Preparing for Your Eagle Board of Review

Congratulations Scout!  You have reached the last step on your trail to Eagle… the Eagle Board of Review.  This is where you will appear before a group of three experienced Scouters from the District and answer their questions about Scouting.  This little write-up will tell you what to expect and help you get ready.

What is the Eagle Board of Review?

The Eagle Board of Review is the final step in Scouting.  At the lower ranks you appeared before a group of three adults from the troop and they asked you questions about your experience getting to that rank.  The Eagle Board is no different, except that you will be appearing before three adults from the District.  Typically these are Scouters that have spent years working at the District and Council level.  This means that they really love Scouting and want to make sure that every Eagle Candidate is completely qualified.

Where will the Board be held?

Usually the Board takes place at the Buffalo Trail Council Office center.  The area where you will meet is in the conference room.  Make sure you know the address, (1101 W. Texas Ave, Midland, Tx 79701), and know how to get there and the phone number of Lonnie Yee (432) 352-8882.

How long will it take?

By custom in our district the Eagle Board take about 45 minutes.  Usually there are several boards held on one afternoon, so be sure to arrive on time because there are likely to be a Scout having a board after you. 2:00pm is when we ask the scout to be there and those that are sitting on the board.

How should I be dressed?

Well, in full Class A uniform, of course.  You should make sure that your uniform is complete, including the neckerchief and clasp.  You have lots of time to prepare, so make sure your uniform is clean, pressed and complete.  Make sure you have your neckerchief slide and a decent belt.  Try to wear clean shoes.  Also you should wear your merit badge sash.  You don’t need to bring your Order of the Arrow if you have one.

Remember, the Reviewers will be in full uniform and you should be too.  It is one way to show respect for Scouting, which is what they want to see.

What happens next?

After the introduction, the Reviewers will sit back and start the review.  But they will ask you to remain standing.  The next request will be for you to recite the Scout Oath and Law.  Now, I know that you recite this all the time, but go over it a few times before the Review and make sure.  Believe it or not, I have had a few Scouts struggle with the Scout Oath, which is not as weird as it sounds because sometimes people just freeze up when they need to recite word for word – relax.

And then what?

After this short test they will ask you to sit down.  One trick is to take off your merit badge sash, fold it and put it in your lap.  This way you can point to merit badges naturally when asked about them.

Now for some pointers on answering questions.  Consider this to be a job interview.  The Reviewers are rooting for you, they want you to succeed, but you need to meet them more than half way.  The first thing is to sit up straight and look them right in the eye.  If you look off into space (like many people do) it sends the message that you are uncomfortable and not confident.  Even better, try to lean forward a little.  This shows that you are interested in their questions.  Most of all speak in a strong voice, speak with confidence and show real interest.

It is a natural human tendency to want to answer questions quickly.  People think that this shows you know the answer.  However, even if you know the answer it is a good idea to listen carefully, take some time and think the question over.  Formulate your answer and then give it to them at a normal pace.  It will seem odd, but your answers will be much better if you think before speaking (seems kind of obvious doesn’t it).  Most questions will be simple, but some will require you to use your head, so take your time.

Here is another thing to remember.  Except for some highly specialized questions about camping or Scout history, you know much more than the Reviewers.  For instance, you know much more about your project than anybody else on the planet.  You are also an expert on your opinions about various topics.  I will repeat this later, but most questions that the Reviewers ask have no right or wrong answer.  For example, “Should girls be allowed into Scouting in the US (like they are in every other country in the world)?  There is no right answer to this question, only your opinion, clearly expressed.

So what kind of questions will they ask?

When one of the Reviewers calls you to set up the Board of Review he or she will probably give you some topic areas to be familiar with, typically the history of Scouting or the proper display of the flag.  Be sure to take careful notes because they will certainly ask you these questions. Usually the questions that you get asked come from the following areas:

  • Your experience in High School
  • Your plans for the future (like what will you do after high school)
  • Your experience in Scouting.
  • How your project went (more on this later)
  • Scout history.
  • Flag history
  • Proper flag etiquette
  • Leadership
  • Philosophical questions about the Scout Oath and Law
  • What will you do to promote Scouting?

At the end of this write up are some questions that have really been asked at Eagle Boards of Review.  But first, let’s go over some of the categories.

Your Experience in Scouting and High School

These are easy questions.  You are the only person in the whole world that knows about your own experience.  My only advice is to put everything in a reasonably positive light.  There are probably some things that you don’t like about Scouting or High School.  It’s okay to say so if asked, but don’t be too negative.  You also probably did some unScouting like things (you know the really big fire at that one campout?), it is probably better not to mention these.

Scout and Flag history

Study up.  Mostly they just want you to know the sorts of things that every citizen should know, like what do the colors of the flag represent, what do the stripes stand for and what do the stars stand for?  Who brought Scouting to the United States… that sort of thing.

Flag Etiquette and Display

Generally, the flag is always displayed on its right.  So if it is on the stage it will be on the speaker’s right.  When it hangs the field of blue is on the flag’s right.  The one unusual case is when the flag is laid over the coffin of a fallen soldier.  In this case the field on the soldier’s left shoulder.  This is because the flag is symbolically wrapping around the soldier, thus the field is still on the flag’s right, it is just that the flag is facing the coffin.  You’ll just have to read about how to hang flags above streets.

Your Eagle Project

When you get to the Eagle Review the project book you turned in will be there.  When the Reviewers ask you questions, don’t be shy about picking it up and turning to a page with a picture or chart.  Remember, you know everything about your project, so you are the expert.  Usually, one of the reviewers has been out to see your project. They will probably ask you about what went right and what went wrong on the project.  They will also be interested in how you demonstrated leadership.  Be sure to have a couple of examples of this in mind before you show up at the review.  One good example of leadership is how you handle an unanticipated problem that arises during your project execution.

Future Involvement with Scouting

You will probably be asked how you will help Scouting now that you are an Eagle.  Give this some though before the Board of Review.   You should have a clear honest answer.  For example, if you are over 18, you can sign on as an adult leader.  Of if you are under 18, you can be a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster and skills instructor.  Just make sure you are giving an honest answer about your intentions.

Leadership

You will, no doubt be asked many questions about leadership.  You should think about how you have shown leadership inside and outside of Scouting.  It is good to have a few examples from your project.  If you are in another activity, like a sport, see if you can think of a way that Scouting has helped you to be a better leader in that activity.

Philosophical questions

These are the really tough questions.  First off, remember that you are only 18 years old.  No one has a right to expect a really clear answer to a philosophical question that has bothered our best minds of mankind for 3000 years.  You are only expected to express you opinions (if any) in a clear and honest manner.  Do not try to tell the reviewers what you think they want to hear.  In the first place, you don’t really know what they want to hear, in the second place it would against the first point of the Scout Law (you know – being trustworthy and honest).  Just give them an answer that best reflects you opinion, but please think it out before speaking.  Remember, there are no correct answers to these questions.

The one question that you might be asked is whether you believe in God.  Scouting expects that all Scouts have a belief in God, but, of course, they don’t expect everybody to have a perfectly clear picture of God because no one does.  You should think about this question and how you might answer it.  Besides, it’s a good question to think a little about everyday, anyway.  Your personal answer can range from a definitive belief in a particular concept of God to a general belief in the oneness of humanity and the presence of a greater power.

Some real questions from Eagle Boards of Review

Whenever I attend a board of review with an Eagle Candidate I take really good notes, so here are some examples of real questions.

Personal and Life Questions

How is High School fitting into your plans for the future?

How many Scouts helped on your project?

Did you have different ages and skill levels of Scouts?  How did you handle this?

Do you have a job?

Do you have a general area that you will be pursuing in college?

What must you do when you turn 18?

What else should you do when you turn 18?

Project Questions

Did you enjoy your project?

Did it turn out well?

Did you get good support from your Troop?

How did you get Scouts to help you on your project?

How did you supervise the adults on your project?

How did you set your goals in the project?

What were the comments of your sponsor about your project?

How did you feel about what you had accomplished?

Flag Questions

What do the stars and stripes in the flag represent?

How do you raise the flag on Memorial Day?

How do you hand the flag on a street running East and West?

Can you describe how the flag evolved to its present form?

How do you display a flag on a stage?

Scouting Questions

What Scouting experience did you enjoy the most?

What camping event did you enjoy the most?

Did you go into Scouting with any friends or classmates?  How many stuck with it?

What would you do to keep a boy in Scouting?

Could an individual Scout make a difference in retention?

Why do you want to be an Eagle?

What merit badge did you find the most challenging?

What merit badge was most meaningful to you?

Will you stay involved with Scouting?  How?

What merit badge did you find the most interesting?

Did you do any 50 milers or high adventure camps?

What is special about your Troop?

Did you need to call any counselors outside your troop when pursuing the merit badge?

What would you do to make Scouting more interesting?

Why did you choose the Hiking (or Swimming or Biking) merit badge for you Eagle?

How many boys are there in your Troop?

Are you still involved Scouting?

Will you stay involved with Scouting after you turn 18?

What did Baden Powell mean when he said “Be Prepared”?

Why do we have a uniform in Scouting?

What does the uniform represent to you and to the world at large?

What point would you like to see added to the Scout Law?

What was your biggest physical challenge in Scouting?

What do you know about the outdoor code?

Have you ever seen infractions of the outdoor code?

Tell us about one or two skills that you learned from Scouting?

Would you like to see Scouting move in a different direction?

What leadership positions did you hold in Scouting?

What is the Scout Motto?

What is the Scout Slogan?

Leadership Questions

What positions of responsibility have you held in your troop?

How has Scouting helped you as a leader in other activities? (like Football, Band, Cross Country).

What style of leadership works the best for you?

How has the leadership you have learned in Scouting helped you in other activities (e.g. Band, Sports)?

What is the most important thing you have learned about leadership?

Philosophical Questions

What does “on your honor” mean?

What is your Duty to God?

How does your Duty to God relate to the points of the Scout Law.

Do you regularly attend church (or temple or synagogue)?

What is your duty to your country?

Is the Scout Oath and Law a set of moral values?

Is there a relationship between “mentally awake” from the Scout Oath and “brave” from the Scout Law?

Who are your heroes?

Can you give an example of being “brave”?

What is the meaning of “trustworthy”?

What does it mean to be “loyal” and who are you “loyal” to?

Do you have a problem (a difficulty) with any point of the Scout Law?

Can you give an example of when you were “loyal”?

What does the term “thrifty” mean?

How are you thrifty with your time?

What is your religious background?

What do you think duty to country means?

What point of the Scout Law is the hardest for you to follow, and why?

What is your ambition in life?

What would you like to achieve in life?

What is your purpose on the Earth?

In general, what is going on in your state, the country and the world? (i.e. describe some relevant current events)

What is going on at your High School?

How do you get along with your family?