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zuzy

Eagle board of review?

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Okay let's look at it this way.

 

1) The boy has fulfilled all the requirements.  He has already passed.

2) The boy goes in for what purpose other than getting the last requirement signed off? None.

3) What are they going to ask that will "flunk" him?  Nothing.

4) What kinds of questions are they going to ask?  Irrelevant.

 

This is the time for the boy to go in there and brag about all he has done.  Regale them with his stories of adventure.  Impress them with his confidence and maturity.  Show them they are looking at a brand new BSA Eagle. 

 

I have had boys come out of this experience, feeling excited and pumped.  I have also had boys come away with wondering whether they "made it" or not.  Something like this shouldn't end with a big question mark.  It should be an exclamation mark!

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EBOR members are as varied as the leaders in Scouting. I've seen first hand, and heard of some EBOR members from the district level who are real control freaks, and are very offensive. The district advancement chairman who sat one mine was one such fellow, and I believe he sat on a friend of mine's too. As I've mentioned elsewhere, he wanted to deny me my Eagle because he was not the DAC who approved my Eagle project. And while he did approve my friend's project, at the EBOR made a comment that if he had known exactly what was involved, he would not have approved the project since it didn't really help the community. Tell that tot he numerous folks who have been rescued by the search and rescue group that my buddy built training obstacles for their rescue dogs. Heck the group went into action when we had a lost camper at out camp one year!

 

And other district reps are true representations of the Scout Law: Trustworthy, Friendly, Courteous, and Kind. The former DAC who did approve my project, whom I also went to jambo and Canada with, was on the EBOR and was a truly exemplified the points above. He was the one who courteously asked me to step outside as the EBOR discussed the Eagle project "situation."

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For the folks here who are fairly new to the scouting program, the best way to insure a scout gets his Eagle is to provide him a quality program and environment where he has opportunity to practice his skills and knowledge of the BSA program. A Scoutmaster cannot run a program by their fear of an EBOR. 

 

Sadly a few bad apples bring out stories that we hear on a forum and give the appearance of EBORs as controlling self serving adults looking to filter out scouts who appear weak. Truth is that the vast majority of Scouters join boards to meet these special scouts and to honor them. I have Scoutmastered dozens of scouts who became Eagles and I have no such horror story of EBORs. If something like that happen, I would be on top of the district immediately demanding change. I would not allow some adult force me into a position to where I have to compromise myself into coaching special instructions to get around the system. Nothing about that scenario models the law and oath.

 

For me coaching a scout to pass an EBOR has the appearance of protecting my Ego and takes away the honor of his hard work to earn the award. I will not stand to be forced into that position. 

 

However, If an adult outside our troop interferes with the intended process of the program, I take action with the adult, not the scout or the troop program. And it does work. It wouldn't be the first time I forced a change at district or council because of bad acting. 

 

Scoutmasters need to focus on providing a quality program that isn't based on their fear of adults outside of their unit.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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It puzzles me that National leaves it up to the councils to decide whether EBORs are to be done at the council/district level, or at the unit level.  Wouldn't the same reasons why it should be done one way or the other be applicable throughout the country?

 

And then there is my district (and presumably my entire council) which is sort of a hybrid of the two approaches, and has changed the procedure somewhat since I started participating in EBORs.  Our district holds EBORs twice a month, each at a different "central" location.  At the same time as the EBORs, various other Eagle-related meetings are taking place.  There are a bunch of tables in a big room.  At these three tables over here there may be EBORs taking place, and at that table over there a Scout is meeting with a DAC member to get his project approved, and at that other table another Scout is meeting with another DAC member for his "post-project review."  (That last one is optional.)  But here's what makes it a hybrid, the Eagle Boards are made up almost entirely of troop committee members from the Scout's own troop, who come to the "central location" along with the SM, if he/she chooses to be there to introduce the Scout.  Each Board also has a DAC member.  When I started doing this about 5 years ago, the DAC member would be the chair of the Board and run the show.  Now the DAC member acts in a supporting role and doesn't even sign the paperwork as a BOR member.  I was told that this change was made so that if a Scout "doesn't pass", the responsibility will be on the unit and not on council.  When I was told this, I asked the person, "Are there times when a Scout doesn't pass?" and he said yes.  I have never seen that happen.  In our troop it is always a foregone conclusion.  I think we all take the attitude that if there is some problem that should prevent or delay the Scout from making Eagle, such as issues with the project, it should be raised and corrected before the EBOR is even scheduled.

 

So what we have, especially in the last few years, is a unit EBOR that is done in a room where other EBOR's are going on.  One reason I can think of is that it allows a DAC member, rather than traveling to a unit's location to do 1 EBOR as the district representative, to do 3 or 4 in one night and/or the other Eagle-related meetings.  So there is some greater efficiency involved. It probably also allows for somewhat more control over the paperwork and allows the District Advancement Chair, who is in the room but usually not participating in any particular EBOR or meeting, to keep track of everybody.

 

EAGLE94-A1's issue of one DAC member having approved the project and a different one sitting on the DAC would not be an issue in our district.  The two are different people, at least most of the time.  I know the person who approved my son's project was not the DAC member who sat on his EBOR. 

 

But as I said at the top, I do not understand why each council should be different in the way EBORs are done.

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I guess to answer that question, one just deals with the cards they get dealt.  I would think that if one doesn't understand the dynamics of another person's situation, I for one, would defer placing any judgement on how which one is appropriately dealt with.  I guess in the long run they tend to be "appropriate" for each council in that's how they have chosen to process EBOH's.  There's a lot to be said about a scout working with familiar faces and those that have EBOR's with all strangers.  The nervousness levels can vary quite a bit between these two options.  I've been in this council for over 30 years and even then I do not recognize any of the people that sit on these EBOR's in my council.

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I don't understand the strangers thing. We had introverted and learning disabled scouts who were extremely shy and they had no trouble approaching their Eagle BOR. A typical troop program doesn't work in a vacuum.

 

Unless the Scoutmaster shelters them from strangers, Scouts have to work and deal with many strangers during their scouting activities, including the troop BORs. If anything, scouting is the best place for boys to develop confidence in conferring with strangers. Our new scouts are taught quickly how to call and discuss business with merit badge counselors. Patrol leaders and PLC members have call and work with strangers in planning activities and arranging program activities. EBOR members are the least of a scouts concerns. A shy scout in a normal troop develops the confidence and good manners to work with strangers.

 

In my opinion, Eagle Scouts should have an adult maturity. We wouldn't question how our ASMs and Committee members deal with strangers, why would we be concerned about Eagle Scouts?

 

A SM afraid of the EBOR needs to rethink how the troop program develop's their scouts into leaders of integrity and Citizens of Character.

 

Barry

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I guess in the long run they tend to be "appropriate" for each council in that's how they have chosen to process EBOH's.  

 

But there are dozens of details to the advancement process that are NOT left up to each counsel.  Even aside from the requirements themselves, National prescribes many, many things, in the Guide to Advancement and elsewhere.  This is one of a relatively small number of details that IS left up to each council.  

 

It is not clear to me how the BSA decides whether a particular detail requires nationwide conformity, or can be decided by each council.  In this case it seems kind of arbitrary.

 

If it were up to me to choose, I would probably go with what our council does.  I think it mostly meets the standards that Eagledad is talking about, such as requiring a certain level of maturity and some unfamiliar elements to challenge the Scout. The board is a combination of people the Scout knows and one he does not know.  The room is filled with people the Scout does not know, except that there may very well be a student from another troop but the same high school going for either an EBOR or a project review at the same time.  (That happened to my son.)  The Scout checks in with a person he does not know, but has either spoken with on the phone or emailed.  (The District Advancement Chair.)  The physical setting is unknown to the Scout, or he has been there at most twice before for his pre-project and post-project review.  

 

If I were to change our council's system at all, I might add one other adult who is not from the same troop as the Scout, but always have at least one committee member from the troop.  Right now our EBORs are 2 or 3 from our own troop and one from another troop (or not with any troop at all) who is a member of the DAC.  I might make it 2-1 in favor of people from other troops, or 2-2.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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It would seem that other boys are luckier than those in our council.  Like I said, one goes with the hand they are dealt.

 

The ONLY contact I have ever had with the Eagle Rank process as an adult leader is what I have done within the troop with the boy.  The project through EBOR is all the Council's baby.  They did call me once and question the worthwhile validity of one boy's project.  It was evaluating military grave sites for appropriate markers for the Veteran's Administration.  Once clarified with that quick phone call, the issue was resolved.  That was while I was an ASM.  The only other contact was from the Council office requesting a SM's referral for one of my Eagle candidates.

Edited by Stosh

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If it were up to me to choose, I would probably go with what our council does. 

 

Yah, I reckon that's what most everybody says, eh?    We all know that our troop, council, etc. does it best.   :)  Especially if that's the (only) one we're intimately familiar with.

 

I don't mind a diversity of approaches.  It allows us to reach more boys, use more adults with different skills effectively, respond to more local conditions.  Scoutin' grew up in this country in part because of that diversity, eh?  The more we push for a one-size-fits-all regulatory monopoly, the less mission-focused (and smaller) we keep gettin'.  :(

 

Beavah

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EBOR members are as varied as the leaders in Scouting. I've seen first hand, and heard of some EBOR members from the district level who are real control freaks, and are very offensive. The district advancement chairman who sat one mine was one such fellow, and I believe he sat on a friend of mine's too. As I've mentioned elsewhere, he wanted to deny me my Eagle because he was not the DAC who approved my Eagle project.

Preposterous.  This is NOT a job interview or a military grilling; it's a CHILD being reviewed on a SCOUTING RANK.  These ego-laden types of folks need to get their heads out of their butts and remember why they are there in the first place.  Tougher questions are OK, but there is no fail, the Scout should not feel intimidated or confused, and the district egomaniac Banana Republic Generals need to leave all that stuff at home!

Edited by frankpalazzi

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And now one can understand that pre-paring a scout for such a possibility is well within the realm of taking care of one's boys.  Not all EBOR's are held at Camelot.  Even with a questionable board member, the boy should be prepared to handle anything that might arise and feel comfortable with even such situations that require standing up for oneself.

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Time was in these parts, the Troop Committee agreed upon which adults would sit on an EBOR, with a representative from district/council present. We would invite a Town Selectman to sit in with the other selected Troop adults, and the Scout would feel honored!    Preparation?  You told the Scout, "A little tougher than your Life board, you can handle it.  You'll know most of the folks there!"  That was all the prep the Scout needed.  Unfortunately, now you don't know and have no say on who will be on the EBOR, so of course you have to prepare the Scout for "curve balls".

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Of course there is no room for absurd adult volunteerism, but if the Troop adults think of their Eagles as children, they will treat them as children. Think about that for a moment; Eagles are envisioned by the general public as the best and brightest scouts. The cream of the crop, the most skilled and best of character. If the adult leaders still think of these young men as children, shouldn't we call that helicopter scout leading?

 

Barry

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I think my older scouts as comrades, younger comrades to be sure, but fellow members of the scout movement. If one of my adult scouters wanted a little prep for a big review I would offer to help him as well because that is Friendly and Helpful. No Helicopters involved.

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I think my older scouts as comrades, younger comrades to be sure, but fellow members of the scout movement. If one of my adult scouters wanted a little prep for a big review I would offer to help him as well because that is Friendly and Helpful. No Helicopters involved.

Even adults need to prepare for interviews and reviews in their lifetime. I'm not condemning prepping, but I do believe there is way to much focus in this discussion on prepping scouts to protect them. Of course there are a few bad examples of adults out of line, but they aren't the norm. The message in this discussion should be that the troop program should be sufficient preparation for an EBOR. How does the SM know if the program is sufficient? By the comments of scouts in the other rank BORs.

 

Barry

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