eagle-certificate

Eagle Scout court of honor gifts: Are they appropriate? If so, what should you give?

eagle-gift-bagYou 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.


Photo from Flickr: Some rights reserved by sarelkromer

39 thoughts on “Eagle Scout court of honor gifts: Are they appropriate? If so, what should you give?

  1. I think there were other gifts I received at my court of honor, but the best and most lasting gift I got was so simple, scout related, and I’ve used it to show future scouts what they could earn. Someone took a large picture frame, a large enough piece of red felt, and presented it to me with all the merit badges, ranks, and special awards, or at least most of them, as a reminder of just how much hard work I put into reaching the rank of eagle. I believe someone in our troop made these, but it was by far one of the coolest, remembered, and most honored gifts I have ever received in my entire life.

  2. I have given many Eagle Scout gifts. What I give is determined on the boy. I try to give something specifically for them. My favorites are made by me. They included a scout song and skit book made from everything I could get my hands on from the web, the scout was on camp staff the next summer, the book was a hit. One was a collage of pictures I had taken over the years.

  3. I always give the Eagle a New Testament. I’ve been to something like 650 Eagle courts of Honor.

  4. At my Eagle Court of Honor, I received one check, one cash gift, and one gift card, along with three ‘congratulations’ cards.
    However, the best gift for me was having all my family and friends at the ceremony. Words can’t describe the feeling you get when you look out from the stage and see everyone you know and love.

  5. My son’s Eagle COH was just last month. He received lots of money and gift cards which are of course very appreciated. He’s also a senior in HS and headed to college in a few months so the cash went into his savings account. Two or his favorite gifts though were a very nice pocket knife engraved with “Eagle Scout” and his name and his previous Scoutmaster gave him a rifle. The SM did make sure we were ok with the rifle beforehand but he said he wanted to give him something he would keep for a lifetime. That is obviously a very generous gift!

    Another boy in our troop is having his Eagle COH tomorrow. His mom made him an awesome quilt with all his Scout patches on it.

  6. I feel gifts should be open to what ever the giver feels will be cherished my the NEW EAGLE not only now but years from now. Money is nice, but when it’s gone what is there to show it was ever given, just a thought. When my brother made eagle, our grandfather made his shadow box as his gift to him.

  7. As a council, we hold an annual dinner for all those who made eagle the past 12 months. We present each one with an eagle statuette and, this year, we started giving a Eagle Challenge coin, date it with the year.

  8. I prefer to give the outstanding book detailing a century of the Eagle Scout award called FOUR PERCENT by Michael S. Malone.

  9. I got this idea from “scouting” around online for Eagle gifts…
    A nice stainless steel, insulated water bottle with an Eagle Scout hiking stick shield glued on. Everyone needs a water bottle whether they are heading off to college or still have a few years left in the Troop. And an insulated one works great! The Eagle walking stick shields is thin metal that can easily be bent to fit the curve of the water bottle – and it looks really nice.
    Cost is about $20-$25 for the water bottle and $6 for the Eagle Scout hiking stick shield. We have given a couple of these now. The Scouts seem to love them and I hope it is something they will use a lot.

  10. Our troop awards each new Eagle with the official red jac-shirt. Only Eagles are allowed to wear them in our troop.

    For my son, I told him I would pay for his trip to Philmont this summer and he wouldn’t have to do any fundraising if he made Eagle. He did. And I am.

  11. My son received a hand made compound bow from his cousin (also an Eagle). He has it proudly hanging above his bed. The cousin is an historic actor as a mountainman from the Ozark Mountains in the 1930s. While my son received many other gift cards and money, this is still the most important to him.

  12. A lifetime membership in NESA is another great gift idea. I received some other Eagle memorabilia as well.

  13. My favorite Eagle Scout gift is a certificate to kiva.org, which is a third world microfinancing organization. The Eagle Scout goes onto the kiva.org website, selects a third world small business entrepreneur and commits his funds. I typically give $25. When enough people have committed (typically a total of about $500 – $1000), the entrepreneur gets his or her loan. Payback rates are extremely high (98+%) and then the Scout has his money back to reinvest in another entrepreneur or take out. To me, this teaches world brotherhood, finance, small business, generosity, prudent risk and sharing.

  14. A Scouter friend of mine, who is a master whittler (she’s staffed the Boys’ Life woodcarving exhibit at half a dozen Jamborees) presents each new Eagle in the Troop with a hand-carved Eagle neckerchief slide. These often become part of the CoH when the Scout removes the Troop’s neckerchief and dons an Eagle neckerchief.

  15. I just spent the last 2-6 years and in the case of some cub 12 years…with your son. An hour a week and 48 hours monthly plus two weeks every summer with him.

    Why should I give him a gift too????

    I am proud of them for what they accomplished.

    As a parent I spent Thousands of dollars getting him to this point…..Why should I give him anything…..

    It is right and appropriate for the Eagle scout to give mentor pins…….

    He did not complete the journey to Eagle alone……But with the help of a great many people. Many times riding on their backs and coat tails.

    Years a go…….At my Eagle court of honor….I receive a Patch, Medal and certificate……Nothing else.

    The last one I attended the scout, had 20 letters of congratulations from various celebs and political officials.

    He had a table full of wrapped gifts……It felt like a wedding honestly. Misguided.

    More misguided adults.

    A lifetime NESA membership is appropriate….but that is it folks……

    • I am going to take exception to this. Noone is saying it’s a requirement. Heck, as we know from a previous blog, some Eagles never even have a court of honor for whatever reason. This is entirely a voluntary thing, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with giving if people feel moved to do so. I never expected it frankly when I became an eagle.

    • I like all the thumbs down……

      Really entertaining…….

      Talk about being in scouting for the wrong reasons.

      Advancement is but one method and only 3% of the scouts ever attain it.

      So what about all the other scouts who learned to swim, first aid, cook and plan for the first time?????

      Completely over blown like the Eagle court of Honor thread.

      • The Eagle is a full recognition of all those skills combined. The commitment of the boy and his family are worth recognizing. I’ve been to more than a dozen Eagle Courts of Honor and each has varied greatly. I still have everything I received, from letters of congratulation to paper weights to a ceramic soaring eagle. I treasure them and they remind me to stay committed to scouting and the values I learned there. 20 years in scouting have been well worth it.

      • You’re right, no gift is required.

        But then, having done probably something similar to your experience you list helping boys on their journey to Eagle, it never occurred to me to think of the effort I put in when I attended their Eagle COH.

        I was, I guess, distracted by their accomplishment.

    • Bob,

      You and I have a much different Scouting experience. See I’ve been paid 10 fold for my time, money, and weeks of vacation.

      Here are a few examples:

      1, The boy who had a panic attack at the top of a climbing tower because he was afraid of heights. Two hours went by and he conquered his fear and came down on rappel. His smile was payment enough.

      2. The boy who had a phobia of drowning so bad he wouldn’t go near the water and after 2.5 years of practice and reassuring him and working with him he got in the pool. That afternoon I was paid back for all the time it took to get him there.

      3. A boy who finds out the day before Summer Camp that he is an insulin dependent diabetic. He has to learn how to inject himself on the outing and is afraid. After 2 days the 11 year old boy works through it with me. Two years later when my son is thought to be hypoglycemic and has to test his blood every couple of hours and he’s afraid, the boys tells me… I got this and helps my son.

      4. The boy who’s Father won’t spend an ounce of time with him and he breaks down on the camp outs crying in your arms wondering why? He is shy, afraid of failure, and over the next two years he grows into a fine young man and a leader in his Troop and now is there for others who are struggling.

      You will never be paid back for your time, travel, hours spent, or your vacation in cash. But if you really take a moment to look at your time spent with them you will realize they have paid you back more then you ever spent.

      Once you realize that you are capable of growing as much as they are in the time you spend together, you might reconsider a gift.

      Something small, something personal, but something that says, “thank you for changing my life son..”

      For some it can be a Buddy Tag, a “D” ring, a glucose monitor, or just a confident smile of pride as you sit in the crowd as they are awarded their medal.

      ~Mr. Don
      Eagle Scout Class of 1989

  16. Our previous Scoutmaster gave each new Eagle Scout a pocket sized copy of the Constitution. What a great gift to remind new Eagles about loyalty to our country and the freedom that we enjoy everyday because of those who have gone before us!

  17. The Eagle is a full recognition of all those skills combined. The commitment of the boy and his family are worth recognizing. I’ve been to more than a dozen Eagle Courts of Honor and each has varied greatly. I still have everything I received, from letters of congratulation to paper weights to a ceramic soaring eagle. I treasure them and they remind me to stay committed to scouting and the values I learned there. 20 years in scouting have been well worth it.

  18. Are they appropriate, sure. Are they required or should they be expected, no. As a family in a Troop, we are invited to all the Eagle ceremonies for each boy in the Troop. We know some boys much more than others. As a Family, we give every boy a card and gift that reflects the occasion and how strongly that individual has touched our lives and been a part of our family… Same would be true for any occasion.

    I think it is nice for the Troop to have some sort of tradition to do something for the boys and believe that something personal to the individual, his project, or interests is better than just throwing a lot of money at it. There have been some great examples on this thread.

  19. When I’m invited to an Eagle Court of Honor as District Commissioner, I always give the new Eagle Scout an old Boy Scout Handbook – the older the better. I scour book sales and garage sales and the like to get books for this purpose, to let the new Eagle Scout know he’s part of a very old tradition. It’s getting depressing, though, that most of the REALLY OLD handbooks I can find these days are the edition I had when I was a Scout…

  20. I make survival bracelets for the boys who earn Eagle in our troop using a nice red, white, and blue cammo. I will bracelets for others in the troop or friends if asked but I only use that paracord for my Eagle Scouts!

  21. The best present my son received at his Eagle ceremony was a two-fold gift – his dad returning from Afghanistan just the week before … and a U.S. flag, that had been flown in my son’s honor during a combat mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

  22. I only give a gift for the rare boy; as Bob Basement pointed out, I’ve already spent thousands of hours and thousands of dollars on every boy much less the Eagles. When I do, I pick a Rockwell print that matches him and have it framed, and write him a letter.

  23. As a long time Camp Staff member and Troop leader, I get invited to a number of Eagle Courts of Honor. I shop around and maintain a supply of small glass eagles ( at the moment a small square paperweight with a flying eagle laser engraved inside). These are less than $20 and can be placed on desks or shelves to remind the individual he is an Eagle Scout for the rest of his life. The important point is to keep the gift to every Eagle equal so that there is no suggestion of favoritism.

  24. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays..

  25. It’s been a blessing and honor to serve as Scoutmaster over these past three years. With each Court of Honor, or the annual recognition dinner, which ever comes first, I’ve given each Eagle Scout the 500 Duke, one of the more traditional Buck Knives. The Duke’s nickle silver bolsters are personalized with each Eagle Scout’s name, troop number and Eagle date, along with the Eagle Scouts insignia. Each knife is given with an Eagle challange to walk worthy of the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, in their daily life. “Once and Eagle, always an Eagle” echo’s as a blast from the past at my Eagle Court of Honor as a reminder to pay it forward to the next generation to help them be prepared. Every scout knows a knife is one of the 10 essentials, and this gift serves as a touch stone of their journey.

  26. My wife and I give a personalized card for the Eagle Scout, take photos of the Eagle Scout Court of Honor, and also give a gift such as an Eagle statue which will fit on a desk or a self.

Join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s