Guidelines for Boards of Review
Purpose of a Board of Review:
The members of a Board of Review should have the following objectives in mind:
- · To make sure the Candidate Scout has completed the requirements for the rank for which he is appearing before the Board.
- · To see how good an experience the Scout is having in the unit – i.e., make sure he is having a quality Scouting experience and, if not, why not.
- · To encourage the Scout to progress further to the higher ranks – including Eagle.
Additionally, the Board of Review provides:
- · “Quality control” on advancement within the Scouting unit.
- · An opportunity for the Scout to develop and practice those skills needed in an interview situation
- · An opportunity for the Scout to review his accomplishments and realize his success.
The Board of Review is NOT a re-test; the Scout has already been tested on the skills and activities required for the rank. However, the Chairman of the Board of Review should insure that all the requirements have been “signed off” in the Scout’s Handbook and, if the Troop uses TroopMaster, make sure the Scout has the Board of Review paperwork prepared by the Troop’s Advancements Chairperson. Additionally, the Board Chairman should ensure that leadership and merit badge records are consistent with all requirements for the rank sought.
The Board of Review is an opportunity to review the Scout’s attitudes, accomplishments and his acceptance of Scouting’s ideals as expressed in the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.
Mechanics of a Board of Review:
Before the Board of Review
1. The Scout signs up for a Board of Review at any Troop meeting. However, because the Board needs to review the Scout’s records at the Board of Review, the Scout needs to sign up for a Board of Review not earlier than next week’s Troop meeting. “I’ve got to get this done tonight” situations should be strongly discouraged – they are signs that the Scout is not properly prepared.
2. The Troop’s Board of Review Coordinator notifies the Advancement Chairman of the upcoming Boards, so that the Advancements Chair can provide copies of those Scouts’ records for their Boards of Review. If a Scout has a Board scheduled at a Troop meeting, then the Scout should be told that he can get his Scoutmaster’s Conference paperwork and his Board of Review paperwork (usually the same form) from the Scoutmaster or the Advancements Chairperson.
3. The Board reviews the Scout’s records for and discusses topics to be covered. Make sure that the candidate has completed the requisite number of community service (total of 6 hours), flag service (two hours or four flag credits) and Medi-Park Cleanup hours (two) since his last rank advancement was awarded. These three requirements start over with each rank advancement, starting with First Class and above.
During The Board of Review
1. The Chairperson of the board introduces the Scout to the entire board by name. This is a formal event, so use first and last names or last names only.
2. The Scout should be in full Class A uniform and have his Scout Handbook and Board of Review paperwork with him. Merit badge sash is optional. If a Scout has no merit badges, the badge sash is always omitted. For OA members, the OA sash is optional.
3. The chairman of the Board of Review should ask the Scout to come to attention, and to recite one or more of the following:
- · The Scout Law
- · The Scout Oath
- · The Scout Motto
- · The Scout Slogan
- · The Outdoor Code
4. The Board now interviews the candidate for his rank advancement.
For the lower ranks, one or two recitations (usually the Law and Oath) should be sufficient. For higher ranks, more may be expected. One or two re-tries are appropriate, especially for younger Scouts or if the Scout appears nervous.
Questions from the Board
The board members are invited to ask questions of the Scout (see the Scouting Handbook sections for questions that are appropriate to each rank). The questions should be open-ended, offering an opportunity for the Scout to speak about his opinions, experiences, activities, and accomplishments. Avoid questions that only require a simple one or two word answer. If an answers is too brief, follow up with a, “Why?” or, “How can that be done?” to expand the answer. Avoid questions that are re-tests of his scouting skills, but questions about his Scouting knowledge are fair.
Remember, part of the purpose of the Board is to prepare the Scout for his Eagle rank Board of Review, for college entrance interviews, and for real life job interviews. A Scout who has successfully been through multiple Boards of Review is more comfortable in such a format, and has a better change to pass such tests in the real world.
The questions need not be restricted to Scouting topics; questions regarding home, church, school, work, athletics, etc. are all appropriate. The Chairperson should make a real effort to be made aware of any “out-of-bounds” areas; these should be communicated to the board before the Board of Review begins by the Assistant Scoutmaster or Patrol Dad for the Scout’s Patrol.
Examples of questions or areas to avoid are questions about “how is your family life going,” where the Scout’s parents are going through a divorce.
The time for a Board of Review should be from 15 to 30 minutes, with the shorter time for the lower ranks. When all members have had an opportunity to ask their questions, the Scout is excused from the room. The board members then consider whether the Scout is ready for the next rank; if the minimum three board members comprise the entire board then the board’s decision must be unanimous.
Deliver the Decision
Once the decision is made, the Scout is invited back into the room and the Chairperson informs the Scout of the board’s decision. If the Scout is approved for the next rank, there are general congratulations and handshakes all around, and the Scout is encouraged to continue advancing within the Troop.
If there are issues that prevent the Scout from advancing to the next rank, the Board must detail the precise nature of the deficiencies. The Scout must be told specifically what must be done in order to be successful at the next Board of Review.
Typically, if the Scout does not pass his board then an agreement is reached as to when the Scout may return for his subsequent Board of Review. The Chairperson must send a written follow up, to both the Scout and the Scoutmaster, regarding the deficiencies and the course of action needed to correct them.
Recap of What Happens During a Board of Review
1. Chairperson of the Board of Review introduces the Scout to the board members.
2. The Boy Scout Handbook and the unit’s Board of Review paperwork is reviewed to ensure all requirements have been completed and signed off.
3. The Scout may be asked to recite one or more of the following: Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout Motto, Outdoor Code, and/or Scout Slogan.
4. The Board members will then “interview” the Scout.
5. The duration of the Board of Review will be approximately 15 minutes.
6. When all members have had an opportunity to ask their questions, the Scout will be excused from the room.
7. The board members will then consider whether the Scout is ready for the next rank. A three-member board’s decision must be unanimous. If a four-or-larger member board is unable to reach a unanimous decision, the Committee Chairperson will be the final arbiter.
8. Once the decision is made, the Scout is invited back into the room and the Chairperson informs the Scout of the board’s decision.
9. If the Scout is approved for the next rank, the Scout will be congratulated, informed as to when he will receive his recognition, and is encouraged to continue advancing.
10. If there are issues that prevent the Scout from advancing to the next rank, the board must detail the precise nature of the deficiencies. The Scout will be told specifically what must be done in order to be successful at the next Board of Review, and when he may return for his subsequent Board of Review.
Reasons for Which a Board may Consider Denying Advancement
- • Scout’s attitude is poor, or he’s obviously far too immature for the highest ranks (Life, Eagle). However, be aware that there is no official “maturity” requirement for any rank and, if this reason is used to deny a rank, it is not a ground that will likely be resolved with the passage of a few months time. But it is a consideration at the Eagle rank for the Bi-District Eagle Board of Review Committee, which typically sees Eagle candidates of the age of 15 or older.
- • Scout is not in full Class A uniform (but be cautious of situations where the Scout can not afford a full uniform).
- • Scout’s failure to bring his BSA Handbook and the unit’s Board of Review paperwork with him to the Board of Review. Look at the condition of his Handbook and, if it is in poor condition, ask the Scout why.
- • Scout cannot recite the Scout Law, Oath, Motto, and Slogan, etc. after several tries to do so.
- • Scout’s BSA Handbook is missing required signatures. While this is probably easy enough to correct, the Scout needs to realize that his Handbook is important, that he needs to keep up with it, and that it is his responsibility to see that his achievements are signed off in his book. This teaches the Scout to take personal responsibility for his own advancement – a very useful habit in life.
- • Scout’s failure to meet the Troop’s minimum 50% attendance requirements and/or the requirements relating to his Troop Leadership Position.
- • Scout has not been active with the Troop to the required level, i.e., minimum 50% attendance at Troop Meetings over the last six (6) months and a minimum 50% attendance at Troop Campouts over the last six (6) months. These are both requirements under Section Six of Troop 94’s official written Troop Policy.
- • Scout lacks “Scout Spirit” – poor attitude towards Scouting generally, towards Troop discipline requirements, towards Adult leaders, is disruptive in meetings, does not wear proper scouting attire, etc.
- • Scout did not complete the requisite number of community service, flag and Medi-Park Cleanup hours. Ideally, this fact should be discovered before the Board starts but, if it is not, then the Board must make sure that the candidate has completed the requisite number of community service, flag and Medi-Park Cleanup hours since his last rank advancement was awarded.
Other Facts to Consider
- • Scouts will usually be allowed to sit for only one Rank (Board of Review session) per meeting.
- • It is the responsibility of the Scout seeking advancement in rank to schedule his own Scoutmaster Conference and Board of Review.
- • A Scout is expected to appear for a Board or Review in full Class A uniform with all proper badges attached.
- • At lower Scouting ranks (second class and below) more than one Scout can sit at the same Board of Review, so long as all Scouts present are there for the same rank.
Additional Internet Resources for Boards of Review Members: