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Eight BOR Facts Not Known By Some

Reference: BSA Guide to Advancement 2019 (Updated every 2 years, and downloadable for free at: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf)

  1. The BOR must be granted when all the requirements are met, and not be deferred until the Scoutmaster thinks the Scout is ready. Nor, does anyone have the authority to expect the Scout to request a BOR. Re: Page 54,, para 1

  2. Scoutmasters, Assistant Scoutmasters, the Scout’s parents or guardians may not serve as BOR members. Re: Page 54,

  3. A Scout shall not be required to purchase a Class A uniform or other clothing like a coat and tie to appear before a BOR, although appearing in a uniform is preferred. In complete or partial uniform or not, the Scout should be clean and neat in their appearance and dressed appropriately depending on their means. Re: Page 54-55,

  4. Unless excluded by the BOR members, Scoutmasters and others may be present as observers. Re: Page 55,, para 2

  5. Parents or guardians who insist, after being counseled why they should not do so, must be permitted to be present as observers. Re: Page 55,, para 3 (MY NOTE: Some reasons why parents or guardians should insist to observe a BOR are: Scouts are being told to study their BSA Handbooks and Merit Badge Pamphlets beforehand. Scouts are being retested, examined or challenged regarding the rank requirements during the BORs. BORs are being adjourned for another day, one or more times, as the Scouts are not in complete uniform, or due to typo’s in their Eagle Project Workbook or other submitted paperwork, or it is believed that the Scouts are too young or immature. Scouts are being told not tell anyone what was discussed in the BOR, as it is a secret that should not be revealed.)

  6. Mock or Practice BORs are discouraged by BSA. This may imply that the BOR will ask predetermined questions or the BOR will not be a positive experience. Re: Page 55,, para 5 (MY NOTE: Preparing a Scout to be intimidated, retested, challenged and treated in a discourteous and unkind manner because the Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmasters have observed BORs where this has happened previously is wrong. Furthermore, any Scouter that allows these things to happen to one of their Scouts in a BOR is betraying the trust of the Scout and Scouting Program. The BOR is not to be done in an adversarial manner and not to be a negative experience.)

  7. The Scout’s knowledge and skills may not be tested, retested, examined, or challenged. Re: Page 55, [MY NOTE: Telling Scouts they need to study their BSA Handbook and/or their Merit Badge Pamphlets to prepare for the BOR is not true. BOR members asking Scouts to tie or identify a knot or lashing, how to treat an injury, or asking Scouts how to do any other rank and merit badge requirement is not permitted. The Chair of the BOR should be familiar with the current BSA Advancement Guide regarding conducting BORs, brief the Board members what they can and can’t ask, and have a copy of the Advancement Guide present at the BOR. If the head of the BOR violates the policy or allows the members to violate the policy then they deserve to be relieved of their position as they have also betrayed the trust of the Scout, and the Council Executive, particularly if it was done during an Eagle BOR. (See bottom of Eagle Application where Council Executive signs that he “certifies that all procedures, as outlined in the Guide to Advancement, have been followed”.)]

  8. A Scout may be reviewed for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class on the same day, and each rank should have separate BORs with different members is preferred, if feasible. Re: Page 57,, para 7


Great points! And thanks for including the references.

For all Scouters, you should be in the habit of going to the primary reference for any questions. Always ask yourself, “What does the book say?” And I recommend all BoRs have a current copy of the Guide to Advancement on hand (see the Colonel’s link above where you can download it as a pdf on your device)

On item 7…BoRs can certainly ask about requirements a Scout did…from the reference, para, “During the review, board members may refer to the Scouts BSA Handbook, Scouts BSA Requirements book, Troop Leader Guidebook, Guide to Advancement, and other such references. The Troop Committee Guidebook has examples of appropriate questions. Board members may ask where skills were learned by the Scout, who the Scout’s teachers were, and what was gained from fulfilling selected requirements. The answers will reveal what was done to earn the rank.”

So, you may ask Johnny or Jane, “Tell me about learning how to tie the diagonal lashing.” or “Who taught you the diagonal lashing?”, etc.

In this way, BoRs can ensure the Scout fulfilled the requirements, and that uniformed leaders are delivering the program appropriately (quality of experience).

Remember the Board’s purpose from, “Its purpose is to determine the quality of the Scout’s experience and decide whether the requirements for the rank have been fulfilled.”

Happy BoR’ing!! (although they aren’t boring :grin: )

Scouter Rob, also a Colonel, Retired :airplane:

There is also an online version of the Guide to Advancement which might be easier to navigate on a smartphone or tablet:


And here is a link to the Contents page, which can be helpful when looking for a particular section or topic:


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Thanks for your comments! I most certainly agree, and believe that Advancement Coordinators of Chairs need to read and and keep up with the changes in the policy, as well as having the GTA on hand at both Troop and Committee Meetings, too. This is also necessary, as we who serve in that position have a responsibility to “Educate parents, guardians, unit leadership, and committee members on appropriate methods to stimulate and encourage advancement.”

Thanks again fellow Scouter and Colonel!


Thank you for adding this resource! Since 2015, I have provided all troop adults a copy of the GTA attached to an advancement email message. Doing this falls in line with the AC responsibility to educate.



Another discussion is coming. It’s titled, "Advancement Coordinator, Stay in Your Lane, Bro!

Always good to have refreshers on how things should happen. Bad habits are easy to fall into, but hard to break! Thanks for the post!

Some folks believe that their vision of a Scout is the standard that must be met by a young boy or girl, regardless of the policy of the BSA. They are the “Gate Keepers” who want no youth to feel too confident about passing their BOR and ranking up. I am sure that some adult leaders believe they decide when a Scout is knowledgeable, skillful, and mature enough for a BOR. And, in their view some youth never will be. I hope my post helps the untrained adult leadership, and it brings a discussion and positive change to those who have had the “Gate Keeper’s mentality.”

Thanks for your thoughts and response. You might like my ILST Patch post, too. It’s expired but you can still find it on this forum. I was surprised that you can even google it, too.


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