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ItsBrian

Eagle Scout Board of Review

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Brian, since we are in the same council, I strongly doubt that what you were told is correct. Within our council, the districts seem to do things pretty much the same.  In my district (and I suspect in yours), all EBOR’s are held in a central location, and there are often 4 or 5 EBOR’s going on at the same time.  If each candidate brought two other people (in addition to their parent(s), who are sitting on the sidelines), there wouldn’t be enough places for them to sit. :) 

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12 hours ago, ItsBrian said:

I have another question if you don’t mind, do you require blue cards for EBOR?

My district in my Council has decided to start requiring them, yet nobody has them saved. Isn’t the online records all that matter?

@ItsBrian In our council, the fact checking of the Eagle Scout Application happens before the actual BOR. The dates listed for each merit badge will be compared against the council records. If there is a discrepancy, the Eagle Scout candidate may be asked to produce a blue card as verification. But all of those details will be resolved before the BOR takes place. Normally, we would have no reason to focus on such things in our questioning.

Edited by gblotter

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11 hours ago, Stosh said:

Not to worry, this process is nothing more than authoritarian gate-keeping and bullying of scouts who have earned the rank.  The EBOR is not a final test, it is not a judgment, it is not an evaluation of a Scout's career.  All BOR's are held AFTER THE RANK HAS BEEN EARNED. 

Instead of questioning the validity of a scout's record, I would be first in line to question the validity of the members of the BOR.  They obviously haven't been trained correctly as to what the process is all about and yet, feel they can jerk the boys around at will.  If they are worried about protecting the validity of the Eagle Rank, maybe they ought to be thinking about protecting the validity of the EBOR process instead.

@Stosh I'm sorry if your past experience has given you reason to be resentful of the Eagle Scout BOR process or to feel like boys are being bullied or jerked around at will.

Speaking only for myself, we try to make the BOR a positive experience as the pinnacle of the boy's Scouting advancement. We want him to feel elated, not deflated.

In rare circumstances, an Eagle Scout candidate may show at the BOR poorly-prepared to represent himself well. In those situations, the questioning can get difficult. This is not because we are asking tougher questions, but rather because the Scout is not prepared to answer the normal expected questions.

We have reviewed candidates who show up without a full Scout uniform (or even wearing someone else's uniform with the wrong patches). We have reviewed candidates who haven't been camping with their troop in several years. We have reviewed Scouts who cannot recite the Scout Oath. Of course such deficiencies are going to grab our attention during the BOR, but we ask those questions of all Scouts (we are not picking on him). Even in those situations, the candidates ultimately passed. Fortunately, most Scouts are are not so ill-prepared. Remember the Scout Motto and you will be fine.

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12 hours ago, Stosh said:

The EBOR is not a final test, it is not a judgment, it is not an evaluation of a Scout's career.

Actually the Eagle Scout BOR is a final test, a judgement, and an evaluation of a Scout's career. It is exactly that.

 

12 hours ago, Stosh said:

All BOR's are held AFTER THE RANK HAS BEEN EARNED. 

The Eagle Scout rank has not been earned until all requirements are satisfied. The final requirement (requirement 7) states that the candidate must successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.

 

12 hours ago, Stosh said:

this process is nothing more than authoritarian gate-keeping

@Stosh I get where you are coming from. I have a libertarian spirit and don't like submitting to authority either. The attitude brought to an Eagle Scout BOR is really the most important factor that will influence the experience. Just being pleasant and cooperative (and courteous and kind and cheerful) will get you far in life.

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27 minutes ago, gblotter said:

@Stosh I'm sorry if your past experience has given you reason to be resentful of the Eagle Scout BOR process or to feel like boys are being bullied or jerked around at will.

Speaking only for myself, we try to make the BOR a positive experience as the pinnacle of the boy's Scouting advancement. We want him to feel elated, not deflated.

In rare circumstances, an Eagle Scout candidate may show at the BOR poorly-prepared to represent himself well. In those situations, the questioning can get difficult. This is not because we are asking tougher questions, but rather because the Scout is not prepared to answer the normal expected questions.

We have reviewed candidates who show up without a full Scout uniform (or even wearing someone else's uniform with the wrong patches). We have reviewed candidates who haven't been camping with their troop in several years. We have reviewed Scouts who cannot recite the Scout Oath. Of course such deficiencies are going to grab our attention during the BOR, but we ask those questions of all Scouts (we are not picking on him). Even in those situations, the candidates ultimately passed. Fortunately, most Scouts are are not so ill-prepared. Remember the Scout Motto and you will be fine.

:)  I have no past experience that has given me any reason to be resentful of the Eagle Scout BOR process, I was reacting to the situation described in the post.  If my council were to pull the shenanigans described, yes, I would be resentful.  It sounds as if we are in total agreement on this OP's concern.  

11 minutes ago, gblotter said:

Actually the Eagle Scout BOR is a final test, a judgement, and an evaluation of a Scout's career. It is exactly that.

 

The Eagle Scout rank has not been earned until all requirements are satisfied. The final requirement (requirement 7) states that the candidate must successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.

 

@Stosh I get where you are coming from. I have a libertarian spirit and don't like submitting to authority either. The attitude brought to an Eagle Scout BOR is really the most important factor that will influence the experience. Just being pleasant and cooperative (and courteous and kind and cheerful) will get you far in life.

I guess I would never refer to the EBOR as a "test", "judgment" or "evaluation".  As the title suggests it is a Review of all the accomplishments the scout has fulfilled and is now to be recognized and celebrated.  Yes, the boy shows up without his uniform it wouldn't bother me one bit.  It's what's inside the scout that makes him an Eagle.  And technically one is correct that the final requirement has not been met, and technically speaking, "successfully complete" leaves the door open to adult gate-keeping and abuse.  Why does the onus of success fall under such a vague description.  If it were me unable to successfully complete the EBOR because of some technicality that was cleared prior to the meeting, (i.e. didn't have my blue-cards readily available), I wouldn't bother to return to attempt again.  That part of successfully completed was already done before walking into the meeting.  I don't need some austere board of over zealous scouters questioning my honesty at that point.  No one is going to schedule an EBOR for the scout unless everyone is sure he has covered all the "technical" issues.

This is not a final test, judgement or evaluation it is an Eagle Board of REVIEW.  That means they take a second look, nothing more.  Take a second look and share the experience of accomplishment with the scout.  A Scout is trustworthy, so I would trust that everyone prior to the scout showing up for the EBOR has been done due diligence to insure a successful review of the scout's work.   If not, I would not put the blame on the scout, nor deny him his accomplishments.  

Is an EBOR a test, judgment or evaluation of the scout's honesty? .... and more importantly is it a test, judgment or evaluation of the integrity of the review panel members?  It could go both ways.  From the OP's concern, both sides need to be held accountable and in this case, I would think the scout has done his due diligence, with or without a handful of blue-cards.

I think if there is a glaring omission somewhere, fine.  Bring it to the attention of the board.  But one must also assume that as the boy stands there in front of the Board, he HAS ALREADY passed all the other requirements.  That should tell the EBOR panel that re-testing, re-judging, and re-evaluation is not proper.

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4 hours ago, Stosh said:

As the title suggests it is a Review of all the accomplishments the scout has fulfilled and is now to be recognized and celebrated.

That is what an Eagle Scout Court of Honor is for - to recognize and celebrate the accomplishment.

 

4 hours ago, Stosh said:

technically speaking, "successfully complete" leaves the door open to adult gate-keeping and abuse.

Gatekeeepers are encountered in many aspects of life. Isn't a merit badge counselor also a gatekeeper to ensure all requirements are met? Or something as common as the DMV road test. How about a master's thesis examination committee or a doctoral dissertation jury. There are many more examples. Important benefits result from passing gatekeeper reviews. Rather than grouse about imagined abuse by zealots, why not embrace the Eagle Scout BOR as an opportunity to develop a valuable life skill in the process?

 

4 hours ago, Stosh said:

A Scout is trustworthy, so I would trust that everyone prior to the scout showing up for the EBOR has been done due diligence to insure a successful review of the scout's work.

We all hope that is the case (and it usually is). Unfortunately, due diligence is far from uniform. A few months ago, a candidate submitted his Eagle Scout application with less that 6 months between Life rank and his 18th birthday.  The Scout and his troop leaders were either ignorant or complicit. Such situations require exceptions that put everyone in an awkward position. Hopefully the BOR is not labeled as abusive zealots for reacting to that.

 

4 hours ago, Stosh said:

That should tell the EBOR panel that re-testing, re-judging, and re-evaluation is not proper.

Asking a candidate about the Scout Oath and Scout Law is testing Eagle Scout Rank requirement #2. Is that improper?

Asking a candidate about his roles in Scouting leadership is judging Eagle Scout Rank requirement #4. Is that improper?

Asking a candidate about the details of his Eagle Scout Service Project is evaluating Eagle Scout Rank requirement #5. Is that improper?

Nobody is asking a candidate to tie a bowline or administer first aid during an Eagle Scout BOR, but there are certainly other valid lines of questioning.

 

4 hours ago, Stosh said:

I don't need some austere board of over zealous scouters questioning my honesty at that point.

You say you have no past experience that has instilled resentment of the Eagle Scout BOR process, so I wonder where such negative statements come from.

 

4 hours ago, Stosh said:

Why does the onus of success fall under such a vague description.

I feel the need to highlight one additional benefit of the Eagle Scout BOR process: it is an important rite of passage. Preparing for and passing a friendly but rigorous review instills a feeling of accomplishment. A little nervous anticipation and "sweating the small stuff" adds to the realization that something great has been achieved when all is done. We emphasize this at the conclusion of each BOR with handshakes and congratulations ... you made it!! Becoming an Eagle Scout is about triumph - not a shrug.

Edited by gblotter
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Gatekeeping is the appropriate ,and noble, description in my mind of the EBOR responsibilities. For the award to have merit, presented accomplishments require accountability. To many adults show fear of responsibility in front of the scouts, which is ironic because the world expects accountability and the BSA markets itself as a program for building men of character.

That being said, all scout leaders have responsibility of understanding the program they present and judging the scouts actions "fairly" within the published BSA program expectations. Gatekeeping carries a high burden of responsibility.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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1 hour ago, gblotter said:

Gatekeeepers are encountered in many aspects of life. Isn't a merit badge counselor also a gatekeeper to ensure all requirements are met? Or something as common as the DMV road test. How about a master's thesis examination committee or a doctoral dissertation jury. There are many more examples. Important benefits result from passing gatekeeper reviews. Rather than grouse about imagined abuse by zealots, why not embrace the Eagle Scout BOR as an opportunity to develop a valuable life skill in the process?

Merit Badge counselors are not gatekeepers - or shouldn't be anyway.  They're so much more than that - if the only thing a Merit Badge counselor is doing is checking off the requirements for a Scout, they're doing the Scout and the program a huge disservice.  The role of the Merit Badge Counselor is not to just check off the requirements, it's to "counsel" - to help a Scout learn what is needed to pass the requirements.  One of my favorite Merit Badges as a Scout was Landscape Architecture.  If I had a counselor who just looked at my work and signed off on the badge, it wouldn't have been that memorable.  What I had was a counselor who led me through the steps - showing examples - teaching me how it was done - leading me to resources I would not have thought about.  If all we need Merit Badge counselors for is to be gatekeepers and just check off the boxes, then anyone can be a Merit Badge counselor for any Merit Badge - someone who knows absolutely nothing about fishing could be a counselor for fishing.

Is the Scout going to encounter  gatekeepers on his path to Eagle Scout?  Yes - but the gatekeepers are NOT the Board of Review.  The first gatekeeper is going to be the beneficiary of the project - if the sign off that the project is done to their satisfaction, then onward the Scout sails.  I suggest that the beneficiary is the equivalent of the master's thesis committee or the doctoral dissertation jury.  The second gatekeeper is the person at Council who reviews the application and makes sure all the I's are dotted and the T's are crossed.  Once it gets to the Board of Review - all the gatekeeping is done - now its time for the BOR to review the Scout's career - it should be very very rare for an Eagle Scout BOR to deny - and it should never have to deny on a technicality of work not being done.

As for the DMV road test?  That's more like a merit badge on the road to a license - you still have written exams and eye exams to get through.

 

Asking a candidate about the Scout Oath and Scout Law is testing Eagle Scout Rank requirement #2. Is that improper?

Asking a candidate about his roles in Scouting leadership is judging Eagle Scout Rank requirement #4. Is that improper?

Asking a candidate about the details of his Eagle Scout Service Project is evaluating Eagle Scout Rank requirement #5. Is that improper?

Nobody is asking a candidate to tie a bowline or administer first aid during an Eagle Scout BOR, but there are certainly other valid lines of questioning.

Well that all depends on how the questions are asked, doesn't it?  It certainly isn't improper to ask open ended questions about a Scouts experiences in their leadership roles, or about their service project, or about the Scout Oath and Law.  Some of the best BOR discussions I've seen are when a Scout is asked a simple question like what to you is the most important point of the Scout Law and why?

 

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33 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

What I have said the last 10 times this exact same subject was discussed, let's pretend I'm saying it again.

I  am new to Scouter.com, but I'm sure that EBORs must be a well-worn topic here. Time to move along.

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20 hours ago, gblotter said:

One of the hats I wear in Scouting is to chair Eagle Scout BORs. It is interesting for me to learn about the various ways that different councils conduct these.

In our council, Eagle Scout BORs are held once a month for all candidates in the district. Each BOR typically last one hour. We will run multiple boards at the same time, so it sometimes requires as many as 21 Scouters to sit on the boards. It is a big affair, and the Scouts know it. We don't want to be intimidating, but we do want Eagle Scout candidates to know that this is Scouting's highest honor and we take it seriously.

Eagle Scout candidates may be accompanied by an escort if desired, but it cannot be a parent or a Scoutmaster. Aside from making an introduction at the beginning, the escort sits at the back of the room and remains silent. Many Eagle Scout candidates use this as an opportunity to honor an adult Scouter who has been particularly meaningful/helpful by asking him to be his escort.

References listed on the Eagle Scout application are largely ignored and there are no letters of recommendation included with the application materials. I consider that a weakness of our particular review process.

Our district does the same.  The difference being that we allow the SM to be an escort (don't let parents, just like you).  We have the letters of recommendation sent to the SM by mail, and he (or his designate) brings the unopened letters to the EBOR. They get shredded afterwards.  

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On 10/9/2017 at 6:21 PM, ItsBrian said:

I’m two merit badges away from Eagle, so I’m trying to work out everything I’ve been told.

 

So on the Eagle Scout application, you have to list your references. Someone in my troop had told me that two of those who recommended you have to attend your BOR with you???

 

That doesn’t sound right to me. I know every council is different.

I believe that's adding to the requirements, which simply say that you have to have the names of references. Strictly speaking, there is no requirement to have letters of recommendation returned at all, much less the extra hassle of getting two people that have recommended you to show up.  Check with your SM or Advancement chair, not "someone in your troop."

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19 hours ago, ItsBrian said:

@gblotter Thanks!

 

I have another question if you don’t mind, do you require blue cards for EBOR?

My district in my Council has decided to start requiring them, yet nobody has them saved. Isn’t the online records all that matter?

Speaking as a former advancement chair, I would say that blue cards aren't necessary.  All national needs is the online records, and I believe those have to be checked before the EBOR is scheduled.  I think it would be a good idea to ask the council for a copy of your advancement records, if you don't have the blue cards or the MB cards (which, IMHO are more important anyway).  

19 hours ago, Stosh said:

Not to worry, this process is nothing more than authoritarian gate-keeping and bullying of scouts who have earned the rank.  The EBOR is not a final test, it is not a judgment, it is not an evaluation of a Scout's career.  All BOR's are held AFTER THE RANK HAS BEEN EARNED. 

Instead of questioning the validity of a scout's record, I would be first in line to question the validity of the members of the BOR.  They obviously haven't been trained correctly as to what the process is all about and yet, feel they can jerk the boys around at will.  If they are worried about protecting the validity of the Eagle Rank, maybe they ought to be thinking about protecting the validity of the EBOR process instead.

That, and honestly, an EBOR is too late of a time to protect the validity of the Eagle Rank.

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When does the question allow for the scout to expand on his experiences and when does it judge whether or not that experience is good enough to be labeled as Eagle-worthy? 

"In our troop, we traditionally had PopTarts and hot cocoa for breakfast, PBJ's for lunch and foil dinners for supper.  It gave us a lot more time to have fun without having to wash dishes all the time."

Yep, there's tomorrow's Eagle Scout. So what's the EBOR going to do?  Fail him?  What if he's already turned 18 by the time the EBOR runs around?

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Hopefully it would recognize that what "we" had for meals is less important than many other things you have mentioned here over the years, like leadership, responsibility, and values.

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