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mdutch

Failing BORs

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I have often heard it said that the BOR is not the place to be retesting scouts on the skills that they have learned (even though many troops do it anyway). What reasons ARE appropriate for a BOR to deny rank advancment?

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The BOR for Tenderfoot through Life (Eagle being a special case that I will not cover here), should only be checking for one thing: were all requirements signed off properly.

 

It is not the job a BOR to pass or fail a Scout.

 

What are reasons for dennying advancement?

If a requirement has not been signed off.

If a requirement was signed off on by someone not authorized to sign off said requirement.

If a signature is forged.

If it is technically impossible for a requirement to have been completed (such as a time requirement).

 

It should be noted that Scouts can (but only rarely do) appeal BOR decisions. Often times appeals are aproved because some BOR did decide to make Johnny Second Class retie his knots, or added some new requirement. For these reasons, it is best to decide in favor of the Scout when in doubt. This is particularly the case when the Scout was lead to believe that they had completed the requirements, but in fact had not, due to the fault of some adult leader within the unit.

 

In any case where the Board of Review suspects there is an error in some requirement that has been signed off, or that a Scout has not demonstrated the level of knowledge the members of the Board believe a Scout should posses, then there are several very limmited options. Primarily, the Board can attempt to get the Scout to acknowledge the problem and address it before seeking advancement. (If for example you find out the Scout can't actually tie the bowline, but it has been properly signed off, you could try to get the Scout to acknowledge that they are not yet ready, and to acknowledge that they need to wait until they have learned how to tie the bowline before trying to advance.) The best way to do this would probably be through asking the Scout questions that require them to evaluate their own readiness.

 

However, if a requirement has been properly signed off as being completed, then there is nothing that can be done to hold the Scout back. Obviously this would be something of a problem if the Scout has not completed the requirements.

 

This brings us to the real reason for the Board of Review. The purpose of the Board is to review not only the progress of each Scout, but just as importantly, the quality of the unit program. This is why the troop committee members conduct the Board of Review. It is sort of like the board of directors of a major corporation reviewing the companies business plan. The idea is the committee should oversee the program, check to see if it is being delivered properly, ensure sufficient rescources are available to carry out a quality program, and generally take action to correct any faults.

 

If for example a Scout comes before a Board of Review unprepared, this reflects poorly on both the performance of the Scout and the performance of the unit leaders. The committee members that make up the Board of Review should then consider (along with offering the Scout ideas on how to improve) what action needs to be taken to correct the problems in the troop program. This may mean they need to bring a leader in and ask why a requirement was signed without being completed. It may mean the unit leaders need more training. It may mean the troop committee has not been providing sufficient resources and the support required for a quality program. If problems are widespread and persistant, it may be time to find a new leader for the unit.

 

(Note, this is not some transcription of a BSA training manual, but rather it is based on my personal understanding of the process as it is intended to work, and so you should not take my word as the final answer. Instead you should seek out the various handbooks, manuals, training sessions, and training materials relavant to this question for more definitive answers.)(This message has been edited by Proud Eagle)(This message has been edited by Proud Eagle)

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In my world, advancement would be denied if a Scout said,

 

I think that this Scouting stuff is lame and I'm only here because my parents force me to.

I'm an atheist.

If you don't advance me, I'll blow up this building.

 

There might be a few more but I can't think of them off the top of my head.

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I am a CC for my troop. From time to time our advancement chair asks me to sit on BoR. We have had younger scouts that needed some direction, so we point it out to them, with the warning that now that they are advanced Boy Scouts, they need to develop what ever skill/behavior we have become aware of that they need. (Now how do we learn that they need help in areas? Why the SM tells us silly! It works for us. We know who is coming, we know where they need to be built, we know where they are strong. We praise them for their strengths and help them see how they can make life better if they possessed certain qualities.) We have had a few young men, that we have written letters to and explained exactly why they weren't advanced (they knew it verbally, but we follow up with a letter). We sit a date in the future for their next BoR (either a goal for their next rank, or a time at least 4 weeks in advanced to show that they now possess the skills we held them up for) We very seldomly ask about skills, we are looking for behaviors.

 

I also am the Eagle Advancement Chairman for my district. I have had one young man that was so upset/nervous that he couldn't repeat the Scout Oath. We continued with the BoR and asked him again. It took about 30 minutes of pain, but he finally settled down enough to be successful in the attempt. We have also turned up some of the paper work that was not totally filled out, and made young men do that too. I was able to sit on an appeal for one young man. His project was to provide new portable flag poles (they were about 7 feet tall) for the city park. He had raised the money, talked to the VFW post and they donated the flags for 30 poles. He spoke with his employeer to have him weld the poles. The previous board didn't like the fact that his project was raising the money and making presentations to various city committees to get this project done. They felt that raising $1,000 with his committee was not enough leadership. They wanted him to also conduct welding classes for his troop and have them weld the flag poles. He was trying to make the poles nice for years to come. I asked him how he demonstrated leadership with this project. He explained to my satisfaction what he had done. This young man is now an Eagle scout.

 

Just a few other points to ponder...

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Just a side note, Fundraising, no matter how much money, demonstrating all sorts of Leadership is not an Eagle project. Fundraising is not an allowed Eagle Project on a national level just as the Eagle Project may not be on Scout Property.

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I only ever get to sit on Eagle Scout Rank BOR's. Before the review all the paperwork has been checked.

I maybe guilty of being too trusting, but I feel if the Scoutmaster has seen fit to send a Lad for his BOR, that the Scoutmaster has covered all the practical stuff that needs covered.

I think that the board is a place and time to look back at where we have been. We do this by asking thought provoking questions. Reflecting on the steps that have been taken to get us to where we are today. We also try to look into the future. Trying to see what plans and dreams this young fellow has for the days to come.

While the Board is not in any way a "Rubber Stamp" Affair. I think that unless the Scout displayed a total lack of understanding of the Oath and Law I would have a hard time failing a Scout.

I have sat in on boards where the Chair has asked each Scout to report in say his name, tell why he is there and then recite the Scout Oath and Law. I don't agree with this. I don't see it as a requirement for the Eagle Scout Rank. It is far more important that the young man understands and is doing his best to live by these standards then being able to recite them off by heart. Many years ago when I was an Alter Boy and the Mass was in Latin, I knew all the responses in Latin, but had no idea what most of them meant.

Eamonn.

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In case I've left anyone with the idea that the young man's project was to raise money, that wasn't the point. He designed 30 portable flag poles that were given to his city's park department to be used as they saw fit. He handled the permit process for this project. He found donors for the 30 flags, he organized fund raising efforts to pay for the supplies for these flag poles, he then went to the best welder he knew (actually a very reputable man in the County) and got him to agree to the work. He then organized his troop into a painting day. They then organized a city-wide celebration for the unvieling of the flags. (Sorry I did such a poor job with my first attempt to show you that he did a non-traditional Eagle Project).

 

I agree with OldGreyEagle about you just don't raise money for an Eagle Project. This young man did more than that. His orginal board didn't like what he had done because they felt he missed the mark asking for help from a welder.

 

Eamonn, what I do is ask them what the Scout Oath is. Then since they promise to live the Scout Law, I ask them what that is. I then look them in the eye and ask them to explain what these words mean, and how they are doing what they say. Another question I ask is "Who besides your scout friends know you are here?" We are almost always able to get into a discussion about why scouts is just not a Tuesday night thing (most of the units in my district meet on Tuesday nights).

 

I will always remember the young man from one of our local high schools who was the quarterback on the football team. He was dating the head cheerleader, well while he was getting ready for his project his troop blew up on him. ALL the adults in his troop quit, and the boys didn't want to have anything more to do with scouts. He was upset and mentioned this to his girlfriend. She convinced him he couldn't quit too. He pulled off his project (which was a project at the High School) with the help of his football team and the cheerleaders. All of these kids came to his BoR. He talked about the fun he had while a scout, he talked about how when he finished school he was going to be a scoutmaster "and not quit." He did GREAT. I've been around some that have really celebrated when they are done, but nothing like what happened that night. It was a real treat to see so many non-scout friends trying to help him. They lined the halls of the building we were holding the BoR in, and waited outside the 30 minutes while we talked. Isn't this really what Scouts is about anyway?

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Well, Thumper, thank you for your clarification, that District Advancement Chair in me jumps out at times.

 

They jumped on him because he recruited a professional welder? Whatever happaned to "Knowing and utilizing your resources" Sounds like a great project.

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It was mentioned that an Eagle BOR Chairman was having scouts recite the oath and Law. That also happens in y council however, we use it as a stress breaker. If the scout cannot recite it due to stress that has no affect on his board of review pass or fail status. He is simply helped in reciting the Oath and or Law which he cannot remember.

YIS,

S-N

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I'm not sure about a stress breaker there are times when I'm under stress that I can't remember What Her That Must Be Obeyed name is - Hang on it's coming to me - Yes Dear I got it.

Eamonn.

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I'm not sure about a stress breaker there are times when I'm under stress that I can't remember What Her That Must Be Obeyed name is - Hang on it's coming to me - Yes Dear I got it.

Eamonn.

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What I do, is that once they are seated, once we've introduced the BoR to them, and had their scoutmaster talk about them, I tell them that I have some hard questions for them. I ask them if they want them at the beginning or ending of the discussion. Almost always I hear something along the lines of, "Let's get them over with now." So I ask them to repeat the Scout Oath. Almost always (just one time in 2 years has this been different) they look shocked, and stand up make the Scout sign and recite the Scout Oath. I then mention to them that they said something about a Scout Law, and ask them what that is. Again the hand goes up, this time they almost always are making direct eye contact with me and repeat the Law. I thank them and ask them to be seated. We then get to the hard questions... I ask what those words mean to them. I ask them what they have done today, or yesterday in living up to them. We almost always engage in a great conversation, they settle in and we are launched. The rest of the discussion moves from board member to board member. They look like they are in control of the situation. This method works for us.

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The best part of being human, is that people expect you to make mistakes...

 

Anyway, in a previous post in this thread I said that an Eagle Project cannot take place on Boy Scout property. Well, I should have watched my phraseology (Jeepers). I should have said, An Eagle project cannot benefit the Scouts Troop or the BSA. Carry on

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I have posted this before.

I sat on a First Class BOR. I was present at the lad's last Summer Camp where I knew he did not attend the offered Orienteering course and class. He got the ASM for his patrol to sign off on the requirement and the SM rubber stamped it at the SMC. I questioned him about it at the BOR and he thought the Map and Compass for 2nd Class was the same as this 1 mile Orienteering course. The BOR was halted and the lad was instructed to complete the course.

ps 3 weeks later, I did a course with him and 2 others who did not take it either. He passed the BOR 1 week later.

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It would seem to me that there is a break down of communication at the adult leadership level that needs to be looked at.

The last thing we want to do is embarrass a Scout. Even if this was an error the SM ought to have caught it when he met with the Scout at the Scoutmaster conference. I can see where the committee will need to take action to ensure that the Scoutmaster is doing his job.

Eamonn.

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