Thursday, February 23, 2012

Email to Advancement Team

What follows is an email I sent to the BSA's Advancement Team about a concern I had.

Advancement Team:

I was wondering if I could get some clarification on Scouts who bring reference letters to their Eagle Board of Reviews.  I have always collected these at the end of a EBoR and taken them with me.  Recently I did an EBoR where a father played a significant role in helping select members of his son's EBoR and actually tried to sit in on the Board.  I invited him to leave at the beginning and he left.  When I attempted to leave after the Board, he demanded to have his son's reference letters back.  I tried to explain to the father the policy but to no avail.  I told him I would check into it and get back to him (along with returning the letters) if I incorrectly remember the policy.  Am I not supposed to take these reference letters with me?  Am I making a mistake by taking them?  I have talked with my District's Advancement Chair and she said only LDS units don't give these letters to Eagle Candidates.  (I have never heard of that before especially being in an LDS unit.)  She said non-LDS units present these letters to the candidate after they have received Council approval for their Eagle.

So am I supposed to collect and keep these letters?

Whatever answer you provide, could you give me some though on to why it is the way it is?  I am not trying to get anyone in trouble.  I just want to do it the right way!!


Hello Fishgutts,

Thank you for your message. We can help with a clear answer which can be found in the Guide to Advancement, topic If you don't have a copy you can access it at no cost via the link under our address line below. This publication has been recently rewritten and addresses most advancement issues you will ever encounter.

First, the Scout is not to bring references with him to the board of review. The board has the responsibility for collecting these. The Scouts role in the process is limited to requesting recommendations, or better, delivering written requests that the council or district has created for this purpose. The contents of the references are confidential--no one sees them but the board of review--not the parents, or the Scout, the unit leader, or anyone else--pretty much just the review members. Those providing the references shall not be given the opportunity to waive this confidentiality.

At the close of the board of review, the letters are held by the council and destroyed once the Eagle credentials are released by the national Advancement Team, or once any appeals have been resolved.

This procedure is exactly the same for our LDS friends as for anyone else in the country. If non LDS units are returning the letters they are violating national policy. All advancement procedures apply to all units regardless the chartered organization.

_______________________________________________ References Contacted

Council advancement committee members—or others designated—contact the references appearing on the Eagle Scout application. This may be done by letter, form, or phone call. For reasons of privacy and confidentiality, electronic submissions are discouraged. It is acceptable to send or deliver to the references an addressed envelope with instructions, and perhaps a form to complete. The Scout may assist with this, but that is the limit of his participation. He is not to be responsible for follow-through or any other aspect of the process.
It is up to the council’s designated representatives to make every effort to collect the responses. If after a reasonable effort no response can be obtained from any references, the board of review must go on without them. It may not be postponed or denied for this reason, and the Scout may not be asked to submit additional references or to provide replacements.
Completed reference responses of any kind are the property of the council and are confidential, and only review-board members and those officials with a specific need may see them. The responses are not to be viewed by, or returned to, the Scout. Doing so could discourage the submission of negative information. For the same reason, those providing references shall not be given the option of waiving confidentiality. Once a review has been held, or an appeal process conducted, responses shall be returned to the council, where they will be destroyed after the Eagle Scout credentials are released or the appeal is concluded.
In Boy Scouting, advancement references are required only for Eagle Scout rank. The council determines methods of contact.

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