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Eagle BOR Question

Can a former scoutmaster participate in an Eagle BOR?

I have been in on EBORs that had past SMs - in those cases they did not know the Scout. But if assigned by a District for the EBOR, not sure what could be done if you are worried other than appeal after it.

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I am thinking of inviting people who know the scout better than I do (before my time). I am Advancement Chair for troop. I have the district rep and the scout’s eagle project mentor secured for his EBOR but I wanted to invite a few more to participate. The person I was thinking about used to be the SM but is now the Activities Chair on the committee. GTA says unit leaders can’t participate, but I wonder if a former leader was acceptable even though he was the SM during periods of this boys scouting journey.

I have never heard of a unit setting it up. In fact to my reading that goes against guide to advancement. It is the councils job


It seems to be up to the council advancement committee if they want to allow unit committees to administer EBORs or not. Particulars for the Eagle Scout Rank
The particulars below pertain only to the Eagle Scout rank.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
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@HollySutcliffe, I would recommend asking your Council Advancement Chair.

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I believe my council lets districts decide. I assisted a young man in a nearby district with paperwork and they had a district board. But I just received an email from my District Advancement Chair that our district does unit level BOR with a representative from the district. Troops can request additional members from district and the members of the Board have to be pre-approved on a per Eagle basis.

Given the direction that national has expressed concerning the BOR being more of a celebration, I would think having a former SM would be fine. In my case, they would have had to dig deep to find members who I didn’t know as my parents were quite active at the district level while I was a scout. One asked me why I was nervous as we had spent a week hunting once. I replied that was exactly why I was nervous. He would know about the times my brother and I had not gotten along.

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I wouldn’t include any former SM or SA who had actually worked with the boy in question in that role on the Eagle BoR. In fact, I wouldn’t have included the eagle project mentor.

For the lower ranks, an ex-SM or ex-SA who has worked with the scout on a prior rank, sure. Or for a pile of Merit Badges and a lower rank, it might be the case that every member of the committee had been a counselor on one or another of the badges. For Eagle, which is the award representing the whole Scouting experience, I would say that the members of the Board of Review should be independent of the advancements in that entire experience.

My oldest son’s Life Board of Review was with the IH/COR and a couple other members of the chartering organization, not otherwise registered as scout leaders; that was partly because the “regular” leaders were all out of town, but I think the new faces added to the gravity of the meeting and will make it much more memorable for my son. Likewise, council policies on exactly who organizes the Eagle BoR and who can be on it may vary, but I think it’s a good opportunity to bring in new people (from other troops or just the community) who do not already know the scout.

The geography of my council (which includes all of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East) and district (Eastern Europe, all of Africa, and the Middle East) means that troops set up Eagle BoRs, since the council/district can’t manage it. Just giving an example of when units set it up.

Since our troop does it, the board is made up of adult Eagles (well into adulthood) or upstanding community members, none of whom are active in scouting. The Scout can have an advocate attend–that is usually the Scoutmaster or adult leader who knows the Scout well.

We would allow a former SM on the board as long as s/he wasn’t SM for this unit. The current SM or a SM who was active in this unit would not be allowed.

Our Troop sets it up and the representative from Council is present and runs the Board of Review. In addition to the Council representative we usually have 3 committee members other adults from our Charter Organization and allow the Scout to have input on the 5th member. We usually ask for a list of people he would like to invite and generally we can get one who is available for the BOR and will attend.

I see no problem with it, as long as the district/council advancement committee lets the troop pick members for the board. Frankly, I think it has its advantages. First of all, sitting in front of a group of adults you don’t (or barely) know is incredibly intimidating and can shut candidates down. Having a friendly face in the room makes it easier for them to settle their nerves and speak effectively. Also, having someone who is familiar with the scout’s experiences, both good and bad, can help draw out information that might never come up otherwise, not only on the Life to Eagle stage but from throughout the entire scouting trail.

Eagle BoRs are a little different than BoRs for the other ranks; for the lower ranks it is highly encouraged, but not required, that members of the board of review be registered with the BSA (the GTA says that using unregistered adults should be the exception), while for Eagle BoRs the GTA states that the members of the board “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.”
There is nothing in the GTA that restricts a former Scoutmaster or former Assistant Scoutmaster because of that position alone, from serving on any board of review for any rank. As far as whether it is prudent to have them do so is totally up to the person who is selecting the members of the board.

@JayBingham See: Composition of the Board of Review

A board of review must consist of no fewer than three members and no more than six, all of whom must be at least 21 years of age. For further specifications, see “Particulars for Tenderfoot Through Life Ranks,”, and “Particulars for the Eagle Scout Rank,” Unit leaders and assistants shall not serve on a board of review for a Scout in their own unit. Parents, guardians, or relatives shall not serve on a board for their child. The candidate or the candidate’s parent(s) or guardian(s), or relative(s) shall have no part in selecting any board of review members.

@RickBerg I am confused by your response, what exactly are you trying to tell me that you think that I do not know?
The original question was about former Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters serving on boards of review. My response was that the GTA does not prohibit former unit leaders from participating, since they are no longer unit leaders. That is my understanding of what the GTA says. There may be other reasons that a former unit leader cannot participate, such as being a relative of the scout, but being a former unit leader is not one of them. The part of the GTA that you quoted and highlighted does not include the word former, I understand that to mean that it applies only to current unit leaders and assistants.

Sorry, I misiterpited the "former"s.

Ok, Glad we cleared that up.

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