[The chair] “shall be an adult at least 21 years of age who is a Venturing-certified member of the district or local council advancement committee or their designated Venturing-certified representative. He or she is selected according to local council practices.
To become Venturing-certified, one must study this guide, complete the Venturing Awards and Requirements Training, and develop a basic knowledge of Venturing. Council Advancement Committees are tasked with certifying this individual using a local process.”
Until the Venturing Awards and Requirements Training is released, studying the Venturing Board of Review Guide will serve as the source of information to become “Venturing-certified,” with the method of certification to be determined by the local council. Members of any Venturing board of review would benefit from studying the guide—and later completing the training—to ensure understanding of the purpose, the discussion, and the story-based approach of Venturing boards of review, and how they differ from an Eagle Scout board of review.
How to Conduct a Summit Award Board of Review
Like the boards for the Discovery and Pathfinder awards, it is discussion- and story-based, and focuses on the ALPS model and the goals of Venturing. It should be a fun and rewarding experience for both the candidate and the review board members.
Summit Award candidates must carry out a service project using the Venturing Summit Award Service Project Workbook, No. 512-93 . Venturers may get started with their project proposal at any time after a successful Pathfinder board of review. Upon completion of the Adventure, Leadership, Personal Growth, and Service requirements, including the service project, a Summit Award candidate participates in an Advisor conference.
He or she then completes the Venturing Summit Award Application, obtaining the necessary signatures, and submits the application and the service project workbook to the council service center. The application is reviewed and verified at the Council service center, and a board of review chair is designated according to local council practices. Soon after the Summit Award application is submitted to the council and verified, the chair works with all involved parties to set the date, time, and place for the board.
Summit boards may be held in more formal settings than a home or crew meeting place, but the site should still be comfortable. The Summit Award board of review follows the same story-based guided discussion that is used for the Discovery and Pathfinder awards. Let the candidate talk about experiences, accomplishments, and benefits, and also about plans for the future with questions like those listed below. In this way the board will hear about the quality of the experience and how the Venturer fulfilled the requirements, and perhaps get ideas that may enhance the crew’s program.
The review is not to be a retesting or examination. The board members should convene at least 30 minutes before the scheduled board of review to go over the Summit application and the service project workbook.
Stories and Discussions
Through stories and discussions, the board should try to touch on each of the elements in the ALPS model. Please find guidance and sample questions below:
Adventure—Tell us about some of your adventures, either with the crew or outside the crew. Any good stories? Which adventures did you lead? How did they go? Did leading an adventure make it more or less enjoyable? What lessons did you learn? How can the crew improve its adventures?
Leadership—Tell us about your experience serving as a mentor to the leader of an adventure. Did everything go the way you thought it should? Tell us what happened. What do you think you might do differently next time?
Note: When discussing leadership, the board should focus on the importance of taking and accepting responsibility. These represent the foundation for leadership. Not everyone is destined to be “the leader of the group.” Others provide quality support and strong examples behind the scenes. Without the latter, the leaders in charge have little chance for success. The bottom line is that we want award recipients to be responsible—perhaps leaders, too—but at least responsible.
Venturers may, but are not required to, share the personal reflection associated with Development of Faith during a board of review.
Personal Growth—The members of the Summit board of review—both adults and Venturers—should reflect with the candidate on the benefits they all have experienced in Venturing. The discussion should work its way toward the personal code of conduct the candidate created and how that code came to be. Questions regarding the Venturer’s practice of living by the Scout Oath and Scout Law in daily life should be tailored so as not to be too intrusive or personal. These questions could consider specific laws or ideals, or could be general. For example, tell us about something you have witnessed or participated in that brought one of the points of the Scout Law to life. Tell us about something you have witnessed that brought the Scout Law point “Loyal” to life. Tell us how your experiences in Venturing have exemplified one of the ideals expressed in the Scout Oath.
Service—The board should already have read through the candidate’s service project workbook. It explains what makes an acceptable project. This part of the review should be devoted to the candidate describing what was done and how it felt to provide the service. For example: How did you come up with your project idea, how did it evolve, and how did it come together? How did those who received the service react? How did you benefit from it? Through the resulting stories and discussion, the board should be able to tell if the project fits the requirement.
Making the Decision
Summit Award boards of review should last approximately 45 minutes. However, if the discussions are positive and enjoyable, it is acceptable to go on somewhat longer.
After the board of review, the Venturer waits outside the room or out of hearing range while the board deliberates. A majority vote is required for approval of advancement. In the event of a tie, the chair’s vote is the deciding vote. Give careful consideration to each member’s perspective, in sufficient detail that you will avoid any factual misunderstandings. You may call the candidate back if more discussion could provide clarification.
If advancement is approved, the candidate is called in and congratulated. The board of review date becomes the award’s effective date.
If the board decides that the candidate has not fulfilled all the requirements, he or she must be informed of this and told what might be done to pass the board. The candidate shall not be told any specifics about the board’s deliberations. If it is thought that the candidate could properly complete the requirements before his or her 21st birthday, the board may adjourn and reconvene at a later date. If the candidate agrees to this, then, if possible, the same members should reassemble. If the candidate does not agree, the board’s current decision will stand unless overturned later upon appeal.
In all cases when advancement is denied, a follow-up letter must be promptly sent to Venturers who have been turned down. It must suggest actions that could help them successfully complete the requirements, and also explain the appeal procedures that may be followed if a Summit board of review does not recommend advancement. See the Guide to Advancement Venturing Supplement 2014 for details.
Regardless of the outcome, the board of review chair communicates the decision to the crew Advisor and the council or district, according to local practices.
A board of review is not required to record “minutes,” but for the Summit Award it is a good idea. Any such notes must remain confidential to the members of the board or to advancement administrators on a need-to-know basis. The notes may be used in preparing a follow-up letter, should the candidate be turned down, and may also prove helpful in an appeal process. In any case, once a review or appeal is completed, all notes must be destroyed.
For more information on conducting the Summit Award board of review, see the BSA Guide to Advancement Venturing Supplement 2014 and the Venturing Advisor Guidebook, No. 34655. For information on other awards available to Venturers, see Venturing Awards and Requirements, No. 34784.