Re: Eagle BOR Failure?
Amick Robert (amick@SPOT.COLORADO.EDU)
Sat, 21 Sep 1996 15:15:01 -0600
The issue of Scouts at or near age 18 "failing" an Eagle Board of Review
brings up some points which may need closer examination:
1. If the Scout is being failed for not completing "firm" requirements
such as merit badges, there is some question as to who really is
accountable for that..(i.e., the Scoutmaster's Conference should be the
"filter" which ensures that this does not occur prior to the candidates
2. If the Scout is being failed for subjective criteria such as "Scout
Spirit" or "Leadership," this is very controversial ground, and if
appealed at the Council
or National level, will very likely be reversed. Again, this should never
be an issue going into a Board of Review if the Scout has been properly
counseled and checked prior to the BOR.
3. If a failure is based on the Eagle Scout Project report, and if it
is properly signed off and approved prior to the BOR, it is inappropriate
for a BOR to retroactively disapprove a project report. If the BOR is
dissatisfied with the results, they should take that up with the counselor
who signed off on the report, but not use the issue as grounds to fail a
Scout. Again, if the report is the basis for a failure, it will likely be
reversed on appeal at the Council or National level.
4. The ill will and frustration experienced by any Scout who fails a BOR
for reasons cited above is unconscionable and will likely be a source of
bitter memories for the Eagle Scout candidate who is forced to go through
an appellate process without justification. Negative reinforcement never
works as well as positive guidance, particularly in Scouting. In guided
discovery, the objective is to help someone benefit from their mistakes by
learning from them, and then pursuing creative alternatives; and of most
importance, without allowing them to "fall off the cliff" in the process.
It is imperative that the Scoutmaster, Troop Advancement Committee
and Eagle Scout Project Counselor not ever allow a Scout to get into a
position where they are likely to irretrievably fail a BOR. The "i's"
need to be dotted and the "t's" crossed well in advance of a BOR, and if
they are not, then the responsible adult(s) should make sure that it
gets "fixed" before hand. To do otherwise is a serious disservice to the
Scout and even worse, a failure of the adults charged with those vital
There have been similar situations where younger Scouts
seeking lower ranks failed a Board of review because they were not
adequately prepared and reviewed by the Scoutmaster's conference.
Fortunately these situations are the exception rather than the rule,
but those Scouts should not ever have been placed in a position to
fail, and the effect was so traumatic that some actually left in tears and
others even quit Scouting.
Is it not better for the Scoutmaster to tell the
Scout, "I don't think you are ready for a BOR, but let's work on some
things so you can be well prepared." This may be a disappointment for the
Scout, but it is far less damaging than failing the BOR.
5. The Eagle BOR should be a very special time for
the new Eagle to "fly" and celebrate his long trail to Eagle by sharing
his ideas, his enthusiasm for Scouting and for life; and by having members
of the BOR share in his jubilance and what should be one of the most
important milestones in his entire life.
Bob Amick, Explorer Advisor, High Adventure Explorer Post 72, Boulder, CO
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City