Sunday, September 18, 2011

Eagle Board of Review

Not too long ago I did an Eagle Board of Review.  It was an absolute visit to the dentists.  The boy called me after he was 18 from Idaho (I am in TX) where he was spending his 2 month vacation to let me know that when he got home he needed a Board of Review.  When he returned he was sitting at 18 years old 2 months.  When he got home, he called me and told me about a problem he had with his Eagle Scout Leadership Project packet.  I asked him to it on his doorstep and I would come by, take it and look at it.

When I appeared to get it and looked at it, my mouth dropped to the floor.  3 incomplete, half signed packets.  One of the "Eagle Project Packets" wasn't even the BSA approved packet yet it had the signature from the organization that would be receiving the project, the charter organization rep and the unit chair.  And to make things worst, a District Advancement Rep had also signed a non-BSA packet.  My mouth fell even further.  I got mad.  LDS leaders had no clue that they were supposed to use the BSA approved Eagle Leadership packet?  They not only failed the boy, they failed themselves.  So, I calmed down to make a few phones calls to his leaders and my boss on the Advancement Committee getting his approval to make these three into one semi-perfect packet.  I was upset.  The boy seemed to be doing this half excited and his unit wasn't providing the proper motivation.  He half filled out one legal packet and then decided to half fill out another legal packet.  There was no rhyme or reason.

So here comes the Eagle Board of Review.  First thing I notice is that the requirement on the Eagle Scout Rank Application that talks about who he did his Eagle Project for and how many hours, he had listed a 10 hour service project he had done.  At this point, I was pushed over the limit.  I was ready to scream.  Again, the boy is doing things willy-nilly and the unit isn't looking over the paperwork but just signing the paperwork.  Maybe they were just taking his word that he had filled it out right.  Is there no pride as to the things you sign?  This wasn't a homework packet being signed to go back to a teacher.  This was supposed to not only impress me but the BSA.  The boy didn't seem to care and the unit either didn't care or they are just uneducated.  I don't think the later is the case as I have done 3 others in this unit and this seemed to be the only one with issues. 

His Bishop was going to serve on his Board and before we started I told the Board that I wasn't really excited about this Board of Review.  I had worked too hard on this.  Please don't think I expect puppies and fluff clouds in this line of work.  I really don't but I feel like I went above and beyond when assigned leaders could have fixed these issues.  Some may just think this is part of the job.  And it may be.  I felt like the boy didn't deserve Eagle (start the hate-mail now!!).

UPDATE:  Since writing this post, I have been contacted by the Council.  Why you might ask?  The boy since moving to Texas over two years ago, has never, ever been registered as a Scout in his Ward.  The Council will not process his application because he was never a Scout in the Council.  This enrages me.  Talk about failing the boy.  Talk about adults that have no clue as to what they are doing.  Talk about screwing up the simple things.  I better stop now.

UPDATE #2:  This Scout now needs National to approve the fact that he can even apply to be an Eagle because he was unregistered while he worked on Scouting.  Also because he is over 18.  Then he has to apply and pay for each year he has gone unregistered.  Then it goes back to National to see if they approve it.  We are also now needing his records from his previous Council.  NOTE TO ALL LDS SCOUTERS:  KNOW YOUR STUFF!  Boys lives (and emotional lives) hang in the balance.


Eric the Half-bee said...

I couldn't have asked for a better illustration on why the Grown-ups in the room need to know what the @#%$ they're doing. Letting him go that far at half-throttle means they just don't givadam, and the ONLY lesson here is that "Do your best" means I never really have to put forth any real effort, and I don't have to follow the rules, because someone will always cover my @$$.

Fishgutts said...

Putting everything I said aside and your well made points, I got an email from the YMP yesterday pointing out that this Scout has been on two (TWO!!! 2!!!!!!!!!!!) High Adventures. This means the Scout went without having been registered hence not covered by BSA insurance. This gives me the freaking creeps. Quote from his Venturing Adviser "I was never a Scout so I don't really know how the program works." REALLY?? SHOULDN'T YOU GET SOME TRAINING THEN?!?!

Fishgutts said...

So Eric, what council would you have me give the Bishop, his Scout leaders and the Scout about this specific situation?

Fishgutts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric the Half-bee said...

I dunno, I've only been doing this a year:)

Remind everyone involved that Eagle is not a reward; it's a process that didn't happen here, because the adults failed to provide necessary leadership, oversight and guidance. Where's the committee, anyway? Odds are it's just someone who "presides" at a monthly "meeting."

I'd tell the leaders that: (1) they failed to look out for him, and (2) there's nothing you can do personally. I’d help the young man understand that the process is worth more than the patch, and the values he acquired are more important than parental pride. And I’d do it without insulting his intelligence, and without casting blame.

Then tell them leaders that in order not to repeat this, or something worse (hard to imagine), to get the stinkin' training. (Be nicer than me, though, this is an 'aha!' moment where you can hammer home the fact that they actually need to know what they're doing.) Finally, tell that Venturing "Advisor" about the Ranger award, and that this young man can be a Venturer through age 21 (find a few non-LDS crews, since they won’t cut him off at 18), and that it's about Values, not Patches. Then he needs to sit down with this young man and sincerely apologize for having screwed up so badly.

Being a Scout as a kid teaches you how to be a Scout, i.e., a boy. Being a leader necessitates your educating yourself so you know how to serve those Scouts. It has nothing to do with having been a Boy Scout. And it's not like there aren't myriad resources available to get you spun up. That dog don't hunt.

Fishgutts said...

For some reason, I feel guilty for the situation even though as an Advancement Committee members I have done my job completely. Somehow, I just feel guilty.

The Ward doesn't have a committee. I don't think they have meetings. I don't want to go into a ton of detail for fear of making the situation worse. There are lots more details. This ward has such a great Scouting legacy (they just had an Eagle Court of Honor for 6 Scouts) to then have such a horrible footnote. I think some of the blame is the Scouts himself because while his family stayed active he decided to not be active and stop going to Scouts. Maybe this is a lesson for him to learn from. Unfortunately I can't force his Scout leaders to sit down and apologize for their horrible lack of........attention to detail, training, knowing how to cross the "t's" and dot the "i's", etc.

I can honestly say that if this boy doesn't earn his Eagle, this will change his world. He is already sitting on the fence for activity still and a mission. I would hate for this to be the thing that pushes him over. That being said, it is what it is. He put everything off to the last minute. Had he had his Eagle Board of Review before his 18th BD, the hardest part of the problem (now needing Council to approve that he can backdate his application/registration) would be removed.

I guess I am so frustrated because there is no clear and easy solution. I am not winning friends by holding this Scout and his leaders accountable but I am not a leader to win friends. So much unneeded drama. Drives me nuts.

One of the last questions I ask in an Eagle Board of Review is "What is BSA National doesn't approve your application? Where is your head going to be at?" How crazy!

Eric the Half-bee said...

I didn't want to go there, but I had a feeling it was kind of a last-minute "gotta wrap this up, even though I didn't plan ahead." Some lessons are harder-learned than others.

Fishgutts said...

Sad but very true. I hope the Ward learns a lesson from this too because they were part of the problem.

Fishgutts said...

I asked the Bishop, the Young Men's President and the Scout Committee chair to run an internal audit and compare the Church records for YM age 11-18 with the roles of the BSA to make sure they are the same. I can't believe how many hoops the BSA is going to make this boy jump through. I have talked to Council 3 times in 2 days. Crazy.

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