronic copy of the 1911 edition of the Boy Scout Handbook is available for free from Project Gutenberg.

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Yes, it's a Board of Review - Review, not Retest. 

 

Does anyone know why we have a Board of Review?  It's part of Scouting History and it's tied in with how Troop Committees were recruited and operated through at least the 50's and into the 60's.  Nowadays, most Troop Committees are made up of parents of Scouts or former Scouts in the Troop, but that wasn't always the case (and for the most part, that wasn't the case until the mid 1960's)  Troop Committees used to be made up of leaders in the community and were recruited by a Neighborhood Commissioner (the precurser to the Unit Commissioner).  The Neighborhood Commissioner would approach leaders in the community- a school principal, the local pasto, the chief of police, the neighborhood eye doctor, the local insurance man, the president of the bank, the editor of the local paper, and other civic and business leaders to form a committee whose job was to support the Troop in delivering it's programing by helping to raise funds, obtain and store equipment, recruit SM's and ASM's, etc. (pretty much what the committee should be doing today).  The reason there were BOR's was two-fold - one was to give the Scouts an opportunity to brag about his latest adventures (and in the process, start learning skills that would hold him in good stead in interviews) to a group of important neighborhood leaders and the other was so that the committee could evaluate whether the unit they're supporting was delivering a good program.  There was no re-testing done - it was just listening to the Scout's stories and reviewing the successes and failures of the program.  Pretty simple - and it worked very well - and still does when done correctly.

 

interesting history.  Thanks!

 

I can't validate or dispute the accuracy of this history, but it seems plausible to me for sure.

 

This points to my current "soap box issue" of the huge variabilities in programs due to the unclear job descriptions, etc....

 

I think most folks, especially committee members don't really know what they are supposed to be doing.

The little training that's available doesn't help much, with confusing language and it's vagueness which is open to interpretation

Most folks learn by example, especially since they have little time for the training or doing their own research.

 

So committees act based on the models they were shown.  The folks that came before them... which are generally driven by some person's interpretation or intuition, which may not always the best.

So I'd imagine that the folks sitting on BOR's are doing things because that's how they were shown to do.... with a little bit of their own intuition thrown in.

 

Here, the intuition is, "the kid lied.  That's not very scout like.  As a parent, I would do X, Y. Z."

 

The bigger issue, from my perspective, is the real lack of consistency here. The unknown.  The lack of One Program for all boys.

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