Boy Scout Troop Life to Eagle
What Is This "Board of Review" and How Important Is This Event?
The Eagle Scout board of review is the second most important part of the process to become an Eagle Scout. The most important is the service project. During this board of review, the Life Scout must explain to adults, including those representing the local Council, how he became a scout, what he has done while a scout, how Scouting has helped him in areas outside of Scouting, and how he sought, planned, carried out, and reviewed his service project. It is an indicator of the scout's communication, leadership, and self confidence skills. The scout must do this himself; neither his parents nor his Scoutmaster is allowed to be present during the actual board of review.
In the Baden Powell Council, as in many other councils, the responsibility for Eagle Scout boards of review has been delegated to the districts. The District's Advancement Committee is the group responsible for coordination of the Eagle Scout board of review with the local unit. They are responsible for insuring that members of this committee meet with the Troop or Team Committee and with the candidate. The candidate must be present during the board of review for the Eagle Scout Award.
The national office of the Boy Scouts of America approves several thousand Eagle Scout Awards each year from thousands of applications submitted to local Council offices. Many of those applications are disapproved at the local level for failure to complete the required number of merit badges. Applications are also disapproved locally for failure to plan, organize, complete and evaluate a service project of the candidate's choice to benefit the community (and not Scouting). They are also disapproved at the local level if the candidate has not completed all requirements before he turns 18.
Many others are disapproved or delayed because the scout failed to explain why he should be awarded the highest youth award in Scouting. Because the National Court of Honor members cannot be in all locales every month at the same time, this determination is done by the local District's Advancement Committee along with the youth's Unit Committee. These people make up the board of review committee for Eagle Scout. Together, they review the application and supporting letters for completeness with the candidate present. They ask the candidate about his Scouting background and his potential for service as an adult. They look at the candidate's uniform and ask leading questions which cause the candidate to reflect upon his entire Scouting experience, not just the six months between his attaining Life rank and this review. Finally, they review the entire service project and ask the scout about his experiences in leading, directing, controlling and evaluating others. The local Council Scout Executive certifies that the scout did complete the requirements to the executive's satisfaction. The application is sent to the National Office for consideration and approval at the next National Court of Honor Committee meeting.
At the National Office, the application is again reviewed for completeness and consistency. If they concur, they then tell the Eagle Scout Service at the National Office to send the Eagle Scout Badge and all certification to the local Council for presentation to the scout during an Eagle Scout Court of Honor. The effective date of the Eagle rank is the date of the local board of review, not the date that it was approved at the National Office.
Therefore, this event should be treated as a significant event in the life of the scout and in the history of the unit. Parents of the scout should also treat this event as something which will enhance their parental teachings and those of their son's school, church and community.
The worst disservice you can do, as a candidate for the Eagle Scout Award, as a Scoutmaster or other adult leader of the candidate, or as a parent or friend of the candidate is to trivialize this process or not give your full attention toward the small details of the process, which is described here. Applications are returned for failure to look at the "small details" described here.
Applicant should be in uniform which is as complete as possible. The board of review committee will conduct a uniform inspection as part of the review. If the applicant does not have uniform pants or shorts, this would be a good time to consider purchasing or borrowing a pair from another scout in the unit or a neighboring unit.
Camouflage pants and other pieces of military uniforms are not part of the scout uniform and should not be worn. If the applicant cannot borrow or purchase uniform pants, plain slacks, shorts, or neat, presentable jeans are acceptable.
Caps, other than the scout cap, are not part of the scout uniform and should not be worn. Normal etiquette for hats should be observed: remove it when indoors.
Sunglasses, bandanas around the head, and other non-Scouting extras are not part of the scout uniform and should be avoided.
Correct insignia should be on uniform:
For more information concerning placement of insignia on the uniform, see the The Boy Scout Handbook or the BSA publication Insignia Guide.
The merit badge sash is a part of the youth uniform and the youth applicant must wear it for his Eagle Scout board of review. If the sash no longer fits or the applicant is 18 or older, it should be carried to the board of review.
If the summer uniform is worn for the board of review, either knee length scout socks or the red topped mid calf scout socks should be worn in the proper manner: knee length socks extended their full length and cuffed, not pushed down around the ankles, or mid calf socks extended their full length.
Tip to the applicant: Some of these suggestions on proper uniform may seem unduly restrictive to you. Keep in mind that one of the requirements calls for the scout to show "Scout Spirit." In part, this calls for scouts to look and act the part of scouts. The uniform is the outward appearance of scouts. The idea of these suggestions is to help you make the best possible impression at your Eagle Scout board of review. You should also remember that the scout uniform should always be worn properly. Too often we become careless in our habits regarding the uniform. Your final review for the Eagle rank is a good time to review your uniform so that you can wear it with pride in what it represents.
At least three extra copies of the printed portions of the workbook (and any supporting letters or other documentation) should be made available. It is not necessary to include extra copies of photographs. This allows the process to proceed more easily and quickly and avoids unnecessary waiting on the part of the applicant while the board becomes familiar with the applicant's paperwork. It is recommended that all paperwork be given to the District Advancement Committee one week before the board of review to be sure that all is in proper order.
The workbook should be typed or computer printed.
Be sure that the information is complete:
Make certain that the candidate includes his statement of achievements, ambitions, and goals.
Letters of Recommendation
There must be a minimum of three letters of recommendation. It is the unit committee's responsibility to request these letters from the people listed as references on the Eagle application. The unit committee will send a letter to each person listed as a reference on the Eagle Application. This letter describes the type of information which should be included in the requested letter of recommendation. It also indicates that the letter of recommendation should be sent to the unit's Advancement Chairman.
Merit badge dates must include month, day, and year. The dates must match the dates recorded at the Council Service Center.
In the case of Swimming, Cycling, and Hiking merit badges, only one may be used as a required badge. The other two must be crossed out in the required badge section. (These can be entered as optional badges.)
In the case of Lifesaving and Emergency Preparedness merit badges, only one may be used as a required badge. The other one must be crossed out in the required badge section. (It can be entered as an optional badge.)
Be certain that the merit badges entered on the application include enough required and optional badges with dates before the Star and Life dates to meet the requirements for those ranks. This is especially important for the case where more than one of Swimming, Sports, and Personal Fitness were used for Star and Life or the case where both Emergency Preparedness and Lifesaving were used for Star and Life.
Positions of Responsibility
When filling in information on positions of responsibility, use only information for positions held as a Life Scout. There are certain positions which meet the requirement. These positions are listed on the Eagle Application. Bugler and Scoutmaster assigned projects do not meet the requirement. Additionally, any "created" positions (such as "leadership corps") cannot be used.
Setting Up the Board of Review
After the applicant has completed the Eagle application, it should be taken to the Council Service Center for verification of dates. Once this step is done, the Scoutmaster should contact the District Advancement Chairman to schedule the Eagle Scout board of review. This board will consist of one or more representatives from the district and two or more members of the unit committee.
The minimum number for an Eagle Scout board of review is three members; the maximum number is six members.
It is suggested that the board convene 15 to 20 minutes ahead of the time that the applicant is expected. This gives the board time to review the applicant's paperwork and to establish any needed procedures for the review. If the board and the applicant arrive at the same time, it means that the applicant will have that much more time to wait and become nervous. Many of the young men involved are already nervous enough; any small steps which we can take to alleviate that nervousness should be taken.
Overall Tips to the Applicant
Look as sharp as possible. You will not be graded on appearance, but first impressions are hard to avoid. Make certain that your uniform is clean, proper, and as complete as possible. Review the section "Uniforming" and make certain that your uniform is in compliance. Make certain that your shoes are clean. Make certain that you are clean.
Speak distinctly. Answer questions in full sentences, not single words. Give details; elaboration is encouraged. Leave the gum at home: it makes understanding your speech more difficult.
Review your personal records beforehand. Your Scouting career covers several years and it's easy to forget some of the events and highlights along the way. Review your personal Scouting history in order to better answer questions about it.
Practice your interviewing skills. That's exactly what a board of review is: an interview.