Information sourced from Scouting.org
188.8.131.52 Purpose and Timeliness of Boards of Review
After a Scout has completed the requirements for any rank or Eagle Palm, he appears before a board of review. Its purpose is to determine the quality of his experience and decide whether he has fulfilled the requirements for the rank. If so, the board not only approves his advancement or Palm but also encourages him to continue the quest for the next rank or Palm. Because the board of review date becomes the effective advancement date, boards should be scheduled promptly as Scouts are ready, or set up on a regular basis that assures Scouts are not delayed in beginning time-oriented requirements for the next rank.
Note that Scouts must be registered through the time they are working on advancement requirements, but need not be registered thereafter or when their board of review is conducted.
184.108.40.206 Boards of Review Must Be Granted When Requirements Are Met
A Scout shall not be denied this opportunity. When he believes he has completed all the requirements for a rank, including a Scoutmaster conference, a board of review must be granted. Scoutmasters—or councils or districts in the case of the Eagle Scout rank—for example, do not have authority to expect a boy to request or organize one, or to “defer” him, or to ask him to perform beyond the requirements in order to be granted one. In a case where there is concern the Scout has not fulfilled the requirements for a rank as written, it is appropriate to advise the young man that he might not pass the board and to make suggestions about what he might do to improve his chances for success. It is, however, the Scout’s decision to go ahead with a board of review or not.
220.127.116.11 Composition of the Board of Review
A board of review must consist of no fewer than three members and no more than six, all of whom must be at least 21 years of age. For further specifications, see"Particulars for Tenderfoot Through Life Ranks (or Palms),"18.104.22.168, and "Particulars for the Eagle Scout Rank,"22.214.171.124. Unit leaders and assistants shall not serve on aboard of review for a Scout in their own unit. Parents or guardians shall not serve on a board for their son. The candidate or his parent(s) or guardian(s) shall have no part in selecting any board of review members.
126.96.36.199 Wearing the Uniform—or Neat in Appearance
It is preferred a Scout be in full field uniform for any board of review. He should wear as much of it as he owns, and it should be as correct as possible, with the badges worn properly. It may be the uniform as the members of his troop, team, crew, or ship wear it. If wearing all or part of the uniform is impractical for whatever reason, the candidate should be clean and neat in his appearance and dressed appropriately, according to his means, for the milestone marked by the occasion. Regardless of unit, district, or council expectations or rules, boards of review shall not reject candidates solely for reasons related to uniforming or attire, as long as they are dressed to the above description. Candidates shall not be required to purchase uniforming or clothing such as coats and ties to participate in a board of review.
188.8.131.52 Conducting the Board of Review
Most adults would admit to nervousness if told they were to appear before a “board of review.” Imagine how a boy must feel. A certain level of formality and meaningful questioning should exist, but it is important that the atmosphere be relaxed and that the review is conducted with the Scout Law in mind. It may help if the unit leader introduces the candidate, and if a few minutes are spent getting acquainted.
The unit leader may remain in the room, but only to observe, not to participate unless called upon. The number of “observers” at a board of review should otherwise be minimized. The members of the board of review, however, have the authority to exclude the unit leader or any other observers if they believe their presence will inhibit open and forthright discussion. Youth observers are not permitted in boards of review for Boy Scouting advancement.
The Scout’s parents, relatives, or guardians should not be in attendance in any capacity—not as members of the board, as observers, or even as the unit leader. Their presence can change the discussion dynamics. In cases where parents or guardians insist on attending a board of review, they should be counseled that their presence can change how their son addresses questions, and that the opportunity to further self-reliance and courage may be lessened. However, if parents or guardians still insist on being present, they must be permitted to attend as observers. For Scouts with special needs, see additional information under topic 10.2.2.0.
In situations where—before a board is held—one or more members are of an opinion the Scout should be rejected, they should discuss their reasoning with the unit leader or others who know the Scout. Generally, a unit leader is closer to the youth; he or she may be able to present a different perspective and prevent an uncomfortable or unfair scenario.
The BSA discourages mock or practice boards of review.“Practice” reviews may imply that board members will ask predetermined questions or that the board of review is anticipated to be other than a positive experience. Instead, the advancement committee should aim for unrehearsed, spontaneous answers revealing character, citizenship, and personal fitness at the boards of review.
184.108.40.206 Not a Retest or "Examination"
Though one reason for a board of review is to help ensure the Scout did what he was supposed to do to meet the requirements, it shall become neither a retest or “examination,” nor a challenge of his knowledge. In most cases it should, instead, be a celebration of accomplishment. Remember, it is more about the journey. A badge recognizes what a young man has done toward achieving the primary goal of personal growth. See "Personal Growth Is the Primary Goal," 220.127.116.11. It is thus more about the learning experience than it is about the specific skills learned. See also "Mechanics of Advancement: In Boy Scouting and Varsity Scouting,"18.104.22.168.
A Scout must not be rejected at a board of review for reasons unrelated to advancement requirements. For example, he must not be rejected just because he did not bring his Boy Scout Handbook with him or because he was tardy for a board of review, but the reason for his tardiness may certainly be a topic for discussion.
22.214.171.124 What Should Be Discussed
During the review, board members may refer to theBoy Scout Handbook, Boy Scout Requirements book,Troop Leader Guidebook, and other such references. The Troop Committee Guidebook, No. 34505, has examples of appropriate questions. A Scout may be asked where he learned his skills and who taught him, and what he gained from fulfilling selected requirements. The answers will reveal what he did for his rank. It can be determined, then, if this was what he was supposed to do. Discussion of how he has lived the Scout Oath and Scout Law in his home, unit, school, and community should be included. We must remember, however, that though we have high expectations for our members, as for ourselves, we do not insist on perfection. A positive attitude is most important, and that a young man accepts Scouting’s ideals and sets and meets good standards in his life.
A positive attitude is most important,and that a young man accepts Scouting's ideals and sets and meets good standards in his life.
A board is not required to record “minutes,” but it is a good idea. Any such notes must remain confidential to the members of the board or to administrators with a need to know. They may be used in preparing a follow-up letter, should a Scout be turned down, and they can be helpful in an appeal process. In any case, once a review or appeal is completed, all notes must be destroyed.
126.96.36.199 How Boards Can Lead to Program Improvement
Periodic reviews of members’ progress can provide a measure of unit effectiveness. A unit might uncover ways to increase the educational value of its outings, or how to strengthen administration of national advancement procedures. For example, if it is discovered troop leaders are not ensuring that all requirements have been met before Scouts present themselves for the board of review, then process improvements can be recommended. A board can also help by considering the style of leadership best suited to current circumstances and ways to adjust it to different needs. Note that boards of review may also be held for Scouts who are not advancing. Much can be learned from them, as well.
188.8.131.52 Board Members Must Agree Unanimously on Decisions to Approve
After the board of review the Scout is asked to wait outside the room or out of hearing range while the board deliberates. To approve awarding a rank or Palm, the board must agree unanimously. Every effort should be made to deliberate with careful consideration of each member’s perspective, and in sufficient detail as to avoid factual misunderstanding. It is appropriate to call the candidate back if additional questions may provide clarification. Still, if any member dissents, the decision cannot be for approval. In the case of such disagreement, the Scout shall not be informed about the specifics of the conversations or any arguments taking place. As indicated below ("After the Review," 184.108.40.206),he is told only how he can improve.
220.127.116.11 After the Review
If the members agree a Scout is ready to advance, he is called in and congratulated. The board of review date—not that of a subsequent court of honor—becomes the rank’s effective date.
If a board does not approve, the candidate must be so informed and told what he can do to improve. Most Scouts accept responsibility for their behavior or for not completing requirements properly. If it is thought that a Scout, before his 18th birthday, can benefit from an opportunity to properly complete the requirements, the board may adjourn and reconvene at a later date. If the candidate agrees to this, then if possible, the same members should reassemble. If he does not agree, then the board must make its decision at that point. In any case, a follow-up letter must be promptly sent to a Scout who is turned down. A copy of the letter should also be sent to the council’s designated appeals coordinator. The letter must include actions advised that may lead to advancement, and also an explanation of appeal procedures. (See "Appealing a Decision,"18.104.22.168, or—if applicable—"Appealing a Quartermaster Bridge of Review Decision," 22.214.171.124.) The council must keep a copy of the letter.
After any board of review, the unit leader is informed of the decision.