You give a graduate a gift when he reaches the high point of his educational career, but what about when a boy reaches the pinnacle of Scouting? In other words: To gift or not to gift, that is the question.
An upcoming Eagle Scout Court of Honor was on Scouter Scott’s mind when he wrote:
What is the protocol for gifting an Eagle Scout at his Court of Honor? Is it expected and appropriate? What are some thoughtful gift ideas?
Great question. Our Facebook friends — now 30,000 strong — seem to have a consensus that a gift is never expected but certainly is appropriate and appreciated.
As for what to give, opinions vary. You can’t go wrong with gift cards, Scouting memorabilia, or cold, hard cash. But for some more-imaginative gift ideas, check out these ideas. I’ve included the submitter’s name in parentheses.
Scouting-related gift ideas
- A lifetime National Eagle Scout Association membership (John O.)
- “I love giving Eagle Scout Challenge coins from Northwest Territorial Mint to Eagles. I have their name and date of their BoR engraved (by NWTM) on the coin.” (Jessica H.)
- “I recently presented an Eagle Scout with a walking staff with the staff badges from Scout to Eagle as a symbol of his trek along his Trail to Eagle.” (Tom G.)
- “I gave one of mine who may have well been my own a compass, I had “Get Lost” engraved on the outside and congratulations and his name with the BSA logo on it on the inside cover.” (Stephanie T.)
- “Our troop gave either an Eagle ring or an Eagle watch. It was his choice.” (Frank D.)
- “We always gift the hardback book: Boy Scouts of America: A Centennial History. We put a special message to the scout in the front cover. Always well received by the new Eagle Scout.” (Sarah W.)
- “I always buy a BSA memorabilia box. That way the Scout has something put all of his important Scouting awards/uniform in.” (Jeffrey J.)
Charitable gift ideas
- Donations to an organization about which the new Eagle Scout is passionate. “My son had his Eagle Court of Honor last spring and he set up an online giving page through the children’s charity World Vision for digging a well.” (Linda W.)
- “I’ve started giving a donation to Friends of Scouting in the Scout’s name.” (Teresa Z.)
Homemade gift ideas
- “My wife handmakes a quilt for each Eagle in our troop as a personal gift. I have heard many years later, the quilt is still a big deal to the guys.” (Steve H.)
- “The most unique gift my son received was from my Godfather, whose father was a Scoutmaster in the town that we live. The gift was an antique, hand-carved neckerchief slide in the shape of an Eagle. It was a fitting gift as the slide otherwise would have been lost to an estate sale. I’m glad it found a new generation.” (Susan H.)
- “My mom made T-shirt quilts for the grandkids’ graduations. She was happy to make an ‘extra’ quilt for each of my sons with their Scout T-shirts….very special.” (Rhonda S.)
Other gift ideas
- “I usually give them a gift card, but to where depends on the Scout. If he is active and does a lot of camping, a sporting goods or outdoor store. If he’s getting ready to head to college or loves to read, Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. Young men also like to eat and go out, so restaurant or movies work too. If you don’t know the Scout, ask the leaders; they can offer suggestions.” (Dave F.)
- “We have given small Bibles for backpacking.” (Rebecca T.)
- “The last Eagle Scout in our troop was just starting college, so we gave him a gift card to the university’s bookstore” (Jen H.)
- “I consider an Eagle Court to be on par with a graduation party and usually just put a little cash in a card.” (Dan K.)
- “I really liked the check that someone gave me at mine.” (Joe B.)
No gift at all
Susan S. suggests adding this to the Court of Honor invitation: ”The only gift expected is your presence.”
“Adult volunteers,” she says, “are often active a troop for at least seven years. It can get expensive, considering how many boys they help. They’ve already given the best gift — their time.”
What do you think?
Should you give a gift? What have been some meaningful gifts you’ve given? If you’re an Eagle Scout, what was your favorite gift? Keep the ideas flowing by leaving a comment below.