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CherokeeScouter

Eagle references

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Was wondering how your Council handles Eagle references. The application says to  list the names and addresses of people who would provide references on behalf of the Eagle candidate. It doesn't actually say to provide them. Is that just assumed? In fact, taking it further, it almost sounds like the Council would reach out for the the references. 

 

Or does your council, like ours, just let it be known that the Eagle candidate needs to provide references and has the Eagle candidate ask for a reference and then has the person send the reference letter directly to the council. 

 

Tx in advance for any help. 

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In our district it is the second option, except that the letters are to be sent to someone in the troop, either the SM or someone who will be a member of the EBOR.  (Our EBOR's are technically troop BOR's rather than district-level BOR's, with several troop committee members plus a District Advancement Committee representative, but they are held at a central district location.)

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It's been a couple years but my district used to request the form and any supporting letter be sent to the SM or Eagle Coordinator of the troop.  The expectation is the letters would be received in sealed envelops and delivered unopened, with the Eagle package.

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We do something similar to NJ:

  • Eagle candidate completes all paperwork. Reviews with the Eagle coach for completeness.
  • Eagle coach gives the candidate the information about the recommendation letters to be sent to the Eagle coach.
  • Eagle coach collects the letters (or bugs the references if they have not yet provided them) and bring them to the EBOR.
  • Our EBORs are made up of unit parents, one district liaison, our advancement chair and the Eagle coach. They are held at our unit location.
  • Recommendation letters are destroyed and not shown to the candidate after they are used.

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Ours is a tad  more electronic. The reference letters are sent directly to the District Eagle person via email. (We have a template in Microsoft Word). The District Eagle person also collects the Eagle application as  well, which goes to Council. That Eagle District person also schedules the BOR. 

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Our district does it like Cherokee's with the exception that the reference forms are snail mailed to the District Eagle person.

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Ours is a tad  more electronic. The reference letters are sent directly to the District Eagle person via email. (We have a template in Microsoft Word). The District Eagle person also collects the Eagle application as  well, which goes to Council. That Eagle District person also schedules the BOR. 

 

Really, how 1990's of you.  We are still in the 1960's as far as EBORs.   :)

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It's been a couple years but my district used to request the form and any supporting letter be sent to the SM or Eagle Coordinator of the troop.  The expectation is the letters would be received in sealed envelops and delivered unopened, with the Eagle package.

Same in our neck of the woods.  The letters are not destroyed and traditionally we include them in the "binder" that's presented at the ECOH.

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Same in our neck of the woods.  The letters are not destroyed and traditionally we include them in the "binder" that's presented at the ECOH.

 

 

That goes against the Guide to Advancement.

 

9.0.1.7 References Contacted

 

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.

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That statement from the GTA mentions the reason why the letters are not to be shared with the Scout and are to be destroyed, and it's a pretty good reason: The person writing the letter might want to include information that is negative (or not completely positive) and would not feel free to state his/her true opinion unless confidentiality is going to be maintained.  On the other hand, I have been on many EBOR's and have NEVER seen a letter that was not completely positive.  Most of them almost seem to glow with pride at being asked to write a reference for the Scout in question.  There have even been a few times when I have thought (to myself) that while the Scout in question is a great kid and has certainly passed the requirements for Eagle, the praise was may be a bit overly effusive.  It is therefore a bit difficult to imagine ea letter that goes in the other direction.  But I am sure it does happen, somewhere, sometime.

 

The one real surprise I ever got from reading something at an EBOR was when I read the Scout's statement of life goals, and one of his goals was that if he ever had a son, to be involved in his son's Cub pack and Boy Scout troop, not like his own father who had also been an Eagle Scout but had not been involved at all in his son's pack or troop, never went on camping trips, etc.  I mean, I knew this about the father, but what I did not know about was the son's strong sense of disappointment in his own father because of it.  That was kind of an eye-opener.  

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While I agree the letters should be destroyed per policy, what Scout is going to ask someone to give a reference if they even suspect that person will give an even slightly negative response?

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While I agree the letters should be destroyed per policy, what Scout is going to ask someone to give a reference if they even suspect that person will give an even slightly negative response?

That's true, but at least in theory there may be cases where it is difficult to avoid a particular person. For example, if a Scout's family (including the Scout) are regular, active members of a particular place of worship, if the Scout does not write down the name of that spiritual leader on the application, it is going to raise questions. It is also true that our perceptions of another person's opinion of us is not always accurate. As I said before, a negative review is probably very rare, but "very rare" means it does happen sometimes.

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Our council goes beyond the personal letters of reference and also include one from the SM.  If the SM does not submit one, the EBOR his not scheduled.

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Having had the pleasure of sitting on quite a few Eagle boards, I sometimes have wished we could on occasion publish letters with the candidate or writer's  identification.  Over the years, I have read a number that are really wonderful examples of how a candidate, and therefore Scouting, is viewed by many in the public.  I suspect a really inspiring book could be compiled, or likely a number of them over time.

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