Elections, Boards of Review, and Conferences
Should a Scout be denied a Scoutmaster’s conference because, horror of horrors, he’s wearing white socks? I hope you know the answer to that already, but in this podcast I answer an email question from a parent whose son is having a problem with getting though a Scoutmaster’s conference because the adults conducting them have no idea what they are doing (this answer includes some advice about finding a new troop).
In addition we’ll discuss electing the senior patrol leader (what qualifications and preparation, what if the candidate isn’t ideal?), clarify the issue of Scouts being expected or required to request boards of review from last week’s podcast, and what constitutes a provisional troop.
Here’s the posts I mentioned in the introduction about, Tropic Cascades, True North and Magnetic North, The origins of the Patrol System and B.P.’s blog “don’t”.
Sponsored By ScoutmasterCG.com Backers
like Brian Frey!
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS
Join me in Kandersteg next summer! Details Here.
|Get The SCOUTMASTERCG APP|
John Dyer says
Clarke, I had a LOL moment when in the podcast you said: No scout is ready to be SPL. It’s funny because generally that applies to a most advancement from patrol leader, quartermaster, scribe right through committee member, chair or scoutmaster. Actually, thinking more about it, it applies to a new job or a promotion at work. Are we really ever fully qualified for something that’s new and hopefully challenging? It’s the people already there that are to help the new person along until they get on their feet. The scoutmaster helps the new SPL. The existing committee members help new members, the previous scoutmaster and assistant scoutmasters help the new scoutmaster.
I hadn’t really thought about it like that until your statement but I like the concept.
I don’t believe that it is a matter of “passing” a scoutmaster conference. There isn’t really a pass or fail here. The Scoutmaster conference is, however, a tool to ensure that the scout has completed all the requirements and is ready for the Board of Review. If a requirement was incorrectly signed off, In my opinion, the scout should be required to complete it before having the BOR. As a Scoutmaster (& any other adult volunteer), I believe that we are responsible to ensure that the scouts receive a quality program and not be “cheated” of the opportunities that exist by signing off on requirements that have not been met. As a Cub Scout, boys are present and “do their best” to get signed off on things. Boy Scouts,on the other hand, are expected to “Be Prepared”. You cannot be prepared for all things by just talking about it or watching someone else do it.
Clarke Green says
I’d have to differ with your definition of a Scoutmaster’s conference, it is not “a tool to ensure that the scout has completed all the requirements and is ready for the Board of Review.” This is not a matter of option, it’s all spelled out very clearly in the Guide to Advancement 2013:
22.214.171.124 Unit Leader (Scoutmaster) Conference
Note that a Scout must participate or take part in one; it is not a “test.” Requirements do not say he must “pass” a conference.
While it makes sense to hold one after other requirements for a rank are met, it is not required that it be the last step before the board of review.
The conference is not a retest of the requirements upon which a Scout has been signed off. It is a forum for discussing topics such as ambitions and life purpose, goals for future achievement, and also for obtaining feedback on the unit’s program. In some cases, work left to be completed—and perhaps why it has not been completed—may be discussed just as easily as that which is finished. Ultimately, conference timing is up to the unit.
Some leaders hold more than one along the way, and the Scout must be allowed to count any of them toward the requirement.
I explain how I would resolve a difficulty should we find a requirement hasn’t been met, yet has been signed off in answer to Jon, and it is certainly not denying him a board of review, no one has the authority to deny a Scout a board of review, ever, for any reason:
126.96.36.199 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.
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.
Jon Michell says
Isn’t there some grey area between a scout is tested and a scout is reviewed. I believe that a scout is trustworthy, so if a patrol leader signs off that a scout has done the necessary requirements for 1st class req. #2 (map & compass orienteering course) I would hope that the SM takes that at face value and trusts that it was completed. But if the SM conference the SM asks the scout about the orienteering course and how the scout liked and the scouts says, well actually they just talked about map and compass work at a patrol meeting and then the PL signed him off without validating the scouts actually understood it. Upon further questioning by the SM it is obvious that this was a case of social promotion and the scout does not know how to properly use a map and compass, should the scout still pass the SM conference? Should it be rescheduled? Is this retesting?
Clarke Green says
Hey Jon – a fair question!
Once a requirement is signed it’s done. So what happens, if during a review we discoverer something is amiss?
A Scout can’t “fail” or “pass” a review process, that’s not why we are reviewing (the review may reveal some things that need work, but let’s stock with the specific question at hand.)
The requirement was signed, is this somehow the Scouts fault? No. The person that signed the requirement has misunderstood their job, and the Scout simply accepted their judgement.
So I’d go to whoever signed the requirement and ask them what happened. It’s a great opportunity to work with that person to help them better understand the process.
I’d conclude by asking if they thought it would be a good idea to be sure to go over things with the Scout again to make sure that he actually has the benefit of the work required rather than just a signed requirement.
The review process has worked just as planned – we discovered a problem and addressed it. It is in no way the Scout’s fault, it’s our fault for not having properly trained the person who signed the requirement.
So, as you can see, there’s no way for a Scout to fail a Scoutmaster conference. And in the case you ask about I wouldn’t see any reason to hold the Scout back, it wasn’t his fault was it?
We want to make questions about the experiences they have had a key part of the review process – and these questions are pointed at how is the troop doing in serving the Scout, not how has the Scout fulfilled the requirements.