Posts Tagged ‘board of review’

Eagle Scout board of reviewI would be willing to bet that most young men who go before their council Eagle board of review are a little nervous. I know that many of the Boy Scout from Melrose Troop 68 were when it was their turn. Adult members of the board have told me that some Scouts are very nervous. I can understand this. For many of these young men this may be the most important interview of their lives, up to this point.

Alex E. is the latest member of Boy Scout Troop 68 to go before the Eagle board.He turned in his paperwork last month (December). He is 16 years old, which is young when you consider that many Eagle Scout candidates have their review within a couple months of having their 18th birthday. It is even more impressive when you realize that Alex joined Scouting when he was 13 years old. He has gone from Tenderfoot to Eagle Scout in less than three years.

I went to Alex’s review representing his scoutmaster, since his dad is the troop’s scoutmaster. Dakota represented our committee. Alex did not seem nervous as we waited in the lobby. He was very confident during his review and was quick to answer their questions. The three council board members were impressed.

As is normal, the board asked him to leave the room after the questioning so they could discuss his performance. They asked Dakota and myself a few questions about his leadership and character within the troop. It was then time for the vote. It was unanimous! Alex had passed his Eagle Scout board of review.

The board decided to have a little fun with the new Eagle Scout when they called him and his parents back into the room. One of the board members had a length of rope in his briefcase. He laid it on the table in front of where Alex was sitting. They wanted to see if the rope would make Alex nervous. After all, many Boy Scouts have a challenging time learning knots to pass their rank requirements.

Alex and his parents were invited into the room and asked to be seated. Alex sat in the same chair, with the rope on the table before him. His parents sat one on each side of him. Dakota and I sat in the second row of chairs.

Alex seemed to ignore the rope as the board chairman began to speak. Finally, one of the other board members asked Alex to tie a knot. Alex immediately grabbed the rope and asked, “Which one?” I knew that Alex knew his basic knots fairly well so before the board member could answer I suggested the sheepshank. (Remember that knot from the movie Follow Me Boys?) Alex proceeded to tie the knot, held it up for inspection, and set the rope back on the table. The board was even more impressed, and so was I.

After the review, as we were putting on our coats in the lobby, I told Alex that he did very well. I asked him if he had been nervous. His reply? No. He stated that he had studied for the board of review and felt confident.

The moral of the story? Live the Scout Motto. Be Prepared!

roundtable2013Tuesday night was the Scenic District roundtable at the Scout Service Center. Al and I make up the staff for the Boy Scout roundtable. We have been trying to make them fun and informative. I think we succeeded last night.

The evening began with a combined Cub Scout and Boy Scout meeting to recognize three Scouters who have completed their Wood Badge tickets. I recorded the Beading Ceremony and plan to post the video to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast later this week or this weekend. After the presentation of the neckerchiefs, the woggles, and the beads the room divider was pulled and both roundtables began.

Al began the Boy Scout roundtable with leading the twenty Scouters in singing America The Beautiful. I led the group in reciting the Knight’s Code, which used to be found in the Boy Scout handbook. Al and I have been choosing different openings and closing for each month’s meeting to give troop leaders ideas to bring back to their youth leadership.

During the first skill session, Al led a discussion about scoutmaster conferences. The group talked about when they are needed, where they could be held, and who should be present. We also discussed how conferences differ from rank to rank as a Scout grows older and more experienced.

At the half way point of this year’s meetings Al and I have been planning a fun activity. During the last two months we went outside to play a game. This month I lead the Scouters in one of my favorite campfire songs, Vista. I asked the three Wood badgers to come forward to join me in leading the song. I was surprised when I saw three other Scouters take out their cell phones to record this sing-a-long. One video was already posted to Facebook later that evening.

Board of reviews was the subject of the second skill session. I had talked to Al and two other Scouters before the meeting about conducting a mock review. A Boy Scout who happened to be in attendance agreed to be the Scout for the demonstration for Life Rank.

Al, Dan, Mike and I drilled the Boy Scout. I questioned his knowledge of the Scout Oath, Slogan, and Outdoor code and why he was not in complete uniform. Al drilled him about his participation in service projects. Dan criticized his work as the troop’s webmaster. His scoutmaster chewed him out about his participation at troop meetings. This poor Scout was getting it from all directions.

As you have probably guessed, our mock board of review demonstrated how NOT to conduct one. The four of us tried to do as many things incorrectly as we were able to do. I never told the Boy Scout what we had planned because I wanted the Scouters to see his unplanned reactions to our questions and comments. He was a good sport about it when I stopped the drilling, and everyone thought he did quite well despite how we treated him.

This horrible board of review led into a great discussion of what not to do, and on how to conduct a proper review. We also discussed when a review is needed, where one should be held, and who should sit on a board.

The meeting ended with a scoutmaster minute from Al about friendship and myself leading the “Be Prepared” song. All in all, I think the meeting went very well and everyone learned something new.

FirstClassSmallTwo Boy Scouts attended a committee meeting recently. One came for his Star Rank board of review, the other to ask some questions about his Eagle Rank. After talking to both Scouts we discovered it may be time to spend a portion of each troop meeting talking about the basics of Scouting. You know, those things boys learn when they first become Boy Scouts but have forgotten over the years. In other words, it was time for a refresher course.

The Boy Scouts are very good with reciting the Scout Oath, Law, Slogan, and Motto. They stumble a bit when asked what the twelve points mean, or what are the three duties of the Scout Oath. What should a Scout be prepared for, and how exactly does one do that?

I talked to the scoutmaster and the senior patrol leader about this subject. I offered to do a ten minute review at the end of each troop meeting covering one topic of the basics. The SPL smiled and told me he would time me and let me know when I reached my ten minutes. He is such a sweet kid. I guess I better keep the talks short and to the point.

Here is a list of some of the topics I plan to cover:
The meaning of the Scout Law, and the Scout Oath.
Wearing the uniform properly and proudly.
The Scout sign, slogan, and handclasp.
Advancement double dipping.
Preparing for a board of review.
Flag editcate. Uses for basic knots.
Meaning of the Scout emblem.

Like I said, these short talks are not meant to teach the basics, although new Scouts may learn a few things, but are meant to refresh the Boy Scouts’ memories. To tell the truth, I know a few adult leaders who could benefit from listening to these discussions.

I received a call this morning from a father of one the Boy Scouts, who is also a troop committee member, asking if I was going to attend the troop meeting tonight. He and his family would be gone on vacation next week and his son would not be able to attend the committee meeting for a board of review. I said I could be at the troop meeting but other committee members would have to be called. Little did I know it would be a weird, but fun and interesting evening.

As a new committee member and former scoutmaster I find that I sometimes need to pull back from things I am used to doing myself, and learning how to help others in new ways. For example, at the board of review tonight, I found that I wanted to step in and ask questions, lots of questions. But it was not my place to do so. There were two other people sitting on this board, not just me. I was now part of a team, not the scoutmaster doing a conference. Added to the situation was a new advancement chairperson who was learning his new responsiblities. Yes, I had to bite my tongue a couple times so that I would not dominate the board of review.

The Boy Scouts are getting used to the idea of a new scoutmaster. (He just registered last Tuesday.) He is very serious about talking on this new role. The boys get along with him but I needed to remind a couple of them that I am no longer the one to be talking to about some things. They need to go to the new scoutmaster. I had to smile to myself and they headed off to get their question answered.

Could I have answered their questions? Yes, I could have, but I need the boys to realize that I am not the scoutmaster anymore. And besides that, I want the new scoutmaster to build that bond with the boys. That will not happen very well if the boys keep coming to me every time they need something.

Once the First Class board of review was completed I noticed one of the Life Rank Scouts was not doing anything at the moment so I called him over to the board for an update on his Eagle Rank. We took a few minutes to find out what his plans were. After all, he turns 18 years old in four or five months. I think I caught him a bit off guard but we had a good discussion. I will be meeting him later this week to review his eagle packet. Why am I doing this? Because the new scoutmaster already has enough on his plate this month learning his responsibilities so I thought I could help hm out on this one.

After the troop meeting the scoutmaster and I spent some time reviewing the new tour permit, or troop outing guide, or whatever they call it now. We also talked about other things. I like that he is pouring himself into his new role and is trying to learn things as quickly as he is able. I think he will do well as the new troop leader.

So what was weird about tonight? That it seemed that I was still in the middle of things, even though I am not the scoutmaster. It is like my troop is now made up of adults. Instead of training boys I have now moved to the position of training parents in their roles.

And you know what. I am kinda enjoying it. It is a different challenge. And I am having fun.

The Troop 68 committee met tonight. The troop’s two newest Boy Scouts attended for their Tenderfoot board of reviews. They were very excited. In fact, they arrived before the committee did.

The committee holds board of reviews at the beginning of their meeting. I, as the scoutmaster, present each Boy Scout to the board and then leave the room. The committee conducts the review and then asks the boy to leave the room for a few minutes so they can discuss his progress. I go back with him when they call him back into the room for their decision and congratulations.

Both boys did very well during their board of review. After the boys left, the committee told me that both Scouts were well prepared. They also commented on the differences between the boys. One was very talkative and maintained good eye contact, while the other was more shy and quiet. They were impressed with each Scout.

Both boys were beaming as they left the meeting as the troop’s newest Tenderfoot Scouts. They are anxious to work on their Second Class Rank. These boys have enough enthusiasm to easily attain the First Class Rank by the end of the year.

The Board of Review. Terrifying to the new Tenderfoot Scout. Confusing to the new committee member. How does the Scout prepare? What are the board members supposed to cover and ask?

I have been scoutmaster long enough to see a lot of people come and go on the committee. Many times the new committee members are confused when it comes to serving on their first board of review. I usually let the more experienced committee members instruct the newer ones about what to do or say. However, during the past 25 years I saw they could use a suggestions or two, so I made a Board of Review sheet for them to use during the BOR. It seems to have helped them quite a bit during the years. In fact, I think newer members now think it is a sheet required to be filled out during a BOR. I have to correct them that it is a sheet of suggestions to cover for our own troop use, it is not a national requirement form.

So, what does the sheet have on it? It has seven areas I suggest the BOR to talk about with the Scout.

Participation. How has the Scout been doing with attendance at meetings, outings and fundraisers? If he has not been showing up for functions then it is time for them to ask about the reasons behind the poor attendance. Many times the Scout has valid reasons, but sometimes he does not. Sometimes the board will discover things that the scoutmaster does not know about. It is also a good time to praise the Scout who has a great attendance record.

Scout Spirit and ideals. Does the Scout know the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan? Does he know what they mean? Does he try to live by them? Of course, the board members better know and understand these oaths themselves or it may look awkward if the Scout catches them in a mistake of understanding.

Merit badges and advancement. First of all, this is not a re-test of the badges! My suggestion is to ask which merit badges were fun to earn and why? Which ones were difficult? Did he find any of the skills learned while earning the badges to be useful in everyday life? Keep the questions about general topics.

Service Projects. Did he participate in the troop’s service projects and/or help out with other troop members Eagle projects? What were the purpose of the projects? Did he learn anything while doing them?

Leadership. What position of leadership did he hold in the troop since the last board of review? Was it difficult or easy? What type of leader was he? What were his duties? Did he do them well? Most of the time the BOR members really don’t know much about how the Scout did with a leadership position because the members do not regularly attend troop meetings and outings. However, they should ask the Scout questions, and also talk with the scoutmaster before the BOR.

Religious principles. Of course, a Scout must have a belief in God. How does he practice his faith? What does he believe is his duty to God? We have to be careful with this topic because there are Scouts of many different religions. We don’t want to make the Scout feel uncomfortable with the wrong questions. However, I think we do need to touch on this subject and not ignore it as if it is unimportant.

Goals. Everyone needs goals. What goals has the Scout set for himself, both in and out of Scouting? Does he have a goal to complete his next rank? Does he have leadership goals? Is there a goal to attend a high adventure base and a national jamboree? Does he have any goals in school? How does he intend to meet those goals?

Of course, the BOR members can bring up other subjects also. But these few areas cover a lot of territory. If asked correctly, they can begin a great dialog between the board and the Scout.

A copy of this form can be found on our troop’s website at:
Leave a comment if you have any other suggestions that you think would be good topics for a board of review to cover.