Boards of Review

Overview

A periodic review of the progress of a Scout is vital in the evaluation of the effectiveness of the Scouting program in the unit.  The unit committee can judge how well the Scout being reviewed is benefiting from the program.  The unit leader can measure the effectiveness of his or her leadership.  The Scout can sense that he is, or is not, advancing properly and can be encouraged to make the most of his Scouting experience.

Not only is it important to review those Scouts who have learned and been tested for a rank, but also to review those Scouts who have shown no progress in their advancement over the past few months.

The members of the board of review should have the following objectives in mind when they conduct the review.

The review is not an examination; the board does not retest the candidate.  Rather, the board should attempt to determine the Scout's attitude and his acceptance of Scouting's ideals. Scout spirit is defined as living the Scout Oath (Promise) and Scout Law in a Scouts everyday life.  The board should make sure that good standards have been met in all phases of the Scout's life.  A discussion of the Scout Oath and Scout Law is in keeping with the purpose of the review, to make sure that the candidate recognizes and understands the value of Scouting in his home, unit, school, and community.

The decision of all boards of review is arrived at through discussion and must be unanimous.

When a boy satisfactorily completes his board of review for a rank or an Eagle Palm, tenure for his next rank or Eagle Palm begins immediately.

Scouts 18 or older.  Scouts who have completed all requirements for a rank prior to their 18th birthday should submit their application and be reviewed and recognized within three months after that date.  For Eagle Scout boards of review conducted between three and six months after the candidate's 18th birthday, a statement explaining the reason for the delay must be attached to the Eagle Scout Rank Application when it is submitted to the Eagle Scout Service.  If an Eagle Scout board of review will be held after the six months following the candidate's 18th birthday, the Eagle Scout must petition the National Boy Scout Committee for an extension of time to hold the board of review.  The petition must be processed through the local council, detailing the extenuating circumstances that prevented the board of review from being held within the six-month period following the candidate's 18th birthday, and be accompanied with a copy of the Eagle Scout Rank Application.

Review for Tenderfoot Through Life Ranks and Eagle Palms.  After a Scout has completed all requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, and Life ranks, or an Eagle Palm, he appears before a board of review.  This board of review is made up of at least three and not more than six members of the troop committee.  One member serves as chairman, usually the committee member responsible for advancement.  Unit leaders, assistant unit leaders, relatives, or guardians may not serve as members of a Scout's board of review.

The review should be conducted at a convenient time and location, such as a meeting, summer camp, or the home of a member of the troop committee.

The review has three purposes:

Because many boys are ill at ease when talking to adults, it is important that the board be held in a relaxed atmosphere.  A certain amount of formality and meaningful questioning should be used during the review.

The Scout should be neat in his appearance and his uniform should be as correct as possible, with the badges worn properly. It should be the desire of the board to encourage the Scout to talk so that the review can be a learning experience for the candidate and the members of the board.

The review is not an examination.  The Scout has learned his skill and has been examined.  This is a review.  The Scout should be asked where he learned his skill, who taught him, and the value he gained from passing this requirement.

The Scout reviews what he did for his rank.  From this review, it can be determined whether he did what he was supposed to do.  The review also reveals what kind of an experience the Scout is having in the troop.  With that knowledge, the troop leaders can shape the program to meet the needs and interests of the Scouts.

The board should attempt to determine the Scout's ideals and goals.  The board should make sure that a good standard of performance has been met.  A discussion of the Scout Oath and Scout Law is in keeping with the purpose of the review, to make sure the candidate recognizes and understands the value of Scouting in his home, unit, school, and community. The board of review members should feel free to refer to the Boy Scout Handbook, Scoutmaster Handbook, or any other references during the review.

The review should take approximately fifteen minutes.  At the conclusion of the review, the board should know whether a boy is qualified for the rank or Palm.  The Scout is asked to leave the room while the board members discuss his achievements.  The decision of the board of review is arrived at through discussion and must be unanimous.  If members are satisfied that the Scout is ready to advance, he is called in, congratulated, notified as to when he will receive his recognition, and encouraged to continue his advancement or earn the next Palm.

If the board decides that the Scout is not ready to advance, the candidate should be informed and told what he has not done satisfactorily.  Most Scouts accept responsibility for not completing the requirements properly.  The members of the board of review should specify what must be done to rework the candidate's weaknesses and schedule another board of review for him.  A follow-up letter must be sent to a Scout who is turned down for rank advancement, confirming the agreements reached on the actions necessary for advancement. Should the Scout disagree with the decision, the appeal procedures should be explained to him.

After the board of review is completed, the Scoutmaster is informed of all of the decisions that were made by the board of review.  Remember, after a Scout satisfactorily completes a board of review, he cannot be recognized until that action is reported to the council service center on an Advancement Report.  A monthly report keeps unit records current and is a good practice. The troop scribe should also keep a record in the Troop/Team Record Book for easy reference by the Scoutmaster and use by other boards of review.

Tenderfoot Rank

This is the Scout's first experience with a Board of Review.  The process may require some explanation on the part of the Board of Review Chairperson.  The first few questions in the Board of Review should be simple.  The Board of Review should try to gain a sense of how the Scout is fitting in to the Troop, and the Scout's level of enjoyment of the Troop and Patrol activities.  Encourage advancement to 2nd Class.  Point out that the Scout may have already completed many of the requirements for 2nd Class.  The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 15-20 minutes.

Sample Questions:

2nd Class Rank

This is the Scout's second Board of Review.  The process should be familiar, unless it has been some time since the Board of Review for Tenderfoot. Questions should focus on the use of the Scout skills learned for this rank, without retesting these skills.  The Board of Review should try to perceive how the Scout's patrol is functioning, and how this Scout is functioning within his patrol.  Encourage work on the remaining requirements for 1st Class; many of the easier ones may have already been completed.  The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 15-20 minutes.

Sample Questions:

1st Class Rank

By this point the Scout should be comfortable with the Board of Review process.  The Scout should be praised for his accomplishment in achieving 1st Class (particularly if he joined Boy Scouts less than a year ago).  In achieving the rank of 1st Class, the Scout should feel an additional sense of responsibility to the troop and to his patrol.  The 1st Class rank will produce additional opportunities for the Scout (Order of the Arrow, leadership, etc.).  Merit badges will begin to play a role in future advancement to the Star and Life ranks.  Encourage merit badge work if it has not already begun.  The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 20 minutes.

Sample Questions:

Star Rank

With the Star rank, emphasis is placed upon service to others, merit badges, and leadership.  Scout skills remain an important element for the Star Scout; however, the emphasis should be on teaching other Scouts these skills.  Explore how the Star scout can assist with leading his patrol and troop.  Attempt to understand how the Scouting philosophy is becoming part of the Scout's life.  Often the Star rank is a place where Scouts "stall out."  Encourage the Scout to remain active, and participate fully in his patrol and troop.  If the Scout appears to be looking for additional opportunities, suggest leadership positions such as Den Chief or Troop Guide.  The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 20 minutes.

Sample Questions:

Life Rank

The Life rank is the final rank before Eagle.  The Life Scout should be fully participating in the Troop, with emphasis being placed on leadership in the unit, as well as teaching skills and leadership to the younger Scouts.  Merit Badge work should be a regular part of the Scout's career.  Scouting values and concepts should be an integral part of the Scout's daily life.  At this point, the Scout is starting to "give back to Scouting" through leadership, training of other Scouts, recruiting, keeping Scouts active in the program, etc.  Explore suggestions for improving the program.  The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 20-30 minutes.

Sample Questions:

Acknowledgement: http://www.usscouts.org/macscouter/scoutmaster/BoR_Guide.asp