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Today's question is: have you ever sat on a BOR that did not confirm a scout's rank advancement? I have not (after several dozen BORs) and am wondering what circumstances would exist to prompt a BOR to make such a decision. Hence, I'm looking for "BOR War Stories".(This message has been edited by CubsRgr8)

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Yes on a few occassions including an Eagle Board. I excused the scout for a few minutes, explained the rules and process to the board members, we came to an agreement on how the Board would proceed and then invited the scout back in and continued.


Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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in the troop setting though. Why, inactive, or no scout spirit. A case of the boy went through and the SM "bent" the rules a bit. The boy was told why he was denied, and a plan of action was suggested with a time frame (In other words, we let him know what was expected for his rank and leadership position). 3 months later, his rank was granted.


It burns me though, when kids/parents skate through and get rank for their kids. It only deny's a kid the scouting experience.

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A few years back, I was asked to sit in on an Eagle Board.

The Lad was a real nice fellow.

Active in his troop and the OA. Played soccer for his school team, and not a bad student.

All the paper work was or seemed that it was in order - Till we got to talking about the project.

When he was asked about the date - It wasn't done on the date that was stated - It was raining that day.

There were so many scouts helping - No there was only 3 of us- It rained the day we planned to do it.

And so it went on.

I said "This isn't what you wrote here"

He said "I didn't write it"

"Who did ?" I asked

"Mr. Soandso, our ASM".

The project wasn't that great. So we talked it over with the boy and he was willing to re-do it and get it done right.

The then District Chair. was very upset, the boy was from the Chairmans old unit.(He was on the Board)

I don't know what was said, but feel sure that it wasn't very pretty.

We were very lucky that the boy seen that this was not the way that it ought to have been done.

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Our troops old scoutmaster was a rubberstamper, that was a year ago. About 6 months ago his son came with an Eagle project. It was denied because the benefitting orgn. was the same as his older brothers, and It was also very similar. His next project was also denied (it read like the gardening merit badge). We asked him to do something constructive, not just plant flowers in existing beds. Fortunately, his 3rd presentation went thru.


I felt really bad for this scout. But when you sit on these meetings, you can begin to tell what ideas are the scouts, and which ones are the parents. On his 3d presentation, i could tell this project was coming from his heart. He answered all questions quickly and accurately, whereas there was confusion and uncertainty with the first two.(This message has been edited by Sparkie)

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My troop had a scout not have his rank confirmed - I think it was 2cd class. The boy is young, and I believe he was

flippant with the committee (most likely due to nerves). They asked about his 5 mile hike with compass, and he had no memory of doing it - and had no explanation of how it came to be signed off in his book. A few months later he made the rank.


On the Eagle projects, I was a little surprised at what was considered an Eagle project for the one that was approved in our troop. The boy raised some money with a car wash to buy materials and plants to landscape a nursing home, as well as build some raised planters for the residents. The troop had a workday to accomplish it. The boy got some pizza donated for the workers. The adults did all the lumber cutting and the tilling, as the council board told the boy that scouts could not use any power tools (see my other thread for my opinion of the stupidity of this). I do think the older boys were eventually allowed to use electric screwdrivers. All work was complete by 3 pm, with all 9 boys in the troop helping and about 3 adults.


It was a good service, don't get me wrong, and well-organized. I'm sure the nursing home appreciated it very much. And maybe there was a lot more that I didn't see happen. But it just didn't seem that tough to me to earn the most recognized scouting award in the US.




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  • 4 weeks later...

I was advancement chair. ASL's son was up before the BOR for his Life Scout. Something was up before the meeting when the ASL asked who the board was going to consist of (aside from me, there were 3 others - 2 with many BORs and a new member). The ASL clearly told me his disappointment in the makeup of the BOR. At that point alarm bells should have rung. I also must point out I had been Advancement chair for nearly three years and had chaired over 15 BORs without incident.


When the BOR started with the ASL's son, the boy looked ill (ill at ease and actually looked like he had the flu). He was also a mess (his uniform looked like it had been in a laundry basket and he was missing parts of if). When asked at the start if he was okay - he said he was tired and didn't feel well. He was given the option of delaying the BOR until the following week when he would be feeling better - but he refused.


We always open the BORs with an easy question so the boys could relax for the remainder of the Board. After the 1st question, one of the Board members asked about what constitutes scout spirit and did the scout believe he had it. The boy could define it, but there was a followup question which I was not prepared for - apparently the boy had been very angry and violent and totally uncooperative on a campout within the last month. The two men on the Board had been on the campout and witnessed this ( I was not aware of the incident) and asked him if that constituted scout spirit. (This is when I realized why the ASL had asked me who was going to be on the Board).


The boy began to cry and could not continue with the Board although we tried to calm him and move off to another topic. We said that we would reschedule another BOR when he was feeling better. I then had to go out and explain to his father (the ASL) what had happened. The ASL then ripped apart me, all the members of the Board, the scoutmaster and anyone else who came near. I understand his son got it also on the way home that night from his dad.


The entire BOR felt badly about what had happened and certainly I wished I had been able to stave off the question about scout spirit so that it could have been couched more carefully. I do however feel that the boy would not have passed his board that night anyway based on his overall demeanor, uniform, cleanliness, and responsiveness to questions, etc.


The incident didn't end there - a member of the board began receiving harassing phone calls, messages and email. I spent the next three days on the phone with his parents going over and over the reasons why there son had not passed. I was finally able to have them understand that 1) the boy was under extreme pressure by them to get that Life Scout status at any cost (the boy was ill and tired and had not eaten that night) 2) the kid did have behavior problems (the kid is on medication and the father constantly excuses his behavior, but the mother doesn't - her husband didn't tell her what happened on the campout) 3) the kid was not allowed to fail anything in his life - ever (if he did his parents would fix it).


As chair I got a lot of grief over this, but I was backed up by my Board. We scheduled a new Board for the kid - he was told to be prepared - eat a meal, be properly dressed and get a good night's sleep. Totally different kid - the same scout spirit questions were back, but he was able to talk about the incidents and we reviewed methods of dealing with those issues with him. I also used the same board as before (although the parents were pressuring me to get a totally new one). Same kid - Same board. This time he passed. The parents were taken aside by one of the board members (who had been advancement chair years ago and read the riot act.


I believe we handled a bad situation as best as we could - every BOR was a learning experience. I always tried to have a mix of members - new parents to get them used to the process and parents/community members with more experience on the Board. We even had ex-military sitting as members (and they know what a Board of Review is on a professional basis). Contrary to popular opinion a BOR is not a cake walk or rubber stamp - we used it like a job performance review and interview. The scoutmasters and ASLs may feel the boy has met the requirements/skills, but the board wants to see how they are using those skills in their personal development.


No scout "fails" a Board of Review (how many people actually fail a performance review at work?), but there is always room for improvement and you do get a chance to put your best foot forward again.




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Kasane wrote: >


What a great line - I think this sums up the intent and purporse of a Board of Review (BOR) perfectly. Just wanted to repost it to make sure everyone else gets to read it again!


It's not a test of the actual skills, but a test of how they've used the skills they've learned in scouting in their personal lives - both conciously and subconciously. I think that neatly sums up the purpose and "spirit" of a BOR.


There's a similar discussion going on in Scouts-L that I think I'll cross-post this to.





SM T-61

Washington, D.C.

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Sorry for the shorthand. Scouts-L is a listserv - an email based discussion group. Similar to the forum here, but posts and replies are sent directly to your inbox. More information is at: http://www.engr.tcu.edu/~eidson/scouts-l/swelcome.html


I know of at least two forum members that post to both - I'm sure there's more that just "lurk" on both lists. Scouts-L lets you subscribe in digest form - instead of 15 emails a day from the list, you get one with all the days "action" listed in one email. Same quality of scouting knowledge, and sometimes, same disagreements. There's no discussion of the "3 G's" - Girls, Gays, God. There's plenty of room in this forum to discuss those, rather than use up the limited bandwidth of a listserv.


Hope this helps. I could write more, but the website has a FAQ as well. Hope to see you there!



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  • 2 weeks later...

Man have I got one. Our son was setting for Star, he went in, started his board of review and then the door opened. He had that look on his face, as his mother, I know it well, something was wrong. A BOR member came over to me to explain that he had not met the req to advance, that he had the correct amount of merit badges, but they were not the correct one. I tried to hold my calm, but I could feel the explosion incide coming up and on it's way out. Then the SM came over to me to explain that he had overlooked the fact that he had completed all ER MB,except for a couple, and that he needed one more that was not ER to advance. He was told he had too many ER Merit badges. I asked this man to repeat himself, that we were telling this boy, who happens to be my son that he had too many ER MB's. Then it struck them, what they were saying. The called our DE, talked to two other Troop Comm members, and then decided after my son was in the car crying ready to quit scouts, that it just was not worth it any more, that they were wrong. By now he is upset, we left. He had his BOR a month later, because his SM was not going to do BOr but once a month, and he did not have another one scheduled until the following month. Needless to say, he passed to Star, and is waiting on time to pass for Life, all MB are done, and other req met. And No he never received an apology. I also made them tell him why they would not pass him, they kept telling me what the problem was, not the Scout. It was his BOR, I was just waiting to take him home.

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The BOR\Committee was way wrong. The requirement for Star is worded as follows.


"Earn six merit badges, including any four from the required list for Eagle."


It does not say that only 4 can be for Eagle it say that at least 4 must be from the Eagle required list. The Committee should of personally apologized to your son, and scheduled his BOR for the NEXT MEETING not a month later. If I were you I would attend the next Troop committee meeting and give them what for.


Now some people might think, I am being to hard on the Committee member that made up the BOR, but keep in mind that a boy at this age is still think of adults as infallible (they are quickly getting over that false belief). We of course know that we are not, so when we do make a mistake we need to acknowledge that mistake ASAP and attempt to fix the problem ASAP. When we do not do this we are breaking a trust to the child and also not teaching them the correct way to handle their mistakes.


Now back to our scheduled topic.


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I agree that the BOR's interpretation of the requirement might off. However, I've wondered myself what is true. And I base that on the fact that TroopMaster forces any Eagle Required MB after 4 into Life (and any after 3 going for Life into Eagle).


The boys in our Troop have the perception that it must be 4 and only 4 for Star, and 3 and only 3 for Life. Because of TroopMaster, I've never done anything to dispell their belief.


I agree 100% that if the members of the BOR admit to making a mistake, they should fix it at the earliest oppurtunity, even if it not convenient.



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