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.
- To make sure the Scout has done what he was supposed to do for the rank.
- To see how good an experience the Scout is having in the unit.
- To encourage the Scout to progress further.
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:
- To make sure that the work has been learned and completed.
- To check to see what kind of experience the boy is having in his patrol and troop.
- To encourage the Scout to advance to the next rank.
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.
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.
- When did you join our Troop?
- How many Troop meetings have you attended in the last two months?
- What did you do at your last patrol meeting?
- Tell us about your last Troop campout. Was it fun? What part of it did you enjoy the most?
- How might the first aid skills you must know for Tenderfoot help on a campout?
- Where did you learn how to fold the American flag? Tell us about your first experience with this skill.
- How would you avoid poison oak (poison ivy, sumac)?
- Where did you go on your hike? How did you choose the location?
- If you were on a hike and got lost, what would you do?
- Why do we whip or fuse the ends of a rope?
- What is the "Buddy System" that we use in Scouting? When do we use it?
- Why do you think there are physical fitness requirements (push-ups, pull-ups, etc.), and a retest after 30 days, for the Tenderfoot rank?
- What does it mean to a Tenderfoot Scout to "Be Prepared"?
- Do you feel that you have done your best to complete the requirements for Tenderfoot? Why?
- What "good turn" have you done today?
- Please give us an example of how you obey the Scout Law at home (school, church)?
- What do you like best about our Troop?
- What does it mean for a Scout to be "Kind"?
- Do you have any special plans for this summer? The Holidays?
- When do you plan to have the requirements completed for 2nd Class?
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.
- How many patrol meetings have you attended in the last 3 months?
- What did your patrol do at its last meeting?
- Tell us about a service project in which you participated?
- Where did you go on your last Troop campout? Did you have a good time? Why?
- Why is it important to be able to identify animals found in your community?
- Tell us about the flag ceremony in which you participated?
- What is in your personal first aid kit?
- What have you learned about handling woods tools (axes, saws, etc.)?
- How are a map of the area and a compass useful on a campout?
- Have you ever done more than one "good turn" in a day? Ask for details.
- Have you earned any merit badges?
- If "Yes": Which ones? Why did you choose them? Who was your counselor?
- If "No": Encourage getting started, and suggest one or two of the easier ones.
- Did you attend summer camp with our Troop last summer?
- If "Yes": What was your best (worst) experience at summer camp?
- If "No": Why not?
- Do you plan to attend summer camp with our Troop next summer?
- If "Yes": What are you looking forward to doing at summer camp?
- If "No": Why not?
- What suggestions do you have for improving our Troop?
- How do you help out at home, church, school?
- What class in school is most challenging for you? Why?
- One of the requirements for Tenderfoot is to participate in a program regarding drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse. Tell us about the program in which you participated?
- How is it possible to live the Scout Oath and Law in your daily life?
- What does it mean to say, "A Scout is Trustworthy"?
- When do you expect to complete the requirements for 1st Class?
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.
- On average, how many Troop meetings do you attend each month?
- What part of Troop meetings are most rewarding to you?
- What is the Scout Slogan? What does it mean for a 1st Class Scout?
- Tell us about your last campout with the Troop. Where did you go? How did you help with meal preparation? Did you have a good time? (If "No," why not?)
- If you were in charge of planning and preparing a dinner for your next campout, what would you select?
- As a 1st Class Scout, what do you think the Star, Life, and Eagle Scouts will expect from you on an outing?
- Does your family do any camping? What have you learned in Scouts, that you have been able to share with your family to improve their camping experiences?
- Why do you think that swimming is emphasized in Scouting?
- Why is it important for you to know how to transport a person who has a broken leg?
- Why is it important for you to be able to recognize local plant life?
- What did you learn about using a compass while completing the orienteering requirement?
- What does it mean to say, "A Scout is Courteous"?
- Why are merit badges a part of Scouting?
- How frequently do you attend religious services? Does your whole family attend?
- What is your most favorite part of Scouting? Least favorite?
- How does a Scout fulfill his "Duty to Country"?
- How do you define "Scout Spirit"?
- What is the Order of the Arrow? What is the primary function of OA?
- Who was Lord Baden-Powell?
- When do you think you might be ready for Star Scout?
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.
- How many Troop outings have you attended in the last three months?
- Tell us about the last service project in which you participated?
- What does it mean for a Star Scout to "Be Prepared" on a daily basis?
- How have the Scout skills that you have learned helped you in a non-Scouting activity?
- How many merit badges have you earned? What was the most difficult (fun, challenging, expensive, etc.)?
- Which is more important: Becoming a Star Scout, or learning the skills prescribed for a Star Scout?
- Why do you think a Scoutmaster's Conference is required for advancement in rank?
- What is the most important part of a Troop Court of Honor? Why?
- What leadership positions have you held outside of your patrol? What challenges did they present? What are your personal leadership goals and objectives?
- How would you get a Scout to do an unpleasant task?
- What extracurricular activities do you participate in at school?
- What responsibilities do you have at home?
- What is our "Duty to God"?
- What does it mean to say "A Scout is Loyal"?
- How are the Scout Oath and Law part of your daily life?
- What is the Outdoor Code? Why is it important?
If the Scout is a member of the Order of the Arrow (OA):
When did you complete your "Ordeal," "Brotherhood?"
What does membership in the OA signify?
- Have you received any special awards or accomplishments in school, athletics, or church?
- Baden-Powell's first Scout outing was located on an island off the southern coast of England in 1907; what was the name of that island? [Answer: Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour]
- When do you plan on achieving the 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.
- What is the most ambitious pioneering project with which you have assisted? Where?
- What has been your worst camping experience in Scouting?
- How many patrol meetings has your patrol held in the last three months? How many of them have you attended?
- Have any of the merit badges you have earned lead to hobbies or possible careers?
- What are your hobbies?
- Of the merit badges you have earned, which one do you think will be of greatest value to you as an adult? Why?
- Why do you think that the three "Citizenship" merit badges are required for the Eagle Rank?
- What is your current (most recent) leadership position within the Troop? How long have you held that position? What particular challenges does it present? What is Leadership?
- Do you have any brothers or sisters who are in Scouts (any level)? What can you do to encourage them to continue with Scouts, and to move forward along the Scouting Trail?
- How do you choose between a school activity, a Scout activity, and a family activity?
- Why do you think that Star and Life Scouts are required to contribute so much time to service projects? What service projects are most rewarding to you? Why?
- Why do you think that a Board of Review is required for rank advancement?
- How has Scouting prepared you for the future?
- What does it mean to say, "A Scout is Reverent"?
- What does "Scout Spirit" mean to a Life Scout?
- Why do you think that Scouting for Food is referred to as a "National Good Turn"?
- The Scout Oath refers to "Duty to Self"; what duty do we have to ourselves?
If the Scout is a member of OA:
What role does OA play in Scouting?
What honor do you hold in OA?
What is the difference between Scout "ranks" and OA "honors?"
- In what year was Boy Scouts of America founded? [Answer: February 8, 1910]
- Have you begun to think about an Eagle Service Project? What are you thinking about doing? Why did you select this project?