Welcome! This forum has a treasure trove of great info – Scouters helping Scouters! Just a heads up, though - all content, information, and opinions shared on this forum are those of the author, not the BSA.

Scouting Forums

Life rank requirements ie leadership, maturity

We have a 13 year old which is ready to move up. He’s been scribe. I have some parents who question his readiness to be a life scout and his leadership.

However he’s met the requirements. The question i have is it right to not approve him? He is leading but at his age. He is 13 so thats where his maturity is as well.

I have never had a young life scout so I don’t know. I have idea what a 13 life scout should look like. I don’t know what the rush is personally.

Help with advice please

1 Like

my son lead an Eagle project at 13 - (to be fair at 15 he is still one MB req short :rage:) but if you as scoutmaster think he has done it - you are the boss not parents


What is your position in the Troop? If you are the SM, you can’t deny a Scout a BOR if he has met the requirements. Age is not a disqualifying reason.


The Scout either meets the requirements or he does not. If he meets the requirements then Boards of Review Must Be Granted When Requirements Are Met


Scoutmaster. Committee is asking my opinion and there’s some drama now. He passed by me because he’s met the requirements. The leadership abilities are at a 13 year old level but hes done it.

Some on Committee expect more.

1 Like

I signed him off. He had a board and they said go back and show more leadership and come back in a month or two. Now we are back and some are still not ready to approve.

Now I am getting ask by committee and the scouts parents. so from both sides.

The Committee can reject rank.:

You did your job sending it to Committee and they should be able to question the Scout to determine if he’s ready to rank up. IT’s Not a Retest.

That is not right. If he was signed off on having done the POR, they can’t overrule it.


The Scout with his parents have the right to appeal to the local council. Does the Committee know that? Filing and Processing an Appeal

  1. The Scout should have received communication from the board of review advising actions that could lead to advancement and explaining appeal procedures. If this was not received, the Scout or the Scout’s parent or guardian should contact the council advancement chair, staff advisor for advancement, or the Scout executive to request it. To initiate the appeal, the Scout or the Scout’s parent or guardian prepares a letter notifying the local council of the appeal. It should detail the reasons it is believed the Scout met all the requirements and should not have been denied. The letter is sent to the council service center, to the attention of the council advancement committee. The communication from the board of review mentioned above should be attached.
  2. To assure all appeal requests are handled consistently throughout the council, they are first routed to the council advancement committee.
  3. The council advancement committee, through its chair or a designated member or its staff advisor, coordinates the appeals process. This designated appeals coordinator’s primary role is to get the paperwork in the right place and orient and guide those who will hear the appeal.
  4. The council-designated appeals coordinator routes a copy of the request to the district or council advancement committee according to local practices. It is recommended that appeals of a unit decision go to the district, and those elevated from a district go to the council. This allows an additional step before the National Advancement Program Team is involved.
  5. For appeals heard by a district, the district advancement chair and district staff advisor (usually the district executive) must agree on appeal-board members. The council advancement chair and staff advisor have the authority to approve them (or to call for different members) should they believe this action will lead to more equitable appeals consideration.
  6. If the appeal is to be heard by the council, then the council advancement chair and staff advisor must agree on appeal-board members.
  7. There shall be an odd number of appeal-board members—either three or five. A board chair may be one of these voting members, or serve additionally with no vote. All must be objective volunteers with thorough knowledge of advancement and appeals procedures. No individual who served on the original board of review or appeal board shall serve on a subsequent district or council appeal board for the same Scout. The council-designated appeals coordinator may be present and provide advice. No other guests, including the candidate’s parents or guardians, are allowed. If the Scout is being interviewed, and the Scout’s parents or guardians insist on attending with him, see “Conducting the Board of Review,”
  8. The appeal-board meeting may be held via videoconference under the rare circumstances and the requirements found in “Boards of Review Through Videoconferencing,”
  9. An appeal board is not another board of review. It focuses only on the issues that brought about rejection at the lower level(s). A majority is sufficient for a decision.
  10. If an appeal is rejected at the district level, the Scout or the Scout’s parent or guardian may appeal to the council advancement committee.
  11. If a council-level Eagle Scout board of review or appeal board rejects a candidate, then the Scout or the Scout’s parent or guardian may appeal through the local council to the National Advancement Program Team.
  12. A decision at any level that finds in favor of a Scout shall be final. Units, districts, and councils are not allowed to appeal them. Similarly, decisions for rejection delivered through the National Advancement Program Team are final. For rulings in favor of a Scout, the date of the original board— not the appeal board—is the effective date of advancement.
1 Like

Great info. The committee has followed it well and appropriately I feel.

I just think the aspects of leadership and maturity are hard to measure/quantify

I would recommend the Guide to Advancement starting at this section: Positions of Responsibility

I don’t know what “show more leadership” means. Does the unit have established expectations for PORs? Are those expectations reasonable?

“When a Scout assumes a position of responsibility, something related to the desired results must happen.”

“ Meeting Unit Expectations. If a unit has established expectations for positions of responsibility, and if, within reason (see the note under “Rank Requirements Overview,”, based on the Scout’s personal skill set, these expectations have been met, the Scout has fulfilled the requirement. When a Scout assumes a position, something related to the desired results must happen. It is a disservice to the Scout and to the unit to reward work that has not been done. Holding a position and doing nothing, producing no results, is unacceptable. Some degree of responsibility must be practiced, taken, or accepted.”

“Only in rare cases—if ever—should troop leaders inform a Scout that time, once served, will not count.”


Then whom ever signed off on the requirement should be addressed by the committee, not hold the scout back for the adult’s mistake.

Did they at least provide concrete feed back and not just “show more leadership”?

1 Like

One other thing that I will add. If the Committee is rejecting rank, they are obligated to provide specific reasons for not passing and certain expectations to be accomplished. The Committee should not use any subjective reasons. It should be tangible reasons that can be performed by the Scout.

To be honest, I think the Committee is dropping the ball on this one.


Step one: demand from the board to say where in the requirements for Life Rank must one explicitly “show leadership”? Certainly not in requirement 5, for which the operative predicate is “serve actively” in one of several positions of responsibility, only three of which have the word “leader” In it.
Was the scribe responsible? Surely his notes provided to the troop are in evidence.

Then the board must state in writing why complying to the requirements as written is not enough, and state specifically what actions they would like to see … in edition to the ones explicitly required and fulfilled for Life rank … in what time frame before they will close this board. The letter must be addressed to the scout, copied to his parents, and you. Guarantee that if you find their reasoning inadequate, you will invite your district advancement chair to review it for soundness.


I have no idea why people worry about a young scout needing to “show more leadership.” Give the kid his Eagle immediately so that he’ll have to show more leadership for any palm he’d like to have.

1 Like

What this boils down to is simple: As SM you need to stand up for your Scout. He is under your constant supervision. Unless the Committee attends all of the Troop meetings and Camping trips you are the best person to judge his abilities. Just like in sports, sometimes a coach will get a penalty called on him on purpose so his team will see that he is standing up for them. Frankly, after two BOR’s and he’s still not getting ranked up, it’s time for the coach to kick some dirt on the umpire.


Well, there are two key points here. First, as @JenniferOlinger said, if he meets the requirements in the book, you cannot refuse to hold a BOR for him.

Second, you also cannot expect more from a Scout. Your committee needs to re-read the GTA, which is very explicit in stating that nobody can change any of the requirements for advancement – and “expecting more” is absolutely changing a requirement. Worse, it’s changing clear requirements for nebulous “If Mr. Smith isn’t satisfied, you don’t advance” bullah.

And, while we’re at it, re-testing is not part of a BOR. If it is, your BORs are being run poorly incorrectly.

I know where you’re coming from – I have Scouts in my Troop that aren’t as mature as I’d like them to be… But being immature is the first step to becoming a little bit more mature, and mentoring youth into mature young leaders is what Scouting is all about.

1 Like

Absolutely. We’ve had to reject a Scout at a BOR before and it sucked, even though it wasn’t entirely his fault (this was right after the 2016 advancement requriements changes; SM didn’t catch that this Scout should have been working to the new requirements instead of the old ones…). We sat down with the Scout and SM and went through exactly what was missing, so the Scout could complete his BOR the following week.


This is a good discussion. I think SM’s/ASM’s along with the Committee need to remember we are dealing with an adolescent boy/girl with feelings. If the work was done properly and the SM’s/ASM’s checked off the requirements then the right to advance has been accomplished.

Now the question is did the SM’s/ASM’s properly check off on the work or was it just “pencil-whipped”. I’m not saying it happened in this case, but it could happen in a “rushed” moment.

I’ve picked up some good ideas on how to better conduct a SM’s conference in this forum. I think this is an area that could be studied. When I’m dealing with a Scout that’s moving up seemingly “too fast”, I want to see if I can determine if the Scout is doing the work or if the parents are doing the work. We’ve all had those parents that are trying to rush “little Johnny” through the ranks at a lightning pace for whatever reason and are always in the SM’s face (instead of the Scout) pressing for advancement.

One “trick” I picked up in these forums that I’ve passed to our leadership is using the “Scout Spirit” clause by not checking it off If I feel the Scout hasn’t done the work on his own. That’s not in the Spirit of Scouting. Scout Spirit is the one “subjective” tool the SM has to not check off thus holding him/her back from a BOR if perceived to not be ready.

The SM also has the obligation to tell the Scout if he feels he/she is not ready to advance even if the requirements have been met. Make sure to tell the Scout that you cannot keep him/her from going before the BOR and if that Scout still wants to meet for advancement that is his/her option. I’ve had great SM Conferences where after a good discussion the Scout agreed he was not ready and took another month or two to tighten up and was better for the experience.

Ugh… Eagle Moms. Say no more…

1 Like