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They earned Eagle but still haven’t scheduled their court of honor

eaglepatchIt’s kind of like finishing a marathon but heading straight for your car instead of stopping to pick up your medal.

A Scouter from the St. Louis area — I’ll call him “Tim” — emailed me last week with a problem: Three Scouts in Tim’s troop finished all the requirements for the Eagle Scout award, but when Tim called the boys to help them plan an Eagle Scout court of honor, none seemed interested in even having a ceremony.

Here’s Tim’s full email explaining this sticky situation: 

I am the assistant Scoutmaster and advancement chairman for my Scout troop. I have worked with lots of boys in my troop and am proud of the fact that we have more than the national average of boys who made it to Eagle.

So many times, I have sat in the waiting room during a boy’s Eagle board of review, most times celebrating with the boy and his parents that he passed the board of review.

Several years ago, three boys who were very close to their 18th birthday successfully passed their Eagle Scout board of review. Our troop sent their application and records off to the local council and then to National. Shortly thereafter, the approved applications arrived along with the Eagle badge, certificate, and patch.

After receiving the packet from National, I immediately contacted the boys and encouraged them to arrange and coordinate their own Eagle ceremony. I printed off pages from the Internet about ceremonies and offered to help review their work.

Not one of these boys carried through with their ceremony. Although I have kept in contact with them, they do not seem to be interested in planning a ceremony. I even suggested that we could have a short ceremony during a Cub Scouts Blue and Gold banquet. No interest.

I still have these boys’ Eagle packets at home. The badge, patch, and certificate rightfully belong to the boy. Should I bundle them up and mail them to the boy or parents? What should I do?

My initial reaction is bewilderment. It shocks me to see a boy work so hard to earn Eagle and then not share that special achievement with the friends and family who helped get him there. And I’m equally shocked that teenagers would pass up the chance to eat cookies and cake.

In reality, an Eagle Scout court of honor celebrates more than just the Scout’s hard work. It’s a chance to recognize the supporting cast along the way, without whom the Scout wouldn’t have made it to the finish line. I’m talking about Scoutmasters and fellow Scouts, of course, but also the boy’s parents, grandparents, and siblings.

But just as you can’t force a boy to finish his work toward earning the Eagle Scout award, you can’t force him to have a ceremony after he earns it.

As sad as it makes me to say this, it appears Tim’s only option is to mail the Eagle materials to the boys’ parents, perhaps including with it a congratulatory, hand-written letter that challenges the Scout to take what he learned on the Eagle trail and apply it to the next chapters of life.

But that’s just my opinion. What advice would you give to Tim? Leave a thought below, and I’ll make sure Tim sees it. 

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133 Comments on They earned Eagle but still haven’t scheduled their court of honor

  1. Scout Mom #147 // March 26, 2013 at 10:50 am // Reply

    I wonder if they have another reason for not accepting them. Are they gay, maybe? If they have come out since earning their Eagle Scout, they might not want the attention they would get at a Court of Honor, or they might not treasure the acomplishment as much.

    • Mark D., Franklin, VA. // March 26, 2013 at 10:59 am // Reply

      Uncalled for. Such speculation only muddies the water of a completely different issue.

    • I really hope you aren’t serious.

      Facepalm.jpg

  2. I’d be curious as to why they don’t want an ECOH. This is a celebration of them.

    I would also still try to get them some congratulatory letters from officials, just have them sent directly to the Scouts.

  3. Maybe they are happy with the accomplishments, and dont want the ceremony,should be their choice, or could be a money issue within the families.

  4. I think it comes from not wanting to be the center of attention. I wanted my Wood Badge beads mailed to me but that wasn’t allowed. I would encourage him to mail them to the Scout and consider it finished. If Mom and Dad wanted a ceremony, the boys would have probably un-rightly had them already due to parents. If the boy doesn’t want a ceremony, that is fine with me. Eagle Ceremony is mostly for Mom and Dad anyway. As for the previous post of them being gay, lets move on already. Good grief.

  5. Mark D., Franklin, VA. // March 26, 2013 at 10:57 am // Reply

    I have been Scouting since my son started as a Tiger, so I seen the good, bad & ugly that comes with just about any process. Since my joining the Troop leadership team, which has been a fantastic experience thus far I have heard way too many young men make the accomplishment of making Eagle more a “to-do check-box” to check off rather than what it was originally intended. I know these young men are a minority, but I fear they are a growing one. Boys who see the Eagle Scout Rank merely as a line item to put on their college &/or job applications. As much as it pains me to see it, I think Bryan nails it by just sending the credentials to the parents with encouraging words, because that fact of the matter is that it is for sure the boy won’t care, especially if the family is of the same mind such that they won’t see to the ceremony either.

  6. We have had this happen before in my troop. Every time it was the scouts who completed their board of reviews just before their 18th birthday (always in the spring) and at that point they were just busy wth prepping for college the following fall.
    All of them eventually during a college break did have a public ceremony but it was usually a mom who pushed for it (sad to say). We once even had 3 at once.
    I would have to say that these scouts probably feel more pride in the accomplishment than worrying about a public ceremony. They may have just moved on with their life.
    But before just mailing the awards, contact the parents, see if they can give a little push. After all, the ceremony, like a wedding & graduations, is just as much for the proud parents as the scout.
    Ted Wicks, ASM T30 Billerica, MA & Unit Commisioner
    proud father of 2 Eagle Scouts & a member of the NE-201 Wood Badge Eagle patrol

  7. From one Eagle Scout to another:

    The purpose of a Court of Honor is threefold – First is to honor the new Eagle Scout for his achievment, Second is to recognize the contributions of the many others to who enabled that Scout to succeed, and third is to inspire others to set their sights on the same achievment. If you’re not interested in the first one, that’s your prerogative, but the other two are not. You owe a debt to those who devoted countless hours to help you. For those who might follow you, you should make a commitment now to give back to Scouting, more than Scouting has given to you — and this is how you start.

    You have the opportunity to write your own court of honor script — write it how you want, to focus on the things you want to focus on. You are an Eagle Scout. To forgo a Court of Honor is to make this occasion all about you, and to forget all others who came before you, all who supported you, and all those who might look to you as an example they might follow. You are an Eagle Scout, and right now is the time to start living that commitment.

    • John, How do we know that this was REALLY THEIR committment. I’ve seen many where their parents were the driving force with the same attitude as many parents have regarding scholarships and college prestige. It’s nuts what some parents will do regarding school, grades and so forth. I think that some maybe too focused on the endgame and not on the journey. The journey is important, too.

      • Bill,
        indeed the journey is important. From the information provided, of course we can’t know everything about what the journey to get -to- Eagle included in the way of commitment by the new Eagle Scout, or by the parents. The much longer journey after becoming an Eagle is more important still. If the trail by which boys reach Eagle needs repairs, then who better than the new Eagle Scout to call that out, and start fixing the problem. Who among us wouldn’t stand with such a young man to make sure his voice was heard?

  8. Some kids just don’t want the attention. My son has never wanted attention thrown his way. He doesn’t like birthday parties but instead invites one friend to hang out with him that day, he didn’t want rank advancement publicity, crossover ceremony – just give him his rank badges and move on. Maybe they went out for a dinner after their BOR and celebrated among family.

    Send them their rank and paperwork and maybe a card signed by the boys in the troop.

  9. Tracey Lucas // March 26, 2013 at 11:01 am // Reply

    I wonder how old the Scouts are. If they are in the middle of their teenage years, this might be their way of stating their feelings. We’ve had a couple of Scouts go through our troop who earned their Eagle, well, their parents earned their Eagle. Their participation in the troop was at their parents’ insistence, and the Scouts were pretty open and resentful about it. Maybe this is their only way of expressing that the effort was not their choice. This “arrangement” is not always something we know about, as adult leaders. The achievement of Eagle has now become partnered with college scholarships and better jobs. When we have visiting parents and Scouts, many times we’re not asked anything about how the troop runs, what we do, who our leaders are. All the parents want to know is how long does it take for a boy to earn his Eagle. When we tell them that this is totally up to the boy, they seem a little annoyed. I get the impression that they feel it’s our only “job” as adult leaders to get a Scout to Eagle. I’ve got to say, if Scouting was shoved down my throat under threats of being deprived of other things that I enjoyed doing, I would have nothing to do with celebrating it. My folks can pick up “their” badge from the office.

  10. Lots of boys don’t desire the public recognition. Others don’t want to plan their ceremony or can’t afford the reception that often times follows. Has Tim communicated with the parents? Perhaps they could provide some insight.
    I agree with you that Tim should mail the Eagle packets out. I would include the Eagle Challenge.
    Ann
    ASM, Frazer PA

  11. We recently had a similar situation in our Troop. The Scout was uninterested in a COH, and his parents supported his decision, even after we made the same arguments that you make in the article… thanking supporting cast, being a role model for younger scouts, etc… nothing clicked. IMHO, the parents need to be on board with a COH in order for it to happen, much like Scout advancement. A Scout without strong parental support frequently fails to advance. We finally arranged for the Scout to pick up his packet at the Scoutmaster’s home. To me it is sad when someone’s achievement goes unheralded. I also consider it a lack of respect for the Troop, its leaders, and the community as a whole. One of the things we are supposed to be instilling in our youth is that Scouting is about teamwork, not individual effort. I’m sure that Eagle Scout designation will be prominently entered on college and job applications in the future for him, without the ‘asterisk’ saying that he really didn’t understand the whole picture of earning and receiving it.
    Being a troop with a lot of Eagles, I get that seeing 4 COHs a year could make it seem routine, but it simply is not, and needs to be celebrated in some way that respects the Scout’s and his family’s preferences, yet shoes the respect that Scouting and the Troop deserve as well.

  12. Definitely send the packets to the parents. Why has this gone “several years” without being resolved?

  13. The boys are rightfully Eagle Scouts and should have their packets. I would recommend immediately sending them to the boys. They have stated that they do not want a ceremony, that is the end of the discussion. Yes it is no fun, but that is the way they want it, it is their choice.

  14. I have had the same experience a few times in our Troop,particularly when the Scout is at or beyond his 18th birthday. The Scout is an Eagle as of his BOR date and the badge, medal, certificate belong to him – you ought not be holding on to them. There is no requirement that a C of H be held. we all like to celebrate our Eagles, but it sounds as like the time for that has long passed.

  15. My troop had a recent Eagle decline a CoH because “he didn’t want all the pomp and circumstance”. Fine, if you don’t want to be the center of attention. But this attitude fails to think of the other boys in the troop, those that came before him and those that will come after. An Eagle CoH is only superficially about the Eagle Scout, and infinitely more about what Eagle *means*. This young man was a great scout, but I really wonder now if he *gets* it.

    • I didn’t go to my college graduation. I started working a few weeks after I got my degree. I totally understand an Eagle declining a CoH. If it has been a few years (!) I don’t think the boys really care if the get the award or not.

  16. Mail or take the packets to the parents. and if you have a Eagle board at the scout room add the names.

  17. Rich Barton // March 26, 2013 at 11:15 am // Reply

    My first question would be when was the last time your Troop held an Eagle Court of Honor? If the Scouts haven’t seen one in a long time, they may feel so what. The other idea would be to have the Troop organize a COH. Just tell the Scouts and their families when it would be. Then just do it. All else fails just mail them their award material.

  18. I do think the expense might be some of the issue in some families these days. That or the stress. I know my son was stressed out when I was planning his because of how stressed out I was that the day would go perfectly. It didn’t. No day ever does… weddings, baptisms, whatever! I don’t think that their certificate and rank patch and medal should be held hostage until the parents hold a CoH. Maybe find out if they’d like to receive them at the troop’s next CoH? I do know that after it was over, my son was thrilled that he did have a CoH. And the other boys had a great time honoring him on that day and the reception afterward was filled with laughter and lots of joking about my son’s journey through Scouts.

  19. Michael W. Michelsen, Jr. // March 26, 2013 at 11:20 am // Reply

    I have to wonder why these scouts don’t want to be recognized, but I also have to respect their wishes. It’s unfortunate because there are so many others who help a scout earn this distinction and the ceremony gives all these folks the opportunity to have their moment too. To put in the time and effort to earn the Eagle Scout award and not enjoy the ceremony is a strange reaction, one that I think they will probably regret in the future. As an Eagle Scout I remember my ceremony with great fondness. It was a moment that I and a lot of others worked very hard for.

    • My son is currently a tenderfoot and is already worried about COH, he has seen how some wealthier families have gone all out with decoration, reception dinners, presenting of expensive Eagle guns and trophy type things. He knows that we can not afford all the fluff and are not a materialistic family. He would enjoy a simple ceremony without being expected to feed 100 people with money that we don’t have. I told him that I can get another job and start saving for it now so that we can have a nice party but he doesn’t want a party just the ceremony part. We still have a few years to worry about it but he’s worried about it now. :(

  20. Boy-led program or not, this is one where you involve the parents. A boy may not want to get up and be the center of attention for his own sake, but he’ll do it for Mom (or Dad or Grandma, etc.). Also he needs to be told that he needs to have a Court of Honor for the sake of his troop and the younger scouts. The younger scouts need to see the finish line so they know they can reach it themselves. The day after my son’s Eagle CoH, a Life scout in our troop turned in 3 of the 4 merit badge applications that are the only thing he has left to do. A week later another Life Scout met with the Eagle advisor to lay out his project and a third set the date for his project workday. A boy may be embarassed to show his pride in his accomplishments, but he has an obligation to share those accomplishments with his family, friends and troop.

  21. The Scout earned the award. It is the Scout’s decision, NO ONE ELSE’S, whether or not there is a COH. Yes I’ve read the positions already given above and yes it would be nice to have the ceremony. However, there is no requirement for a COH, and to hold back the award form a Scout who has earned it is not right.

  22. I’ll join the others who recommend sending the Eagle materials you are holding to the Scouts or their families.
    I haven’t kept count but at this point I have had somewhere between 75-100 Scouts reach Eagle since I have been a Scoutmaster. I’d say about 30-40% of them would have been happy to forgo a court of honor. It’s their choice, it’s not required of them in any way. I’d also note that we make the Eagle presentation a part of our regular troop courts of honor, they aren’t separate events.
    Should a Scout tell me they’d rather not go through all the hoopla I’d be happy to shake his hand and present the achievement at a troop meeting.
    We’d hope a Scout who reaches Eagle understands that his court of honor isn’t just about him, but can have broader implications – but I can understand if they’d just rather not be in the spotlight.

  23. I’ve had it happen several times. Typically the Scout involved is right at 18, and did the sprint to Eagle in the last 6 months before he turned 18. Now they are off to college and don’t have time or the inclination to have another ceremony.

    They met all of the requirements from Life to Eagle several years ago (6 months active, troop leadership position) but had to finish Personal Management, Family Life and Personal Fitness along with getting their Eagle project done. But, with HS they haven’t been on many outings with the younger boys, they don’t know the younger scouts and the younger scouts don’t know them either.

    The older version of the guide to advancement had a very loose idea of what it meant to be an active scout. It was possible for a Scout to remain “active” by those rules and not go camping for several years.

    Regardless, the presentation kit belongs to the Scout and should be delivered to him post haste. I would give them an opportunity to have it presented at a regular CoH if they’re willing but if they’re not willing send it off.

  24. Ken Mills Scoutmaster // March 26, 2013 at 11:26 am // Reply

    Just my opinion, but I’ve seen troops (and parents and boys) that are missing the “big picture”. To them the requirements have become just stepping stones to get to a certain “end point.” Parents and leaders are pushing boys to do just what is required for the next rank. Boys stop going camping when that MB is earned. The only MB’s earned are the ones required for set ranks, up to & including Eagle. Boys, parents, and leaders are forgetting that each rank only represents the amount of knowledge, leadership, and maturity a boy has achieved. There’s nothing wrong with using goals for activities; i.e. “we’re going on this hike because of this requirement…” etc. but Scouts should be hiking and camping and doing community service to learn planning, organization, and growing. Merit Badges used to be called “career. hobby. & interest badges” (or something very similar) because they were designed to give Scouts a reason to step outside of their comfort zone and learn new things that could possibly lead to a new interest or career.
    I have even seen parents comment on community service events, “Well if it doesn’t count toward their next rank yet, then why are we doing it?”…. Big Picture lost!
    Maybe that’s the case with these three Eagles. Maybe they were taken up a set of stairs, being led step-by-step, got to the top (not thinking of troop junior leadership positions, Palms, or even Venturing) as they have seen it and, like soon many of today’s youth, said, “OK. Got it. What’s next?”
    But that’s just my opinion

  25. “Tim” said that his Scouts earned their Eagles several years ago. The reality, in my opinion and experience, is that they’ve moved on. If the COH doesn’t happen within a very few months of the Board of Review, the Scouts aren’t going to be interested in the ceremony. They’re “over it.” In Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, immediate recognition is important for everyone – not just the Scouts, but the parents, leaders and the support team. Mail the packets and be done with it.

  26. What to do? maybe the first question is…. why are you making boys, who worked hard to get there, then also have to plan and execute their own court of honor?
    Shouldn’t the TROOP be the ones doing this?
    Here’s our solution: Eagle Courts of Honor are held as a part of the quarterly Troop Court of Honor. This insures its timely, frequent, and allows a troop to celebrate the scout and with him.
    It also means it doesn’t get out of hand with a family trying to one up the previous one and spending gobs of money on receptions.
    And….it means a hardworking scout (right?)who’s also tired after going through the wringer of documenting his palnning and project doesn’t have to then plan ANOTHER scout event.

  27. A face-to-face contact should’ve occurred with the boys and their parents “several years ago”, with whatever rationale they provided, properly documented, and entered in their advancement files. (Unless I’m mistaken) the boys and their families determine if and when the COH occurs. Timing, family events, costs, burn-out; life DOES get in the way, sometimes. I think John’s^ rationale should’ve been shared with the family during the face-to-face. However, putting relative judgement and guilt aside, the boys earned the award and it needs to be given to them.

  28. Bryan!!!

    We just had a side-branch discussion about this on LinkenIn not even a few months back!

    You wrote in part:

    “My initial reaction is bewilderment. It shocks me to see a boy work so hard to earn Eagle and then not share that special achievement with the friends and family who helped get him there. And I’m equally shocked that teenagers would pass up the chance to eat cookies and cake.”

    I’m not surprised. I’ve fielded a LOT of these kinds of questions (26 actually, since 2001) and here’s my conclusions;

    – the earlier ones came about after the attacks on our nation. People were not in a “happy mood” during that time, and that funk continued until around the start of the ground war in Iraq in 2003.

    – Scouts don’t attend other Scouts’ Eagle Courts of Honor like we did when we were growing up; and those Scouts who DO attend other Eagle Courts of Honor are overwhelmed at the amount of “trappings” which goes on.

    – Parents gets too involved in a Scout’s event. They want to liken it to a “coming out party” for a girl or some sort of pre-high school graduation event, wanting to bring “any and all elements of Scouting” into the event so that it would be memorable (and recordable!) to the parents as much as the Scout. The Scout really, honestly wants to “get it all over with” and move on to the next thing.

    – Scoutmasters don’t know how to say “no”, Byran, to the “massive outpourings of stuff” that typically encompasses the Eagle Court of Honor.

    – and yes, the BSA DOES have a hand in this, mainly through promotions that “every Scout needs to become an Eagle Scout” and “here’s what you get when you do become an Eagle Scout…” (our Scout Stuff(tm) catalog has pages and pages of “Eagle Scout speciality stuff”, just waiting to be sold to those parents I diagrammed above).

    As a result, we have LOTS of Scouts who don’t want to “go through the Eagle Court of Honor…”

    But just as you can’t force a boy to finish his work toward earning the Eagle Scout award, you can’t force him to have a ceremony after he earns it.

    “As sad as it makes me to say this, it appears Tim’s only option is to mail the Eagle materials to the boys’ parents, perhaps including with it a congratulatory, hand-written letter that challenges the Scout to take what he learned on the Eagle trail and apply it to the next chapters of life.”

    NO!!!!!!!! I get lots of letters from adults, Bryan, who want to have a local Council or a unit to award his Eagle to him because that was how HE got notified he became an Eagle Scout — a package in the mail, addressed to his parents, with the two Eagle certificates, the letter from the Chief Scout Executive, and the presentation kit. One man broke down and started crying over the phone when I arranged for him to have his Eagle presented to him by the Troop in his town. I couldn’t attend because of the weather, but the photos proved out — and I am dead sure that some WEBELOS Cub Scout or young Boy Scout will remember that evening for a good long time — and will spur him toward Eagle.

    Here’s what I wrote as a solution to a similiar question posted over on LinkedIn:

    “Are all the new Eagles expected to have a ceremony?”

    Yes, it’s how the Eagle Scout Award is awarded by action of the National Council, Boy Scouts of America. The TYPE of ceremony or how “big or little” it is is completely up to the Eagle Scout, his family and the unit in which he belongs within.

    “In your experience with scouting, are the Eagle Scout candidates in your troop permitted to pick the Eagle ceremony ritual or is it a traditional ceremony handed down as part of troop tradition?”

    All of the “ceremony rituals” have common items within which conform with what the BSA expects the Eagle Scout Court of Honor to include. Those elements are:

    – opening and closing of the National Court of Honor on behalf of the National Council, BSA
    – the reading of the letter from the Chief Scout Executive and National President announcing the award and congraduating the new Eagle Scout
    – the presentation of the medal to the parents of the Eagle Scout and the parents (or others, not the Scoutmaster) pinning the medal to the uniform of the new Eagle Scout.

    Everything else between the opening and closing is completely up to the new Eagle, his parents, and the unit in which he belongs to (or has chosen to have the Court of Honor performed within).

    — the three required elements of the Eagle Scout Award ceremony are the three elements used since the first Eagle was awarded in 1912. The letter from the Chief Scout Executive and National President should ALWAYS be read, as you are holding the Eagle Court of Honor on their behalf and on the behalf of the National Council, Boy Scouts of America. The presentation of the medal set to the parents who pins the medal onto the uniform; and the reading of the words announcing the formality of the event should also be done as the award is being made on the National Council basis.

    Everything else is “suit to personal taste” and desire.”

    I have presented Eagle Awards in the living rooms of Eagle Scout homes. In a closed-in dining area at local resturants; “Praise and Worship” stages in churches;
    Commanding General or Officer’s board rooms or offices on military bases large and small; in a meeting room on the campus of a regional university; and believe it or not, in the lobby area of a rest stop along an Interstate highway. There is absolutely NO RULE which states that the Eagle Award MUST be presented in front of Scouts and Scouters from your Troop or Team, or in a truly public place.

    Some Scouts would much rather the intimacy of their family’s great room than the grandness of the Troop meeting place or some other public place.

    Some Scouts also have problems with all of the “oaths”, “promises” and “things I have to memorize…” which have little bearing on the Eagle “Award” itself. As I mentioned earlier — they want to be awarded the medal, sure; but they want it “over with” as soon as possible.

    So to ME, Bryan, the “operative solutions” are as follows:

    – Tim, please sit down with each family. Explain to them what I’ve written to you — that the actual awarding is something the BSA expects because it’s a national award and because the local ceremony is on behalf of the entire national organization. Also explain that the actual ceremony (and I can send you a script I use — it’s all of one page!) can take as little as ten minutes or as long as 30 minutes depending on WHAT THE SCOUT WANTS; and then LISTEN to what their objections and concerns are.

    – offer to “reduce the overhead” associated with the ceremony. Instead of someone reading the congraduatory letters from everyone you’ve sent notices to, place them in a bound book or within page-protected sleeves and present the whole shebang to the Scout. Instead of having enless “Eagle Promises” and “Poems to the new Eagle”, how about instead playing the Scout’s favorite song? He’s a new Eagle Scout, not entering the law or medicine fields!! Instead of candles and repeating the Scout Oath and Law, instead a video or set of photos displaying showing his progress from WEBELOS Cub Scout coming into the Troop to the day before his Eagle Board of Review.

    OR NONE of that stuff…and concentrate on the three important elements: opening and closing the Eagle Court of Honor on behalf of the BSA and the local Council; the reading of the letter from our national leaders announcing that the Scout has been awarded Eagle; and the actual awarding of the Eagle medal by his parents to the Scout.

    I strongly disagree with the fact that the Eagle Court of Honor is for everyone else associated with that Scout — the Eagle Scout Court of Honor is formal recognition that the BSA found that person worthy of the title “Eagle Scout” and with it, the awarding of the certificate, medal and card. Everyone else who have helped the young man gets to witness this — IF the Scout wants this. Otherwise, they will I’m sure get the young man’s thanks in other methods.

    Hope all of this helps out…and if you DO need that script, let me know. I’ll make it available as a link from my blog site, where I’ll repost this question and response.

    • Mike, you NAILED this right on the head!!

  29. To me it has all the signs of boys who probably never should have got their Eagle as this is now Eagle behavior. I would quit wasting my time putting more energy into it than they r

  30. I would suggest contacting the parents. Without asking the reason as it might be too personal. Let them know that you would like to help them celebrate this accomplishment. Maybe, since there are three of them, they can have a joint ceremony whereas eliminating that feeling of being on display or the center of attention. That’s all you can do really. If they still are not interested I would mail their badge etc. If you have a troop Court of Honor coming up maybe you can ask that they join you so that they can be awarded at the regular COH. Again, this might be more comfortable for those scouts who might feel nervous about being the center of attention.

  31. Kelly Horton // March 26, 2013 at 11:47 am // Reply

    I read over the comments and several ideas came to mind that were not covered. The thought did come to mind that perhaps the boys didn’t want to earn the Eagle Rank to begin with. Perhaps the parents wanted it more than the scouts did. Hence, why is does not deserve a ceremony.
    This sort of situation is odd to me though. It is like working at a job, turning in your time card, getting paid, but not cashing your paycheck. There has to be some sort of reasoning behind it.
    I have also seen in troops that have a higher than the national level of Eagles coming out of a troop fall into two groups. One a troop is doing a great job and these boys are excelling and earning their Eagle Rank or the troop is not doing a great job and it is an eagle mill. I would hope it is the first scenario. Poor parents and scouters. For years, the expect a ceremony for their son and they don’t have one. I bet some parents are shedding some tears over this. I imagine that some scouters are not too happy about it either. I still think the boys wishes should be honored.
    I can sort of understand the boys though. I graduated college and I did not want a graduation party. I was sick of being poor and just wanted to get back to work. My wife, my mom, and my mother in law MADE me have the party. But my Eagle Rank, Heck yeah I wanted a ceremony. I earned it! I also hope to one day be part of my son’s Eagle Ceremony and , yes, he will be having one!

  32. Been there done that. My son I really had to drag through Scouts to get him to Eagle. It was EVERYTHING I had to get him there, kicking and screaming about how much he wasn’t interested after about age 15. The usual reasons; being a Boy Scout is for geeks and nerds that will never have a girl friend or play sports.

    Stuff that Scouts DO is cool, but being a Scout isn’t. So that’s why I became a scuba instructor, just to keep him in Scouts long enough for someone (other than me) to grab him by the collar and push him through his Eagle Project. It was his HS coach, rather than one of the troop dads.

    So, he finishes the project, and I have to push him to do the write-up of course. By the time that was all done, then I scheduled the BoR. That’s done, and so was he, never to attend another Scout function..

    .He had 29 merit badges, and waited over 17 months to do his SM conference and BoR for his bronze palm,the day before his 18th b’day. He had already dropped out of the troop, but I paid a registation fee to enroll him in my Sea Scout Ship (I’m the Skipper), on the off chance that he MIGHT change his mind for the palm. Kids in their late teens are selfish, and self-focused. Just the way it works. Or, at least mine is.

    So, yes, I WAS able to get him to have a stand-alone ECoH, but he really didn’t want to have anything to do with the other kids in his patrol that also achieved Eagle (7 of them) and had a joint ECoH for the other 6 of them.

    • SM Bruce Brown // March 26, 2013 at 12:03 pm // Reply

      I have read your post over a couple of times, no disrespect intended but
      “My son I really had to drag through Scouts to get him to Eagle. It was EVERYTHING I had to get him there, kicking and screaming about how much he wasn’t interested after about age 15.”
      Makes it sound like you wanted to have an Eagle Scout made of your son. He has to earn it himself and want it for it to mean anything to him.

  33. agoodolbear // March 26, 2013 at 11:53 am // Reply

    I know of some boys who were put through endless hoops and hurdles (read: extra requirements) to “prove” they are “worthy”. I think that some of them have felt let down by adults, and don’t want to get their hopes up again, just to let those same adults bring down the mood and meaning of their ECOH.

    But more often than not, boys that earn it their senior year of high school usuaully don’t have their ceremony right away. It usually gets put off until they are off on a college break after their first college year.

  34. The real shame here, in my opinion, is that did not allow themselves to be role models for the younger boys. There something special for a scout to see these men receive the award that one day they too hope to receive.

    I have known boys who did not really want the ECOH but went through it anyway, out of respect for their mothers. If anything, they should have had the ECOH out of respect for the troop.

    If the troop has not had a ECOH since these boys, I would make sure that that younger scouts get a chance to go to a near by troop’s ECOH as a way to honor scouting and to help nip any precedents in the bud.

  35. I must ask, what else is there to the story. It seems like something is missing. I also have to wonder whether these kids really were working their Eagle for themselves or for their parents. My son was in Scouting. He never got his Eagle. I think Scouting for him was just a way for him to do things with me. I happened to be a leader in his Cub Scout pack and Troop and was a founding leader in the Venturing Crew he was in. I never forced him to advance although I would encourage him. He excelled in Music and it was and is his first love. I encouraged him to do his best in whatever he did.
    It gets me to thinking that maybe these boys were being pushed into getting their Eagle and they pushed back in the end. They may not have felt that the rank was theirs.

  36. Tim H, SM T99 // March 26, 2013 at 12:16 pm // Reply

    Like “Tim” I’ve had two Scouts in my troop who have chosen not to have a Court of Honor. I don’t understand it, but if they refuse, then I’m not going to push it. And this post reminded me — I have an Eagle packet that I need to mail off to the most recent Eagle Scout who chose to bypass the ECoH, but I won’t be sending along the Eagle belt buckle that our troop typically presents.

  37. SM Bruce Brown // March 26, 2013 at 12:19 pm // Reply

    I know of a scout who is waiting for his brother to return from Afghanistan before he has his ECOH. We need to let the scouts have the ECOH on their terms. This award/rank belongs to the scout. No matter how much we adults want them to do things on our schedule, this like all the awards and ranks belongs to the scouts themselves. They have to earn these for themselves for them to mean anything to them. We are there to guide them, mentor them, counsel them, encourage them, and support them. Otherwise we are not preparing them for the challenges of the life they have ahead.

  38. I’m a Committee leader for Cub Scouts and my heart saddens to hear this. I would advise Tim to have contacted the parents to arrange for a small private ceremony. I am assuming that there is peer pressure here. Why else would one not one to have a ceremony for their Eagle Rank!
    Another suggestion, I would have contacted community leaders, the mayor, etc. to encourage these boys to accept their Eagle rank. Just my thoughts.

  39. I don’t think this is all that uncommon. We have seen it twice in our troop. We do not give the boy the award without a ceremony. So the awards set on a scout shelf in the scout room. One boy went off to college and a couple years later came back and we had a ceremony for him. We have another setting there still. In both cases they earned the award without being pushed, they just had un-involved parents.

  40. I see this as a problem with the adults involved. Being proud that you have more than the average number of Eagle Scouts, sounds more like the boys were pushed into it.
    I have seen this weird adult logic that says a boy shouldn’t be an eagle scout until they are “blank” age. Inevitably, once the boy gets to that age he doesn’t want to work on the requirements.
    We did have several boys on the Eagle out at 18 plan. They didn’t see value in having a ceremony. We finally told them that they would be recognized at the regular Court of Honor. Their mother’s made sure that they attended.
    In the end they had to admit that it was a pretty good idea to have a ceremony.

  41. My son earned his Eagle in August of 2012 and was super excited to have his Court of Honor. That’s when we found out that that the only input his Troop would have was to purchase his Eagle neckerchief, slide and award. They wouldn’t have anything else to do with his Court of Honor. He decided he didn’t want one.
    A friend of his had his Court of Honor earlier in the year and none of the adults from the Troop even showed up. They were all invited.
    I have finally talked my son into having a Court of Honor. I told him it was for him and we would invite his family and friends.
    I can understand why some boys don’t want to have a Court of Honor. They are busy. My son was only involved in Scouting. When boys have athletics and scouts it’s difficult to find the time.

  42. Daryl J. Van Dyne // March 26, 2013 at 12:39 pm // Reply

    I have been Scoutmaster for 38 years, and have had 50 Eagles. Out of those 50, I had your case only once, and in that case, after 2 years of waiting, I boxed up his stuff and mailed it to him. As leaders, we can only do so much, and if the Scout is not interested in a ceremony, then why worry about it, or bother with it. I know veterans who earned the Purple Heart who didn’t even go to receive it. Some are just not in to the ‘pomp & circumstance’ of awards. If however this starts, or is a common occurance in your Troop, you might need to review/change your methods/policies.

  43. There must be a deeper problem 3 make eagle and don’t want it is your ceremony lame? It there dislike of the leaders. We make ours sweet and to the the point.
    The one thing we do is let the Eagle leads the entire thing and mostly writes there own court of honor. Yep its there party and your just there to celebrate it.

  44. Kirk Vandermade // March 26, 2013 at 12:56 pm // Reply

    I am the Committee Chairperson for a Troop of 22 boys. We hava had an incredible run of at least 1 boy every year get their Eagle Rank. It has become a “tradition” with our Unit, that in order for the Scout to finish the “process” strong -that he, with the help of his Troop and parents, have a Troop Court-of-Honor celebration. To me, this is very important for the younger boys see and hear the Eagle Scouts demonstrate, and talk about their “road to success” in achieving such a prestigious honor!!
    We have built it in as a tradition whereas its assumed by all and understood by the Scout getting Eagle that this is technically his last “duty” to the Troop. The Scout actually has just about everything done FOR him in planning this “party” – I have to admit. BUT,
    He does have to show up, give a 5 minute speech-(min.), and receive his awards. The troop gives him misc. items to go along with his patch, pin, and certificate. As Committee Chair, I make it happen with the help of Adv. Coord. And the boys patents!!

  45. Sam Robertson // March 26, 2013 at 12:58 pm // Reply

    I wonder if the noted Eagles were urged to participate in other Eagle Scout projects and other Eagle’s Courts of Honor as they worked their way toward Eagle?

    In our Troop we make a big deal of all Courts of Honor. from Scout all the way up. It is necessary, I believe, to tell (show) Scouts that this is a part of the Scout Spirit- which should be discussed at every Scoutmaster’s conference and every Board of Review.

    Do you have some sort of Eagle Scout Honor Roll with names posted. Do Eagle’s get their photo’s and an article in local papers? In my time in Scouting, in the 1950’s and ’60’s there were many articles about Boy Scouts, Courts of Honor, summer camp, events, etc.–have we taken a route of “ducking” and not doing more PR with our Scouts?

    I think some blame is due leaders and parents for not assisting with the serious urging and planning for the Eagle Courts of Honor. (note: I know we all want to hurry and shorten things — but spell it out, not COH but Court of Honor!)–it has to start early!

  46. Robert Dalton // March 26, 2013 at 1:09 pm // Reply

    I don’t think this is a “blame” situation. Some people like to be in the limelight some don’t. This is the Eagle Scout’s accomplishment. If he doesn’t want a ceremony. That’s his right. Especially, and as the story related, since they are over the age of 18. I’ve been a Scoutmaster for almost three decades and it just depends on the Scout. If you really feel strong about it, have a “Scoutmaster Conference” with the Eagle Scout and help them understand not only is the Eagle Court of Honor for the Scout but it’s an opportunity for the Scout to thank all of those (Parents, ASM’s, Older Scouts, etc) that helped them reach that point.

  47. I completely understand the boys. I graduated university, and had no interest whatsoever in the ceremony. Send their packets to them, and be done with it. Seems that more people care than they do.

  48. They earned their Eagle Rank and should be given the hardware they earned. Maybe send each an invite to a troop meeting that says if they choose not to show at that meeting then the symbols of their Eagle Rank achievement will be mailed following the designated meeting. Make an informal presentation at the meeting in front if the troop if they should choose to show. Seems like earning the rank may not have meant much too them ir they would be more excited about honoring their achievement; totally unjustified comment I’ve made but I do have to wonder if there is more to this story that Tim isn’t sharing or doesn’t know?

  49. Looks like a multitude of scenarios. I think the Scout should plan his own ECOH in order to receive his Eagle AS A RULE. However there are always exceptions, and the rule should not be absolute, but it should not be easy to get around the rule. Our troop has had several in this category. Some have had elaborate ceremonies with receptions not unlike those for a wedding. I think, sometimes, a Scout and the Scout’s parents may be intimidated by those and are reluctant to put on a less elaborate ceremony. Probably more prevalent for our troop is that frequently we have Scouts who rock along and only make the final push to Eage RIGHT BEFORE their 18th birthday. Once that happens, by the time of the BOR and return of Eagle package the Scout may have graduated and already left for college, military service, or employment at summer camp or elsewhere. For Scouts who wait that long, frequently, there are not many Scouts left in the troop whom they know or associate with. There is also the inertia factor, and the longer they wait, the less interest they have in having a ceremony. All understandable. If we make it TOO easy, we will lose the benefits of the ceremony to the troop more often, so I think the rule is good. After a while, we notify the Scout it can presented at a regurlar COH. If not then, we sometimes have an anniversary or alumni dinner.at which we might schedule the presentation. If the Scout no-shows, then we would probably mail it. We are still “sitting on” several, but generally, we have been able to cajole some kind of ceremony.

  50. Hey Char!!

    You wrote “To me it has all the signs of boys who probably never should have got their Eagle as this is now Eagle behavior. I would quit wasting my time putting more energy into it…”

    First, it is THEIR CEREMONY. They get to decide HOW they are getting their Eagle Award presented to them.

    Second, as I wrote above, they have *no real choice* to getting the Award presented, if they want to be recognized and awarded the Eagle Award. The BSA awards the Eagle on action and on behalf of the National Court of Honor — this isn’t something that the Troop can say “oh well, he doesn’t want it presented to him…”

    What they DO have choices on is how “Big” or “Little” the Court of Honor is and where and under what circumstances they have the ceremony.

    It COULD be in their cases, that they’ve *never seen the Eagle awarded anywhere* and therefore to them, it’s like when they got awarded Life. You know “here’s the badge, congrats, keep going and how many more merit badges do you have now toward Eagle?”

    On the other hand, they may have went to someone’s Eagle Court of Honor and as I stated earlier, became so overwhelmed with all of the “trappings” and “things” and “oaths” and STUFF…that “there’s NO WAY I’m GONNA DO THIS!! Just gimme the badge and stuff and shake my hand like when I earned Life, and let me go…”

    This isn’t a matter of whether or not they are “Eagle material.” This is simply a matter of education and advisement and allowing that new Eagle to receive his award in the way they desire — keeping in mind that the Eagle isn’t just “sent in the mail and hope you get it…” Eagle is a NATIONAL COUNCIL AWARD and deserved at least a short presentation ceremony.

  51. I have had this happen. My first Eagle as CC moved out of state just after he submitted his paperwork. He and his parents both said they did not want an ECOH and ‘could I please mail them the award.’ We offered to contact their new unit he would be joining or even wait a month for when they would be back to visit. ‘No, thank you,’ was their polite reply. They are a very private family, though.

    There may be a variety of reasons a boy or his family choose not to: timing, as above; perhaps knowing he earned it is enough and not wanting the extra attention; even cost can be a factor – ECOH’s need not be expensive but they can be and sometimes there is pressure to spend more than is needed.

    I agree, it is their choice, and like a wedding, it doesn’t matter one bit if they have a big ECOH or just receive the official paperwork in the mail that matters – only that they earned it and take what they’ve learned and make a bright future for themselves with it.

  52. Mr Bubbles // March 26, 2013 at 2:29 pm // Reply

    There is a REASON the parents stand up there with the boys. the dads lead, and te mothers keep them from falling behind. Out of the 145 Eagles in our troop since 1960, about 144 of them made Eagle because their parents were involved and supportive in one way or another. My father got his Eagle in 1947, and his father his Eagle in 1917, my uncle in 1941, and brothers in 1977, and 1983. They counted their Eagle awards as among the 10 most significant accomplishments in their lives.

    The ECoH is for OTHERS to celebrate their part in the boy’s accomplishment, almost as much as the boy himself.

    That said, I too would have been just as happy to get my beads through the mail, so I understand the sentiment.

  53. There are plenty of reasons for this, many have been covered in the comments, but one that I’ve seen mentioned but not truly discussed is the cost of the ECOH.

    Money is tight, the BSA is NOT cheap to get a boy to Eagle by any means, and I’ve seen many a person see their boy get to this point and then feel like they are being a disappointment to their son as they can not afford all the bells whistles and trimmings the BSA pushes out. Napkins, Stationary, bulletins, cakes, cookies, drinks, gifts for the Eagle, some times full meals are expected, new uniform parts, this that and the other thing, and the cost keeps going up and up and up and up and what was a celebration suddenly turns into a day of stress due to finances.

    Yes the Scouter can tell the family all that stuff isn’t needed, but really? Are you going to be the parent who steps into the ECOH and doesn’t have anything that all the other boys you have seen go through this have? Does anyone really want to be “that” parent? Does any Son really want to be the cause of THAT stress?

    I can speak first hand of all of my own children, they do not want to burden the family budget and we would not be classified as the family’s I have listed above. They simply understand our family budget and if they saw how much we spend a year on Scouting alone they would be abhorred, if they know how much doing the typical ECOH cost in all it’s pomp and circumstance they would be just like the boys in the article. There are so many reasons one may not want this honor. The fact that the boys are no longer involved in the troop also states a lot. Either they aged out or they were ready to be done. Either way they have walked away and really is that what we are trying to accomplish?

    I want all the boys in my troop to get Eagle, but I would rather see them become good men who still love scouting and have a desire to continue on with it later in life. I don’t want to see them walk out with an Eagle to be done with it forever.

    I personally never had to deal with this as I was unaware of the lone scout program so when we moved into an area without scouts my scout career ended at Star. But in reality if I had made Eagle I would have been one of those boys. There is nothing the Scoutmaster could have said to me that would have made me want to do that ceremony at that point in my life.

  54. Personally, I don’t hold separate courts of honor for Eagles in high regard. Eagle is a rank, just like Tenderfoot and all the other ranks in-between. It deserves to be acknowledged, certainly, but right along with other ranks, merit badges, and so forth. Too many times, I’ve seen these special Eagle-only courts of honor turned into nothing less than mini-coronations, and that’s not what Scouting’s all about. Moreover, when only one Scout is being recognized, it’s really pretty much a drag for all the other Scouts in the troop who are subjected to being a “personal audience” without ever once taking center stage themselves.

    A Boy Scout attains the rank of Eagle Scout on conclusion of his Board of Review for the rank. That’s the actual date. It’s the date that will appear on his Eagle Scout rank certificate from the BSA National Office. So, if the Board of Review has taken place successfully, this young man is ALREADY an Eagle! Consequently, if he’d like to be given the medal, etc. without the usual pomp and circumstance, that’s certainly his right. But, that said, it’s the very rare Scout who attains the rank of Eagle without the involvement, support, and encouragement of others–including his Scoutmaster, his parents, those who helped him with his Eagle Project, and surely others, too. Since a great part of the “message” of Scouting is “service to others,” he may want to consider that these people would enjoy and appreciate seeing closure to their efforts on his behalf over the years. The presentation of the Eagle medal need not be a “big deal”–it can be a small, intimate deal, even done in his home or back yard (weather permitting) or as a special presentation at a regular troop Court of Honor. I encourage Scouts to do this, not because they “owe” these people but because it’s simply the Scout-like thing to do.

    For decade after decade, courts of honor included Eagles right along with all the other Boy Scout ranks. In many, many troops, this is still done today, without hesitation. But somewhere along the way, in the past bunch o’ years, these Eagle-only “coronations” have become popular (and least among some parents) and so have happened separate from the rest of the troop. However, if we stick with fundamentals, that the purpose of a court of honor is to recognize the advancements of all Scouts in the troop since the last such event, then of course new Eagles will be recognized, right along with new Life scouts, new Star Scouts, and so on. It’s the most natural thing in the world, to start a court of honor with Tenderfoot and finish with the highest rank achieved.

    • Andy wrote in part a truism which needed to be fully explained; he wrote in part:

      “A Boy Scout attains the rank of Eagle Scout on conclusion of his Board of Review for the rank. That’s the actual date. It’s the date that will appear on his Eagle Scout rank certificate from the BSA National Office. So, if the Board of Review has taken place successfully, this young man is ALREADY an Eagle!”

      Not so fast. While that “date of rank” appear on those documents, which is absolutely true; the Eagle Scout rank is NOT AWARDED OR RECOGNIZED until AFTER the local Council has been notified that the Eagle rank has been approved by the *National Court of Honor*.

      It’s NOT a “slam dunk”, a “sure thing” or “one and done.”

      That is the part that everyone keeps forgetting. There is a process and the LOCAL COUNCIL doesn’t approve Eagle Awards — the National office does. The Local Council makes a recommendation based on the results of the Eagle Board of Review to the National Court of Honor. There, a separate review of the Eagle’s service, registration and advancement is done and the Eagle is either approved or the application materials are returned to the local Council to further verify and or resolve any issues. And there’s been a lot of applications which unfortuantely are returned not approved.

      This is why the BSA and your local Council is cagey about planning for Eagle Courts of Honor until AFTER the advancement has been approved and your Council’s Scout Executive is notified.

  55. We’ve had some Scouts put on Great ceremonies and even joint ceremonies but I’ve only had one I had to finally make arrangements with the parents to deliver the award. (I thought it was worth my dressing up in a full uniform to deliver, though). But the bottom line is that it is the Scout’s award. If he or his parents don’t want a ceremony, it’s up to them.(and it’s possible they may be having financial problems and can’t or don’t feel like they can afford to do it them selves. You can encourage them just like you can encourage them to complete the program, but you can’t make them do either.

  56. Sadly in the 14 years I have been involved in Boy Scouts,it is something I have seen more than once. What we usually do is ask the boy and his family to show up to pick up the award in uniform. We take a photo of the boy receiving it from the scout master. And than a few with the parents. And than they are on their way home. Some day you can only hope they look back and realize what an achievement it is,and appreciate the folks that helpd aong the way. The best case would be if the boy becomes a leader. :)

  57. One_Old_Scout // March 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm // Reply

    Age. For many boys. it is a more of an achievement and honor to gain the rank of Eagle Scout in the eighth grade or freshman year in high school, rather than get it when they are graduating from high school or having to come back from college/military service for the ECoH. It is better for a Scout to get their Eagle, then serve the younger Scouts in the Troop, Nova/SuperNova, work on Palms, participate in Venture/Explorer programs, or (if they want) move on to other interests in high school with _good_ memories of their Scouting days (and skills they have learned).
    Don’t make the ECoH the “graduating from Scouting” ceremony, please.

  58. “Tim” has been reading your comments and appreciates the feedback. Let me share the text of his follow-up email to me. Feel free to respond to his concerns as you see fit. Thanks, fellow Scouters.

    The boys clearly didn’t want to make the little effort of picking the day, the place, and sending the invites. As the Advancement Chairman I busted my butt for these boys, imploring them to finish their projects (just ahead of their 18th birthday), reviewing their writeups, and showing up at the Eagle board of review just in case there was something that went wrong. All three boys were excited to get their Eagle, but didn’t want to carry through on the cerermony.

    “What should I do with their packets? Admit to them and the rest of the troop that the ceremony isn’t a big deal, and send them their packets? Or return the packets to National so that the Eagle badge can be used by another boy who really wants to put it on his uniform?

    • Just send them their packets, they earned it. No ceremony required. I know the best moment of my Eagle journey was looking up at the night sky and realizing I am an Eagle Scout. I didn’t need a court of honor for that. Some people don’t value the big fuss as much as others, but we should not judge how much they value the award they earned.

    • Going back to my earlier comments, Bryan, I still say that a meeting is needed with each Scout and his family. I would meet with them and just lay it on the line: “Look, the BSA says this is their highest Boy Scout honor, and it needs to be actually presented to you…not mailed to you like school grades. We can do this very informally — I’ve got a sheet with more or less a ten minute ceremony. Or we can go the “hog wild” kind of event — it is really up to you. But I’m NOT mailing this stuff to you…you’ve worked really hard at this, OUR TROOP has worked really hard at this. The very least we can do is the ten minute deal. You don’t have to say a word.
      You don’t have to raise your hand in the Scout Sign or do anything else. We meet, the letter from the BSA is read, the medal’s pinned on your uniform by your Mom, and you’re given the certificate and card and shake hands. That’s it. No song…”

      See if that works!

      • Bryan, I agree with Mike. Just as he stated that is what should be done. The BSA proscribes certain ways to present the Eagle Rank and they should be followed.

        • Bryan, Tim should explain this to the boys and their parents and then leave it to them to decide. He also should be sensitive to any situation that he may come upon as well. We don’t really know the whole story here.

  59. Karen Blumst // March 26, 2013 at 4:52 pm // Reply

    One suggestion would be that ‘it is a tradition of the troop to celebrate and provide the recognition for the Rank’. If the scout for some reason doesn’t want the fuss or the family lacks the resources or the understanding of the traditions? The Troop just does an event.
    In most families, although the scout might be shy and not want to create a spectacle , the parents want to coordinate an event involving friends, family and the Troop that the Scout will remember with great fondness for the rest of their lives. At 18 they don’t yet understand the personal significance or perhaps they think the attention is not desirable. Some young men are just wired that way (shy and modest) and it is up to us as adults to just push them along— ask that they be good sports and go with the flow. For the most part it isn’t that they really didn’t want the rank, they just don’t have a coping mechanism for the recognition at such a young age- our culture doesn’t teach it. A troop should plan on it and say- this is plan A, unless you want to do something different – to the scout and his family.

  60. Mr Bubbles // March 26, 2013 at 5:54 pm // Reply

    This year in our Sea Scout Ship we’re going to have the first Quartermaster in the Council since 1960. To my mind, that is the rarest rank achieved in Scouting, and, the most difficult. It’s no coincidence that the boy is the son of the Area Commmodore, and is the Area Bos’n. They’re both very in to it, and the advancement thing, but that is quite rare in Venturing. Whole BSA says they’re equivalent ranks, they’re really not. Seeing that he is 19, and will be 20 this year, I will expect his service project to be a big step up from what he did for his Eagle one.

  61. Paul McKenna // March 26, 2013 at 7:18 pm // Reply

    I would ask a couple of questions? Who did you earn this award for? Maybe they have resentment because they were forced to finish. Maybe they don’t want or need the ceremony but would do it if they knew it was important to their parents. Like a post above I only went to my college graduation because my mother cried at the thought of missing it. Also this ceremony is for the troop as well as the Scout. If the Scout doesn’t want anything special I would make it the concluding event at a regular Court of Honor. Even if they showed up in suits with their parents in tow they would have their moment. “They” being the Eagles, the parents and the Scouts of the trooo.

  62. Mary Triplett // March 26, 2013 at 8:28 pm // Reply

    This is a tough call to say the least. On one hand, I know that my sons are not the kind that go looking for awards and very seldom attend award ceremonies- unless friends, nay “brothers”, are receiving an award.Possibly my fault because even in my own life I tend not to seek the lime light. Perhaps, these boys are like them. Yet on the other hand, I teach at a high school and many of my students are seniors. Some tell me that they are like my sons- not seeking the limelight and because of such they don’t want to take the walk on stage. When I remind them, that yes they are the star but their parents, and grandparents have “earned the right” to see their accomplishment come full term and that by walking they honor their parents and grandparents they start to see things in a different light. I also inform them that if they have younger siblings then they are also showing leadership to their siblings by walking, and in some families they are the 1st to graduate high school (even now).

    To Tim- I would call the young men- point these things out to them- if they are in college perhaps they’ve had a busy year(s). or if they’ve been or are in the military could it be that they’ve been overseas? Leave it to them to make their decision- and if necessary just mail it to them afterall, they’ve earned it.

    • If a scout chooses to not want an Eagle Rank Presentation Ceremony then maybe simply give them their Eagle Rank; they earned their Eagle Rank. Seems to me like earning the Eagle Rank has become an award that merits something more of a ceremony than what it really is; its changed over the years. When I was a boy the troop Court of Honor was the place I received the Eagle Rank; I was 14 years old. I was presented the rank along with all the other ranks and merit badges being presented to the boys in the troop. That was 1976; when did everything change? I recently held an Eagle Rank Presentation Ceremony for my son. It was nice but seemed so seperated from the troop and other members of the unit as all didn’t attend. I’d of rather had the Eagle Rank presented during our troops regular Court of Honor; I’m an Assistant Scoutmaster in the troop and have been back to scouting for about 12 years now. If the Scout is still in the troop and attends the Troop Court of Honor then simply present the Eagle Rank to him then. If he’s not actively in the troop and doesn’t attend the Court of Honor then I’d certainly mail it to him if that’s what he wants. If your a leader in the troop then maybe offer to have a ceremony for him because maybe there are some issues at home that prevent a family from having a ceremony in a manner they think the honor requires? Maybe the scout really desires a ceremony but doesn’t have the support at home or the means of doing it himself. Never hurts to try to be helpful, kind, and courteous; maybe just ask him.

      • Bob Basement // March 28, 2013 at 8:10 am // Reply

        The current generation of parent overblows everything.

        Like you I received my eagle during a troop court of honor in the late 70’s. Simple affair, we had a cake with the Eagle medal and the SM read the Eagle charge, took maybe and extra 10 minutes

        • Kip Haggerty // March 30, 2013 at 3:58 pm //

          I agree, though we took maybe a half-hour with everything. I really stepped in this with my son’s troop because most parents overhype this. Eagle is something you do because you have the desire to complete it and not to plan your own ceremony. The real shame with the new way of having the family plan a special court of honor is that it just becomes one more drudge thing to slog through. It is supposed to be an honor and the Eagle should be the guest of honor at the next Troop Court of Honor. It is not an honor if all the planning falls on you and your family. I only had to select a presenter and a charger (speaker) and then take a three hour ride home from college for the fall court of honor to receive mine. I had a birthday (and completion of requirements) at the end of August, a September 5 Board of Review and an early October Court of Honor. Now I see people waiting a year or so to get around to theirs. This is a self-inflicted problem on the part of Boy Scouts and if the honorees are gone to college and don’t wish to have a ceremony, just send them their stuff and move on to the next problem.

  63. My son is a fairly new Eagle Scout. A couple of the boys in his Troop did not have a ceremony and he was thinking he would not either. His Troop Scoutmaster and myself persuaded him to have the ceremony. He is very glad he did. I think it was a turning point for him to see how many people are behind him and are so proud of him – most of the Troop was there. I think the parents need to be contacted and have them get involved and help persuade the Eagle to have the ceremony.

    • That was my experience too Rita. Having a Eagle Rank presentation ceremony for my son seemed to have a powerful effect on him; got into his heart in a good way. He was very appreciative of the ceremony and it turned out to be a wonderful event. Many of his friends came which made a big difference. He’s had some struggles but this was a very special moment for him and I don’t think he will ever forget it.

  64. Ray Gruber // March 26, 2013 at 9:01 pm // Reply

    I have had a few scouts in my 28 years as scoutmaster that didn’t want a ceremony of any kind, not even at the end of a troop parents night/ court of honor. I sent them their paperwork and certificate, but did not send them the Eagle award kit (which the troop pays for). The scout and his parents didn’t seem to care, they just wanted to list the award on a resume or use it to gain a rank in the military.

    • The Eagle Award kit is not a reward for having a ceremony. If you give all other Eagles all of the award why would you withhold the kit from those who do not? Did they earn it? If so, award it to them–even if it is via mail.

      • I agree. If the Scout earned Eagle in your troop, he should receive the same from the troop as someone who has a ceremony. Your troop benefits by adding another scout to its Eagle list. The troop shouldn’t punish the Scout for not having a ceremony.

  65. We have encountered the last-minute Eagle Scouts, those who got their Eagle literally days before they aged out. And those are often the ones that wanted to skip the ceremony. We also had ones where parents were supposedly in charge and did nothing, and ones where parents wanted to be in charge with no troop input. An Eagle badge should not have to be handed to a scout over a picnic table at summer camp, nor should it be a party. We have observed both extremes.

    We have standardized our approach somewhat, by having the troop conduct the ceremonial aspect of the Eagle C of H and having the parents and scout decide the date and venue, with respect to their wishes on speakers or things to include. The troop pays for cake and punch and the scout’s family can add other food or snacks if they wish. It is also up to the scout’s family to decide on decorations and the like. We have had ceremonies in church halls and outdoors, but with similar dignity and troop participation.

    This has allowed us to honor our Eagles and allow the younger scouts to see them honored for their accomplishments, while still retaining the fact that it is a rank advancement and should be treated as such.

    This is an aspect of BSA that is disappointing, in that there are many ideas involving ‘regular’ courts of honor, but no guidance on how to conduct one for the Eagle rank. If you ask ten different districts, you will get ten different answers.

    I highly recommend “Eagle Court of Honor Book” by Mark Ray, with ideas pertaining to ceremonies and badge presentation.

  66. Deaf Scouter and Eagle Mom // March 26, 2013 at 9:29 pm // Reply

    My first question for Tim is… Did you ask the parents? A lot goes into planning the Eagle Court of Honor so Scouts may not really know or want to go through the trouble of doing one.

    As for us, my son is one that didn’t have his Eagle Court of Honor. We did plan with another scout but ended up stepping out because what we wanted (simple small affair) and they wanted (a big fancy affair) were too different. Later schedules were just too busy to set one up. As much as the award is important, the road taken to get there is MORE important to both of us. (Took me 3 years to get my Wood Badge beads after I was done.) The Troop gave us the awards and the certificates and all which we put in binders.

  67. Ceremonies are for ego and self-aggrandizement. If the boys don’t want a ceremony – good for them. Maybe they realize that these ceremonies created 100 years ago were for boys half their maturity facing a simplistic world by comparison. Today’s boys are far more sophisticated, and too much of BSA’s traditions look like cub scouts to teenagers today.

    But the question has to be asked – who’s aggrandizement. Obviously this question is raised because BSA likes the marketing side benefits of the ceremonies.

    The concern here is not for the youth, but once again Bryan, on behalf of BSA, and the concerned adults here making it ALL ABOUT THEM.

    We are in this program to serve youth and teach them lessons. Not make ads for BSA or use youth to feel proud of ourselves.

    If the boy says no ceremony, you should be proud of him. If that bothers you, then you should be ashamed of yourself.

    • Kelly Horton // March 27, 2013 at 6:50 am // Reply

      Who says you have to purchase all of the BSA Eagles supplies to have a ECOH? I didn’t for mine. We had finger foods and a cake. We kept it simple.

  68. Tim Williams // March 27, 2013 at 4:18 am // Reply

    Eagle court of honor is one of those things you only do ONCE in life. The boys should be encouraged to have a ceremony. I think its important for them to take the eagle oath and charge. Eagle 79

  69. These boys have every right to forego their ceremony. Did they achieve their Eagle to get recognition? To please or prove to others? Or, did they achieve their Eagle rank because this is what they believe? Like I told my son, after he experienced some less than fair approaches in his troop – you never need a patch or someone else telling you how worthy you are, if you KNOW it for yourself.

    Right or not, he has sat with all requirements, except Scoutmaster conference and Board of review, for Star for nearly six months. And, not only is he very good at all of it and knows his stuff, has has put in some incredible leadership beyond most of his peers. He is not afraid of adult interaction, or what they may say either. He knows who he is and what his capabilities are, and simply does not need a rank advancement judged by someone else to tell him what he has achieved – mature beyond his 12 years.

  70. I agree. These are boys. They earned the rank and maybe the patch and pins do not mean that much to them.. Some day they will. But as a Scoutmaster myself, i would not push them any further, nudge them by mailing their awards and letters. Maybe the parents will see the items and as them if they are going to have that ceremony..
    One never knows.. Good luck..You did your part..

  71. I was in the same position as these boys. I earned my eagle scout 2 years ago, after a long and tedious journey. I worked hard for it, because it was a goal in my life. But when the time came to have a ceremony, not only was I disinterested, I was opposed to the idea. Many went through mind. I dislike being the focus of attention, it felt like it was drawing the whole thing out, I was too tired from all the work, and I don’t like ceremonies. My parents encouraged me to plan one, but it just wasn’t what I wanted to do. So I had my badge, pin and card mailed to me. There are quite a few reasons not to have a ceremony. It’s up to the scout to decide.

  72. I must agree that at this time you should mail the award to each of these scout parents. I would in clude aletter of con gradulation and a copy of the Eagle oath.

  73. It’s up tot he scout to decide. If the troop pays for the medal kit for others, it should pay for the kit for a boy who does not want a ceremony.that troop surely will add him to the list of his troop Eagle roster. Maybe the boy knows the parents can’t afford a ceremony, with all the food and extras involved? Some people just don’t want to do a ceremony. My husband and I didn’t even have a “big” wedding, because I don’t like to be the enter of attention. (Yes, some girls dream of the happily ever after, not the walk down the aisle). The boy earned his rank, he deserves it,as well as the medal kit, if the troop traditionally gives them to EagleScouts. To not give that is spite on the part of the troop.

    • Hi Elizabeth (nice name, by the way; my Sweetie’s formal name is Elizabeth (Liz, Libbie or “You There”, depending on how formal or informal I’m trying to get her attention with)!!

      You wrote something which I want to key in on in this discussion of the resolution of this question:

      “Some people just don’t want to do a ceremony. My husband and I didn’t even have a “big” wedding, because I don’t like to be the center of attention.”

      But you two DID have a wedding, right? It was the formal, public recognition of your love and caring for each other and a public committment that you two would continue to do so for (we all hope!) the rest of your lives together!!

      What I’m saying is that the three youth need to have some sort of recognition ceremony — in their home, the foyer of the church, in the parking lot before the Troop meeting or other event — to allow the BSA, through the local Council, to formally recognize those boys as Eagle Scouts. The ceremony, like your wedding, need not be “big and massive” but “simple and meaningful.” I posted a copy of a simple Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony which takes maybe all of ten minutes long to perform and doesn’t need any more “trappings” than the presentation kit which comes from the local Council along with the certificates and items which come from National.

      You are correct that the youth have earned the right to receive the materials, Elizabeth, but let’s not toss out some formality in the interest of “boys not motivated to participate.” Even those Eagles who are injured in, say, a car accident and cannot participate in a “regular” Eagle Court of Honor are presented and awarded their medal and other items *in the hospital room*.

      Otherwise, we can do without the Courts of Honor and just mail *everyone’s rank* to their home address; or give them a coupon which allows them to go to the local Scout Shop(tm) and purchase their own rank insignia.

      We REALLY don’t want to be doing THAT, right?

      • We did have a small wedding ceremony with only 4 people, all family, and my dad performed the religious ceremony (he will be, once again, the Orthodox chaplain at Jamboree this summer, too). My point was just that maybe these boys don’t like big public (as in, the troop) recognitions. Who knows, maybe their grandparents came into town and they all went out to dinner to celebrate earning the rank of Eagle, and that was enough for the boy? I would definitely ask the boys and parents. Maybe they’ve been intimidated by previous ceremonies. I know it does not have to be big and elaborate, as my son’s Eagle ceremony two years ago was not. He really didn’t want a big ceremony either, as he earned the rank one week before the military moved us, and we were in the middle of packing. But we did a simple ceremony, and he was happy. I do agree that boys should be offered the ceremonial presentation to be done at a regular court of honor. That might get some boys to do it, takes the limelight off them so much. I wouldn’t let it go without inquiring, but Id respect the wishes of the boy and parents.

      • David Richardson (Obiwan) // March 28, 2013 at 2:32 am // Reply

        Mike,
        How true you are. I am one the type of person who shines away from ceremonies and presentations as I don’t like being the centre of attention.

        However in saying that when I told my Commanding Officer I didn’t want to have my promotion done in front of everyone, his reply was that whilst it was my promotion, the ceremony was for those who were junior to me.

        I wonder if any one has pointed out to the Eagle Scouts that it actually shows others what can be achieved through hard work

  74. I bet if you polled the Silver Beaver recipients in any given year you might get a similar refrain.

    Humility is a virtue.

  75. The Eagle Scout Court of Honor is about honoring the Eagle scout, the badge, scouting, the effort, and all involved (the troop, leaders, parents, etc.) in helping the scout achieve the rank of Eagle. It can be a catered dinner, pot luck or cookies chips, drinks. The ceremony is earned as much as the badge.
    If a scout truly feels that they do not want to have a Eagle Scout court of honor it would be acceptable to have it with a regular troop court of honor.
    The Eagle Scout Court of Honor is a chance for all to congratulate the scout as well as for the scout to thank everyone who has helped.
    My advice to all Eagle scout, have some kind of ceremony, big or small, show what you did, be thankful for the help and encouragement you had. You will only do this once (for yourself). I have had had one and attended about 20 others. There is no greater feeling than knowing you played a part in a scout receiving Eagle.

    Once an Eagle , Always an Eagle. Show what you are made of, have that ceremony.

  76. Our district told us, as parents, that the boys are not considered Eagles until they have a court of honor and it must be seperate from the rest of the awards the troop gives out. I have two Eagle scouts. Oldest and his friend who earned his Eagle at same time had a big, formal ceremony. Friends mom planned it all, with a little forced input from them, it was want she wanted and the boys didn’t care. Youngest son and two friends had theirs at a troop meeting, with minimal fuss. That is what they wanted. As advancement chair for many years, I let my boys and the boys in the troop decide. All the boys were 17/18 years old.

  77. There are a lot of boys who do not like the spotlight. The word Ceremony and recognition are just scary to some. I think it helps a lot if the entire troop goes to every ECOH, (hold it on your regular meeting night if you have to). As the boys come up in rank they may have had the chance to participate ie(honor guard) in one or two of them, this making it less scary and more familiar and fun to each of them. The more often they can be a part of or just help in some way, the more likely they are to have their own.

  78. Celebrations are vital to the health of an organization. They are one of the most powerful ways to teach and reinforce the organizations values. Failure to appropriately celebrate the accomplishment of the Eagle rank diminishes the award and weakens the Troop.

    Given my opening, you will not be surprised that I disagree with the notion that the Eagle Court of Honor is all about the Scout. I believe the ECoH has three purposes: 1) to recognize and honor the Eagle Scout and his accomplishment, 2) to recognize, honor, and thank those who helped and supported the Scout on his Trail to Eagle, and 3) to inspire the other members of the Troop, strengthening their understanding of and commitment to the Scouting principles.

    The ECoH is MOSTLY about the Scout, and should be designed and conducted in a manner that is moving and meaningful for the Scout. (I am very distressed by carbon copy ceremonies where the only changes are the names.) I think the Eagle Court of Honor Book (Ray) is a great starting point, but most of the time you will want to trim, enhance, tweak, etc. to fit the specific honoree. In some cases, it will take work and imagination to properly craft a ceremony that will please the Eagle Scout and meet all three purposes. The only wish that shouldn’t be honored is the wish not to have a ceremony at all.

    I know some readers will be outraged by my last statement; “How can you disregard the wishes of the boy who earned the award?” The answer is simply, that “boy” is now a “marked man” and he is to be held to a higher standard. He is an exemplar of the Scout Oath and Law, he is Loyal and Courteous, he does his duty to others. By time he walks out of his Eagle Board of Review, he understands that he is expected to give back to the program that has given him so much. He understands that he did not walk the Eagle Trail without the help and support of others. Regarding the humble Scouts, true humility requires learning how to graciously accept sincere praise and recognition and to be able to thank those who help you succeed.

    Please note that I said there has to be a ceremony, not a Court of Honor. I do believe that the Eagle Rank deserves its own Court of Honor, and that a CoH is the right ceremony for the overwhelming majority of Scouts. However, I realize that there will be a few exceptions. We had one young man who finished high school and his Eagle while away at seminary. He did not want a Court of Honor because he didn’t feel it was “appropriately humble.” We told him that we would just do a medal presentation at the beginning of a Troop Meeting. Of course we arranged for all his alumni buddies to be there along with a few other guests and a cake magically appeared. A few people stood up and made some “impromptu” remarks about the Scout and he actually made some very moving remarks about the value of his experiences as a Scout and how thankful he was. But it wasn’t a Court of Honor. The picture of this Scout, in his clerical collar, beaming while his mom pinned his Eagle Medal on his black, ankle-length cassock was unique.

    In Tim’s case, the situation appears to be further complicated by the “several years” piece. I would be inclined to contact the three Eagles and explain the importance to the Troop of celebrating Eagles and ask them to help do an Eagle piece at a Court of Honor and share their perspective on being Eagles and their experiences and let them know you would like to award their medals. I would find a way to work the Eagle Charge and Oath into it.

    Just make sure you genuinely listen to the Scout and what kind of ceremony he wants while helping him to understand the other purpose of the Troop and I think you will usually be able to find a successful way to celebrate.

    If you just can’t get a ceremony to happen, of course you need to get the certificate and card to the Eagle. In my Troop I buy the kit for the Court of Honor/celebration. In the absence of a celebration, I don’t know that I would automatically buy the kit and send it.

  79. Bob Basement // March 28, 2013 at 8:02 am // Reply

    Advancement is but one method. ONE

    We have adults interjecting their thoughts and beliefs on what needs to be done on these boys…..

    If they honestly earned the Rank which is supposed to include a decent sized project then they can certainly decide not to have a Personal Court of Honor.

    Eagle is over blown because of the adults not the youth.

    Eagle isn’t what it once was, now youth with theft, assault and substance abuse issues can earn it…… Till the standards firm back up the Brand is tarnished.

  80. H. David Pendleton // March 28, 2013 at 1:49 pm // Reply

    Some of my position has already been covered so will try to keep this brief.
    1. In the military, there is a saying that the “only thing worse than a parade was parade practice.” Ceremonies were the same thing to me as I do not like to be the center of attention. The Eagle ceremony, however, is not just for the Scout. It is to recognize the people that helped the Eagle Scout on his journey. When everyone is gathered, the Scout (and the other Scouts in the troop) will realize that one does not get anywhere in Scouting or life with the help of others. I found out how important ceremonies/parades were when my spouse gushed all about how well I led my unit a change of command ceremony. To me it was nothing special, but my spouse got the biggest kick out of me being in charge.
    2. I have only been to a few Eagle COHs & when they ask all the other Eagles in the room to stand up and retake the Eagle oath, it may get some of those that have not given back in some time to think about giving back to Scouting again. I was never an Eagle Scout, but I decided to give back when I read Alvin Townley’s book, “Legacy of Honor.” If the ceremony gets one Eagle or even a former Scout to decide to give back to Scouting (or even some other volunteer organization), that is well worth the effort.
    3. By having a public ceremony where the Eagle Scout receives his charge & recites the Eagle Oath, the Scout is making a public declaration in front of his family & friends that he intends to fulfill his duty to give back to Scouting as much as he received. For someone who has lived by an oath for several years, making such a public announcement is almost tantamount to a commitment to do so.
    4. I would say that having the Eagle ceremony is living up to the Boy Scout Law. It is being “Loyal” to the Troop, “Helpful” to other Scouts, “Courteous” to Scouters, and maybe even “Brave” to himself. As the Troop supported the Scout’s path to Eagle, the ceremony may get one of the other Scouts the final motivation to become an Eagle himself. It will give the Eagle the chance to publicly thank those that help him along the way. If the Scout is scared of being the center of attention, he can practice being brave in a positve situation.
    5. Finally, we get to the Scout. Even though many people say they do not like being the center of attention, they usually accept a compliment when it is given to them. Is there any Eagle Scouts that think to themselves, “I shouldn’t have had a ceremony. They should have just mailed it to me.”
    6. Do a ceremony, even if it is just a 10-minute one at a regular COH.

    • The Alvin Townley book “Legacy of Honor” is a wonderful book. Our council gave a copy to each scout who earned their Eagle Rank in 2012; one of the Eagles is my son. Its an inspirational book and would be a good book for every scout and scout leader to read; every American.. I can’t imagine a scout not appreciating a ceremony honoring them with their achievement but I don’t speak for everyone. I’m sure each Eagle Scout has their own story as humble as it may be…

    • Very well said.

  81. Jenn Jones // March 29, 2013 at 8:33 am // Reply

    I think the biggest problem is too many boys are waiting until the last minute to get their Eagle Rank, thus putting them in the middle of planning for graduation and college. BSA seems to promote this because it keeps boys in scouting longer, but the Eagle Rank seems to lose its Zest once the boy turns 16, and his interests grow into more of an adult frame of mind. We are having a Eagle CoH for my son and another boy next weekend and it has been difficult for us to plan and these boys are 16 and 15. Friends recently held one for 4 boys, 3 of which were graduating in 6 weeks and their ceremony was rushed and not as fun for the boys; more like a chore. Boys need to be encouraged to try to reach Eagle by 16 and then to continue Scouting in more mature ways. For example, my son earned his BSA Lifeguard last summer and wants to work at camp this summer. He is getting ready to have his first palm Scoutmaster conference. He is staying in Scouts, but he feels like he is growing into an adult. The reason parents receive a pin at the ceremony is because of their participation and the scout should recognize his own parents for their hard work. Not to put on a show, but to state that he understands their hard work. Respect. The scout should also show Respect to his troop and scoutmaster for their hard work. this is a recognition, not a party and should be treated as such. What about all those people who bought popcorn or donated for Eagle projects? Shouldn’t they get to see what/who they helped? Respect. Can’t say it enough! It is not just about the Eagle Scout, but all of the people that helped him to get there!

  82. SM/CM-b'more // March 29, 2013 at 1:11 pm // Reply

    In general, I think it’s awkward for someone to have to plan his own recognition ceremony, a better idea would have been to have the other boys in the troop to organize a ceremony to recognize the boys who earned Eagle. He didn’t say that they didn’t want a ceremony, only that they didn’t follow through with arranging their own ceremony. Now, though, several years after the fact, it would probably be best to find a way to present them the awards in a smaller setting, perhaps at a family dinner with the option of inviting friends and extended family.
    If nothing else, personally delivering the recognition to the boys and their family would be better than sending it in the mail.

  83. Carlene Frantz // March 30, 2013 at 9:51 am // Reply

    My son received his eagle in Aug 2012 however has no desire to have an ceremony. I finally got him to relent and let me plan one however he wants small and simple. Does not want me to do anything elaborate. Looking for help in planning this. Any suggestions would be appreciated. He wants to do it at a disc golf park to incorporate his other passion.

  84. Bob Basement wrote in part: “This is a self-inflicted problem on the part of Boy Scouts”

    Let’s hold on here for a momment!

    First, the Eagle Scout Court of Honor has ALWAYS been something coordinated between the Troop or Team, the Eagle Scout being honored and his parents. Somehow it has morphed into something whereby the parents and Scout is planning EVERY ASPECT of the Court of Honor.

    It has NEVER been something that Scouts and their families have to plan as if it was a wedding or graduation party!!

    As many of you have said, the MOST that the Scout had to do is to figure out if there is someone special HE wants to invite to the event and perhaps a location if the Troop meeting site is not acceptable to the family for some reason.

    ALL of the other elements are supposed to be handled BY THE TROOP OR TEAM…it is THEIR Troop or Team’s event. I don’t know where all of the various “oaths”, “promises” and “poems” come from; and where all of the various “trappings” associated with becoming an Eagle Scout comes from — I would bet a small stack of CSPs that it has come from the PARENTS of that new Eagle Scout, wanting to make HIS event better or different from the last kid’s — or special period.

    It’s ALREADY BETTER AND DIFFERENT from the last kid, unless that last Scout did the exact SAME Eagle service/leadership project; earned EXACTLY the same merit badges; and served in EXACTLY the same leadership experiences!

    This isn’t the fault of the BSA, Bob….this is the fault of the adult advisement of the Troop or Team NOT keeping the parents at bay; and of the proud parents who want to recognize their son and want others to know how proud they are of him.

    • Bob Basement // April 1, 2013 at 9:10 am // Reply

      This is often about keeping up with the Jone’s.

      Sit down dinners and renting banquet halls. Ridiculous.

      Eagle isn’t that big a deal any more. The BSA turns out how many ten’s of thousands a year??????? Dime a dozen.

      The ECOH is often treated as the end of a scouting career. Maybe if we stopped this practice we would retain more Eagles to act as mentors for the next generation of scouts.

      While there are many sunset Eagles there are many more that Eagle at 13 or 14 and disappear….Why is that.

    • Bob Basement // April 1, 2013 at 10:05 am // Reply

      This is often about keeping up with the Jone’s.

      Sit down dinners and renting banquet halls. Ridiculous.

      Eagle isn’t that big a deal any more. The BSA turns out how many ten’s of thousands a year??????? Dime a dozen.

      The ECOH is often treated as the end of a scouting career. Maybe if we stopped this practice we would retain more Eagles to act as mentors for the next generation of scouts.

      While there are many sunset Eagles there are many more that Eagle at 13 or 14 and disappear….Why is that.

      If the parents are DE and a District Chair I would hope they would understand the program by now.

  85. Carlene wrote and asked: ” I finally got him to relent and let me plan one however he wants small and simple. Does not want me to do anything elaborate. Looking for help in planning this.”

    Use the simple Eagle Scout Court of Honor script I’ve posted at http://www.settummanque.com/eaglite.pdf and do the Eagle Court of Honor in the lobby or “party room” at the PuttPutt golf place. Afterward, everyone goes to play a round of PuttPutt. You can’t get any more simplier or intergrated than this. And congrats to your son!

  86. Jenn Jones // March 30, 2013 at 5:59 pm // Reply

    Mike Walton you seem to have a good perspective on this entire situation. Let me tell you more from the “mom’s” perspective. Another mom and myself joined together to plan a reception. We wanted simple, but nice. We were happy doing it all ourselves, sure catering and all that is nice, but too expensive. We are more concerned about people attending and seeing the fruit of their contributions. So many people have forgotten about scouting; it’s not as popular as it used to be. Getting these people to see how hard the boys worked to get to Eagle is a great way to promote scouting. My son is so happy that we are doing all that we are with the ceremony. Just a cake and punch with some cookies and a couple of appetizers. Some borrowed decorations and some homemade display boards.

    We had a third Eagle that we asked if he would join; he had been planning his own ceremony, or rather his parents had been. We met, she only wanted catering, didn’t have a price or what was included. They wanted 3 seperate cakes. I finally told her with 2 weeks left that catering without info was out and that we should share one cake. We divided everything between the three of us and thought all was well. 3 days later they came up with an excuse to pull out. What the other mom and I had been planning was not good enough. No matter the excuse, I know the real reason. The dad was in the District Counsel and another district counsel exec’s boys had a sit down catered dinner for 100 people and they just wanted to copy that and have us split the costs. I personally felt depressed like what I was planning was not good enough and felt like I was not doing all for my son as I could. I know in my mind that this is not true, but this sort of thing really hurts the heart. My son is so excited to be planning his ceremony with another scout and he thinks what us moms are doing is fantastic. In the end, that is all that matters!

    All in all, I wish the Troop gave more direction in this matter. Someone should assist the moms that are not that active because the dad’s are and give some general guidance. I am not going to cater or spend beyond my means, but I do want this to be special for my son and to show those people who have so strongly supported him that he made it!

    We are one week away from the ceremony. The other mom is buying the things that don’t require a lot of time which helps me because I love to bake and am using this as an excuse to have a girls night Friday night before so that we can cook together and have fun doing it. This can be fun; it doesn’t have to be some big explosion. I am excited, my son is excited and it is going to be a great event because of the people that support us!

    • Jenn, you and the other parent have a great attitude toward this…thanks for sharing this with all of us!!

      You wrote in part: “We had a third Eagle that we asked if he would join; he had been planning his own ceremony, or rather his parents had been. We met, she only wanted catering, didn’t have a price or what was included. They wanted 3 seperate cakes. I finally told her with 2 weeks left that catering without info was out and that we should share one cake. We divided everything between the three of us and thought all was well. 3 days later they came up with an excuse to pull out. What the other mom and I had been planning was not good enough. No matter the excuse, I know the real reason.”

      Yep…the dad or mom saw “someone else’s Eagle Court of Honor” and decided instead of asking the Troop, that THIS is what the event should look and be like…yep…not a good thing at all.

      “The dad was in the District Counsel and another district counsel exec’s boys had a sit down catered dinner for 100 people and they just wanted to copy that and have us split the costs.”

      (while you’ve confused the term, most of understand… but just for the record, the dad was probably on either a “District” or “Council” Committee; and the other dad was either a “District Executive” or a “Council Executive”. Either way, the catered dinner for their son was probably not what the Troop wanted, but rather what Dad felt was “best for his son’s attainment of Scouting.”

      Dad was probably never a Scout himself; a topic for another day and line of discussion I’m sure…

      I am sure that you felt at that point like a lot of other parents who email to me asking me to help them out:

      “I personally felt depressed like what I was planning was not good enough and felt like I was not doing all for my son as I could. I know in my mind that this is not true, but this sort of thing really hurts the heart. My son is so excited to be planning his ceremony with another scout and he thinks what us moms are doing is fantastic. In the end, that is all that matters!”

      ABSOLUTELY!!!!

      “All in all, I wish the Troop gave more direction in this matter. Someone should assist the moms that are not that active because the dad’s are and give some general guidance. I am not going to cater or spend beyond my means, but I do want this to be special for my son and to show those people who have so strongly supported him that he made it!”

      That’s what the Scoutmaster is *supposed to provide*, Jenn. However, we have a LOT of Scoutmasters who don’t really know what an Eagle Court of Honor is supposed to look like, or encompass. Lucky for them…and parents… local Councils have members of the National Eagle Scout Association or NESA, who can shed light on how to conduct a meaningful Court of Honor for the Scout — and the Troop.

      You and the other mom…and especially your sons, Jenn — did well!!!

      • Jenn Jones // March 30, 2013 at 8:16 pm // Reply

        Thanks Mike; but not over yet. Eagle CoH April 6, 2013. We will survive!

        Our Scoutmaster is great, he is just over obligated and spread too thin. I feel sorry for him trying to assist with all these different personalities. The other dad was a District chairman. The other child’s dad was a District exec I believe.

        Thanks again
        jenn

  87. An Eagle Ceremony is far more than just giving honor to the Eagle Scout. An Eagle Scout may have no desire to have a ceremony for himself; that is fine, but it isn’t for himself. It is for Scouting and for those who will follow.

    • I just can’t get past thinking of what scouting meant to me as a boy; what’s happened that’s changed? Who has made the Eagle Rank so much more than what it is that it has to have all this ceremony associated with it; the boys? Scouts earn the Eagle Rank just before turning 18 and don’t serve in the Scouts as a boy with the rank of Eagle. When I was a Boy Scout, rank had privileges and responsibility and you served your troop in that capacity as a scout with rank, authority, experience, responsibility, duty, etc. Earning the rank and never serving your troop with that rank makes having earned the rank a different experience. I guess it makes it seem like more of an award which it really isn’t; its a rank, the highest rank a boy can achieve in service as a boy scout. Maybe some boys see it that way and feel like the scouting experience meant more to them than earning ranks etc.; probably a lot of different perspectives on this topic but I guess its the scouts that matter most; its an organization for them and for their benefit. I really think the Eagle Courts of Honor need to always be associated with the troop courts of honor. It should never have become so seperated to begin with.

      • I agree. I don’t think the ceremony should be a big show. In northern NY where my son earned his Eagle rank, the boys were encouraged to plan their ceremony at the location where their project was done, if possible. The ceremonies I attended were all about the boy, and while its good to reflection his journey (speech, slide show, etc), it se-emphasizes the other two aspects of what someone pointed out as the three reasons for having a ceremony: there was always a minimum of thanking friends for helping along the way, and since the ceremonies were never during troop time, there was minimal troop attendance. The ceremony seemed to be a farewell to the boy in scouting, a wrap-up, so to speak. And even my son basically said “I’m done now” and he unfortunately didn’t continue in Scouting as a 17 year old in our new troop (we moved one week after his ceremony, so he didn’t have a rapport with the new troop).

        I also think we as Scouters need to encourage Scouts to earn Eagle whenever they felt hey are ready,instead of subtly holding back a younger Life Scout, as I’ve seen. Maybe earning Eagle at 14 is a good thing if we also encourage the leadership opportunities in the troop beyond earning Eagle and quitting.

        I won’t excuse his actions or the former troop’s example, but I will say I have learned A LOT from this thread and I’m very glad I have 5 more sons to help along the Eagle trail. I am sure that each ceremony will be different, but I’m glad I’m learning after my first son (and not my last) the true meaning.

  88. Having commented myself much earlier, then seeing what Mike Walton has said about the issue, a simple ceremony with just the required parts at a regular Court of Honor is simply enough. All the trappings can be a bit much. A reception because, that is the troop’s tradition, should be organized by the troop not the boy or his parents. And if none of the trappings, just a simple ceremony done as part of the Court of Honor is what is wanted, then do what you normally do at a Court of Honor. Most of them have some sort of reception afterword anyway, so do your usual.

  89. jenn jones // April 1, 2013 at 10:18 am // Reply

    My heart broke when Bob Basement said “Eagle isn’t that big a deal any more. The BSA turns out how many ten’s of thousands a year??????? Dime a dozen.”

    That is not true and I know how hard my son worked and the other boys who have attained Eagle. How dare you try to take away from the hard work these boys have done!

    Bob is right, however, that the ceremonies have gotten out-of-hand. I am on the committee at our troop and because of all the strife in just organizing our own ceremony, I have decided to step up to help future Eagles plan their ceremony and try to establish some Troop guidelines. I am glad to read the opinions of this blog; this helps me to see a broader perspective on how to help our Troop.

  90. I guess it all points back to the program and the adults running it. I can guarantee that an Eagle scout who achieved it while I have been with my current troop would not fit the “a dime a dozen” comment. While it is true scouting has not been perfect, the final product is still controlled by the leadership of each troop, troop committee, scout masters, etc. These same leaders make up the local districts and councils. Making a good Eagles Scout starts with a well lead troop. “Once an Eagle always an Eagles.” As an Eagle Scout you are seen as a proven leader, you are expected to lead, in scouting or wherever your life takes you. If an Eagle scout does not know this, Scouting has failed weather or not the scout achieves Eagle.

    • Bob Basement // April 2, 2013 at 8:54 am // Reply

      I am sure it is a bell curve like everything else.

      The quality of the Eagle Scouts we produce varies widely. From the Eagle scout who could lead a team to build a house at 16 years old through the Eagle that couldn’t find his way home from the Charter Organization after the meeting.

      jenn and eddy how many Eagles does your council produce a year????? We have a near by troop that is an Eagle Factory they produce 10 or more 14 year old eagles a year. These boys are not the quality Eagles that Eddy is talking about. these boys are the product of Adults Ego and a program that is 100% advancement driven….An interesting side note there troop doesn’t have many if any 16 year old scouts.

      Our council produces several hundred Eagles a year……. So my state probably produces a 800 or more Eagle scouts a year…

      National Totals
      2000: 40,029
      2001: 43,665
      2002: 49,328
      2003: 49,151
      2004: 50,377
      2005: 49,895

      That is an amazing number of eagle scouts. so in the last 10 years we have 500,000 New Eagle scouts….

      While your scout is special…he is one of 50,000 this year.

  91. Bill Bentley // April 1, 2013 at 10:39 am // Reply

    The situation of the three boys described in the top post described me to a T. I was a Life Scout for at least four years, happy to serve and have fun in my troop and OA chapter, and then finished out my Eagle shortly before turning 18. After that, I never had an Eagle Court of Honor. To me, it seemed awkward and self-aggrandizing to plan and execute a ceremony to honor myself. I didn’t realize at the time that the ECoH is really more for the family, friends and Scouters who put in the countless hours of effort to support my Scouting career to help me get to that point, as well as to set an example for younger Scouts.

    I ended up having the Eagle award given to me in a small, simple presentation during a going-away reception about a year later, as I was leaving to serve for two years doing full-time volunteer work for my church.

    Two decades of reflection (and hopefully a little wisdom) later, I would advise that younger version of myself with those concerns to go ahead and proceed with an ECoH, and perhaps use it as a platform to thank and honor the many people who gave so much of themselves to me throughout my Scouting youth.

    • It doesn’t have to be big or elaborate, either. Just something to show appreciation. Too many go overboard with the ceremonies. Keeping it modest works just as well.

  92. This is the same scenario applicable to my son who earned his Eagle Scout rank at the time of his 18th birthday. After passing his EBoR, he had no interest in having a CoH, probably because too much hoopla and fussing over him is not in his make-up. I didn’t feel compelled to push him into having one. His troop has always expected the parents to go all out on an ECoH, having community members and/or mentors come and speak, luncheon buffet, and all that, for special invited-only attendees, and paid for by the parents. While I agree that the ECoH ought to be considered an important activity, it should be done at a regular CoH meeting where the entire troop can be present and the scouts in earlier ranks can see what it is all about. His Eagle packet remains unopened, the parents’ and mentor’s pins still tucked away.

    You ask: I still have these boys’ Eagle packets at home. The badge, patch, and certificate rightfully belong to the boy. Should I bundle them up and mail them to the boy or parents?” My answer would be, yes, send those things to the boy or his parents. Not every Scout wants to be the center of attention, even if he has earned Eagle Scout rank. And while an ECoH also recognizes the parents and mentors (if other than the parents), we always say, “It’s about the boys”, and in this instance, those are words we truly have to have in our hearts to honor what the boy wants at that time.

  93. I’ve had this happen twice in my Troop/Ship leadership years. In one case, the Scout agreed to let it be presented at a troop meeting. In the other case, we completely ran out of time prior to the Council Eagle Recognition Dinner. The young man, by then a Sea Scout and over 18, picked me up for the drive down to the dinner. I “presented” him with his regalia in his truck in the parking lot. I asked both him and his parents (and I was close to this family) if they wanted some kind of public ceremony and they were not the least interested. Nothing prevents us from recognizing the youth at a meeting whether he is present or not. In my case, many years back, we also had an Eagle Dinner prior to the Court of Honor, so the SM gave us our badges to wear. We wanted and got a Court of Honor shortly after. It is “about the boys.”

  94. I’ve been an ASST. SCOUT MASTER for 15 YEARS, THOSE BOYS MOST LIKELY Are Not IN BSA TO GET EAGLE RANK FOR THEMSELVES But FOR MOM AND DAD.JUST TO MAKE THEM
    . HAPPY. HAPPY HAPPY

  95. This kinda describes what my feelings were about any ceremony (and even with my ECoH scheduled a week away i still don’t LIKE the idea). Through out my Scouting career onto the door step of getting Eagle my parents reassured me that they didn’t care if i had a ceremony and that if i didn’t want one i didn’t have to have one, but then since then all i have done is help plan this ceremony. i don’t know how many times while we were planning it my dad said “we can leave this part out if you want to” or “Hey i figured you would like this variation” and i just sat there silently because i understand that the ceremony is ultimately for them. And then at a week or so ago the CoH coordinator for my troop told me i needed to get of my high horse put my pride away and work more on planing, this confused me because to me the prideful thing is in fact the ceremony itself.

  96. Eric Flamm // July 13, 2014 at 7:48 pm // Reply

    We had a similar situation with an Eagle Scout from our troop a while ago. He had a very successful senior year in High School and went off to college without ever having his Court of Honor. A few years back, we got him to join us at our district’s annual winter training campout, where his father has been on staff for many years. We called him up on stage during the closing campfire and presented him with his Eagle medal and neckerchef and had him present his dad with an Eagle Dad pin in front of the 300+ scouters gathered for the campfire. Definitely not your traditional Court of Honor, but clearly in the spirit of the event.

  97. I have had a few boys in the Troop that just are not comfortable with extra attention. One wanted his Eagle badge to be awarded to him during one of the regular Courts of Honor we scheduled several times per year for boys earning Merit Badges and other ranks.

    Most will go ahead with some sort of ceremony after I have explained to them that making the ECOH “special” is an encouragement for the younger Scouts in the Troop to achieve their Eagle. At the end of the day, it is a decision for the young Eagle and his family.

    If it works out, sometimes a boy’s reticence to getting the “attention” is to schedule a “group” Eagle Court of Honor, especially if the boys are good friends. We did one of those earlier this year and both boys liked it. Both sets of parents did too, as it halved the workload of planning the event!

  98. Simple: don’t put it on the scouts as more baggage they have to handle. Give the responsibility to the moms.

  99. Brenden Taylor // August 8, 2014 at 8:33 pm // Reply

    There was a young man in our troop some years ago who did all the work, including a project, but never bothered turning in the final report and sitting for the Board of Review. He, like so many others described in these comments, didn’t want the attention either; he also felt the award itself to be superficial. He believed he had met all the purposes and internalized the principles that were intended by the process and didn’t need the ceremony or badge to validate that. His parents and unit leaders felt otherwise, but respected his desires in this. I was interested, but not surprised, to learn from his Father not too long ago that these many years later he regrets not completing it and getting the award. He feels that he made a big mistake that he would undo if he could. I expect the time will probably come when the three spoken of in this post will have a similar retrospective experience if things stay as described; though they at least will have the comfort of knowing they did in fact completely earn it.

  100. Late to the party here – but I just want to share that our troop, the sponsoring organization, the district (even the district advancement chair) all told us that planning and coordination is up the parents. If we didn’t want a ECOH, we didn’t have to have one.

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