Unit leaders and other Scouters often ask the same questions about the rank
advancement program and board of review process. Here is a quick reference guide
of answers to some of those frequently asked questions.
Question: What is advancement, and what role does it play in Scouting?
Answer: Education and fun are functions of the Scouting movement—as is
the growth of our youth members—and make up the basis of the advancement
program. As the Scout meets certain requirements, he may advance in rank. The
Scouting program is designed to help young people have an exciting and meaningful
experience. A quality Scouting program strives for the following:
- Every young person achieves personal growth.
- Each individual learns by doing.
- Youth members progress at their own rate.
- All young people receive recognition for their individual accomplishments.
- Youth participants are encouraged to embrace Scouting ideals.
Question: Rank advancement requires a Scout to demonstrate Scout
spirit. How is Scout spirit defined and determined?
Answer: Scout spirit applies to how a Scout lives and conducts his
daily life. He shows Scout spirit by being a role model to his peers,
living by the Scout Oath and Law. The concept of Scout spirit is not
based on how many Scouting events or outings a Scout attends, but rather
by how he helps bring out the best in others as a reflection of his own
character and attitude in his daily life.
Question: In the Scout Oath, what does the phrase "duty to God" imply?
Answer: Scouting has an ongoing commitment to encourage moral, ethical,
and spiritual growth. While the Boy Scouts of America remains a nonsectarian
organization, in the Scout Oath, "duty to God" reminds everyone that a Scout
is reverent, and Scout leaders are expected to be a positive religious
influence. The BSA believes that, to be the best kind of citizen as possible,
a Scout must recognize his obligation to God. However, religious instruction
is the responsibility of the Scout's family and his religious institution.
|The Boy Scouts of America
has a comprehensive religious recognition program, and Scouts are encouraged
to earn the religious emblem of their faith.|
Question: For the Star, Life, and Eagle Scout ranks, how is "Be active
in your troop and patrol" defined?
Answer: A Scout is considered to be active in his unit if:
- He is registered in his unit (registration fees are current).
- He has not been dismissed from his unit for disciplinary reasons.
- He is engaged by his unit leadership on a regular basis (Scoutmaster
conference, informs the Scout of upcoming unit activities, through
personal contact, and so on).
The unit leaders are responsible for maintaining contact with the Scout on
a regular basis. The Scout is not required to attend any certain percentage
of activities or outings. However, unit leaders must ensure that he is
fulfilling the obligations of his assigned leadership position. If he is
not, then they should remove the Scout from that position.
Question: What is a board of review, and what is its primary purpose?
Answer: The troop committee conducts a board of review to periodically
review each Scout's progress, from Tenderfoot through Life ranks, to
encourage him, to learn whether he is enjoying his Scouting experience,
and to evaluate the unit's effectiveness in conducting the Scouting
program to benefit him. The review presents a good opportunity to monitor
the Scout's advancement and keep him on track. It also gives unit leaders
a chance to measure the effectiveness of their leadership. The troop
committee appoints three to six individuals to conduct the board of
Question: How often is a board of review held?
Answer: Whenever a Scout completes all the requirements for any rank,
from Tenderfoot through Life, he appears before a board of review. He does
so after having a conference with his Scoutmaster. Note that when a Scout
has completed all the requirements for a board of review and then requests
to have a board of review, he may not be denied a board of review.
Question: What is an Eagle board of review?
Answer: The Eagle board of review is a bit different from other boards
of review because it is the last major step for an Eagle Scout candidate.
All his efforts peak at the Eagle board of review. It's akin to a job
interview, but it allows the panel to determine whether the candidate is
worthy of the recognition. The interview focuses on the Eagle candidate's
attitude and his acceptance of Scouting's ideals.
|The Eagle board of review is not
a test; nor is it used to review the Scout's rank or Scouting skills.|
Question: When must an Eagle board of review be held?
Answer: Once an Eagle candidate has fulfilled all requirements of tenure,
Scout spirit, merit badges, positions of responsibility, the leadership service
project, and the Scoutmaster conference, arrangements must be made for the Eagle
board of review to take place within the following 90 days. With the exception
of the Eagle board of review, all requirements for Eagle must be completed before
the Scout's 18th birthday.
The board of review can be conducted up to 90 days after the Scout's 18th
birthday. A board of review held between 90 and 180 days after that date must
be preapproved by the local council; a board of review that falls after the
180 days have passed must be preapproved by the BSA National Council (Eagle
Scout Service). When submitting the Eagle Scout Rank Application to the Eagle
Scout Service, the candidate must include a statement by an adult explaining
the reason for the delay.
Without this last important step, the candidate cannot advance to the Eagle
Scout rank. To make this happen, it is important for unit leaders and others
to get involved with this process and have a clear idea of what is required
of the Scout to pass the Eagle board of review.
Exceptions (alternate rank requirements)
are permitted in certain cases of Scouts with disabilities. See the chapter called
"Scouts With Special Needs" in the Scoutmaster Handbook.
If extenuating circumstances exist, an Eagle board of review can be conducted after the six months following the candidate's
18th birthday. Special permission must be granted by the National Boy Scout Committee,
through the Scout's local council. Extenuating circumstances are defined as
conditions or situations that are totally beyond the Scout's control.
Question: Who decides how the Eagle board of review will be conducted?
Answer: Each local council decides at which level the Eagle board of
review will be conducted (unit, district, council). Then the unit committee
or the district or council committee responsible for the Eagle board of
review decides how reviews will be conducted. The board of review for an
Eagle candidate must have at least three members and no more than six
members, all of whom must be at least 21 years of age. 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. However, the
board must have at least one district or council advancement representative
when conducted at the unit level. At the unit's request, this individual
may serve as chair.
|Unit leaders, assistant
unit leaders, relatives, and guardians may not serve as members of a Scout's
board of review.|
Question: How is the information from the Eagle Scout Rank Application
assessed by the board of review?
Answer: The unit committee reviews and approves the Eagle candidate's
record before his application is submitted to the local council. If a unit
leader or unit committee member does not sign or approve his application,
the Eagle candidate may still be granted a board of review. However, the
failure to secure such a signature may be considered by the board of review
in determining the Eagle candidate's qualifications.
Question: How are the references of an Eagle candidate checked?
Answer: The references on the candidate's Eagle Scout Rank Application
are contacted by the council advancement committee or a designated
representative either by letter, form (the local council may have one for
this purpose), or telephone. The council determines the method(s) to be
used. The Scout is not responsible for collecting or returning any
completed reference responses to be used by the board of review.
|Before listing his
references on the Eagle Scout Rank Application, the candidate should secure
the approval of those individuals he wants to include.|
Question: About how long does an Eagle board of review last?
Answer: While a regular board of review will take about 15 minutes,
an Eagle Scout board of review may last 30 minutes or more. At the review,
each board member should have an opportunity to share a meaningful
discussion with the Scout about important matters such as his goals,
personal growth, and living up to the Scout Oath and Law in his everyday
Question: Is the Scout's unit leader allowed to attend an Eagle
board of review?
Answer: Yes. The Scout's unit leader introduces him to the members of
the board of review and may remain in the room, but he may not participate
in the board of review. The board of review members may call on the unit
leader to clarify a point in question. However, in no case should a relative
or guardian of the Eagle candidate be allowed to attend the review, even as
a unit leader.
Question: How many votes must a Scout receive from an Eagle board of review?
Answer: Because of the importance of the Eagle Scout Award, a unanimous
decision must be reached when voting on the Scout's qualifications. If the
board cannot reach a unanimous decision, the applicant, his unit leader, or
the unit committee may request a new review.
Question: What happens when a Scout does not pass the Eagle board of review?
Answer: If the Eagle board of review does not recommend the candidate
for advancement to Eagle, the board members tell the candidate why he has
not met the requirements and explain why he does not qualify. They discuss
with him how he might meet the requirements within a given period. If the
Scout disagrees, they explain the appeal procedures to him. A follow-up
letter is sent to the Scout confirming the agreements reached on the actions
necessary for his advancement. If he chooses to appeal, he is provided with
the name and address of whom to contact. His unit leader, parents, or
guardian also may appeal the decision on his behalf.
|All appeals to the National
Boy Scout Committee must be processed through the Scout's local council. A copy
of his Eagle Scout Rank Application must be included when the appeal reaches
the national level.|
Question: What is the appeals process for a Scout who is denied the Eagle Scout rank?
Answer: In ascending order, appeals are made at the unit, district, and
local council levels. The final decision rests with the National Boy Scout
Committee. Upon receipt of an appeal, the district or council advancement
committee promptly reviews the request to determine the facts. This is done
by interviewing all parties either individually or as a group. Any
confrontation should be avoided. A written report containing all details
must be prepared for the committee responsible for a decision or for
forwarding to the National Boy Scout Committee, if necessary.
Question: What kinds of resources are there for more information about
the advancement process?
Answer: A number of helpful items are available to anyone who wants to
more fully understand the Boy Scout advancement process. Here are the most
- Every aspect of advancement procedures is discussed in the Advancement
Committee Guide Policies and Procedures (No. 33088), which is updated
and reprinted annually.
- The Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook (No. 18-927) is required for
completion of the Eagle Scout leadership service project. This workbook
can be downloaded from the Internet (click here)in PDF format,
to be printed and completed by hand, or in DOC or RTF format, to be
completed on computer.
- The Eagle Scout Rank Application (No. 58-728) is available online.
here)The application must be printed and filled out by hand;
it cannot be submitted online.
- The Application for Alternate Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges (No. 58-730)
includes the guidelines for advancement to Eagle Scout rank for Scouts
with disabilities. To download this publication online, click here.
- Every troop leader should have a copy of the Scoutmaster Handbook
(No. 33002). This indispensable resource is a Scoutmaster's and assistant
Scoutmaster's best bet for guiding a Boy Scout troop and its patrols.