Re: Boards of Review
Mark Wright (wrightmd@ROANOKE.INFI.NET)
Thu, 21 Aug 1997 11:31:11 -0400
Boy am I glad I'm not in your shoes. You have a difficult and sensitive
problem. First, though, get copies of (if you don't already have them)
The Scoutmaster Handbook, and Advancement Policies and Procedures
John Tudor wrote:
> May I relate what happened to my son this summer when going for his
> Class Rank?
> First let me admit that my son is not a ball of fire, sometimes he has
> known to lag behind on a hike, and have to be prodded to keep up,
> because he is overweight, and he has been known to play at times when
> should be working. His scoutmaster, his mother and I have all been
> on this problem, and have been making progress on it.
I think that *most* kids that I've encountered fall into this same
pattern when they first get into Scouts. The hikes are "too long," it's
"too hot/cold," the ground is "too rough/rocky," pick an excuse, most of
us have heard them from most of the newbies. But in a year or two, they
are the old hands and do just fine.
> On the Monday following our spring Camporee, my son was scheduled to
> his scoutmaster conference and BOR for 1st class. On Sunday morning,
> of the boys were goofing off, and not getting things ready to go home.
> When the SM could not get the boys to do what needed to be done
> easily, he
> put a stop to everything, and called them together for a "SM Minute".
> the end of his lecture, my son was told not to come for his conference
> next day.
IMO, he blew it. He had the opportunity for a second chance to talke
with your son one-on-one, after he had cooled off. He could have asked
all of the good questions about Scout Spirit, and what it means to your
son, etc. At the end, if he still felt that your son should not
advance, he could tell him *exactly* why and what your son needs to do
to improve so that he could advance the next time.
> He scheduled a conference at the next meeting, and was turned down on
Why? Was your son told *specifically* what he had done, or not done
that demonstrated a lack of Scout Spirit? Look, this is an educational
program, when all is said and done. If your son doesn't understand what
Scout Spirit is, how can he be expected to live up to it?
> I worked with him for several weeks to make sure he was pulling
> his share, and had him get turned down again.
I assume for the same reason? Then the 'teaching' that takes place in
your Troop lacks something. Your son obviously does not understand what
> The week of Cub Day camp, he
> told me that he wanted to get his 1st class before day camp, so that
> could use his work there as service hours for his next rank. I talked
> the SM, and explained the situation to him, Including the fact that my
> needed 1st class to be able to go to the Jamboree. The deadline for
> class was only 3 weeks away.
> The SM gave him the conference, and then signed off on it that night.
> was then sent to the BOR, which was made up of 3 men, 2 of them were
> I thought the committee members were supposed to do this job?
> they turned him down on scout spirit, knowing that he had been turned
> by the SM 3 times already on this issue.
And *this* is my biggest problem with everything you've related in your
In the Scoutmaster Handbook, on page 98, it says... "All boards of
review save one are conducted by the Troop Committee..."
In the Advancement Policies Guide, on page 16, it says (in bold print,)
"Unit leaders, assistant unit leaders, relatives, or guradians may not
serve as members of a Scout's board of review."
Your son's experience is exactly why BSA included this rule. I do not
know your Troop, nor any of its leaders, but I think that those two ASMs
went out of their way to *keep* your son from advancing. He had
obviously met the Scout Spirit definition, to the satisfaction of your
SM, so he should have been passed.
> The BOR said that they had gotten several reports from the leaders of
> day camp last year that my son did not do anything last year, just
> off the whole week. That was not the story I had gotten from the
> of the day camp, they said that my son was a great help,and they liked
> so much they had him go to den chief training over the winter.
And where in the requirements for 1st Class does it say, "get a good
report from Day Camp Staff?" These ASMs, IMO, had decided *not* to
advance your son, and they looked for a reason to support their
> The BOR then said they were going to have another scout in our troop
> an eye on him during the week, and report back to them the next
> They told him to come back again then.
> Well, that scout was only at day camp one other day that week. I had
> camp director write a letter to the BOR about my son, and she was
> about the statement they made about the previous year. She wanted to
> appear before them in person!
> The next Monday, my son appeared before an entirely different BOR,
> with letter. They said nothing about the "spy", did not even talk to
> accepted the letter, and signed off on the advancement.
> I think this whole matter was very poorly handled, but I am at a loss
> what to do, if anything. I really don't want to rock the boat too
> since I am an ASM myself with the same troop, and really don't want to
> change to another troop, but I could use some guidance in this
> matter. I
> don't want the same thing to pop up at his next BOR.
> Any suggestions would be appreciated.
> John Tudor
> ASM Troop 184
> Morganton, NC
> Troop 184 Web Site http://www.bsa.net/nc/t184
You got a big problem. If it were me, I'd begin looking for another
Troop. But before I left this one, I'd have a meeting with three
people: the Scoutmaster, the Committee Chairman, and the Chartered
Organization Representative. I would have the two references which I
recommended earlier at that meeting, as well as the letter from the day
I would not question the SM about the incident after the Camporee. That
is water under the bridge, and though I would have done it differently
at the time, his decision was... his decision. (That's why he gets the
big bucks ;-)
I would point out to the three individuals *how* your Troop is in
violation of BSA policy, and then suggest a method of changing it so
that it would no longer be in violation. You might suggest that, since
your son has now passed, you are more concerned that another family
doesn't go through the same experience as you recently did.
I would then step back and see what, if any changes are made. If
nothing changes (ASMs still sit on boards,) you might question the
policy one more time, but probably, you will not get any satisfaction
there, and will probably need to go to that other Troop I suggested you
look for. Hopefully, though, these three folks will recognize that what
is being done is wrong, and will enact changes, so that some other boy
isn't held back at the whim of two ASMs.
CC Pack 584
ASM Troop 136
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City