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CherokeeScouter

Eagle references

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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.

Many of these letters are written by teachers, and I have said that when my time is up, I hope my eulogy could be given by a teacher or school principal. Generally speaking, their capacity for finding creative ways of saying nice things about people is amazing. Too bad I wouldn't be around to hear it...

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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. ... I suspect a really inspiring book could be compiled, or likely a number of them over time.

I think you can, after a bit of work. I just sat in on an EBOR and the scout asked if he could read the recommendations. The answer was no, but if he really wanted to read them then he just had to ask the people that wrote them to send him a copy. Once he has it, he can do with it as he pleases, including giving it to anyone.

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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. 

Our council emails out forms to the references (they used to snailmail it out), and asks the references to snailmail directly to the Scoutmaster, who brings the sealed envelopes to the EBOR.

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In my district, references need to be in letter form and mailed to the district advancement chairman. EBOR gets to read them.

 

 

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?

 

I have been told this happened twice. First time, the SM counseled him and told him what he would put down. Don't know if the Scout didn't hear him or didn't care. He used the SMt, and received a negative reference.

 

Second one I was told about is interesting. Scout went overboard with the references and had 6 or 7 letters. All but one were positive.

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Posted (edited)

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.

 

I'm betting that's a district practice, not a council one.  I've seen quite a few backwards districts, but usually when it gets to a council level things are more per BSA GTA direction.  But then again, I'm in a very large council.  Some councils are the size of some of our districts.  

 

As for the practice, it's just wrong and a waster of time.  The SM has signed the eagle project and the eagle application.  If the SM won't sign those, there is a well written process to pursue rank under disputed circumstances.  Requiring a SM reference letter is just a weak, ill-defined, dead-end, non-BSA process.  Did I mention wrong?   :)

 

I'm always surprised when I hear things like this.  People value Eagle so highly that they add their own twist / signature to the process that flies directly in the face of the organization that is providing the credential.  It's a contradiction to highly value an organization's credential but not the infrastructure behind that credential.  I just don't get it. BSA's methods and processes are just not that hard to understand.  

Edited by fred johnson
  • Upvote 1

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I'm betting that's a district practice, not a council one.  I've seen quite a few backwards districts, but usually when it gets to a council level things are more per BSA GTA direction.  But then again, I'm in a very large council.  Some councils are the size of some of our districts.  

 

As for the practice, it's just wrong and a waster of time.  The SM has signed the eagle project and the eagle application.  If the SM won't sign those, there is a well written process to pursue rank under disputed circumstances.  Requiring a SM reference letter is just a weak, ill-defined, dead-end, non-BSA process.  Did I mention wrong?   :)

I don't know about calling it wrong. I can see redundant, not to mention extra work for the SM ;) And yet every time I sign off I think about a scouts pros and cons. I've already thought about the basics of a letter of recommendation. Those insights would always be positive (or else the SM would not have signed the app) so it could help the BOR get to know the scout.

 

But then again, our EBORs are fairly easy going, compared to the extremes I've heard about here.

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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?

 

I would tend to agree with that, but somewhere in the archives on this board is another discussion along these lines, and I recall people coming up with examples of negative references.   (I don't have time to search harder now.  Maybe a weekend task)

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I would tend to agree with that, but somewhere in the archives on this board is another discussion along these lines, and I recall people coming up with examples of negative references.   (I don't have time to search harder now.  Maybe a weekend task)

Maybe this one?

 

http://scouter.com/index.php/topic/26740-parents-writing-eagle-references-for-child/?p=407383

 

I pointed to one of my replies because, although I talk about putting negative things in writing, I've never felt that I've had to.

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

LOL. Well, ours don''t work so well, which is why I'm reaching out. Maybe I need to go back to the future or at least the 1960s.

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I don't know about calling it wrong. 

 

The original statement was that an EBOR would not be scheduled without a SM reference letter.  You can request and call directly a second time.  But if does not come in, it's wrong to not schedule the EBOR.  It's even wrong to delay an EBOR waiting for the reference letter.  That's BSA GTA documented..  

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The original statement was that an EBOR would not be scheduled without a SM reference letter.

Yeah, I see your point.

 

It would add to the BOR if the SM wanted to write it, but if it's required then it might not add anything positive, so pushing it is a mistake.

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I would tend to agree with that, but somewhere in the archives on this board is another discussion along these lines, and I recall people coming up with examples of negative references.   (I don't have time to search harder now.  Maybe a weekend task)

 

Here is the thread I was thinking of, for what it's worth:

 

http://scouter.com/index.php/topic/10689-what-happens-when-there-are-bad-letters-of-reference/

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Here is the thread I was thinking of, for what it's worth:

 

http://scouter.com/index.php/topic/10689-what-happens-when-there-are-bad-letters-of-reference/

 

Well, that's a strange old thread.  (And not just because it was from 2009 and the OP's profile says he was last active in the forum in 2007.  Sounds like either someone was doing some time-traveling, or it's just another bug in the system.)  The OP, who was apparently a brand new SM at the time, told of a Scout who was the subject of FOUR negative letters of reference at his EBOR, and he was not awarded the rank.  There was no explanation of why this may have been the case, nor was there any follow-up as to whether the Scout passed an EBOR at a later time or on appeal.  There were some other forum members who found this story difficult to believe, as they had never seen even one negative letter at an EBOR.  Then there was another poster who said something like "this happens sometimes" but without any specifics.

 

As I said earlier, I have never seen it happen either, but I am sure it does happen, and that old thread seems to support that idea.  It does not really shed any light on the kinds of situations in which it might happen.  One can only guess at the reasons why that Scout got four negative letters, and I mean that literally:  One can only guess.

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In our council references are checked by the unit, in our case, me, the advancement coordinator and I fill out a form stating that I checked the references and not anything negative.  That form gets submitted to the council with the Eagle Package.  I send requests via email and prefer to get an email response.  If I can't get a response via email I call the reference and take notes on our conversation.  At the Eagle Board of Review I provide the letters and/or my notes to the board to review.  The letters are not given to the scout per the GTA.

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