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Jackdaws

Eagle letters of recommendation returned to the scout

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I have a scout who was recently awarded the rank of Eagle.   He is asking for his letters of recommendation back for his Eagle memory book and possibly to have displayed at his ceremony.    The advancement chair said he is not allowed to have those letters back.  Why is this?  Once the scout has been awarded Eagle, what is the harm in returning the letters to the scout?  FTR I read the letters as I sat in on his Eagle BOR. 

His older brother received his letters back after obtaining Eagle.  We have a different chair from when his brother went thru the process. 

 

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The advancement chair is correct.

Someone writing a letter of recommendation will be more open about a scout if they know the scout will not read it.  For the purpose of the requirement we want to have both the positive and negative.  Otherwise it becomes a mere box checking. 

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The letters were addressed to the Eagle BOR, presumably. As such, they are part of that record.   My Eagle recommendation letters (cuneiform on clay tablets)  were copied to me by the original writers. But , alas, I somehow did not save them.  Perhaps your nascent Eagle could ask the original writers for copies, if  they will, good. If not,  there may be a reason, and don't push it !

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7 minutes ago, NealOnWheels said:

From the Guide To Advancement:

"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."

Thanks!

I tried to do a quick search in the GTA and it failed to bring up a result.  I think my computer is scouted out.  LOL.

 

 

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I can vouch that not all reference letters are positive.  I have NEVER seen them returned to the Scout.  They are read by the BOR members prior to inviting the Scout in the room and then retained and destroyed by the BOR chairman.

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2 minutes ago, scoutldr said:

I can vouch that not all reference letters are positive.  I have NEVER seen them returned to the Scout.  They are read by the BOR members prior to inviting the Scout in the room and then retained and destroyed by the BOR chairman.

Yes, one letter did say something not totally horrible but wasn't overly glowing.  The way I interpreted it was that with some prodding, the scout is helpful.  It made me kind of smirk when I read it.  Like "yeah I can see that"...

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In our districts and council they are destroyed after the completion of the board.  I know that the letters I write, as SM, on occasion have contained straightforward evaluations of certain elements, some of which might be seen as less than totally positive.  From my perspective, that is the point of the letter.  I also know, having sat on dozens of boards, that most SM letters are two lines or so, rather than the two to three paragraphs I generally share.

I can also state that 99% about of the letters I have read over the last 30 years sitting on boards have been pretty straight forward positive.  A few give some new direction to review on the board itself.  And some simply just reinforce the reason the young person is there in the first place.  Reality would suggest that the candidate should not be going before a board if there is something truly alarming or questionable in the run up to completion.  And that is where the functioning unit should play a part.  We have had a few discussions here about SM or CC refusals to sign apps.  Most likely, that would be where the issues should be dealt.  

 

JMHO of course.

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33 minutes ago, NealOnWheels said:

Someone writing a letter of recommendation will be more open about a scout if they know the scout will not read it.  For the purpose of the requirement we want to have both the positive and negative.  Otherwise it becomes a mere box checking. 

People are also more free to slander if they think that their statement won't be opposed by the accused.

IMHO, if someone doesn't have the stones to say it to the scout's face, they don't deserve to be writing a letter of recommendation.

I only write open letters of recommendation, and I make a point of giving the person I recommend a copy.

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A good EBOR will bring up items in the letters without disclosing who wrote them.    The scout already gets to select who provides the letters, the feedback from those letters should be unfiltered. 

I am aware of EBORs where letters were negative.   The boards asked questions raised in those letters and the scouts responded well (essentially admitting past mistakes and that he has grown and matured).  So, instead of whispers by some that a scout isn’t Eagle worthy, he had the chance to confront the negative feedback directly.

While I agree with @qwazse that one should have the stones to provide negative feedback directly but many do not and the current method allows those individuals the opportunity to provide unfiltered feedback.

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On the other hand, unless there is something particularly concerning in the school, or on occasion a job, you would think the references would be chosen with care.  Our biggest issue is usually the religious reference, especially since so many scouts are no longer family based in a belief or established church.  We accept even a parental letter supporting that point of reference, though ask that they try to get beyond if possible, with connected family member or familiar adult that may have an ability to weigh in on it.  But, in the end, we cannot hold a candidate back based on the lack of a suggested refernce or comments therein, though they can possibly in a rare instance cause a more in depth evaluation.  Back to common sense and a bit of flexibility when needed.

 

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4 hours ago, skeptic said:

On the other hand, unless there is something particularly concerning in the school, or on occasion a job, you would think the references would be chosen with care.

 

I can tell you that in my rather short career thus far in HR, adult job applicants can have poor choices in references, let alone teenagers... 

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3 hours ago, Sentinel947 said:

I can tell you that in my rather short career thus far in HR, adult job applicants can have poor choices in references, let alone teenagers... 

Yes indeed. I remember one assistant manager who was trying to get a manager position in another store and used our manager as a reference. I happened to be in the next room when the manager received a call about the assistant manager, and the manager downplayed the performance of the assistant manager. Reality was the assistant manager was carrying the manager.

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So, when you all get a negative recommendation, do you somehow communicate that in advance to the scout so he is prepared to address it at the BoR?

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No, but we use that information to guide the discussion and see if the Scout owns it.

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