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Eagle Board of Review Question


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#1 T78Scoutmaster

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 11:34 PM

I participated in my first Eagle Board of Review and it went about like I expected with one exception. The last question posed to our first Eagle candidate, because he was close to turning 18 y/o, was who would he vote for in the November general election and why? I was a little shocked that someone would ask a political question. The young man answered the question easily and supported his choice, but I was still a bit taken aback. Is this typical?
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#2 kbandit

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 05:18 AM

I would like to think this question was asked of the scout to see if he had thought about the citizenship portion of scouting. Just to see if the scout had even thought of voting and not so much the who part of the answer. I wouldn't think a political question is the norm but almost 18 he will probley be eligible to vote this year. My 2cents and welcome to the forum.
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#3 packsaddle

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 07:19 AM

Of course no one really knows for sure what we'll do in November, only what our intentions are at this moment. But the question is, as mentioned, probably related to the topic of citizenship. I wouldn't have a problem with it as long as the boy wasn't pressured to state his choice if he didn't want to. The question actually could be used to break the ice and have a fun conversation...kind of like this forum. :)
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#4 Beavah

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 12:07 PM

Yah, don't think for a minute this topic isn't coming up at school, with friends, etc. I think it's a good question, because it's more concrete and "real" than the usual, "what are the rights and responsibilities of a citizen" stuff, eh? I like election years. They provide "energy" and substance to our efforts of teachin' responsible citizenship. Beavah
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#5 T78Scoutmaster

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 01:33 PM

Great replies, thank you! Beavah hit it on the head when he mentioned they are discussing it at school; the Eagle candidate brought that up as part of his answer. I feel better knowing this is an acceptable question to ask.
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#6 Stosh

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 03:07 PM

The key to the question is "...and why." If the boy is to take his citizenship seriously, the ...and why is the rationale for the question. If the boy only spouts off a name with no thought, research, or reasoning, he obviously missed some of the vital education of the citizenship MB's. Good question for an EBOR if the tag "...and why" is always present. Stosh
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#7 Bob White

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 04:06 PM

We still elect by secret ballot don't we? Does everyone understand what secret means? I think the question is inappropriate in or out of the bor. Ask the scout what he has learned about being a good citizen and how he will put that knowledge to action as an adult. But asking who he will vote for is inappropriate, and rude. T78scoutmaster, would you be interested in what to do in the future if you feel the board asks an innappropriate question?
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#8 T78Scoutmaster

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 04:43 PM

Bob White, Yes, I would. Thanks
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#9 Bob White

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 05:03 PM

Simply say "before you get to that answer I need to ask for a brief recess." Then ask for the scout to wait outside the room and you will call for him again in just a few minutes. After the scout is out of the room you can express your concern over the appropriatness of the questioning. It helps to have a good knowledge of what should and shouldn't be asked before the board begins. A good district advancement rep will do a brief training with the board before it begins in order to minimize the likelhood that such a question would arise. If the the board agrees to withdraw the question then you can have the canditate return and simply say that you are going to move on to a different question. If the board member insists on asking the question you can remind them that since it does not relate to an advancement requirement that the scout's answer cannot be used for a decision to not advance the scout and should it be used that you would be compelled to suuport the scout in his appeal to the council.
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#10 John-in-KC

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 06:30 PM

I fundamentally disagree with BW. The young Eagle had every opportunity to say "I will be registered and voting for the general election. I'm not yet decided on who I will vote for at this moment, (or I prefer at this time to keep my support to myself). What we finally do, in the booth, is our own business, if we choose it to be. Folks have every right to shout their choice from the rooftops, so long as they don't do it within the set distance of the polling place. If this young man lives to be 80, he's got something on the order of 31 general elections. He's about to embark on the best part of being a US citizen, voting. Let him show that he's thinking wisely about that right! PS: Please congratulate the young man for us! :)(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)
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#11 NeilLup

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 09:18 PM

Whether this question is appropriate is, in my opinion, very dependent upon the Scout. I say this because an Eagle Board of Review can be an extreme pressure situation , particularly for someone almost 18. It might take real courage for a boy to say "I believe that it is my right to keep my personal vote private and secret." He has no idea how the Board will take that. So if it is a Scout who is strong, outgoing and quick on his feet, I might ask it. If the Scout is shy, introverted and a bit unsure of himself, I might consider the question to be coercive.
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#12 Stosh

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 09:28 PM

I have attended plenty of EBOR's and not all the questions asked were related to the boys' advancement requirements. And I would find it rather difficult to believe that someone is going to base a decision on a candidate's political choice for president. I guess I would assume a far less sinister reason for asking the question, relating it to the scout's citizenship understanding, which is of course part of the boy's advancement requirements. Stosh
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#13 evmori

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 07:18 AM

I have sat or quite a few EBOR's & don't feel this question is out of line. After all, the Scout being discussed in this thread is almost 18 & the question is very in line.
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#14 Lisabob

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 09:01 AM

Again context really is key. We have a couple of boys in the troop who LOVE to talk about politics and who would probably handle this question very well even though their views tend to be in the distinct minority where we live. For those boys, asking them who they would vote for and WHY (agreeing with Stosh on the importance of the why part) would be an ice breaker type of question. But in other contexts, if I did not know a boy very well, if it was a situation where the BOR was made of stubborn individuals who don't like being contradicted in their political views, then I would ask the question "Do you plan to vote?" with maybe "What sorts of factors might influence your decisions about whom to vote for" as a follow up question. I teach American politics and I never ask students to declare an allegiance to a particular candidate in any public way because I don't want them to think the "right" answer is "my" answer. I do ask them to explain the strengths and weakness of various candidates. I do ask them to be able to explain the factors that matter to them, and WHY they matter, when making a voting decision (in the abstract, not tied to a particular race or candidate). Sometimes I assign them a candidate for a project. I always tell them that if this is the one they support, that's fine, but if not, then it is also good to know the opposition. To my way of thinking citizenship isn't about giving the "right" answer to questions of political loyalty, but rather about being thoughtful and careful in one's choices. Any boy who can demonstrate those latter qualities, is well on his way.
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#15 Bob White

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 11:04 AM

Everyone seems to agree that having the scout explain how he would choose who to vote for is an appropriate question. I agree. However that is not the question that was asked. If what you want to know is what the scout has learned about choosing a representative then ask the scout what he has learned. For a panel of adults to ask a scout to tell them who specifically he intends to vote for is inapproporiate. Yes, the Scout has the right to shout his choice from the roof top, but that does give anone the right to ask him to tell who he is voting for in a secret ballot. To suggest that if the adults ask something they shouldn't that it is the scout's responsibility to stop them is just wrong. It is the adults responsibility to know better, and to know what they are supposed to be doing. This is a rude and coercive question whether that was the intent of it or not.
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#16 T78Scoutmaster

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 01:26 PM

I guess I'm a little sensitive to EBOR questions because I was asked a question in my EBOR eons ago that I thought I answered well. When called back in the gentleman who asked the question said I was wrong about my answer and did it in a way that shook me to my core. The board still approved me as Eagle Scout. I've carried the gentleman's answer with me over 30 years later. I realized several years after the EBOR that the gentleman was right, but at the time I was traumatized. Along a corollary theme, what would you say if your boss or someone else in authority asked who you were going to vote for this year? And that it was tied to a promotion or raise? I know it's slightly out of context given that Scouts must understand citizenship and our jobs may not have that requirement. I think our EBOR of the young man handled it well because they did not critique his particular answer; we discussed privately that he had put some thought into his answer. If any adult had critiqued his answer or had the answer sway his decision, then I would have supported the young man in an appeal. Religion, politics, and family are always dangerous topics, but it is refreshing to know the Scouting program is building Scouts who are able to handle tough questions and answer with confidence. Thanks again for all the great responses.
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#17 packsaddle

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 06:05 PM

Yeah, I understand how that would make you sensitive. I had a nearly perfect EBOR...perfect, that is, in the manner it was run - I have no idea if my performance was exemplary but I was evidently good enough to pass. I use my students as a model for these things. If I stand at the beginning of lecture and remind them that tomorrow is election day and urge all the students to participate in the election, I am engaging in public service. If I urge them to vote in any particular manner, I might get fired and rightly so. If I engage them in a discussion of the political issues in my science course, I will be derelict in my duties. The problem comes when there is a political dimension to a scientific issue. That's when the fun begins.
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#18 dScouter15

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 06:09 PM

I just think that there's better questions that could have been asked to assess citizenship. Personally, if I wanted to ask a question along this line, I would ask something to the effect of "How are you deciding who you will vote for in the next election?" This way, the scout could explain his values, his though processes, critical thinking, etc - i.e., the very things that Scouting tries to develop. Also, the scout will not feel compelled to reveal information he might prefer to keep to himself, and the board could have a discussion that focuses more on values, morals and citizenship than on politics. It also requires a lot more thought to answer this question than simply saying "Obama" or "McCain" or "Steven Colbert!" Personally, as an Eagle Scout, I'd be upset if I was asked such as question at my EBOR. I can say now, looking back, my thoughts on politics have changed greatly since that time. However, I'd like to think that my values, and commitment to citizenship have not changed. And isn't that what we're trying to assess?
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#19 evmori

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 06:39 AM

Why are we afraid to ask a direct question like "Who would you vote for if you were eligible to vote?" What that man told you, T78Scoutmaster, was out of line but there is nothing wrong with asking a direct question! And yep asking who someone would vote for is directly related to Scouting - citizenship. Ed Mori 1 Peter 4:10
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#20 GernBlansten

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 07:35 AM

If asking who the scout was going to vote for is appropriate, then his response "None of your beeswax" is also appropriate. Actually, I think a scolding by the scout to the asking adult about the sanctity of the secret ballot and how it relates to the integrity of the election process would be appropriate.
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