Re : BOR Help -- to retest?
Charles Batteau (B3ZAATN@CPSLSOPS.BELL-ATL.COM)
Tue, 12 Dec 1995 13:22:14 -0500
Rob Morley -
I understand your frustration with the BoR not being the place to
"retest" a scout on the basic scouting skills. Where your frustration
is misplaced, IMO, is whom to hold responsible for the current state
of affairs with your "Star" scout.
The final checkpoint for EVERY rank in scouting is the Scoutmaster.
It APPEARS that he, and perhaps the ASMs and the JL staff, is not
standing up to HIS responsibility to make certain that each candidate
brought before the BoR is, indeed, ready for that rank.
Our troop had a SM who was unable to say no to the boys during the SM
conference. As a result, we had one boy who, although he seldom
attended meetings, had a definitely surly attitude, offered no real
leadership and had a minimal Eagle project, was signed off for Eagle
by the SM. The Eagle BoR had no more spine than the SM, since they
passed him in spite of his attitude. When he was awarded his Eagle,
the other Eagles in the troop protested mightily (saying perhaps it's
time to bring back Boards consisting of scouts) and refused to attend
his CoH. They also nixed a suggestion to have an "Eagle Plaque" in
our meeting room listing the names of the troop's Eagle scouts because
they didn't want to be associated with this boy.
The SM CAN retest boys to make certain they can still perform the
requirements for the rank they are working toward. IMO, retesting
requirements for EARLIER ranks is not appropriate, but since the
skills for First Class are built from the foundation of skills learned
at the Scout, Tenderfoot and Second Class levels, there shouldn't be
an actual conflict. That is, if a boy can't tie two half hitches, for
instance, how is he going to pitch a tent which requires a tautline
hitch? (OK, many modern tents can be pitched without using ANY knots
-- but most have guys which can be used to improve the pitched tent.)
If the SM signs off on the basic scouting requirements, he should make
sure that the tent was pitched properly, the meals cooked correctly
(or, at least, well enough to be edible ;-) ) and the camp gadget
made with REAL lashings, not just lots of rope wound around three
The SM can also be a checkpoint for merit badges. Although the MB
counselor is the one who signs off on the requirements for a MB, if
the SM believes that the MBC allowed the scout to slide by without
meeting the requirements, it is the SM's responsibility to not sign
the card until he is satisfied that the requirements have been met.
That could include meeting with another MBC. (He should also make
sure nobody else from his troop uses the first MBC!) As an aside, who
is the troop using for MBCs? Generally, IMO, neither the SM nor a
boy's parents should be a MBC for a scout; I can envision mitigating
circumstances, (for example, when there are NO other counselors for a
given MB) but there's very real potential for conflict of interest.
Also, the SM should be a checkpoint for leadership. When a boy takes
a junior leader position, the SM and SPL should conference with the
boy and explain the expectations of the position. If the boy meets
the expectations (eg: participation at PLC meetings, attendance,
wearing uniform, etc.), then (and only then) can he be said to have
met the leadership requirement for a particular rank.
As a final note, I have a serious question about a TWELVE year old boy
who is immature and has still advanced to the brink of Life Scout in
ONLY TWO YEARS. The "1st year-First Class" program is a challenge for
a MOTIVATED scout. An immature scout, unless he is being passed for
substandard work, would have a very difficult time making First Class,
much less LIFE, before his thirteenth birthday. You might want to
check other, "more mature" boys to see if maybe the troop is acting as
an "Eagle factory" or if this is just an isolated incident.
The best thing for you to do, as Advancement Chairman, is to have a
conference (IF POSSIBLE, BEFORE THIS SUNDAY!) with your SM and, if
(s)he will support you, your Unit Commissioner. Explain the problem
as you see it and work out a solution to the problem with the SM.
The solution should include a way of dealing with the immediate
problem. (If the boy is as immature as you state, the BoR may be able
to send him back to the SM for further work on his attitude,
citizenship, leadership, etc.) If the SM is intractable, it is then
up to the troop committee to deal with the problem, probably by
replacing the SM. This should be a last resort since it can be very
As I know from our own troop's example, you do have a serious problem.
The problem with the one boy needs to be addressed immediately, and
the BoR CAN do that without actual "retesting." The long term problem
is with the SM & ASMs and needs to be corrected quickly so that the
problem doesn't resurface in another boy.
Chuck Batteau -- SM, Troop 751, Glen Allen VA USA
maybe they meant an hour a DAY! :-)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City