The MacScouter's Eagle Court of Honor Handbook

     This is a compilation of resources gathered from many places. You will find most of the Eagle Scout Ceremonies Handbook by Dan Demers, and also the Eagle Scout Court Of Honor Scripts FAQ from Fred Rogers. There was a great deal of overlap between these two documents, so it made sense to combine it all, along with other sources, into a new handbook. My thanks to Dan, Fred and the many other people who have contributed to this handbook.
      Please note: This Web site is not connected with The Eagle Court of Honor Book by Mark Ray, ©1996. For more information on that book, visit http://www.eaglebook.com.
     If you have ceremonies, charges, inspirational messages, poems, tips or complete scripts that would help us all plan Eagle Courts better, please send them to me:

Table of Contents

Introduction

     The Eagle Scout Court of Honor is a very personal event in both the life of the Eagle Scout and the lives of his family and friends. Thus, in situations where many Eagles are to be presented, it is essential that adequate recognition be given to each INDIVIDUAL young man. Far too often there are so many boys receiving awards at a given Court of Honor that the individual Scout is lost in the shuffle. It is a tremendously important moment for the Eagle when he receives his badge, and attention should be focused solely on him when the big moment arrives.
     Appropriate planning can insure a memorable Eagle recognition ceremony and award presentation, one that will not soon be forgotten by key participants. This pamphlet has been prepared for you to assist Scoutmasters, troop committee chairmen, advancement committeemen, and others in their planning. Recognizing that variety is an important feature of successful courts of honor, several different ceremonies and other materials are included. In addition, helpful comments are given regarding general pre-arrangements, features of a good Eagle award ceremony, and the Eagle charge. On behalf of all Eagles yet to be, it is hoped that your award presentations will always be performed with the sensitivity, care and dignity which the occasion deserves.

Acknowledgments

The MacScouter's Eagle Court of Honor Handbook, by Gary Hendra, is a compilation of material from many sources, including the following:

Don Demers' EAGLE SCOUT CEREMONIES HANDBOOK could not have been possible without the contributions from a lot of dedicated Scouters and Council folks.

  • San Mateo County Council, CA, and Troop 137
  • Pine Tree Council, ME, and Troop 171 / Troop 118
  • Katahdin Area Council, ME, and Troop 189
  • Northeast Illinois Council, IL, and Troop 55
  • Okefenokee Area Council, GA, and Troop 223
  • Coastal Empire Council, GA
  • Northern Lights Council, ND
  • Columbia Pacific Council, OR
  • Tidewater Council, VA, and Troop 209
  • The National Eagle Scout Association
  • Order of the Arrow

Fred Rogers' EAGLE SCOUT COURT OF HONOR SCRIPTS FAQ was compiled from many sources. Most of the scripts were distributed originally by the National Eagle Scout Association or were taken from Woods Wisdom. Other scripts and information came from the Scouts-L Youth Groups Discussion List on the Internet and the rec.scouting newsgroup on Usenet.

In addition, contributions to this EAGLE COURT OF HONOR HANDBOOK have been gratefully received from Steve Aberle, saberle@olympic.brigadoon.com, Ben Parker, bparker@interaccess.com, Jack L. Eidson, Mike Walton -- Settumanque! the Blackeagle, Greg Gough, Joe Ulrich, julrich@cdcj089.cnp.cldx.com, Scott Drown, Paul Sweeney, sweeney@mdc.net, Ed Schmitt, and many others.

Preparing for the Eagle Court of Honor

General Pre-arrangements

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
  • Decorations
  • Refreshments
  • 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.

Features Of A Good Eagle Ceremony

Here are a few things to keep in mind while planing an Eagle Court of Honor:

  • The ceremony should have a crisp definitive opening.
  • A proper introduction of the Eagle Scout candidate should be made by someone or some group the Scouts in the Troop respect.
  • A complete and easy to understand explanation should be made regarding what must be accomplished to attain the Eagle Scout rank. (Explicit mention should be made of the candidate's Eagle Service project.)
  • The Eagle candidate's parents should be escorted to the front of the room and should stand or sit near their son. (If neither of his parents is able to attend, his guardian, a close relative or friend should join him.)
  • The Eagle candidate should reaffirm his belief in the ideals of Scouting by either reciting the Scout Oath or participating in the Eagle charge.
  • The presenter should be someone of special significance to the Eagle candidate. The presenter should be given a few moments to speak concerning the individual Scout or the Eagle Award.
  • Either the presenter, assisted by a troop committee member, the Scoutmaster, or the Scout's parents should pin the badge on the Eagle recipient.
  • Both the mother and father should receive some recognition from the Eagle Scout himself.
  • The Eagle Scout should receive congratulations from all people involved. All or some of the letters of congratulations may be read to those present.
  • The Eagle Scout should be given the opportunity to say a few words if he is inclined to do so.
  • The ceremony must have a definite closing.


Small Pitfalls To Avoid

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:

  • When using candles for the ceremony, get a supply of fresh candles. Don't try to get by with candles that have previously been used. The Eagle ceremony is a big enough event to warrant fresh candles. Then, save them and use them for other purposes.
  • Make sure you have matches or a working lighter available. A lot of people have given up smoking and it is more difficult to ask a group of people for matches and get a positive response.
  • Check the PA system immediately before the start of the ceremony.
  • Check all props before the start of the ceremony. This includes the lectern, any lights being used, the candles, etc.
  • Remind the parents of the Eagle Scout that their son will be pinning awards on them also. They should dress in a way to facilitate this. The mother should wear a dress or suit with lapels or a blouse with a collar. This makes life for the Eagle Scout a lot simpler than a turtleneck sweater. The father should wear a tie or, at least, a jacket with lapels.
  • Order the Eagle Presentation Kit as soon as word is received from National that the application has been approved. Council service centers do not always have them in stock and it may take several weeks to get one.
  • PLEASE rehearse the ceremony. Stumbling over words detracts from the quality of the ceremony. The young man worked hard to achieve the rank of Eagle; we want to make the ceremony appropriate to his achievement.

Other General Thoughts

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.

Eagle Court of Honor Execution

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:

  • Make it simple, but keep it fun.
  • The Master of Ceremonies (MC) sets the tone and the pace of the ceremony.
  • Keep the aisle space clear for parading the colors.
  • Use props with candles; Scout spirit candle.
  • Make sure the candidate's parents sit in a special place.
  • An Eagle Ceremony should be held separately from troop Court-Of-Honors.
  • Master the lighting and sound system before a ceremony..
  • Have the principle speakers sit close to the front to reduce program lag time in traveling to the podium.
  • Have the troop march in with patrol flags, and sit together for colors.
  • It is appropriate to let humor in and to expect the unexpected.
  • Have the Eagle speak from prepared notes!
  • Daytime window light may affect slide programs

Eagle Scout Publicity Plan

There are basic steps to follow in publicizing any Scouting event. The following suggestions will help unit leaders develop a media plan for the Eagle Scout Ceremony.

CONTACTS: Prepare a mailing list of the newspapers in your council, district, and unit area. These should be daily, weekly, religious, and school newspapers, business, church, organization, council and district newsletters.

BIO: Obtain detailed biographical material from the recipient and a 4"x 5" (or larger) black and white glossy photo, (some newspapers take their own photos.) Include Scouting honors and leadership positions, education, church, civic and school activities, and include the troop number and the Scoutmaster's name.

Prepare a one page double-spaced news release from the biographical material. This should be typed on a standard 8 1/2"x11" sheet of white paper. Be brief, use short words, always use exact dates, give age of the Scout, name the chartered organization and above all spell every word correctly.

When preparing a news release, six points are important to remember: Who... What... When... Where... Why... and How. Get all those points into the first two or three sentences. Then go into the details of the story.

Address and mail all news releases to the editor of your local newspaper and newsletters at least a week in advance of the presentation, or as soon as possible after the ceremony. Because of space limitations, most large newspapers deal exclusively with photos and captions of Eagle Scouts. Smaller suburban newspapers welcome photos and longer articles and are more likely to use them.

Invitations

The Eagle candidate should send out invitations to VIPs about 3 months before the actual ceremony. This allows time for busy politician and business leaders to respond to the candidate's invitation.

A Sample Invitation Letter

123 Main Street

Somewhere, USA

___ Month 19____

The Honorable _______________________
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC. 20510

Dear Senator __________

I would be greatly honored if you could attend my Eagle Scout Court of Honor on 13 July 1998 at the First Banquet Hall of Fame at 2 PM in Mill Valley, Illinois. Your presence would greatly add to my receiving the Boy Scouts of America's highest honor, the Eagle Scout Award. I hope you will be able to attend my Eagle Court of Honor.

Yours in Scouting,

Sample Scout

A Sample Invitation List

When writing to a member of Congress, use the address below:

THE HONORABLE ________________________
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

THE HONORABLE _________________________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D. C. 20515

For example, Paul Simon is a Senator from Illinois. His address would look like this:

The Honorable PAUL SIMON
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

When writing to the President of the United States, use the address below:

Mr. William Clinton
President Of The U. S.
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

Mr. Al Gore
Vice President Of The U. S.
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D. C. 20500

Key leaders in your home town that you may consider sending an invitation to:

MAYOR
City of ____________

Fire Chief
City of __________

Chief of Police
City of ____________

Superintendent of Schools
Public Schools

Key BSA Council Staff to consider inviting:

  • Council President
  • District Chairman
  • District Senior Executive
  • Council Commissioner
  • District Commissioner
  • District Executive

Eagle Commendation Letters

It is common practice to write to a variety of government officials, celebrities, and others to request Commendation letters for a new Eagle Scout. These letters are then presented to the Eagle at the Court of honor, usually in the form or a scrap book.

Troop 16 Eagle Scout Court of Honor Work Sheet

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.

General Information:

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 COH 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

Eagle Scout Court of Honor Work Sheet

for Eagle Scout ___________________________

Date__________ Time____________

Location____________________________________

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)

(w/Scout Benediction)

-- Thanks to Ben Parker, ASM T-16 Oak Park IL


Scouts Using the Internet Cartoon - Courtesy of Richard Diesslin - Click to See More Cartoons
© 1994-2014 - MacScouter | Site Map | Disclaimer | Project Team | Web Stats | Contact Us | Privacy Policy
USSSP is Proud to be Hosted by Latisys.com and Lunarpages.com.

The MacScouter Scouting Rersources Online website is provided by R. Gary Hendra, Tindeuchen Chapter adviser OA and ASM Troop 92, Milipitas, CA; President, U.S. Scouting Service Project. E-mail the MacScouter

Made on a Mac

Materials found at The MacScouter website may be reproduced and used locally by Scouting volunteers for training purposes consistent with the programs of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) [Links to BSA Sites], the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) or other Scouting and Guiding Organizations. No material found here may be used or reproduced for electronic redistribution or for commercial or other non-Scouting purposes without the express permission of the U. S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. (USSSP) or other copyright holders. USSSP is not affiliated with BSA or WOSM and does not speak on behalf of BSA or WOSM. Opinions expressed on these web pages are those of the web authors. You can support this website in two ways: Visit Our Trading Post at www.ScoutingBooks.com or make a donation by clicking the button below.

(U.S. Scouting Service Project Donation)


(Ruth Lyons Memorial Donations)