A Question about Questions
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 Board of Reviews?
First, Understand What A Board of Review Is and Is Not
Sometimes committee members struggle to come up with good Board of Review questions. First of all, it is important to be familiar with the procedures and purposes of a Board of Review. There is a good summary on the official BSA site. There is also a training module which you can use to educate your Committee members.
Remember this is a conversation not a grilling. See the article from Scouting Magazine, This Is Not a Test.
Types of Questions
So first put the Scout at ease. Start with some easy questions they can answer with confidence, especially if they are going for one of the early ranks. “What rank are you completing?” “Which patrol are you in?” “Who is your patrol leader?”
Ask open ended questions. “Tell me about what you did to fulfill the requirement for …” or “What did you cook at camp?”. Often the Scouts are a little nervous and you need to get the conversation started.
Find out about their Scouting experience. “Are you having any difficulties in the troop?” “How is your patrol working out?”
Find out where they are headed with their Scouting career. “What do you see yourself doing in the troop next year?” “Have you thought about what position of responsibility you would like to take on?”
A Board of Review can also help you get a feeling for how the Scouts feel about the troop program. “Do you have any ideas for a campout or activity you would like to do?” “Is there something you’d like to learn about in the troop setting?” “What would you like to see the troop do differently? ” Then when the Scout answers, you can encourage him to take his idea to the PLC and get involved in carrying it out.
Often the questions depend on the individual Scout. If you know they are having difficulty with something or have done something they are proud of, then you can ask about that and the conversation can head off in a different direction.
Lists of Board of Review Questions
If you are still struggling to come up with ideas, here are some more sample Board of Review questions for each rank:
Tenderfoot Board of Review Questions
- How was your first troop camp out? Where did you go and what did you do?
- What is something new you learned about first aid?
- How did your physical fitness requirements go? Did you do them on your own or in a group?
- What service project did you participate in? How do you think it made a difference?
Second Class Board of Review Questions
- What has been your favorite outdoor activity so far and why?
- Have you ever cooked your own meals before?
- How do you feel about learning new knots?
- What method did you use for navigation when you went out hiking?
- Did you find the swimming requirements easy or challenging?
First Class Board of Review Questions
- What has been your favorite camping trip so far? Why?
- What camp gadget did you make with lashings? How did it turn out?
- How did your orienteering experience go?
- What have you learned about being prepared for hazardous weather?
Star Board of Review Questions
- Of the merit badges you earned so far, which was the most challenging? Why?
- Which troop leadership positions have you served in? How did that go?
- What service project did you participate in? Why did you choose this project?
- Is there any aspect of the troop which you think could be better? What is an improvement you would like to see?
Life Board of Review Questions
- Which of your merit badges did you enjoy the most? Why?
- How did you use the EDGE method to teach a skill? What skill did you teach and to whom?
- What service project did you participate in? How do you think this project helped improve the community?
- What is your plan for advancing from Life to Eagle Scout?
Eagle Scout Board of Review Questions
The Eagle Scout Board of Review will normally be conducted outside of the troop. But it is not unusual for troops to help the candidates prepare by having a practice BOR beforehand. Usually these are conducted by more experienced members of the troop committee.
- What is the most useful thing you learned in Scouting?
- How have you grown as a leader?
- What was the most challenging part of your Scouting experience? How did you handle it?
- Tell me about your Eagle Scout project.
If you are doing a BOR to prepare the Scout for his Eagle Board of Review, ask him more challenging Board of Review questions of the type that will be asked of him at the Eagle BOR. Bryan on Scouting published an article, 20 Questions to Ask at Your Next Eagle Board of Review which has a good list of examples.
Readers, what are your favorite questions to ask at a Board of Review? Add them to the comments below.