According to the Guide to Advancement chapter on Particulars for the Eagle Scout Rank it is stated that “The chair works with all involved parties to schedule the date, time, and place.” of the Eagle board. Based on this, shouldn’t the Advancement Committee make an effort to accommodate the needs of the scout and the unit? The reason I am asking is because a situation has come up whereby the scout made a mention to the Advancement Committee Chair that he is unavailable on his troop meeting night’s (once a week) because his Scoutmaster (me) needs him to help run meetings. And, the Advancement Committee Chair firmly reprimanded the scout for making the request. This doesn’t seem right to me. The Scout is intimidated and is not sure what to do. Before I speak with the Advancement Committee Chair I’d thought I’d get anyone’s thoughts on this matter.
We generally haven’t had problems with this, since for the most part our district committee has been good about avoiding/accommodating unit conflicts, since they usually ask the scoutmaster to be present to introduce the scout, and be available if the board has concerns that some requirement wasn’t met. In principle that should all be reviewed in advance, but I can see the desire to avoid having to adjourn and reconvene the EBoR over a question that could be answered by the SM.
I’m not sure I can comment on the specific situation, sicne I’m not in it. That said, I can kinda see this from both sides.
As an adult leader, if my SPL (for example) is going to be unavailable on a troop meeting night, I would want him or her to have a plan in place for one of the ASPLs to replace them. Similar things for the PL and his or her APL. This is just good practice. From that perspective, why is it a big deal to have the scout miss the troop meeting for something as important as an Eagle BoR?
On the flip side, let’s say Jenny Superscout is your knots and lashings instructor, and the PLC planned that troop meeting night 6 months ago as part of the annual plan to be knots and lashing instruction (because Camporee is coming up!). It seems like the convening authority should be accommodating of special circumstances like that, and work to avoid the conflict if possible.
I think that part of our role as adult leaders is to go to bat with other adult leaders for our youth, not necessarily to run interference, but rather to help address the inevitable situations where adult leaders aren’t quite meeting the standards we set for ourselves in the Oath and Law.
I would probably:
- Ask myself if I really need my scout at the meeting that night, and why another scout wouldn’t do as a substitute?
- Try to get a clear understanding of exactly what the scout said, and what the response was from the committee chair, from the scout’s perspective.
- If I really have to have the scout at the troop meeting, I might reach out to the committee chair and explain that I’m the one that directed the scout to ask the question (assuming that’s actually the case), and this is why I really need the scout at the meeting. I would then ask why the committee felt that the request couldn’t be accommodated.
- I would probably try to probe around the edges of what the committee chair’s perspective on the interaction with the scout was, and make a judgment as to whether or not it’s to my scout’s benefit for me to make an issue of the interaction.
There are just so many possible variations on exactly what went on (vs. what the perception of it was) that it’s hard to give specific answers on how I would handle it.
CharleyHamilton - Good feedback. Thanks.
While this could be a misunderstanding… after having helped a scout deal with intimidation at the Eagle rank it is time the BSA takes a real stance against such. While missing a single meeting for the BoR shouldn’t be the end of the world, it should not be some requirement either. And clearly the G2A says that all involved should be worked with to find a time.
It is well past time to simply remove those who are throwing up artificial barriers from our ranks. Instead of creating more and more rules, we need to enforce the ones we have. I doubt much will be done based on my experience.
I like what @CharleyHamilton mentioned as I think it is good that a SM (or a designee) is present (but not in) for the scout. This isn’t always needed, but it provides a huge boost to many a scout.
Yes. I am present as an observer at all Eagle BoRs. This does certainly give a boost to the scouts. I think the intimidation factor is something that is not useful and I don’t understand it.
@AnthonydeRito - I would agree that I have never understood the intimidation but from my personal experience they do not limit it to the youth. I had called out our district committee on the fact that our typical EBoR tend to last several hours and was told they are following the Guide to Advancement. I did state that based on my reading they actually were not but was shut down. Good luck with me ever attending a District roundtable ever again in my lifetime.
In my opinion, this advancement committee chair has the wrong priorities. In my small troop, we tend to get advancement in batches, and our promise to the Scouts is that we will schedule a board of review as soon as they are ready. With nine members on the troop committee, it isn’t hard to find three to hold a board on little to zero notice. We’ve done them before, during, and after troop meetings; scheduled during the week; and even completed one during summer camp.
For an Eagle BOR, a bit more coordination is required to accommodate attendance by a representative of the district advancement committee, but it shouldn’t take more than a couple of simple phone calls or emails to arrange that. As committee chair, I will move heaven and earth to ensure that an Eagle candidate gets a proper board with no fuss. I can’t speak to what’s causing your advancement chair to take this approach, but it seems to be not very Helpful, Friendly, Courteous or Kind.
KennethAdams - So to clarify, the District Advancement Chair was taken aback by the Eagle candidate asking him (very politely) if it would be possible for the scheduled date not to take place on his Troop meeting nights. I, the Eagle candidate’s SM, asked the Eagle candidate to make this request. The District Advancement Chair wrote back “your SM does not pick the date! I do!” This caused the Eagle candidate and his parents concern and anxiety about the process. As I indicated earlier, the Guide to Advancement chapter “Particulars for the Eagle Scout Rank” it is stated that “The chair works with all involved parties to schedule the date, time, and place.” The Eagle candidate and I, the SM, are involved parties I think. In all fairness, I think the District Advancement Chair is over-worked and needs assistance.
This needs to be forwarded to your council advancement chair, the district committee chair and the district commissioner. That attitude isnt acceptable
@AnthonydeRito Gonna be an awkward Eagle Board of Review when the Eagle Candidate and Scoutmaster don’t show up for the review, but for a meeting with the Council leadership about the District Advancement Chair’s unprofessional and un-Scout-like behavior instead …
@SteveCagigas - you have actually provided me with a new approach. I have sat through many 3 hour EBoR only because this is what “they” said it was supposed to be. Well, some reading comprehension training is in order.
So Washington Crossing Council, Mercer Area District you are hereby forewarned. I am done sitting through 2,3,4 hour EBoR, is that clear enough
I would say that the way in which this Advancement Chair responded to the scout was unprofessional to say the least and merits notification to the District Chair. It isn’t out of line at all for a candidate to identify days in which they aren’t available - many of our older youth tend to have extracurricular activities or part-time jobs. That said, the members of the EBOR also have to work around their own schedules to some extent - jobs, unit meetings, etc. Hence the “works with all parties” statement. Our district convenes EBORs based on need where others just have a standing monthly board. There is no reason to reprimand a scout for wanting to be available for their unit. Does this unit meet on a non-standard (i.e. not Monday) night that conflicts with when the boards are normally held? Most of our units meet on Monday evenings, so that would cause problems with the candidate, their SM, and EBOR members that are also unit leaders if the scout requested a Monday night board.
I guess I am confused. I am unaware of the District being in charge of Eagle Boards of review. I believe all rank advancements are the responsibility of the Troop’s Committee and a representative from the District is invited to attend. This is well laid out in the Scouting web site on how to run Boards of Review for all ranks, including Eagle. Since the general rule in Scouting is to err on the side of the Scout, this entire process seems to be in conflict with both the letter and the intent if the Scouting Advancement Program.
Here is the official section on eagle bor
188.8.131.52 Particulars for the Eagle Scout Rank
The particulars below pertain only to the Eagle Scout rank.
- Council advancement committees must determine— and make known—method(s) for conducting Eagle Scout boards of review: whether unit committees or the council or district advancement committees administer them, and also how board chairpersons are selected.
- If conducted at the unit level, at least one district or council representative, who is not affiliated with the unit, must serve as a member. If the unit requests it, more than one may do so.
- There shall be no fewer than three and no more than six members, all at least 21 years old. They need not be on an advancement committee or registered with the Boy Scouts of America, but they must have an understanding of the rank and the purpose and importance of the review. This holds true for Eagle boards of review held in any unit, whether troop, crew, or ship.
- A board of review shall not occur until after the local council has verified the application. In the case of a board of review under disputed circumstances, the council must verify all the information that is not in dispute before the board of review is scheduled.
- The chair works with all involved parties to schedule the date, time, and place. Boards of review should be scheduled promptly to avoid delaying a Scout’s opportunity to earn Eagle Palms. Eagle boards are often held in more formal settings than a troop meeting location or camping site.
- A board of review must not be denied or postponed due to unresponsive references. See “References Contacted,” 184.108.40.206
- If a unit leader or unit committee chair fails to approve an application, the candidate is still granted a board of review, but the lack of approval may be considered in the decision. See “Initiating Eagle Scout Board of Review Under Disputed Circumstances,” 220.127.116.11
- To go over the application, references, and service project workbook, members should convene at least 30 minutes before the scheduled board of review.
- Eagle boards generally last 30 minutes or somewhat longer. This is the highest rank a Scout may achieve; there should be a discussion of his successes, experiences, and future plans, but rarely should one last longer than 45 minutes.
- An Eagle candidate may have only one board of review (though it may be adjourned and reconvened). Subsequent action falls under the appeals process. (See “Appealing a Decision,” 18.104.22.168.)
- The Eagle Scout medal or patch must not be sold or otherwise provided to any unit or to the Scout, nor should the court of honor be scheduled until after the certificate is received at the council service center from the National Advancement Program Team. Alternatively, a council-generated report from the PAS/ScoutNET system may be used to purchase Eagle Scout items in lieu of the official certificate.
Basically to answer some comments
The council determines if they are at the unit level or district level
They should be more formal - you can read that as more intimidating if you want
They should not last more then 45 minutes
FYI, my district has Eagle Scout Boards of Review on the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Wednesdays of each month. My troop meets on Wednesday nights. When a scout is ready to have their Eagle project reviewed, or for their final Eagle Scout Board of Review, they have no choice but to miss a troop meeting. so they arrange for someone else to cover their responsibilities. Sometimes the Scoutmaster goes with them, but more often it’s me, as ASM-Advancement. While unfortunate that the scout got a rude response, there are ways to work out schedule conflicts.
Eagle Boards are not the same as any other rank advancement. Check section 22.214.171.124 of the GTA, which makes it clear that the Council decides who and how EBORs are carried out. Also, unlike BORs for lower ranks, EBORs are required to have at least one District- or Council-level representative…
So, it’s explicitly stated that each Council decides who runs the EBORs, and many have a District or Council Advancement Chair coordinate all of the EBORs for their are. That’s totally kosher.
What’s not totally kosher is an adult “leader” treating an Eagle Candidate the way the OP described.
This conversation brings up what my beef is all about generally. I don’t get is why so many scout leaders don’t understand how to relate to young people. Sometimes I wonder if adults are involved in scouting for the right reasons. This is really all about youth ministry….being a role model for youth…guiding them and listening to them and spending time with them. This is so not about the knot, or the lashing, or the compass. Sure those are good skills to know but scouting like all youth ministry programs are about relationships and those positive growth experiences that come from positive relationships. I’ve seen so many scout leaders who just don’t get young people. Boys especially are in desperate need of these relationships, especially those boys without fathers present. Leadership traits are found in a small number of boys and they will step up no matter what. But most of them just need to be valued and need a patient listening ear. The EBoR is just a formality and much overblown. I sit in on all of them and see that there’s very little positive impact.
I am a district advancement chair, and for the last 8 years we have 60 to 80 EBOR’s for the district.
You need to consider that the volunteers on the EBOR have there own, troop, family, jobs, etc.
I am sorry but I don’t see why a troop meeting requires special scheduling of the EBOR. Scouts miss meeting for many reasons, as do Scoutmasters. I can think of a better reason to go to the once in a lifetime EBOR, to not go to a troop meeting. As a former SM i would go up to the SPL and tell me that an ASPL need to run a meeting, because they all need backups.
Yes the language of the advancement chair, is second hand, and mat have been not ideal, or maybe just misunderstood.
There’s the problem. The real work is at the unit level. The guys in the field so to speak with direct involvment with the scouts know this . Scouts only have 3 or 4 troop meetings a month to accomplished their work. Every unit-level meeting and activity is meaningful. I never miss a meeting as SM and encourage all scouts to not miss meetings or activities. We have extremely high attendance without mandating any type of rules or policy. Many district and council level guys don’t get it. EBoRs are necessary but way low on the scale of what really counts.
Ebor is most important to the one scout. This should be very high on your agenda. This is the exception you should promote. Fyi i was sm for 10 years and seldom missed buti did reconize that some things are more important than 1 meeting in a scouts life