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CherokeeScouter

Eagle and recommendation from the pastor

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For purposes of discussion I will post what the GTA says about reference letters and the process:

 

9.0.1.6 Council Verifies Application and Board of Review Scheduled

Everything is checked against council records. If information in the BSA system or council files is incomplete, the Scout or the unit will be asked to provide certificates, blue cards, or other suitable proof that merit badges and ranks were earned and that dates are accurate. The regular use the of BSA Internet portal for reporting advancement as described in section 6 will help expedite this process. If everything is correct, the council provides a verification signature, files a copy of the application, and sends the original with the service project workbook and other items (such as reference letters received) to the board of review chair or other designated volunteer. The board should be scheduled only after the council-verified application is received.

 

9.0.1.7 References Contacted

Council advancement committee members—or others designated—have the responsibility to secure recommendations from the references appearing under requirement 2 on the Eagle Scout Rank Application. This may be done by letter, form, or phone call. For reasons of privacy and confidentiality, electronic submissions are discouraged.

 

It is acceptable to send or deliver to the references an addressed envelope with instructions, and perhaps a form to complete. The Scout may assist with this, but that is the limit of his participation. He is not to be responsible for follow-through or any other aspect of the process.

 

It is up to the council’s designated representatives to collect the responses. If after a reasonably diligent effort no response can be obtained from any references, the board of review must go on without them. It must not be postponed or denied for this reason, and the Scout shall not be asked to submit additional references or to provide replacements.

 

Completed reference responses of any kind are the property of the council and are confidential, and only review-board members and those officials with a specific need may see them. The responses are not to be viewed by or returned to the Scout. Doing so could discourage the submission of negative information. For the same reason, those providing references do not have the option of giving the reference directly to the Scout and shall not be given the option of waiving confidentiality. Once a review has been held, or an appeal process conducted, responses shall be returned to the council, where they will be destroyed after the Eagle Scout credentials are released or the appeal is concluded.

Edited by Krampus

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Completed reference responses of any kind are the property of the council and are confidential, and only review-board members and those officials with a specific need may see them. The responses are not to be viewed by or returned to the Scout. Doing so could discourage the submission of negative information. For the same reason, those providing references do not have the option of giving the reference directly to the Scout and shall not be given the option of waiving confidentiality. Once a review has been held, or an appeal process conducted, responses shall be returned to the council, where they will be destroyed after the Eagle Scout credentials are released or the appeal is concluded.

 

Times change.

 

I remember when a scout's references were read at his BOR. Good and bad. I gave my reference form to the cool priest at my church but somehow that form was taken by his superior, Monsignor Cotton Mather. That was a life lesson. :o

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"It is up to the council’s designated representatives to collect the responses. If after a reasonably diligent effort no response can be obtained from any references, the board of review must go on without them. It must not be postponed or denied for this reason, and the Scout shall not be asked to submit additional references or to provide replacements."

 

This is the section that my Council ignored and insisted I, as SM, provide a extremely positive reference for the boy.   I couldn't do that so I did not submit a recommendation letter and the boy's application was postponed for 6 months until I submitted the recommendation.

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Times change.

 

I remember when a scout's references were read at his BOR. Good and bad. I gave my reference form to the cool priest at my church but somehow that form was taken by his superior, Monsignor Cotton Mather. That was a life lesson. :o

 

I agree. I would love for the boys to hear what adults think of them. I mean, who asks someone to provide a reference where they don't already know the person will give a glowing reference.

 

I can only imagine that, as times change, maybe those recommendations are not as glowing as one would expect. I was in that situation a few years back. One of my candidates asked me for a letter of reference. I tried to get out of it by suggesting he get a teacher or family friend to write one. It became clear that there were few people on whom he could rely. He wasn't a bad kid; quite the opposite, but he was not a strong Eagle. Box checked, moved on. My letter reflected that...but I was kind.

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I agree. I would love for the boys to hear what adults think of them. I mean, who asks someone to provide a reference where they don't already know the person will give a glowing reference.

 

I can only imagine that, as times change, maybe those recommendations are not as glowing as one would expect. I was in that situation a few years back. One of my candidates asked me for a letter of reference. I tried to get out of it by suggesting he get a teacher or family friend to write one. It became clear that there were few people on whom he could rely. He wasn't a bad kid; quite the opposite, but he was not a strong Eagle. Box checked, moved on. My letter reflected that...but I was kind.

 

This was the quandary I was in with one of my eagle candidates.  He covered his bases and that was about it, then he made a majorly poor decision and I felt it best not to make a recommendation which would have been the kinder option.  The council however mandated he get a glowing recommendation from the SM.  Now what does one do?

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This was the quandary I was in with one of my eagle candidates.  He covered his bases and that was about it, then he made a majorly poor decision and I felt it best not to make a recommendation which would have been the kinder option.  The council however mandated he get a glowing recommendation from the SM.  Now what does one do?

 

I'd quote back the GTA, write the letter as I see it, try to be kind and constructive and send the letter.

 

If council is "mandating" I write something else, they need to show me where I am required to write the letter they are requesting. If they can't, they need to proceed as they see fit.

 

They can't put a gun to your head, @@Stosh. ;)

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I'd quote back the GTA, write the letter as I see it, try to be kind and constructive and send the letter.

 

If council is "mandating" I write something else, they need to show me where I am required to write the letter they are requesting. If they can't, they need to proceed as they see fit.

 

They can't put a gun to your head, @@Stosh. ;)

 

The "letter" they requested was more of a fill in the blank check the box of either I recommend the boy or I don't.    They weren't going to budge on it and I told the boy that and recommended if he didn't want to correct his mistake, show some leadership and earn a recommendation from me he could go the appeals process which I showed him how to do.  He chose to correct his mistake show his leadership and earn the recommendation. 

 

I wasn't going to do ANYTHING with the council on this issue.  They sent me a form, I threw it away, I knew it was not a required form for the application or the EBOR process.  It was just their wild hair issue.  The problem was between the council and  the scout and everything to resolve the council created roadblock was within his realm to deal with and he did.

 

Gotta remember, I don't do anything a scout should be doing.  Solving his problems was not in my ballpark to resolve.  The infraction was serious but it ended up with a good lesson for the boy and everything turned out okay.  I think the boy's choice to resolve the problem with the troop was a better choice on his part rather than taking on the Council with an appeals process.

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And that Scout would ask if you really felt calling his faith satirical was reverent.

 

Which would be a fun smart-aleck answer that would lead da conversation in another direction.   :p  

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Which would be a fun smart-aleck answer that would lead da conversation in another direction.   :p

 

You have made a value judgement about a Scouts faith. Is that the direction you want to take?
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Yeah, I'd kinda stay away from smart-alecky remarks when it comes to one's religion. 

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"List the names of individuals who know you well and would be willing to provide a recommendation on your behalf".

 

A list of names, no letter required, no survey with check boxes required, just a list of names of those willing to provide a recommendation.  I would assume (there's that nasty word) that nothing is necessary unless the committee makes a request for the the recommendation.

 

This is the stickler I have mentioned previously in our Council.  A SM's recommendation is "necessary."  No it's not.  They sent me a survey type form that had only one choice.  "I strongly feel this candidate is worthy of the rank of Eagle."  While the "recommendation" from the SM is not required, I simply tossed the paper away.  It took 6 months for the boy to prove to me it was worth it to go back to the Council office and get another form and fill it out.

 

It always amazes me that this list is even necessary.  An employer?  Who's that the elderly lady next door the boy mows lawn for?  A parent?  Yeah right, they're going to say something nasty about their son.  Religious reference?  A $10 certificate off the internet will allow your best buddy to fill in that gap.

 

Get over it people.  The boy has fulfilled the requirements for advancement.  The Eagle song and dance routine is not going to do anything but hype the marketability of the rank.  BSA Eagles were around a lot longer than leadership service projects.  I wonder what they were measuring in a candidate that we don't today?

 

I see where you're coming from, Stosh. I would say that the parent references actually tend to be more critical than any others. I've heard from lots of moms that say their sons could use a little more work on "A scout is clean"

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You have made a value judgement about a Scouts faith. Is that the direction you want to take?

 

Nah, I'm inquiring into da nature and purposes of a lad's choices, eh?  

 

I enjoy da smart-alecks.   At least they're thinkin' and tryin' out different ways of acting and behaving on their own.  

 

What would be unfair to the lad as a caring adult is not to respond, eh?  The lad is askin' for a response and feedback and discussion.   Why would yeh pass up an opportunity to engage with a boy who is one of our best and brightest on a matter that he finds interestin' and wants to engage in?

 

Of course I also want to see if he can keep a straight face while explainin' how the decline of pirates is causin' global climate change. :)

 

Beavah

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while explainin' how the decline of pirates is causin' global climate change. :)

 

There isn't anything to explain.  "[H]ow the decline of pirates is causin' global climate change" is a matter of faith to the devout Pastafarian.

Edited by MrBob

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There isn't anything to explain. "[H]ow the decline of pirates is causin' global climate change" is a matter of faith to the devout Pastafarian.

May you be touched by his noodly appendage

 

RAmen

Edited by King Ding Dong

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The last time I observed this kind of inquiry was a boy whose faith was not well-defined and one member of the board did what Beavah claimed he'd do. The board member questioned the boy about a faith for which the board member had no knowledge and it was taken by the boy as an attack on the boy's faith. The snide way the inquiry was presented made me feel the same way about it. The boy, being outnumbered by the board reacted quickly, defensively, and I could see he was upset by having his faith questioned by someone who didn't share it.

This is a good example of why this requirement is flawed. It doesn't take into account the way different boys might respond to questions like those Beavah would pose.

 

I met with the boy afterward and he was in tears, thinking he would fail the test. He felt betrayed by the EBOR and by BSA. He just couldn't understand why he was treated that way. I did my best to be supportive but it was hard because I felt much the same as the  boy did.

Thankfully, that board member is no longer going to be present in the future.

Edited by vumbi
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