Bridge of review

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After completing the requirements for any Sea Scout rank, the Sea Scout appears before a bridge of review. He or she cannot be denied this opportunity. The purpose of the review is to determine the quality of the candidate's experience and decide whether the youth is qualified to advance. The bridge of review date becomes the effective advancement date.

A bridge of review must consist of no fewer than three members and no more than six. Skippers and mates may not serve on a bridge of review for a Scout in their own ship. Parents or guardians may not serve on a bridge for their son or daughter. The candidate or his or her parent(s) or guardian(s) shall have no part in selecting any bridge of review members.


Wearing the Uniform—or Neat in Appearance

It is preferred a Scout be in full field uniform for any bridge of review. As much of the uniform as the Scout owns should be worn, and it should be as correct as possible, with the badges worn properly. It may be the uniform as typically worn by the Scout's ship. If wearing all or part of the uniform is impractical for whatever reason, the candidate should be clean and neat in appearance and dressed appropriately, according to the Scout's means, for the milestone marked by the occasion. Regardless of unit, district, or council expectations or rules, bridges of review shall not reject candidates solely for reasons related to uniforming or attire, as long as they are dressed to the above description. Candidates shall not be required to purchase uniforming or clothing to participate in a bridge of review.

Not a Retest or "Examination"

Though one reason for a bridge of review is to help ensure the Scout did what was supposed to have been done to meet the requirements, it shall become neither a retest or "examination," nor a challenge of the Scout's knowledge. In most cases it should, instead, be a celebration of accomplishment. Remember, it is more about the journey. A badge recognizes what a Scout has done toward achieving the primary goal of personal growth. It is thus more about the learning experience than it is about the specific skills learned. A Scout must not be rejected at a bridge of review for reasons unrelated to advancement requirements. For example, the Scout must not be rejected for not bringing a Sea Scout Manual or being tardy for a bridge of review, but the reason for the tardiness may certainly be a topic for discussion.

What Should Be Discussed

During the review, bridge members may refer to the Sea Scout Manual, Guide to Advancement, and other such references. Bridge members may ask where skills were learned by the Scout, who the Scout's teachers were, and what was gained from fulfilling selected requirements. The answers will reveal what was done to earn the rank. It can be determined, then, if this was what the Scout was supposed to do. Discussion of how the Scout has lived the Scout Oath and Scout Law at home, at school, in the unit, and in the community should be included. Although there are high expectations for Scouts, perfection is not insisted upon. A positive attitude is most important, and that a youth accepts Scouting's ideals and sets and meets good standards in daily life.

A bridge is not required to record "minutes," but it is a good idea. Any such notes must remain confidential to the members of the bridge or to administrators with a need to know. They may be used in preparing a follow-up letter, should a Scout be turned down, and they can be helpful in an appeal process. In any case, once a review or appeal is completed, all notes must be destroyed.

How Bridges Can Lead to Program Improvement

Periodic reviews of members' progress can provide a measure of unit effectiveness. A ship might uncover ways to increase the educational value of its outings, or how to strengthen administration of national advancement procedures. For example, if it is discovered ship's leaders are not ensuring that all requirements have been met before Scouts present themselves for the bridge of review, then process improvements can be recommended. A bridge can also help by considering the style of leadership best suited to current circumstances and ways to adjust it to different needs. Note that bridges of review may also be held for Scouts who are not advancing. Much can be learned from them, as well.

Bridge Members Must Agree Unanimously on Decisions to Approve

After the bridge of review the Scout is asked to wait outside the room or out of hearing range while the bridge deliberates. To approve awarding a rank, the bridge must agree unanimously. Every effort should be made to deliberate with careful consideration of each member's perspective and in sufficient detail as to avoid factual misunderstanding. It is appropriate to call the candidate back if additional questions may provide clarification. Still, if any member dissents, the decision cannot be for approval. In the case of such disagreement, the Scout shall not be informed about the specifics of the conversations or any arguments taking place. The Scout is only told what improvements need to be made.

After the Review

If the members agree a Scout is ready to advance, the Scout is called in and congratulated. The bridge of review date—not that of a subsequent court of honor—becomes the rank's effective date.

If a bridge does not approve, the candidate must be so informed and told what can be done to improve. Most Scouts accept responsibility for their behavior or for not completing requirements properly.

If it is thought that a Scout, before his or her 18th birthday, can benefit from an opportunity to complete the requirements properly, the bridge 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, then the bridge must make its decision at that point. In any case, a follow-up letter must be promptly sent to a Scout who is turned down. A copy of the letter should also be sent to the council's designated appeals coordinator. The letter must include actions advised that may lead to advancement, and also an explanation of appeal procedures. The council must keep a copy of the letter.

See Also

Sea Scout portal
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