Table of Contents
BSA Policy: http://www.meritbadge.com/info/policy4.htm
Location: Contact BOR coordinator
Date & Time: Board of Review for Scout, Tenderfoot Scout and Second Class Scout rank can be held at the time of Regular Troop Meeting for other ranks they need be held at a scheduled date, as noted on the Calendar.
Uniform: Class A
This document was written Ray Klaus when he was District Advancement Chairman for Saddleback District, Orange County Council, BSA (1994-1995). It has been combined with document from scouting.org//
Note this is only a guide; modify it as per each board. This guide aimed to assist board members and others in the purposes of the board of review, offering suggestions for the types of questions that can or should be asked.
At the end of this lesson, participants will be able to:
#. State the purpose of the board of review and how it is used to further the Boy Scout program.
#. Plan a board of review with an eye to the individual Scout.
- Conduct a board of review.
Purpose of BOR
The members of a Board of Review should have the following objectives in mind:
- To make sure the Scout has completed the requirements for the rank.
- To see how good an experience the Scout is having in the unit.
- To encourage the Scout to progress further.
- Additionally, the Board of Review provides "quality control" on advancement within the unit, it provides an opportunity for the Scout to develop and practice those skills needed in a interview situation, and it is an opportunity for the Scout to review his accomplishments.
- The Board of Review is NOT a retest; the Scout has already been tested on the skills and activities required for the rank. However, the chairman of the Board of Review should ensure that all the requirements have been "signed off" in the Scout's handbook. Additionally, the chairman should ensure that leadership and merit badge records are consistent with the requirements for the rank.
- The Board of Review is an opportunity to review of the Scout's attitudes, accomplishments and his acceptance of Scouting's ideals.
For all ranks (except Eagle) and Eagle palms, the Board of Review consists of three to six members of the Troop Committee. The Troop Advancement Chairperson typically acts as the chairperson of the Board of Review. Relatives or guardians may not serve as members of a Scout's Board of Review. Unit leaders (Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmasters, Varsity Coach, Post Advisor, etc.) should not participate in a Board of Review unless absolutely necessary.
For the rank of Eagle the Board of Review consists of three to six members drawn from Scouting and the community. The members of the Board of Review are selected by the District Advancement Committee; at least one member of the District Advancement Committee must be a member of the Board of Review for Eagle, and serves as chairperson of the Board of Review. Unit leaders from the Scout's unit, relatives, or guardians may not serve as members of a Scout's Board of Review for Eagle. A Board of Review for Eagle may contain members of the community who are not registered Scouters; however, they should be knowledgeable of the principles of Scouting. For example, a representative from a chartering organization, an adult Eagle Scout (even if not currently registered), or a religious leader are frequently asked to assist with an Eagle Board of Review. The Scout may request an individual to be a member of his Board of Review. As a general rule, no more than one member of an Eagle Board should be associated with the Scout's unit.
When and Where
A board of review should be held where the board members and the Scout are the only ones aware of what is going on. There should be no possibility for embarrassing the Scout in front of others. And a Scout should be comfortable speaking his mind to the board.
Some possibilities may include a room in the chartered organization's facility or a conference room at the office of a board member. A campout or summer camp can be an ideal place for a board of review, assuming your committee members can assemble, since the relaxed atmosphere of the out-of-doors can go a long way toward making a Scout comfortable.
A board should be set up to review accomplishment and lack of accomplishment. The board can counsel with Scouts who are not advancing to determine reasons for lack of progress and to stimulate these Scouts to greater participation in the program. This function is of equal importance to the function of reviewing boys who present themselves for advancement.
- The Scout is introduced to the board by the Chairperson of the board.
- The Scout should be in full uniform (local or unit custom may dictate regarding neckerchief and badge sash).
- The chairman of the Board of Review should ask the Scout to come to attention, and recite one or more of the following:
- The Scout Law
- The Scout Oath
- The Scout Motto
- The Scout Slogan
- The Outdoor Code
For the lower ranks, one or two (usually the Law and Oath) should be sufficient. For higher ranks, more may be expected. One or two re-tries are appropriate, especially for younger Scouts, or if the Scout appears nervous.
The board members are invited to ask questions of the Scout (see the sections appropriate to each rank). The questions should be open-ended, offering an opportunity for the Scout to speak about his opinions, experiences, activities, and accomplishments. Avoid questions which only require a simple one or two word answer. If an answers is too brief, follow up with a, "Why?" or, "How can that be done?" to expand the answer. The questions need not be restricted to Scouting topics; questions regarding home, church, school, work, athletics, etc. are all appropriate. The Chairperson should be made aware of any "out-of-bounds" areas; these should be communicated to the board before the Board of Review begins (e.g., if a Scout is experiencing family difficulties due to a divorce, it would be prudent to avoid family issues.)
As has been said, the board of review is not an interrogation, not a retesting of a Scout's competence. It is not an examination; rather, it attempts to see that the examinations that went into getting the Scout signed off were up to standard. It is a checkup to see that what should have been done actually was done. It is a friendly growth experience. All this should be accomplished in 15 minutes, though an Eagle Scout board of review may take up to half an hour.
This can be accomplished by simple questions like "What did you cook for your First Class meal?" Questions like Where and When or How will soon tell the board whether achievements were properly accomplished without actually retesting. It is sufficient to know what a Scout's "camp gadget" was in order to understand whether he had been properly tested on his lashings.
But be aware that a Scout who is poorly prepared for the board, one who clearly has not achieved what his book says that he has, is a product, as much of his own merits as of the merits of those who have brought him the board, to those who have signed off his accomplishments without actually having them properly achieved. Thus, a Scout may not be as responsible for his lack of preparation as might be thought. This does not grant carte blanche to the ill-prepared Scout, but it does give the board a way to understand what must be done and to assist the Scout in doing it.
A board can expect a Scout to be neat in appearance and properly uniformed.
The actual meeting should be a give and take, an informal conversation between the Scout and a group of adults who are interested in his welfare and are supportive of his efforts. In all cases, open-ended questions are good to prompt comments by the Scout. You should encourage the Scout to come to conclusions on his own, not simply tell him what you think.
When the Scout has not advanced, the board of review may be focused on a problem, either with the Scout or with the troop. In these cases, you will be counseling the Scout, helping him form his own conclusions on the problem at hand. In a good board of review, you may listen more than you speak.
Listen carefully to what the Scout is saying, then listen to what he is not saying. Skilled counselors often respond to comments by simply smiling or giving encouraging sounds like "uh-huh" or "OK." Trick questions are not worthwhile. You are attempting to put the Scout at his ease, not interrogate him. Sometimes you can ask the Scout to repeat what he is saying a different way to get a different take on the situation. You can summarize what the Scout is saying so that you can confirm your understanding, but try not to use this device to put the boy in a corner.
If there is a solution to the problem, try to have the Scout come up with it. Perhaps he cannot formulate a solution, but could choose from among several you can think of. In all events, try to have the Scout make the conclusions. If a solution cannot be reached, there is nothing wrong with agreeing to meet in the future to see if circumstances have changed or whether the Scout has found an answer to his problem.
Some Scouts may freeze up at the board of review and become silent or monosyllabic in answers. Or they may forget simple items. Eagle Scout candidates have been known forget the Scout Oath, for example. The board should encourage and support these boys in a friendly, kind, and courteous manner and help them to become more comfortable.
In the board of review, you will certainly be assessing the Scout's achievements and his growth in the ideals of Scouting. Those ideals include patriotism and citizenship and the values embodied in the Scout Oath and Law. Have no fear of speaking to those values. Ask a Scout how he is getting along in school. Ask him how he is serving his religious institution, if he has one, or, if not, ask him how he satisfies his duty to God.
You could ask a Scout about leadership opportunities he has taken at school or in his religious institution. It is important to see how the ideals of Scouting have affected him in his daily life.
You can and should ask a Scout how he felt about certain accomplishments, how he felt he handled himself on a service project. Ask a Scout about his leadership position, whether he believes he was successful or whether he had problems. You can discuss those problems, hopefully with an eye toward solving them.
You should always end a board of review by praising the Scout for the positive aspects of his character, his skill level, and/or his accomplishments.
The time for a Board of Review should be from 15 to 30 minutes, with the shorter time for the lower ranks. Once you have interviewed the Scout, the board will ask him to leave the room so that the members may deliberate. As this is often the most stressful part of the process for the Scout, this deliberation should not be long. However, it should be long enough to have a discussion that leads to a unanimous decision. When the meeting is finished, the Scout should be invited back in to hear the board's decision, which, of course, should be delivered in a friendly and supportive manner, regardless of what the decision is.
If the Scout is not advancing, the board should certainly give the Scout the opportunity of learning what he needs to do to advance. He should be given a definite time for a subsequent board of review. Finally he should be given information about appeal procedures. In a good troop, having a Scout deferred for advancement by the board of review is unusual. If there is a problem with a Scout, normally he will not be presented to the board of review.
The Scout holds his new rank as of the date of the board of review. For ranks where a period of tenure is required, that period begins with the date of passing of the board of review for the previous rank.
The following discusses the general nature of specific advancement boards of review. Checklists of questions have been developed for each of the specific ranks, but the Scout's Boy Scout Handbook or your troop's advancement chart can provide the skeleton for questions of that nature. The following are simply guidelines for the specific boards of reviews.
Mechanics for Eagle Rank
The mechanics of a Board of Review for Eagle are similar to all other Boards of Review, except that a Board of Review for Eagle is more in depth, and might last as long as 45 minutes to an hour. Additionally, the Eagle Scout Rank Application, Letters of Recommendation (minimum of 3) and Eagle Project Notebook must be present and reviewed by the board. Questions about these documents are appropriate, but the letters of recommendation are for the board's use only; any comments or questions about them should not reveal who wrote the letters. The letters are retained by the District Advancement Chairperson, and are never given to the Scout. After the application has been approved by National Eagle Board of Review and returned to the local council (typically 4-6 weeks), the letters of recommendation are destroyed.
Nature of the Questions
On the following pages are typical Board of Review questions for each rank. The questions for the lower ranks are simpler and generally deal with factual information about the Scout's participation in his unit, and his approach to applying the skills he has learned toward earning the next rank. The questions for the higher ranks are less factual, and generally seek to aid understanding of how Scouting is becoming an integral part of the Scout's life. Remember: it is not the point of a Board of Review to retest the Scout. However, questions like, "Where did you learn about …" or "Why do you think it is important for a rank Scout to have this skill?" are valid.
If a Scout appears nervous or anxious about the Board of Review, it might be appropriate to ask one or two questions from the list for a lower rank, to help "break the ice" and establish some rapport. In general, within a rank, the questions are arranged from "easiest" to "most difficult".
For each rank, there is a question about advancing to the next rank. The purpose of this question is to encourage advancement, but it should not be asked in a way that pressures the Scout. [Note: If the Board of Review is for the Life rank, and the Scout is at or near his 17th birthday, some pressure towards Eagle may be in order. At the very least, be certain that the Scout realizes that his time is running out.
- For higher ranks, there is a question from The Boy Scout Handbook about basic Scouting history.
- For Order of the Arrow members, there are questions about the role of OA within Scouting.
- More questions are provided than can typically be accommodated in the time suggested. The Board of Review will need to select the questions which are appropriate for the particular Scout and his experiences.
These questions are intended to only serve as a guide. Units should freely add to, or remove from, these lists as they feel appropriate.
What Every Scout Should Know
- Scout Oath
- Scout Law
- Scout Slogan
- Outdoor Code
This is the Scout's first experience with a Board of Review. The process may require some explanation on the part of the Board of Review Chairperson. The first few questions in the Board of Review should be simple. The Board of Review should try to gain a sense of how the Scout is fitting in to the Troop, and the Scout's level of enjoyment of the Troop and Patrol activities. Encourage advancement to 2nd Class. Point out that the Scout may have already completed many of the requirements for 2nd Class. The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 15-20 minutes.
- When did you join our Troop?
- How many Troop meetings have you attended in the last two months?
- What did you do at your last patrol meeting?
- Tell us about your last Troop campout.
- How would the first aid skills you must know for Tenderfoot help on a campout?
- Where did you learn how to fold the American flag? Tell us about your first experience with this skill.
- How would you avoid poison oak (poison ivy, sumac)?
- Where did you go on your hike? How did you choose the location?
- If you were on a hike and got lost, what would you do?
- Why do we whip or fuse the ends of a rope?
- What is the "Buddy System" that we use in Scouting? When do we use it?
- Why do you think there are physical fitness requirements (push-ups, pull-ups, etc.), and a retest after 30 days, for the Tenderfoot rank?
- What does it mean to a Tenderfoot Scout to "Be Prepared"?
- Do you feel that you have done your best to complete the requirements for Tenderfoot? Why?
- What "good turn" have you done today?
- Please give us an example of how you obey the Scout Law at home (school, church)?
- What do you like best about our Troop?
- What does it mean for a Scout to be "Kind"?
- Do you have any special plans for this summer? The Holidays?
- When do you plan to have the requirements completed for 2nd Class?
This is the Scout's second Board of Review. The process should be familiar, unless it has been some time since the Board of Review for Tenderfoot.Questions should focus on the use of the Scout skills learned for this rank, without retesting these skills. The Board of Review should try to perceive how the Scout's patrol is functioning, and how this Scout is functioning within his patrol. Encourage work on the remaining requirements for 1st Class; many of the easier ones may have already been completed. The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 15-20 minutes.
- How many patrol meetings have you attended in the last 3 months?
- What did your patrol do at its last meeting?
- Tell us about a service project in which you participated.
- Where did you go on your last Troop campout? Did you have a good time? Why?
- Why is it important to be able to identify animals found in your community?
- Tell us about the flag ceremony in which you participated.
- What is in your personal first aid kit?
- What have you learned about handling woods tools (axes, saws, etc.)?
- How are a map of the area and a compass useful on a campout?
- Have you ever done more than one "good turn" in a day? Ask for details.
- Have you earned any merit badges?
- If "Yes": Which ones? Why did you choose them? Who was your counselor?
- If "No": Encourage getting started, and suggest one or two of the easier ones.
- Did you attend summer camp with our Troop last summer?
- If "Yes": What was your best (worst) experience at summer camp?
- If "No": Why not?
- Do you plan to attend summer camp with our Troop next summer?
- If "Yes": What are you looking forward to doing at summer camp?
- If "No": Why not?
- What suggestions do you have for improving our Troop?
- How do you help out at home, church, school?
- What class in school is most challenging for you? Why?
- One of the requirements for Tenderfoot is to participate in a program regarding drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse. Tell us about the program in which you participated.
- How is it possible to live the Scout Oath and Law in your daily life?
- What does it mean to say, "A Scout is Trustworthy"?
- When do you expect to complete the requirements for 1st Class?
By this point the Scout should be comfortable with the Board of Review process. The Scout should be praised for his accomplishment in achieving 1st Class (particularly if he joined Boy Scouts less than a year ago). In achieving the rank of 1st Class, the Scout should feel an additional sense of responsibility to the troop and to his patrol. The 1st Class rank will produce additional opportunities for the Scout (Order of the Arrow, leadership, etc.). Merit badges will begin to play a role in future advancement to the Star and Life ranks. Encourage merit badge work if it has not already begun. The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 20 minutes.
- On average, how many Troop meetings do you attend each month?
- What part of Troop meetings are most rewarding to you?
- What is the Scout Slogan? What does it mean for a 1st Class Scout?
- Tell us about your last campout with the Troop. Where did you go? How did you help with meal preparation? Did you have a good time? (If "No", why not?)
- If you were in charge of planning and preparing a dinner for your next campout, what would you select?
- As a 1st Class Scout, what do you think the Star, Life, and Eagle Scouts will expect from you on an outing?
- Does your family do any camping? What have you learned in Scouts, that you have been able to share with your family to improve their camping experiences?
- Why do you think that swimming is emphasized in Scouting?
- Why is it important for you to know how to transport a person who has a broken leg?
- Why is it important for you to be able to recognize local plant life?
- What did you learn about using a compass while completing the orienteering requirement?
- What does it mean to say, "A Scout is Courteous"?
- Why are merit badges a part of Scouting?
- How frequently do you attend religious services? Does your whole family attend?
- What is your most favorite part of Scouting? Least favorite?
- How does a Scout fulfill his "Duty to Country"?
- How do you define "Scout Spirit"?
- What is the Order of the Arrow? What is the primary function of OA?
- Who was Lord Baden-Powell?
- When do you think you might be ready for Star Scout?
With the Star rank, emphasis is placed upon service to others, merit badges, and leadership. Scout skills remain an important element for the Star Scout; however, the emphasis should be on teaching other Scouts these skills. Explore how the Star scout can assist with leading his patrol and troop. Attempt to understand how the Scouting philosophy is becoming part of the Scout's life. Often the Star rank is a place where Scouts "stall out". Encourage the Scout to remain active, and participate fully in his patrol and troop. If the Scout appears to be looking for additional opportunities, suggest leadership positions such as Den Chief or Troop Guide. The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 20 minutes.
- How many Troop outings have you attended in the last three months?
- Tell us about the last service project in which you participated.
- What does it mean for a Star Scout to "Be Prepared" on a daily basis?
- How have the Scout skills that you have learned helped you in a non-Scouting activity?
- How many merit badges have you earned? What was the most difficult (fun, challenging, expensive, etc.)?
- Which is more important: Becoming a Star Scout, or learning the skills prescribed for a Star Scout?
- Why do you think a Scoutmaster's Conference is required for advancement in rank?
- What is the most important part of a Troop Court of Honor? Why?
- What leadership positions have you held outside of your patrol? What challenges did they present? What are your personal leadership goals and objectives?
- How would you get a Scout to do an unpleasant task?
- What extracurricular activities do you participate in at school?
- What responsibilities do you have at home?
- What is our "Duty to God"?
- What does it mean to say "A Scout is Loyal"?
- How are the Scout Oath and Law part of your daily life?
- What is the Outdoor Code? Why is it important?
- If the Scout is a member of the Order of the Arrow:
- When did you complete your "Ordeal", "Brotherhood"?
- What does membership in the OA signify?
- Have you received any special awards or accomplishments in school, athletics, or church?
- Baden-Powell's first Scout outing was located on an island off the coast of Great Britain; what was the name of that island? [Answer: Brownsea Island]
- When do you plan on achieving the Life rank?
The Life rank is the final rank before Eagle. The Life Scout should be fully participating in the Troop, with emphasis being placed on leadership in the unit, as well as teaching skills and leadership to the younger Scouts. Merit Badge work should be a regular part of the Scout's career. Scouting values and concepts should be an integral part of the Scout's daily life. At this point, the Scout is starting to "give back to Scouting" through leadership, training of other Scouts, recruiting, keeping Scouts active in the program, etc. Explore suggestions for improving the program. The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 20 - 30 minutes.
- What is the most ambitious pioneering project with which you have assisted? Where?
- What has been your worst camping experience in Scouting?
- How many patrol meetings has your patrol held in the last three months? How many of them have you attended?
- Have any of the merit badges you have earned lead to hobbies or possible careers?
- What are your hobbies?
- Of the merit badges you have earned, which one do you think will be of greatest value to you as an adult? Why?
- Why do you think that the three "Citizenship" merit badges are required for the Eagle Rank?
- What is your current (most recent) leadership position within the Troop? How long have you held that position? What particular challenges does it present? What is Leadership?
- Do you have any brothers or sisters who are in Scouts (any level)? What can you do to encourage them to continue with Scouts, and to move forward along the Scouting Trail?
- How do you choose between a school activity, a Scout activity, and a family activity?
- Why do you think that Star and Life Scouts are required to contribute so much time to service projects? What service projects are most rewarding to you? Why?
- Why do you think that a Board of Review is required for rank advancement?
- How has Scouting prepared you for the future?
- What does it mean to say, "A Scout is Reverent"?
- What does "Scout Spirit" mean to a Life Scout?
- Why do you think that Scouting for Food is referred to as a "National Good Turn".
- The Scout Oath refers to "Duty to Self"; what duty do we have to ourselves?
- If the Scout is a member of OA:
- What role does OA play in Scouting?
- What honor do you hold in OA?
- What is the difference between Scout "ranks" and OA "honors"?
- In what year was Boy Scouts of America founded? [Answer: February 8, 1910 - BSA Birthday]
- Have you begun to think about an Eagle Service Project? What are you thinking about doing? When?
The Board of Review for the Eagle Rank is different from the other Boards of Review in which the Scout has participated. The members of the Board of Review are not all from his Troop Committee. Introductions are essential, and a few "break in" questions may be appropriate. At this point, the goal is to understand the Scout's full Scouting experience, and how others can have similar meaningful Scouting experiences. Scouting principles and goals should be central to the Scout's life; look for evidence of this. Although this is the final rank, this is not the end of the Scouting trail; "Once an Eagle, always an Eagle". Explore how this Eagle Scout will continue with Scouting activities, and continued service to his home, church, and community. The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 30 - 50 minutes.
- What would you suggest adding to the Scout Law (a thirteenth point)? Why?
- What one point could be removed from the Scout Law? Why?
- Why is it important to learn how to tie knots, and lash together poles and logs?
- What is the difference between a "Hollywood hero" and a real hero?
- Can you give me an example of someone who is a hero to you? (A real person, not a character in a book or movie.)
- Why do you think that the Family Life merit badge was recently added to the list of required merit badges?
- What camping experience have you had, that you wish every Scout could have?
- Have you been to Philmont or a National (International) Jamboree? What was your most memorable experience there?
- What is the role of the Senior Patrol Leader at a troop meeting (campout, summer camp)?
- If you could change one thing to improve Scouting, what would you change?
- What do you believe our society expects from an Eagle Scout?
- The charge to the Eagle requires that you give back to Scouting more than Scouting has given to you. How do you propose to do that?
- As an Eagle Scout, what can you personally do to improve your unit?
- What will you be doing in your unit, after receiving your Eagle Rank?
- Tell us how you selected your Eagle Service Project.
- From your Eagle Service Project, what did you learn about managing or leading people? What are the qualities of a good leader?
- What part of your Eagle Service Project was the most challenging? Why?
- If you were to manage another project similar to your Eagle Service Project, what would you do differently to make the project better or easier?
- What are your future plans (high school, college, trade school, military, career, etc.)?
- Tell us about your family (parents, siblings, etc.). How do you help out at home?
- What do you think is the single biggest issue facing Scouting in the future?
- How do your friends outside of Scouting react when they learn that you are a Boy Scout? How do you think they will react when they learn that you have become an Eagle Scout?
- Why do you think that belief in God (a supreme being) is part of the Scouting requirements?
- How do you know when a Scout is "active" in his unit?
- You have been in Scouting for many years, sum up all of those experiences in one word. Why?
- What one thing have you gained from your Scoutmaster's conferences over the years?
- How does an Eagle Scout continue to show Scout Spirit?
- If the Scout is a member of the Order of the Arrow:
- What does OA membership mean to you?
- How does OA help Scouting and your unit?
- Who brought Scouting from England to the United States? [Answer: William D. Boyce]
- [Traditional last questions] Why should this Board of Review approve your request for the Eagle Rank? or Why should you be an Eagle Scout?
Eagle Palms are awarded for continued leadership and skills development (merit badges) after the Eagle Rank has been earned. The purpose of this Board of Review is to ensure that the Eagle Scout remains active within the unit, contributes to the leadership of the unit, and assists with the growth of the other Scouts within the unit. The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 15 minutes.
- As an Eagle, have the Scout Oath and Law gained new meaning for you? How?
- Why is it important to developing and identify leadership? How do you do this?
- Since earning your Eagle,what merit badges have you earned?
- Since earning your Eagle (last Palm), in what service projects have you participated?
- How do you plan to continue your involvement with Scouting?
- What would you say to a Life Scout who is only minimally active within his unit, and who does not seem motivated to continue along the Scouting Trail?
- If a Life Scout was having difficulty selecting an Eagle Service Project, what would you suggest to him?
- What is the primary role of the Scoutmaster?
- How have you begun to "… give back to Scouting more than Scouting has given to you".
- In what year was the first World Jamboree held? [Answer: 1920]
In the ordinary course, appeals of board-of-review decisions will not be made, principally because the Scout believes in the justice of the decision. Generally, appeals are sought only when a Scout sees his opportunity to achieve Eagle diminishing.
First, if the troop leader or troop committee does not recommend a Scout for a board of review or fails to sign an Eagle rank application, the Scout (or other interested party) may appeal that decision to the next highest level.
Second, if a board of review does not find favorably for the candidate, the Scout may also appeal to the next highest level. This appeal can be taken by the Scout, his leader, or the Scout's parents. An appeal from a local board of review would be taken to the district advancement committee, and from there to the council advancement committee, and finally to the National Boy Scout Committee.
When an appeal is made, the committee to whom the appeal is addressed will promptly review the facts. All parties must be interviewed by the committee, hopefully without confrontation. A written report with all details will be prepared by the reviewing committee and forwarded to the National Boy Scout Committee.
Appeals to the National Boy Scout Committee are made only through the local council. There is no direct appeal. In Eagle matters, a copy of the Scout's Eagle Scout Rank Application must accompany the national appeal.
The Board of Review and the Healthy Troop
Thinking about the questions we have been discussing should give you an appreciation for how the board of review can contribute to maintaining a healthy troop. It is the ideal place to encourage leadership, to check on problems the Scoutmaster sees arising, to head off future problems, and to make sure the Scout is on track to accomplish the goals and methods of Scouting.
There should never be a heavy-handed approach to a board of review; this is no attempt at disciplining a wayward Scout. Rather it should be thought of as a way to make it easier for a Scout to do the things that contribute to the health of the troop. Perhaps a Scout can be encouraged to work with younger Scouts, or to let other Scouts perform their roles in the troop without badgering—this may be especially necessary for a first-time patrol leader or even senior patrol leader.
The Board of Review and the Healthy Scout
Most importantly, the board of review should be a way of encouraging the individual Scout. The Board of Review is the most personal method in Scouting to assess the needs and desires of a Scout, to encourage and support him, to learn of his fears and hopes, to help him to see himself in the greater context of Scouting, and to encourage his personal growth, both in skills and in living up to the ideals of Scouting.
We are, after all, a values-based organization with a goal of developing in young people and adults a life of service to God and to country, to others, and to self. We do this by holding up the Scout Law as a guide for personal conduct in all contexts. Our world can be a better place if we succeed in this process.
Duty to God
Scouting maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise, the member declares, "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law." The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgement of his favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members. No matter what religious faith a Scout might be, this fundamental need of good citizenship should be kept before him. The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization of the group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.
In practical terms, this means that the Scout is expected to subscribe to these principles. Bear in mind that a Scout is trustworthy and further that he and his parents have subscribed to these principles when he joined Boy Scouting and that he has pledged his duty to God each time he recites or pledges the Scout Oath and Law.
The Boy Scouts of America does not define God for a Scout, nor does it interpret God's rules. Those are matters, as said above, left to home and to the religious body to which the Scout belongs. The board of review does not serve as an inquisition into the correctness of a Scout's perceptions, rather it seeks to determine whether the Scout has fulfilled his duty in a way he sees fit, keeping in mind his profession of a particular faith.
Discussion of a Scout's religion is very appropriate at a board of review, but it should be done with respect and appreciation for the variety of faiths and beliefs in the United States. An open-ended question like "How do you honor the 12th point of the Scout Law?" will allow the boy to discuss his religious beliefs. A blunt "Do you believe in God?" should be avoided as there are some religions that do not use the name "God" for their supreme being or higher power.
A Scout may fulfill this duty without being a member of a particular denomination or religion. In these cases, a board will want to understand, through informal discussion, what a Scout feels about this particular duty, how he sees himself in relation to his beliefs, and how he fulfills them. It is very common for adolescent boys to question religion, particularly formal religion. If a candidate indicates that he is not certain about religion, the board should ask how he is trying address his uncertainty and to fulfill his duty to God.
As in many questions asked at boards of review, the older the Scout, the more sophisticated the board may expect the answer to be. For a very young Scout, going to religious services regularly may be a complete answer to the question. For an older Scout, you may expect a description of service to his fellow man or the community. You may even find that a Scout will state his inability to meet his own expectations of duty, but that he strives nevertheless to do so. It may be that this humble answer is a sign of the greatest devotion.