Steven G. Tyler (sgtyler@EROLS.COM)
Wed, 12 Aug 1998 15:04:49 -0400
Diane Clow wrote, in part:
> I know that Board of Reviews are not a time to test the young man on the
> requirements he has finished to get to the point of earning his BOR. I know
> we are to ask leadership questions.
Yes and no: yes, it is *not* the time to test, but it is also not time
to "ask leadership questions," whatever that means. It is the time to
review, with the Scout, his progress in Scouting, and his impressions of
the Troop program.
> We ask how the activities he has done and MB's he has earned has helped him
> grow mentally, physically, emotionally.
Fine so far.
> What I need to know is how strict should we be. I sat on a BOR for First
> Class for a boy who was unable to answer questions about the plants he had
> seen. We didn't ask him to name them, only where he was and who he was with
> when he accomplished this requirement. He said he didn't remember.
I have a real problem with this approach. It sounds like a back-door
method to "test" the Scout -- "He can't remeber what he did and where he
did it, so he couldn't *really* have passed the requirements." Where in
the requirements does it say that a Scout must remember not only the
substantive skills being tested by the requirements, but even the
circumstances in which he passed them? Sometimes the requirements are
passed over a period of several years -- do you *really* expet
letter-perfect recall? I'd hate to be held to that standard!
In short, as a springboard to further discussion, I have no problem with
at least a few such questions in the BOR. As a matter of
perform-or-fail, though, I think this method of "review" is grossly out
> Maybe if he had passed the first time, he would still be a scout. I just
> don't think we were wrong. He didn't know what he was talking about. If he
> had been my son, I wouldn't have expected a different outcome.
As above, I think the BOR *was* wrong. You've added an entirely spurious
requirement -- that the Scout be able to recall and recite in detail any
and all requirements he's been signed off on. The failure was wrong, and
the result, frankly, does not surprise me.
> When a boy is presented for a BOR, what guidelines should we use to insure
> that, first, the boy is ready, and second, we can prevent a failed attempt.
First, the Scout is "ready" when he's passed the requirements, and is
prepared to discuss his experiences in Scouting and with the unit.
Period. He should *not* be failed for such Mickey-Mouse (and
extra-requirement) "good ideas" as your BOR chose to impose.
IMHO, absent obvious fraud or forgery in "passing" the requirements, a
Scout should "fail" a BOR only when it is clear to the BOR *and* the
Scout that he is not really ready for the rank. After all, the BOR is
not intended to be a gatekeeper and evaluator of the Scout -- that's
what the requirements and, to a lesser extent, the SM conference are for
-- but rather a chance for the committee to see, through the Scouts'
eyes, how the program is doing, and to inspire the Scouts to continue to
advance. "Failing" a Scout for his inabilty to recall details of passing
the requirements was inexcusable, in my view.
YIS, Steve on Cattail Creek <Steven G. Tyler>, Severna Park, MD, USA
"The Computer Counselor," Technology Consulting for the Law Office
Advancement Chair and de facto Webmaster, Troop 339,
Baltimore Area Council, BSA (http://members.aol.com/troop339/)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City