What Is a Board of Review?
It Is Not the Same as a Scoutmaster Conference
Previously I wrote about the Scoutmaster Conference. Another Scouts BSA rank advancement requirement which causes some anxiety for the Scouts (and their parents) is the board of review. Scouts should understand that a board of review is not the same as a Scoutmaster Conference but just with more people. It is also important for the Committee members sitting on the board of review to understand what they are supposed to be doing.
Typical Boards of Review
When a Scout has completed all of the requirements for a rank, he or she must appear before a board of review. A board of review for the ranks of Tenderfoot through Life consists of three to six members of the troop committee. A board of review for the rank of Eagle Scout is determined by local policy. It can be comprised of a combination of troop committee members and district or council representatives, or it might be completely comprised of district or council personnel.
Troops might also hold a board of review with a Scout who is not advancing or who is having some other difficulty within the troop.
It Is Not a Retest
An advancement BOR usually lasts about 15 minutes. It is important not to rush the Scout. The BOR should sit where they can have an uninterrupted discussion. A BOR can feel pretty intimidating to a Scout, so try to make him or her feel welcome and at ease. Ask open ended questions, rather than yes or no questions, to encourage more complete answers from the Scout.
An advancement BOR is not a retest of requirements. The board may ask questions to determine if requirements were met though. So a BOR would not ask a Scout to make a camp gadget using lashings. Instead, they might say ‘Tell me about the camp gadget you made.”
Talk about the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Give the Scout the opportunity to tell how he or she has lived these recently. Offer some praise when the Scout gives an example or two. This is also a good opportunity to help the Scout plan to achieve his or her next rank. What still needs to be accomplished for First Class or which youth leadership position is he or she interested in? Ask about interests and suggest some merit badges along those lines.
At the end of the advancement BOR, the Scout should be asked to step out for a few minutes. Discuss the Scout’s achievements. Don’t keep the Scout waiting too long. In most cases you will then congratulate him or her for being qualified for the rank. On the (hopefully) rare occasion where it is determined that the Scout hasn’t completed all of the requirements, explain specifically what still needs to be done and offer plenty of encouragement.
Reader Shelley asked “I’m a new Troop Committee Chair and was wondering if anyone has some great questions that they ask their Scouts during their BOR?” Sometimes committee members struggle to come up with good questions.
Scout spirit is mentioned in several of the requirements for Scouts BSA ranks. But what is Scout spirit and how does a Scout go about demonstrating it?
This BSA training module will help you understand the dos and don’ts of a BOR. It will will train troop committee members and others in the purposes of the Board of Review, offering suggestions for the types of questions that can or should be asked.