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Scheduling a Board of Review

Nora sent in this question:

Our Scouts BSA Troop requires that Scouts BSA request a BOR by phone call at least two days in advance. At our last meeting, the Advancment Chair and some committee members conducted a BOR for one of the Scouts. Afterwards, a different Scout approached the Advancement chair and asked him to arrange a BOR for his First Class rank. He is going to camp in a few days and wants to meet OA eligibility requirements. He was told no, he must call him instead of asking him in person. This seems like he is putting an additional requirement on the Scout. Is this allowed?

According to the Guide to Advancement: Boards of Review Must Be Granted When Requirements Are Met
A Scout shall not be denied this opportunity. When a Scout believes that all the requirements for a rank have been completed, including a Scoutmaster conference, a board of review must be granted. Scoutmasters—or councils or districts in the case of the Eagle Scout rank— for example, do not have authority to expect a Scout to request or organize one, or to “defer” the Scout, or to ask the Scout to perform beyond the requirements in order to
be granted one. Neither can a board of review be denied or postponed due to issues such as uniforming, payment of dues, participation in fundraising activities, etc.

So as I read this, the Scout should have been granted the request for the Board of Review rather than being given the additional “requirement” to make a phone call. If the Scout is ready for his BOR, the troop should be facilitating that process.

Readers, what do you think?


12 responses to “Scheduling a Board of Review”

  1. Scoutmaster Shawn Avatar
    Scoutmaster Shawn

    This troop is doing the Scouts an injustice. Yes, this is adding requirements. Unless there were prior commitments on behalf of the BoR members that just completed a BoR, and they *all* had to leave the meeting immediately, they should have asked for 5 minutes to get ready, and then proceed with this Scout’s review. Reply to this mother that this is just the beginning of troubles with this troop, and it may be time to start looking for another troop.

    1. Bruce Avatar

      A boy may request a review at anytime. Shawn is correct this Troop sounds like it is in trouble. Leaders should not be making it harder for boys to advance.

  2. Donald SM Avatar
    Donald SM

    When a young man asks for a BOR we have one that night providing we we have the proper adults or older scouts that know the requirements to be on a BOR. The only time we do not hold one is if the youth has approached us at the end of a meeting. We request that they ask during the first half hour so that we have time to review the requirements, gather the BOR people from those that are not involved in that nights program.

  3. Robin Avatar

    As advancement chair for our troop, I always carry my calendar with me to enable scouts to schedule their BoR. Our Scoutmaster gives me a sheet that lets me know which scouts have completed all the requirements for their respective ranks and are ready for their BoR. I have given the scouts many ways to request their board, using email, phone, text or just asking in person at a meeting. I have always felt that it is my duty to accommodate them as quickly as I can so they can continue on their trail.

  4. ScrapQueenJenn Avatar

    It is my opinion that this Advancement Chair may have asked this because there was not enough time left for a Board. Additionally I would suggest that maybe the Advancement Chair wanted a phone call so that he/she remembers who the request came from. I can tell you that by the end of the meeting so many questions and other things have happened that I have trouble remembering what someone might have asked of me etc. Sometimes I ASK them to please remind me by sending me an email. Also, a Board of Review form should be printed so that the Board members can sign it at the end of the BOR. The advancement chair will also need to check his records to be sure the scout is in fact ready for the board.

  5. DS Avatar

    In our Troop, the scouts can request a BoR any way they want (phone, email, in-person). Generally, they ask in-person at the end of a Troop meeting. We have one person who schedules the BoR. As soon as she is able to schedule/arrange it with other board members, then she gets in touch with the scout and lets him know. Troop meetings are on Mondays so often the BoR is scheduled for Tuesday of the next week. If there were extenuating circumstances, such as the scout mentioned above trying to be OA eligible, we would do everything we could to make that happen if everything else was in order.

  6. Tina Avatar

    We have gone to set, monthly BOR due to demand. We also ensure we have one the week before each of our two summer camps and our winter camp. We prefer online signups or via email so we can be sure we have enough coverage and time. Most BOR members are parents and cannot stay too late on a school night. Movng to a set monthly schedule has really helped with volunteers and scheduled. It has taught responsibilty to the scouts and respect for our volunteer’s time.

  7. Adrienne K Avatar
    Adrienne K

    I have a few questions I’d ask the reader first: As others have said, how late into the meeting did the Scout come forward? If he knew he was bumping up against a deadline, how far in advance had he been preparing?

    I think it’s a bit much to say that they can *only* be scheduled via phone call but in our Troop, we had to set up a better structure to scheduling the Boards of Review because the boys were not respecting the committee. I think Troops need to have guidelines and policies for the benefit of everyone involved – both out of consideration for the volunteers and within reason for the boys to understand following basic guidelines and respecting others’ time. For example, we have committee meetings one night a month, so we made it clear that we could not hold a BOR and a CC on the same night. We had boys scheduling their Scoutmaster conferences and their BOR on the same night. We don’t mind if they tell us “My SMC is the 1st, can I schedule my BOR on the 8th” before they pass the SMC – but both in one night would mean that the BOR would last longer than the meeting – it would start very close to the end of the meeting. That’s not a reasonable expectation so we made a policy not to do that. We also had boys bunching up the week before the Court of Honor – we ran out of time at that last meeting before the COH because everyone would wait until THAT night for their BORs. So we set deadlines for the COH. That doesn’t mean we won’t have the BOR, but we can’t guarantee that the award will be ready at the COH.

    We have very rarely had to make exceptions, but if a Scout has been working hard and/or other factors have thrown obstacles in his path, we can be compassionate and make an exception. On the other hand, we have had some boys that expect exceptions every. single. time. The boy who always comes up 5 minutes after the meeting is over and asking for time with the SM or even for a BOR. So my next question for Nora would be: Is this a Scout who habitually ignores Troop guidelines or policies? Had he been “warned” that he needed to make arrangements ahead of time but he ignored the adults?

    I would like to think that the committee could make an exception for the boy, but I do have a lot of questions for the boy. If he’s worthy of OA and worthy of the rank, he should know how to read a calendar and prepare ahead of time. My sons just came home from a week of NYLT with stories of VERY unscout-like behavior from SEVERAL boys at camp. VERY unscoutlike. So I tend to err on the side of expecting the boys to meet and respect standards.

  8. Theresa F Avatar
    Theresa F

    Awsome job, Adrienne!

  9. Bert Avatar

    As a SM, I expected the scout to schedule SMCs with me and I would notify the Committee Chair that the scout was eligible for his BoR and expected the CC to coordinate the BoR in a timely manner.

    See the guide to advancement: Boards of Review Must Be Granted When Requirements Are Met –
    A Scout shall not be denied this opportunity. When he believes he has completed all the requirements for a rank, including a Scoutmaster conference, a board of review must be granted. *** Scoutmasters *** —or councils or districts in the case of the Eagle Scout rank—for example, ***do not have authority to expect a boy to request or organize one***, or to “defer” him, or to ask him to perform beyond the requirements in order to be granted one.

    Concerning Court of Honors, there are always last minute pushes. We schedule SM conferences two weeks out and BoRs one week out. This seems to “help” the boys plan and eliminate a lot of the last minute conflicts.

    While there have been times when we’ve had to tell a scout “next week” because of last minute requests, we have conducted SMCs/BoRs in the same night when we’ve had a head’s up.

  10. Sue Avatar

    Questions please:
    1. is there a requirement that there must be a certain amount of meetings per school year? Meetings length of time (ie hour)?
    2. Understanding boy scouts should be boy led and promote responsibility, do boys request when they are ready for a board of review?
    3. Merit badges – some do merit badges during troop meetings, others say not permitted and boys must do on their own?
    Thank you in advance.

  11. Panky Avatar

    Hi All,

    As Advancement Chair for my Troop , I have been so considerate for boys to accommodate them as much as possible during each Troop meeting. For COH we set 2 weeks of cut of time so we can arrange and get all things in place to COH.

    but some pushy parents had BOR a week before and asking to get included in the following week COH and went to BSA store and get their pins and all other stuff. And strange thing our CC was supporting these parents interfere.

    What’s best way to deal with CC and such pushy parents.

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