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Eagle references


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#1 CherokeeScouter

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 01:26 PM

Was wondering how your Council handles Eagle references. The application says to  list the names and addresses of people who would provide references on behalf of the Eagle candidate. It doesn't actually say to provide them. Is that just assumed? In fact, taking it further, it almost sounds like the Council would reach out for the the references. 

 

Or does your council, like ours, just let it be known that the Eagle candidate needs to provide references and has the Eagle candidate ask for a reference and then has the person send the reference letter directly to the council. 

 

Tx in advance for any help. 


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#2 NJCubScouter

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 01:47 PM

In our district it is the second option, except that the letters are to be sent to someone in the troop, either the SM or someone who will be a member of the EBOR.  (Our EBOR's are technically troop BOR's rather than district-level BOR's, with several troop committee members plus a District Advancement Committee representative, but they are held at a central district location.)


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#3 walk in the woods

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 01:52 PM

It's been a couple years but my district used to request the form and any supporting letter be sent to the SM or Eagle Coordinator of the troop.  The expectation is the letters would be received in sealed envelops and delivered unopened, with the Eagle package.


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#4 Col. Flagg

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 01:55 PM

We do something similar to NJ:

  • Eagle candidate completes all paperwork. Reviews with the Eagle coach for completeness.
  • Eagle coach gives the candidate the information about the recommendation letters to be sent to the Eagle coach.
  • Eagle coach collects the letters (or bugs the references if they have not yet provided them) and bring them to the EBOR.
  • Our EBORs are made up of unit parents, one district liaison, our advancement chair and the Eagle coach. They are held at our unit location.
  • Recommendation letters are destroyed and not shown to the candidate after they are used.

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#5 CherokeeScouter

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 01:58 PM

Ours is a tad  more electronic. The reference letters are sent directly to the District Eagle person via email. (We have a template in Microsoft Word). The District Eagle person also collects the Eagle application as  well, which goes to Council. That Eagle District person also schedules the BOR. 


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#6 T2Eagle

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 02:29 PM

Our district does it like Cherokee's with the exception that the reference forms are snail mailed to the District Eagle person.


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#7 NJCubScouter

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 02:29 PM

Ours is a tad  more electronic. The reference letters are sent directly to the District Eagle person via email. (We have a template in Microsoft Word). The District Eagle person also collects the Eagle application as  well, which goes to Council. That Eagle District person also schedules the BOR. 

 

Really, how 1990's of you.  We are still in the 1960's as far as EBORs.   :)


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#8 frankpalazzi

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 02:32 PM

It's been a couple years but my district used to request the form and any supporting letter be sent to the SM or Eagle Coordinator of the troop.  The expectation is the letters would be received in sealed envelops and delivered unopened, with the Eagle package.

Same in our neck of the woods.  The letters are not destroyed and traditionally we include them in the "binder" that's presented at the ECOH.


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#9 Cleveland Rocks

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 02:43 PM

Same in our neck of the woods.  The letters are not destroyed and traditionally we include them in the "binder" that's presented at the ECOH.

 

 

That goes against the Guide to Advancement.

 

9.0.1.7 References Contacted

 

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 do not have the option of giving the reference directly to the Scout and 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.


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#10 frankpalazzi

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 02:57 PM

Oooo. I hope the GTA Police don't find out!!!


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#11 NJCubScouter

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 03:55 PM

That statement from the GTA mentions the reason why the letters are not to be shared with the Scout and are to be destroyed, and it's a pretty good reason: The person writing the letter might want to include information that is negative (or not completely positive) and would not feel free to state his/her true opinion unless confidentiality is going to be maintained.  On the other hand, I have been on many EBOR's and have NEVER seen a letter that was not completely positive.  Most of them almost seem to glow with pride at being asked to write a reference for the Scout in question.  There have even been a few times when I have thought (to myself) that while the Scout in question is a great kid and has certainly passed the requirements for Eagle, the praise was may be a bit overly effusive.  It is therefore a bit difficult to imagine ea letter that goes in the other direction.  But I am sure it does happen, somewhere, sometime.

 

The one real surprise I ever got from reading something at an EBOR was when I read the Scout's statement of life goals, and one of his goals was that if he ever had a son, to be involved in his son's Cub pack and Boy Scout troop, not like his own father who had also been an Eagle Scout but had not been involved at all in his son's pack or troop, never went on camping trips, etc.  I mean, I knew this about the father, but what I did not know about was the son's strong sense of disappointment in his own father because of it.  That was kind of an eye-opener.  


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#12 Col. Flagg

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 04:00 PM

While I agree the letters should be destroyed per policy, what Scout is going to ask someone to give a reference if they even suspect that person will give an even slightly negative response?


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#13 NJCubScouter

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 08:41 PM

While I agree the letters should be destroyed per policy, what Scout is going to ask someone to give a reference if they even suspect that person will give an even slightly negative response?


That's true, but at least in theory there may be cases where it is difficult to avoid a particular person. For example, if a Scout's family (including the Scout) are regular, active members of a particular place of worship, if the Scout does not write down the name of that spiritual leader on the application, it is going to raise questions. It is also true that our perceptions of another person's opinion of us is not always accurate. As I said before, a negative review is probably very rare, but "very rare" means it does happen sometimes.
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#14 Lurking...

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 08:42 PM

Our council goes beyond the personal letters of reference and also include one from the SM.  If the SM does not submit one, the EBOR his not scheduled.


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#15 skeptic

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 09:00 PM

Having had the pleasure of sitting on quite a few Eagle boards, I sometimes have wished we could on occasion publish letters with the candidate or writer's  identification.  Over the years, I have read a number that are really wonderful examples of how a candidate, and therefore Scouting, is viewed by many in the public.  I suspect a really inspiring book could be compiled, or likely a number of them over time.


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#16 NJCubScouter

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 09:17 PM

Having had the pleasure of sitting on quite a few Eagle boards, I sometimes have wished we could on occasion publish letters with the candidate or writer's  identification.  Over the years, I have read a number that are really wonderful examples of how a candidate, and therefore Scouting, is viewed by many in the public.  I suspect a really inspiring book could be compiled, or likely a number of them over time.


Many of these letters are written by teachers, and I have said that when my time is up, I hope my eulogy could be given by a teacher or school principal. Generally speaking, their capacity for finding creative ways of saying nice things about people is amazing. Too bad I wouldn't be around to hear it...
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#17 MattR

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 09:22 PM

Having had the pleasure of sitting on quite a few Eagle boards, I sometimes have wished we could on occasion publish letters with the candidate or writer's  identification. ... I suspect a really inspiring book could be compiled, or likely a number of them over time.

I think you can, after a bit of work. I just sat in on an EBOR and the scout asked if he could read the recommendations. The answer was no, but if he really wanted to read them then he just had to ask the people that wrote them to send him a copy. Once he has it, he can do with it as he pleases, including giving it to anyone.


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#18 perdidochas

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 09:31 AM

Was wondering how your Council handles Eagle references. The application says to  list the names and addresses of people who would provide references on behalf of the Eagle candidate. It doesn't actually say to provide them. Is that just assumed? In fact, taking it further, it almost sounds like the Council would reach out for the the references. 

 

Or does your council, like ours, just let it be known that the Eagle candidate needs to provide references and has the Eagle candidate ask for a reference and then has the person send the reference letter directly to the council. 

 

Tx in advance for any help. 

Our council emails out forms to the references (they used to snailmail it out), and asks the references to snailmail directly to the Scoutmaster, who brings the sealed envelopes to the EBOR.


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#19 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 10:10 AM

In my district, references need to be in letter form and mailed to the district advancement chairman. EBOR gets to read them.

 

 

While I agree the letters should be destroyed per policy, what Scout is going to ask someone to give a reference if they even suspect that person will give an even slightly negative response?

 

I have been told this happened twice. First time, the SM counseled him and told him what he would put down. Don't know if the Scout didn't hear him or didn't care. He used the SMt, and received a negative reference.

 

Second one I was told about is interesting. Scout went overboard with the references and had 6 or 7 letters. All but one were positive.


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#20 fred johnson

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 10:32 AM

Our council goes beyond the personal letters of reference and also include one from the SM.  If the SM does not submit one, the EBOR his not scheduled.

 

I'm betting that's a district practice, not a council one.  I've seen quite a few backwards districts, but usually when it gets to a council level things are more per BSA GTA direction.  But then again, I'm in a very large council.  Some councils are the size of some of our districts.  

 

As for the practice, it's just wrong and a waster of time.  The SM has signed the eagle project and the eagle application.  If the SM won't sign those, there is a well written process to pursue rank under disputed circumstances.  Requiring a SM reference letter is just a weak, ill-defined, dead-end, non-BSA process.  Did I mention wrong?   :)

 

I'm always surprised when I hear things like this.  People value Eagle so highly that they add their own twist / signature to the process that flies directly in the face of the organization that is providing the credential.  It's a contradiction to highly value an organization's credential but not the infrastructure behind that credential.  I just don't get it. BSA's methods and processes are just not that hard to understand.  


Edited by fred johnson, 21 April 2017 - 10:37 AM.

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