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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127 thoughts on “They earned Eagle but still haven’t scheduled their court of honor

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

      • 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

        • 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

    • 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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..

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

      • 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

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

    Humility is a virtue.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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…

  21. 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!

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  25. 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!

  26. 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!”


      “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!!!

      • 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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

    • 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.

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