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#21 MattR

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 10:45 AM

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 don't know about calling it wrong. I can see redundant, not to mention extra work for the SM ;) And yet every time I sign off I think about a scouts pros and cons. I've already thought about the basics of a letter of recommendation. Those insights would always be positive (or else the SM would not have signed the app) so it could help the BOR get to know the scout.

 

But then again, our EBORs are fairly easy going, compared to the extremes I've heard about here.


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#22 The Blancmange

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 11:25 AM

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 would tend to agree with that, but somewhere in the archives on this board is another discussion along these lines, and I recall people coming up with examples of negative references.   (I don't have time to search harder now.  Maybe a weekend task)


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#23 qwazse

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 12:01 PM

I would tend to agree with that, but somewhere in the archives on this board is another discussion along these lines, and I recall people coming up with examples of negative references.   (I don't have time to search harder now.  Maybe a weekend task)

Maybe this one?

 

http://scouter.com/i...child/?p=407383

 

I pointed to one of my replies because, although I talk about putting negative things in writing, I've never felt that I've had to.


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#24 CherokeeScouter

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 12:34 PM

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

LOL. Well, ours don''t work so well, which is why I'm reaching out. Maybe I need to go back to the future or at least the 1960s.


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#25 fred johnson

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 10:45 AM

I don't know about calling it wrong. 

 

The original statement was that an EBOR would not be scheduled without a SM reference letter.  You can request and call directly a second time.  But if does not come in, it's wrong to not schedule the EBOR.  It's even wrong to delay an EBOR waiting for the reference letter.  That's BSA GTA documented..  


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#26 MattR

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 12:17 PM

The original statement was that an EBOR would not be scheduled without a SM reference letter.

Yeah, I see your point.

 

It would add to the BOR if the SM wanted to write it, but if it's required then it might not add anything positive, so pushing it is a mistake.


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#27 The Blancmange

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 11:22 AM

I would tend to agree with that, but somewhere in the archives on this board is another discussion along these lines, and I recall people coming up with examples of negative references.   (I don't have time to search harder now.  Maybe a weekend task)

 

Here is the thread I was thinking of, for what it's worth:

 

http://scouter.com/i...s-of-reference/


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#28 NJCubScouter

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 12:28 PM

Here is the thread I was thinking of, for what it's worth:
 
http://scouter.com/i...s-of-reference/

 
Well, that's a strange old thread.  (And not just because it was from 2009 and the OP's profile says he was last active in the forum in 2007.  Sounds like either someone was doing some time-traveling, or it's just another bug in the system.)  The OP, who was apparently a brand new SM at the time, told of a Scout who was the subject of FOUR negative letters of reference at his EBOR, and he was not awarded the rank.  There was no explanation of why this may have been the case, nor was there any follow-up as to whether the Scout passed an EBOR at a later time or on appeal.  There were some other forum members who found this story difficult to believe, as they had never seen even one negative letter at an EBOR.  Then there was another poster who said something like "this happens sometimes" but without any specifics.

 

As I said earlier, I have never seen it happen either, but I am sure it does happen, and that old thread seems to support that idea.  It does not really shed any light on the kinds of situations in which it might happen.  One can only guess at the reasons why that Scout got four negative letters, and I mean that literally:  One can only guess.


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#29 fred johnson

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 02:02 PM

BSA Advancement Team published the May / June 2017 Advancement News.  It had a section on Reference Letters.  FYI.

 

http://files.constan...53aa8ec62a4.pdf


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#30 andysmom

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 01:34 PM

In our council references are checked by the unit, in our case, me, the advancement coordinator and I fill out a form stating that I checked the references and not anything negative.  That form gets submitted to the council with the Eagle Package.  I send requests via email and prefer to get an email response.  If I can't get a response via email I call the reference and take notes on our conversation.  At the Eagle Board of Review I provide the letters and/or my notes to the board to review.  The letters are not given to the scout per the GTA.


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#31 MattR

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 03:06 PM

 
As I said earlier, I have never seen it happen either, but I am sure it does happen, and that old thread seems to support that idea.  It does not really shed any light on the kinds of situations in which it might happen.  One can only guess at the reasons why that Scout got four negative letters, and I mean that literally:  One can only guess.

I'm not surprised at all. I've seen scouts do incredibly dumb things thinking they'd get away with it. Case in point: there's an old thread about a scout smoking marijuana at summer camp (yeah, that was my scout). So, if a scout thinks he can get away with something and is that naive then he's likely to just ask anyone for a recommendation without thinking it through very well. You guys are thinking like adults, not a 16 year old.


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#32 Col. Flagg

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 03:13 PM

I'm not surprised at all. I've seen scouts do incredibly dumb things thinking they'd get away with it. Case in point: there's an old thread about a scout smoking marijuana at summer camp (yeah, that was my scout). So, if a scout thinks he can get away with something and is that naive then he's likely to just ask anyone for a recommendation without thinking it through very well. You guys are thinking like adults, not a 16 year old.

 

Sorry, but I did some silly stuff when I was a kid too. I was the kid who hollowed out my cassette tape case and took 4 beers (like that will do anything) to a camp out. I got turned in.

 

A few years later my parents suggested I get a few letters of recommendation from a few of the dads in the troop, several of which were the ones who knew about the beer incident. I was 17 and I knew darn well NOT to contact them for anything.

 

Once a father I ran in to one of them. I apologized for what I had done back then. He remembered and said he was glad I had grown up. I asked him if he would have given me a recommendation back then. He said he wouldn't have because I had broken his trust; and while he wanted me to have a second chance, he didn't think I was worthy of being Eagle.

 

So yes, teenagers ARE -- or at least WERE -- capable of discerning right from wrong AND knowing who to contact for recommendations. I think now (and over the last 15 years or more) folks just think they can get away with stuff.


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#33 MattR

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 03:40 PM

So yes, teenagers ARE -- or at least WERE -- capable of discerning right from wrong AND knowing who to contact for recommendations.


SOME scouts ARE capable. Some are not. I don't mind scouts that do stupid things as long as they can learn from it. You lost the adult's trust but eventually you earned it back.
 

I think now (and over the last 15 years or more) folks just think they can get away with stuff.


Didn't you think you could get away with it?


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#34 Col. Flagg

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 03:51 PM

Didn't you think you could get away with it?

 

I wasn't clear. I was not talking about thinking I could get away with bringing the beer. Of course I thought I would.

 

I was talking about some teenager being silly enough to think that they could get away with getting a recommendation from someone who knows they broke the rules (and the law). Some folks -- sadly many more now than in the past -- seem to think they can do anything and it will be forgotten.

 

In my case it was over a decade later when the one dad finally forgave me...and only after I had proven I wasn't a waste of space, time and breath.


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#35 MattR

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 03:58 PM

That makes more sense.


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#36 NJCubScouter

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 04:06 PM

In our council references are checked by the unit, in our case, me, the advancement coordinator and I fill out a form stating that I checked the references and not anything negative.  That form gets submitted to the council with the Eagle Package.  I send requests via email and prefer to get an email response.  If I can't get a response via email I call the reference and take notes on our conversation.  At the Eagle Board of Review I provide the letters and/or my notes to the board to review.  The letters are not given to the scout per the GTA.

 

As the advancement coordinator in our troop, I am glad our council does NOT do it that way.  :)   Actually, nobody "checks" the references.  The Scout asks each referer (referent?  referee?) to send a letter to the Scoutmaster.  I think there is also a form but the writers generally write a real letter.  The SM either brings the letters to the EBOR or, if he cannot be there, he gives them to one of the committee members who will be serving on the EBOR.  The letters remain sealed until they are opened by the board members at the EBOR.


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