Eagle Board of Review Guidelines
The Board of Review for an Eagle candidate is composed of at least four, but not more than six members. These members do not have to be registered in scouting, but they must have an understanding of the importance and purpose of the Eagle Board of Review. A parent of an Eagle Scout or a Scout parent who is an Eagle Scout often makes ideal board members. One member of the board serves as Chairman of the Review Board. Ideally this is the advancement chairman or the Eagle advancement chairman for the Scout’s unit. Scoutmaster, assistant scoutmasters, and relatives or guardians may not serve as members of a Scout’s Board of Review. At least one District advancement representative must be a member of the Eagle Board of Review if the review is conducted at a unit level. In no case should a relative or guardian of the candidate attend the review, either as a participant or observer. The members of the Review Board should be positive in their approach, introducing themselves and engaging the Eagle candidate in a way that helps to relax him and put him at ease. While an Eagle Board of Review should reflect the seriousness of the occasion and be conducted with proper decorum, it is not The Inquisition. The Eagle Board of Review should be a positive experience for both the Eagle candidate and the Review Board. The contents of the Board of Review are confidential and the proceedings are not to be disclosed to any person who is not a member of the Board of Review.
The Board members need to convene prior to interviewing the candidate (15 to 30 minutes.) The purpose of meeting before the actual interview is to:
- Review the prospective Eagle Scout’s application.
- Read his reference letters and other important documents.
- Become familiar with his service project by assessing his final report and any available pictures.
- Review these guidelines to help formulate pertinent questions.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Chairman introduces everyone, sees that everyone has an opportunity to review all the paperwork, and determines that all understand the goals of this Board, which are:
- The Board determines that the Eagle project was successfully carried out.
- Did the candidate demonstrate leadership?
- Did he indeed direct the project himself, rather than do all the work himself or allow someone else to direct the project?
- Was the project of value to the institution, school or community group?
- Who from the benefiting group may be contacted to verify the value of the project?
- Did the project follow the plan, or were modifications necessary to complete it – what did the candidate learn from making the modifications?
- The Board should be assured of the candidate’s participation in and understanding of the Scouting program
- A thorough discussion of his successes and experiences in Scouting must take place.
As the documents are making the rounds, the Chairman should add any relevant data of which he is aware. It is best if the Chairman has personally viewed the completed project – if that is not possible, a phone call to the benefiting group’s representative to discuss the merits of the project will do.
The following guidelines must be kept in mind during the questioning of the project:
- The review is not an examination; the Board does not test the candidate. However, the Board should not be a “rubber stamp” approval process. Appearance of the candidate before the Eagle Board of Review does not mean automatic attainment of the Eagle Rank.
- The Board should attempt to determine the Scout’s attitude toward and acceptance of Scouting’s ideals, as stated in the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout Motto, the Scout Slogan, and the Outdoor Code.
- The Board should make sure that good standards of performance have been met in all phases of his life.
- A discussion of the Scout Oath and Scout Law is in keeping with the questioning.
- Be sure the candidate recognizes and understands the value of Scouting in his home, unit, school and community.
- The Scout should be encouraged to talk – don’t ask questions answerable with a simple yes or no.
Once the Scout’s Eagle Application, service project paperwork, letters of recommendation and these guidelines are reviewed, the Scoutmaster is asked to introduce the candidate to the Board (as a courtesy the Board members should stand). The Scoutmaster can be invited to remain as an observer and may be called upon to clarify a point in question. The candidate may be asked to begin the Board by reciting the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
The interview process:
Ask him questions about his understanding and adherence to the Scout Oath and Scout Law: The Board should make sure that good standards have been met in all phases of the Scout’s life. A discussion of the Scout Oath and Scout Law is in keeping with the purpose of the review, to make sure that the candidate recognizes and understands the value of Scouting in his home, unit, school and community.
- What is the hardest point of the Scout Law for him to live by – why?
- What point of the Scout Law is the most important to him – why?
- What does “Scouting Spirit” mean to him – why?
- What do the various points of the Scout Law mean to him?
- What values has Scouting taught him that he thinks others see in him – at home, in his unit, at school and/or in the community?
- How does he live by the Scout Law and Oath?
- What do the different points of the Scout Oath mean to him?
- What does “duty to God” mean to him?
- What does “duty to Country” mean to him?
- How does he “help others at all times”?
- How does he feel about wearing his uniform in public?
Ask him questions about his camping experiences:
- What was his most enjoyable experience in Scouting?
- Conversely, what was his least enjoyable experience?
- How many summer camps has he attended and where?
- What did he enjoy most about his summer camp experiences?
- Has he attended any High Adventure camps (Parsons, Silver Marmot, Mountainman or Philmont) – where and what did he enjoy about them – describe the experience.
- Ask him about his outdoor experiences in Scouting – campouts, 50 milers, etc.
- Ask him what he remembers of the “Outdoor Code”.
- As him if he has staffed any summer camps – what did he learn from the experience and what did he enjoy about the experience.
Ask him questions related to his Scouting experience:
- What leadership positions has he held?
- What were his responsibilities in each position?
- What leadership position does he hold now?
- Ask him what he would do if a scout refused to comply and/or ignored a valid request he made in the performance of his duties.
- Ask him about his troop’s discipline policy and where he figures in it in his present leadership position.
- Ask him how he might handle “hurry-up” first aid cases.
- Ask him other questions related to merit badges he has earned (remember you are not testing him).
- Has he earned any merit badges that will help him in his choice of occupation?
- What merit badge did he enjoy working on the most – why?
- Conversely, which one did he enjoy working on the least – why?
- Ask him what changes he might make in his unit.
- If he earns his Eagle rank tonight, what does he intend to do to repay Scouting, his unit and its leaders?
- Who has been the most influential person in his Scouting career?
- Is there anything Scouting did not give him that he feels could be beneficial to the program to help other young men develop?
Ask him pertinent questions about his project. The Board should make sure that a good standard of performance has been met.
- What group benefited from his project?
- How did he find out about the need?
- Ask him to walk the Board through the project from beginning to end
- The planning phase
- The organization of personnel
- Directing the project to completion
- Did he have to contact any city, county or state officials for permits or to find out about ordinances, etc. – did the Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge help – how?
- Once his project was approved, did he have to modify it – what did he learn from that experience?
- Who did he get involved in helping him with his project – scouts, adults from his troop, members of the benefiting organization….?
- Did he have any problems directing adults in their work – how did he feel about that?
- In what ways does he feel he demonstrated leadership in this project?
- Every scouts feels his project was “special” – how is his project “special”?
- Thirty years from now when someone else asks him what he did for his Eagle project, what will stand out in his mind – how will he answer that question?
Ask him about his plans for the future. The Board should attempt to determine the Scout’s ideals and goals.
- Ask him about his plans for the future – college, Armed Forces, trade school, ….
- How does he feel earning Eagle will help him in those plans?
- When he turns 18, he assumes some new responsibilities – What are they? Sign up for the draft, register to vote and responsible for his actions in the eyes of the law.
- What should an Eagle Scout be expected to do and what responsibilities does he think come with the rank?
- What does he plan to do in scouting in the immediate and long range future?
These are by no means the only questions that may be asked. They are merely examples to be used as a springboard to other questions and further discussion. Please do not assume that you are to ask only these questions and consider the interview complete. The interview should come to a natural conclusion as each board member runs out of questions.
There is not set length of time for an Eagle Board of Review. However, 15 minutes is probably too short and an hour is probably too long.
After the review, the candidate and his unit leader leave the room while the board members discuss the acceptability of the candidate as an Eagle Scout. Because of the importance of the Eagle Scout Award, the decision of the Board of Review must be unanimous. If the candidate meets the requirements, he is asked to return and is informed that he will receive the Board’s recommendation for the Eagle award. Immediately after the Board of Review and after the application has been appropriately signed, the application is turned into the Council Service Center. A photocopy of the application should be attached to an Advancement Form and submitted to the Council Service Center as well.
If the candidate is found unacceptable, he is asked to return and told the reasons for his failure to qualify. A discussion should be held with him as to how he may meet the requirements within a given period. Should the applicant disagree with the decision, the appeal procedures should be explained to him. A follow-up letter must be sent to the Scout confirming the agreements reached on the action(s) necessary for the advancement. If the Scout chooses to appeal, provide the name and address of the person he is to contact.
Generally, reasons for finding a candidate unacceptable would include: not being in full uniform, not having his Scout Handbook with him, not having his completed Eagle Scout Application with him, not having his Eagle Advancement Binder with him, discovery that all of the requirements have not been met (unlikely since the application has been reviewed and approved by the Council office). While the Scout should have been informed of these requirements in advance, these omissions can easily be corrected and a new Board of Review scheduled. Other reasons for not passing a candidate include a disrespectful attitude on the part of the Scout to the Review Board or regarding Scouting in general, expressed disbelief in God, and conduct inappropriate to Scouting, for example, open, frequent and unrepentant swearing, blatant disrespect for authority, an ongoing pattern of engagement in illegal behavior, and public and inappropriate display of sexual behavior. These should not be based on hearsay alone, however.
Scouting teaches tolerance for members of other groups, races, ethnic groups, religions, and those with differing views, but it does require a belief in God. It does not try to define that belief, feeling that is better left up to the Scout and his family. Accordingly, this stated belief can be conceptual in nature or it can be very specific, but it must be present.