Re: BOR Help -- to retest?
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Tue, 12 Dec 1995 02:45:28 -0500
The Board of Review doesn't retest skills, because its function is to
assure that the aims of Scouting are being met; e.g, citizenship,
character development and fitness. The skills are just one method of
Scouting in achieving the end and nothing more. Sure the skills will
come in handy and help the Scout better enjoy the outdoors activities
that make the program work, but they are not an end-all. The only time
to test the skill is when the Scout presents himself to pass the
requirement and validation is in the SM Conference. After that it is a
done deal. You share a concern that many leaders have about "lost" or
"forgotten" skills. This is something that is going to happen and there
are going to be some Scouts that are immature.
Our program is designed to help them grow. My question would be have
they progressed from wherever they started? Are they showing signs of
character development, better citizenship, etc. If so, then I'd say we
have a success, even if they don't do well with a bowline.
Rob, I am proud to say that I am an Eagle Scout, but if you asked me to
tie a bowline, I'd probably require a dozen tries to get it right, if I
was asked. For some reason, I just had the devil's own time. Does that
mean I should turn in my medal? Of course not, that is not what we are
measuring. We are looking beyond the skill to what is happening in the
Scout's personal growth.
In my own case, I was on the verge of going to reform school after
setting voting precinct signs on fire at school, when my folks really got
involved in getting me into Scouting. That changed everything. The kids
I ran with at the time are now either dead or in prison. I've been more
fortunate and it was because of the way of thinking that Scouting instilled.
Yeah, I'm one of those that didn't master every skill. But then again, I
learned much more. And I can still open the Handbook or Fieldbook and
relearn. For me it is easy to see some of these Scouts through my own
experiences and know that more important developments are taking place,
albiet sometimes slowly.
If my Scoutmaster had been running a failure factory instead of taking
every opportunity to reward achievements, I probably would have quit and
you can guess the result. We want to keep things positive because it
brings positive results.
You may also be surprised that these same Scouts years later will
remember a great deal more than you'd think of things they have learned
in the skills area. I can recall many times as an ASM in the 70's seeing
boys that barely passed and then went on to do great things.
All that said, I don't mean to imply that we should give ranks away. Far
from that we need to challenge and expect much. But once the Scout
passes the test, we need to go on. If he forgets or has trouble, lets
maximize what he has been good at.
The beauty of Scouting is what it does in developing a whole person with
self-esteem enough to make good life decisions. But we are dealing with
young people who are not perfect and that requires understanding on our
Speaking only for myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
DDC-Training, GW Dist. Nat Capital Area Council mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City