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Jishusa

BSA Scout Spirit Boards

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Hi - looking for experience/advice  and BSA guidelines on a Scout Spirit Board.

 

i googled and can’t find anything...

 

Our Troop Scoutmaster is adding an Order of the Arrow review board to our Troops advancement process called a Spirit Board.

3 Order of the Arrow Scouts will now review every Scout’s Spirit seeking advancement prior to their Board of Review instead of the Adults running the BOR.   If they don’t pass they have to wait 30 days and try again.

Is there a list of questions these Scouts typically ask?

Or, some sort of official BSA guidelines on how to do this?

Thanks in advance for the help.

 

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@Jishusa welcome to scouter.com .  I have not heard of this before, tell us more about your troop.

Having Order of the Arrow scouts review Scout Spirit on this forum could be helpful . :rolleyes:

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That seems to be adding a new requirement to receiving rank, which is something you shouldn't be doing. I could also see it getting rather problematic if you end up with scouts on the spirit board that have a dislike of a younger scout.

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On 8/30/2018 at 12:08 PM, Jishusa said:

Hi - looking for experience/advice  and BSA guidelines on a Scout Spirit Board.

 

i googled and can’t find anything...

 

Our Troop Scoutmaster is adding an Order of the Arrow review board to our Troops advancement process called a Spirit Board.

3 Order of the Arrow Scouts will now review every Scout’s Spirit seeking advancement prior to their Board of Review instead of the Adults running the BOR.   If they don’t pass they have to wait 30 days and try again.

Is there a list of questions these Scouts typically ask?

Or, some sort of official BSA guidelines on how to do this?

Thanks in advance for the help.

 

I am from BSA Troop 1 in Hong Kong.  I amCommittee member with concerns that we may not be following BSA policies.

This is new so searching for info on how do it correctly....

 

 

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There are official BSA guidelines in the Guide to Advancement.

Unfortunately, it prohibits what you are attempting.

First, additional requirements are prohibited. So the Spirit Board as a part of advancement is prohibited.

Second, BoR’s are to be conducted by adults (other than direct contact unit leaders).

Additionally, I have been involved with OA a various levels and have never heard of such a thing. In fact, I’m not sure how I feel about Arrowman sitting in judgement of another Scouts spirit.

If you want a spirit board to recognize great spirit, that’s not a bad idea. But to make it an obstacle to advancement is against policy and is a bad idea that will likely backfire. 

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6 minutes ago, Jishusa said:

I am from BSA Troop 1 in Hong Kong.  I amCommittee member with concerns that we may not be following BSA policies.

This is new so searching for info on how do it correctly....

 

 

So you are from the Far East Council, I take it.

No, that is certainly not BSA policy, in fact it is directly opposed.

Good luck sorting it out.

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I do not think they are adding to the requirements. I appears, and I could be wrong, the SM is empowering the OA scouts to have the sign-off authority for the requirement, "show scout spirit". Looks no different than empowering PL's to sign off on the other skill requirements. 

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Posted (edited)

My understanding is that Scout Spirit discussions are supposed to happen in the SM conference or the BoR. Meaning it's a conversation with adults, and adults making the determination that the Scout adequately shows Scout Spirit. 

By this unit's method, other Scouts make that determination. Seems contradictory to the intent of the BSA advancement method.

 

Edited by FireStone

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8 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

I do not think they are adding to the requirements. I appears, and I could be wrong, the SM is empowering the OA scouts to have the sign-off authority for the requirement, "show scout spirit". Looks no different than empowering PL's to sign off on the other skill requirements. 

You could say that the Spirit Board is a tool for helping sign off on the Scout Spirit requirement for all ranks, and that involving the scouts in a decision making process is a worthy undertaking, but not if it can affect any scouts advancement.  As @HelpfulTracks has pointed out, advancement is meant to be in the hands of the SM and ASM's, to be confirmed by a board of review made up of committee members.  Any Scout Spirit issues that arise should be caught by these adult Scouters.  As a committee member, I have had to address the behavior of scouts if it went against the Scout Oath and Law.  As a SM I have dealt with these issues in Scoutmaster Conferences.  The machinery to deal with Scout Spirit issues is already there, and should not be added to, especially with the rank advancement of peers.  Scouts leading patrols deal with decisions about camping,  cooking,  hiking, and the like.  When they make decisions of judgement over others, that is an area they are not trained in, and need heavy oversight in.  I could see it as valid in recommending to the SM that the scout be signed off for Scout Spirit requirements,  with the SM making final decisions,  BUT, it can easily slide into moral judgement of behavior.  That is a bad idea.  

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9 minutes ago, allangr1024 said:

You could say that the Spirit Board is a tool for helping sign off on the Scout Spirit requirement for all ranks, and that involving the scouts in a decision making process is a worthy undertaking, but not if it can affect any scouts advancement.  As @HelpfulTracks has pointed out, advancement is meant to be in the hands of the SM and ASM's, to be confirmed by a board of review made up of committee members.  Any Scout Spirit issues that arise should be caught by these adult Scouters.  As a committee member, I have had to address the behavior of scouts if it went against the Scout Oath and Law.  As a SM I have dealt with these issues in Scoutmaster Conferences.  The machinery to deal with Scout Spirit issues is already there, and should not be added to, especially with the rank advancement of peers.  Scouts leading patrols deal with decisions about camping,  cooking,  hiking, and the like.  When they make decisions of judgement over others, that is an area they are not trained in, and need heavy oversight in.  I could see it as valid in recommending to the SM that the scout be signed off for Scout Spirit requirements,  with the SM making final decisions,  BUT, it can easily slide into moral judgement of behavior.  That is a bad idea.  

As long as it is applied in a manner no different than the SM giving authority to the PL to sign off on the other requirements, I see no problem with it. If a boy is not signed off for tying a square knot by his PL, he can still go to the SM, but the boy will need to demonstrate the skill to the SM. If the boy leaders do not sign off on shows scout spirit, the boy can still go to the SM, but will need to demonstrate he has fulfilled the req. Personally, I find the shows scout spirit to be the most important requirement and sadly it is usually just an automatic sign-off. I think giving this to the boys is a great idea. For sure it has potential for abuse, but with a committee of boy leaders this is reduced, and as I said going to the SM if the boy feels he has shown scout spirit. The disconnect provides an opportunity for growth for all boys involved regardless of the outcome.

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So as not not edit my previous response... I want to add the idea in my opinion would require training the OA board by the SM and he provide oversight through SM conferences. The more I think about it, the more I like it to help the boys grow. I see the bigger picture here, and not just a focus on advancement. 

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1 hour ago, DuctTape said:

I do not think they are adding to the requirements. I appears, and I could be wrong, the SM is empowering the OA scouts to have the sign-off authority for the requirement, "show scout spirit". Looks no different than empowering PL's to sign off on the other skill requirements. 

 

1 hour ago, allangr1024 said:

You could say that the Spirit Board is a tool for helping sign off on the Scout Spirit requirement for all ranks, and that involving the scouts in a decision making process is a worthy undertaking, but not if it can affect any scouts advancement.  

 

46 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

As long as it is applied in a manner no different than the SM giving authority to the PL to sign off on the other requirements, I see no problem with it. If a boy is not signed off for tying a square knot by his PL, he can still go to the SM, but the boy will need to demonstrate the skill to the SM. If the boy leaders do not sign off on shows scout spirit, the boy can still go to the SM, but will need to demonstrate he has fulfilled the req. 

 

42 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

 I want to add the idea in my opinion would require training the OA board by the SM and he provide oversight through SM conferences. The more I think about it, the more I like it to help the boys grow. I see the bigger picture here, and not just a focus on advancement. 

I can see that perspective and it makes sense. I think if I were SM I would want to sit in on the "Scout Conference" to make sure it does not stray from BSA policy. But at the end of the day, I still see this as the SM responsibility and I look at SM conferences as not only being done at time of advancement. If I have a youth that is lacking Scout spirit, I am not waiting until he is ready to advance to have that conversation. In fact, I have had that conversation with Scouts individually, in small groups and as a troop. And what happens if/when an SM overrules the Scout panel? How does that effect the panel of Scouts spirit. 

I think what really triggered my response is two things.

First, is a one time (per rank) sign off by Scouts in order to advance, in a requirement area that is very subjective and a 24/7 requirement. It is easy enough for a Scout with sufficient skills and maturity to sign off on knots, packing, compass reading etc. But Scout Spirit is way more subjective and something a SM should be monitoring continuously, not at the point of advancement. 

The second trigger is "instead of the Adults running the BOR." This is specifically against policy as BoR members must be over 21. Not much more I can say on that. 

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@Jishusa, welcome to the forum!

The big caveat: we have no boots on the ground in Hong Kong, so we won't understand your culture well and certainly can't gauge the quality of your arrowmen. Moreover, the only time I've heard of such a thing is in cheer-leading clubs and glee clubs. So, I am adapting from what I know of those and the Guide to Advancement (https://www.scouting.org/resources/guide-to-advancement/mechanics-of-advancement/boy-and-varsity/)  to guess how this could possibly apply to a troop.

As opposed to the requirement for a unit leader (scoutmaster) conference, the Guide to Advancement section 4.2.3.2 does not specify which leader (youth vs. adult) is to evaluate the requirement for scout spirit. It does use the singular. E.g., "A leader typically asks for examples of how a Scout has lived the Oath and Law." So, I don't think this requirement is intended to be a board decision. If a troop has patrol leaders signing off on other trail-to-first-class requirements, it's reasonable to expect them to sign off on this one as well; however, I would suggest you train them by having them read this section in the guide to advancement, and have them role-play interviewing each other during a PLC or other leadership training class.

Based on the description of the requirements in the Guide, I would not even consider a Spirit Review Board. But if it's something that makes sense to the people (scouts and adults in my community), I certainly would not select members based on O/A membership alone. But, rather,

  • I would have these be informal positions of responsibility appointed by the SPL.
  • I would not have the board meet with the board alone, but rather I would have the scouts PL introduce him to the board and speak for him.
  • If the PL can give a couple of examples of how the boy has shown scout spirit, the board should confer and permit the SPL to sign-off on the scout's handbook.
  • If the board is compelled to prevent the PL from signing off, the scout (and probably his PL) should have a conference so that the SM understands what everyone said, and can make corrections if necessary.

Because youth boards rotate more often than scoutmasters, these positions will require constant training and supervision on the part of the SM and SPL.

In fact, I think this need for constant training and correction is why many troops (including ours) simply have the SM sign-off on this requirement during the unit leader conference.

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Posted (edited)

Boards of review are for

  • Confirming requirements are "previously" evaluated
  • Learning about the scout's experience with the troop
  • Encouraging future advancement and involvement.

Boards of Review are NOT for evaluating if a requirement is done.  

As such, I'm just not comfortable with a 2nd BOR.  It's a very bureaucratic and heavy overhead process.  Plus, I'd fear it just won't not be done well.

I could see assigning scout spirit requirement to the SPL.  But, I like keeping it with the scoutmaster because it's the scoutmaster's catch all for when things hit the fan.  The scout gets suspended from school for something.  The scout does something bad while on a campout.  The scout spirit requirement lets the scoutmaster avoid advancing a scout to the next rank while the scout is dealing the incident.  If the SPL signs off and then the scout asks for a SMC and the scout and the SM talk, then the SMC requirement is done.  The scout has complete rights to a board for advancement.  BUT, if the scoutmaster keeps the scout spirit to himself, 

Edited by fred johnson

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Hi @Jishusa, welcome to the forum.

While I'm not so sure about having the OA scouts decide that a scout must wait a month to try again, the idea of getting feedback from them is a very good idea.

I've had scouts tell me, after an election went a completely different way then I thought, that a scout was very different when no adults were around. The best judge of a scout is the other scouts. They know who is lazy, who is a friend to the loner kid, who is selfish, who doesn't mind cleaning, who can be goofy and serious at the right times, ....

I'd like to hear what other scouts have to say about a scout as much or more than what a scout has to say about himself. That said, the SM still should make the final call on this.

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