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As soon as the Eagle Scout presentation kit arrives, if not before, the Scoutmaster or troop committee chairman should begin serious preparations for the Eagle Scout Court of Honor. The Eagle candidate and his family should be invited to designate an award presenter who should then be contacted and his participation firmed up. If a hall or other facility is to be used for the ceremony, the necessary arrangements should be made with the owners or other responsible group as soon as possible.
In order to obtain letters of recognition and congratulations from government officials, the requests must be mailed a minimum of four weeks prior to the ceremony.
When the who, what, when, and where have been established, those who will actually plan the Court of Honor should be brought together. This group will usually include representatives from the troop committee, the patrol leaders council, and the troop ladies auxiliary (if the troop has one). Coordination should be established concerning such details as:
Other advancement recognition
Ceremony details, including props, public address system, and the movements of the participants
Invitations to the guests
Printing of the program
Publicity, with special emphasis on photographs in newspapers
When the planning is complete, it is essential that all key people understand their roles in the arrangements and in the ceremony itself. Periodic rechecking to make sure that preparation in all assignment areas are progressing on schedule is a good idea. The presenter and any other guests who will have a speaking part in the award presentation should be contacted directly. It is helpful if these people have a thorough understanding of their individuals duties as well as some general information concerning Scouting history and the significance of the Eagle Award.
As the day of the ceremony draws near, those who will participate should be well prepared. They should know precisely how the entire Court of Honor is to take place. In summary, everyone should understand where and why they fit in.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while planning an Eagle Court of Honor:
In Eagle ceremonies, as in so many other areas of life, it is often the small things that cause the problems and ruin the big things. The following are small items that are often overlooked:
A guest book which can be signed by everyone who attends the Eagle Court of Honor makes a wonderful memento of the occasion for the new Eagle Scout.
Some of the ceremonies in this document include the presentation of a membership in the National Eagle Scout Association. Such a presentation can be added to any of the ceremonies. Consider presenting a NESA membership to the new Eagle Scout. Whether you present the membership or not, invite a representative of NESA to attend the ceremony and to say a few words as part of the ceremony.
All of the Courts of Honor in this document assume that the Eagle Scout comes from the "traditional family:" one mother and one father. This is not necessarily true. Be prepared to handle the exceptions by modifying the ceremonies, as appropriate. Some Eagle Scouts will be part of a single parent family while others will involve multiple sets of parents. Be sensitive to individual situations.
Finally, a word of advice to the mother of the Eagle Scout: enjoy the ceremony. Let someone else do the work of providing refreshments and decorating the hall. This day belongs to your son and to you; make it a day that you will remember fondly.
Keep in mind that the purpose of an Eagle Court of Honor is first, to honor the Scout. If the Court of Honor is executed well, it will inspire other Scouts to follow the adventurous and rewarding Eagle trail. A dignified and meaningful Court of Honor will also show the community the result of the Scouting program, so they will direct other boys into the Scouting programs and support the movement.
Some things to think about while planning the event:
This is an example of instructions and a worksheet that can be adapted for your Troop, to give information to the Eagle candidate parents, and help them develop plans for the Eagle Court of Honor.
The Committee of Troop 16 sends our sincere Congratulations on achieving Scouting's highest honor, the rank of Eagle Scout. Every Eagle Scout is constantly looked up to as a special example of leadership and service. It is indeed a special accomplishment.
Because of the special significance of this award, we invite the Eagle Scout and his parents to assist in planning the Court of Honor, so it will always be a special memory for him. This guide has been prepared to help you in your choices. While there is an organized plan to the ceremony, there is also a good deal of flexibility, to accommodate any special people or events that you want to be part of the ceremony. If you want to make changes, please do so, and let us know what you would like to do. The Troop Committee will appoint someone to work with you throughout this process. Please note that it takes 6 to 8 weeks to make all the necessary arrangements, select teams, rehearse them, print invitations, etc.
The date, time, and place of the Court of Honor are basically up to you to decide. You should, of course, be cognizant of holidays, school, church and Troop schedules. This will allow a maximum opportunity for other Troop members to attend. It may be done at First United Church, at your own church, or at another location that has special significance for you in your son's achievement. You should also give thought to whether or not a reception afterward will be held, and if suitable facilities are available for it.
Please note we are a large Troop and the number attending the Court of Honor and reception can easily be 100 or more people.
Once a date, time and location have been determined, please notify us and the Troop will print invitations on standard BSA Eagle stationery. We will give these to you for addressing and mailing. The members of the Troop will all be invited by an enclosure in a regular Troop mailing. You may also have your own invitations printed if you prefer.
The Troop will also make the printed programs for the Court of Honor, based on the Program Worksheet enclosed, again on standard BSA stationery, unless you choose to provide your own. The Troop will provide scouts to serve as the Master of Ceremonies, ushers, the Color Guard, and the Dedication Team. The Troop will of course provide the Eagle award presentation kit which includes the Eagle Ribbon badge, cloth badge, Mother's miniature pin, Father's tie-tac, and Scout's miniature pin, as well as a framed Eagle certificate. Additionally, the Troop will prepare a binder for the Scout which will include (mounted in plastic sleeves) all congratulatory letters and a copy of the ceremony.
The Troop will also pay for the Scout's initial (5 year) membership in the National Eagle Scout Association.
You should know that once your son's Eagle application has been processed by the National Office, you will receive various solicitations directly from National for various Eagle mementos, stained glass windows, plaques, and other forms of recognition. The choice to purchase of any of these items either by yourself or as a suggestions to family relatives is of course up to you.
Court of Honor Program & Ceremony:
In planning the location and time, please remember the Troop needs to have access to the location a minimum of 1 hour before the ceremony, for setup and rehearsal by the various teams that will be performing. There is a worksheet attached which outlines the principal parts of the ceremony. Many items are indicated as optional. You may include them or not as you choose. The choice to include any kind of music, such as a hymn or the camp song is optional. If you want a organist or other musician for accompaniment of music you will need to ask them yourself. The Master of Ceremonies will usually be the Senior Patrol Leader of the Troop, but you may select another Scout if you choose.
The Color Guard will usually be composed of Troop members, but you may select other scouts if you desire. The 'Dedication Team' will be composed of Troop 16 boys because this ceremony is unique to the history of Troop 16. You may choose the boys to participate on this team or leave it up to the SPL.
The Call of the Eagle is an audio or video tape special presentation.
Its use is optional.
The choice of Speakers is up to you, or we will help with suggestions. The main purpose is for various adults, in different aspects of the Scout's life, to briefly tell of the effort and accomplishment of the Scout in the area of experience they know him. It is not necessary to have all 5, but there should be at least 3, ending with the Scoutmaster. The speaker representing the BSA may be a Scouter from another Troop, a District or Council Executive. The speaker for the Church usually represents the church where the Court of Honor is performed or someone from the Scout's own religious training. A significant teacher or perhaps someone from the community, perhaps with whom the Scout worked on his Eagle Project, is another possibility. The Scout may have another personal or scouting mentor, a person from the OA Lodge perhaps, or a relative of significance to his achievement. Lastly, will be the Scoutmaster, who will relate the Scout's record of accomplishments and scouting history in the Troop.
The Eagle Scout Challenge is a statement in the responsibilities expected of an Eagle Scout and all other Eagle Scouts present will participate at this time. The Eagle Scout Charge is the actual 'oath of responsibility' and immediately precedes the presentation of the Eagle Award. The parents will be a part of this ceremony. The Scout will receive his award, and he will in turn, present miniature awards to both parents.
The Eagle Scout is expected to say a few words in acceptance of his award, perhaps thanking particular people who have been of special help along his trail as well as inspiring others Scout's still working the Trail to Eagle. The Scoutmaster will then read from various letters of congratulations and recognition from political figures or others unable to attend. This may be followed by an optional closing hymn and then the closing flag ceremony.
After the Court of Honor:
Since the location of the Court of Honor is your choice, the place of a reception afterwards is also yours. Whether or not to have a reception, what kind of refreshments, how much to have, etc. are all up to you. If asked, any members of the committee will help with these arrangements, but the principal direction and decisions must be yours. The Troop will pay for a decorated flat cake for the reception.
The reception is a good time and place to present any additional family recognition, and also to display a 'memory board' of your son's involvement with Scouting as well as the book detailing his Eagle Project work.
Troop 16 Eagle Scout Court of Honor Work Sheet
for Eagle Scout ___________________________
Suggested Program Outline (ver# _____)
(greeting & seating by ushers)
Call to Order (SPL or _____________________)
Opening Flag Ceremony (Color Guard)
Invocation (optional) _____________________
Opening Hymn (optional) _____________________
Re-dedication of Eagle candidate to Scout Oath & Law (Troop 16 Team)
Speakers: (minimum of three)
For the Boy Scouts of America _____________________
For the Church _____________________
For the Community or School _____________________
For the Scout _____________________
For the Troop (Scoutmaster or ___________________)
The Eagle Scout Challenge (SM or _____________________)
(incl. all other Eagles present)
The Eagle Scout Charge (SM or _____________________)
Award Presentation (Eagle Scout & parents)
Acceptance & Recognition (Eagle Scout & SM)
Closing Hymn (optional) _____________________
Closing Flag Ceremony (Color Guard)
-- Thanks to Ben Parker, firstname.lastname@example.org, (Oak Park IL) ASM T-16 Oak Park IL
Please direct all inquiries & submissions to the webmaster at Eaglescout.org
Last update: 03/14/2004