The MacScouter's Eagle Court of Honor Handbook
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.
note: This Web site is not connected with The Eagle Court of Honor
Book by Mark Ray, ©1996. For more information on that book,
have ceremonies, charges, inspirational messages, poems, tips
or complete scripts that would help us all plan Eagle Courts better,
please send them to me:
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.
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
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,
- Northern Lights Council,
- Columbia Pacific Council,
- Tidewater Council, VA,
and Troop 209
- The National Eagle Scout
- 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, email@example.com, Ben Parker, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Jack L. Eidson, Mike Walton -- Settumanque! the Blackeagle, Greg Gough,
Joe Ulrich, email@example.com, Scott Drown, Paul Sweeney, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Ed Schmitt, and many others.
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 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
- The ceremony must have
a definite closing.
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.
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
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
- 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
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.
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
The Honorable _______________________
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,
A Sample Invitation
When writing to a member
of Congress, use the address below:
THE HONORABLE ________________________
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
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:
City of ____________
City of __________
Chief of Police
City of ____________
Superintendent of Schools
Key BSA Council Staff to
- Council President
- District Chairman
- District Senior Executive
- Council Commissioner
- District Commissioner
- District Executive
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Outline (ver# _____)
(greeting & seating
Call to Order (SPL
Opening Flag Ceremony
Opening Hymn (optional)
Eagle candidate to Scout Oath & Law (Troop 16 Team)
For the Boy Scouts
of America _____________________
For the Church _____________________
For the Community
or School _____________________
For the Scout _____________________
For the Troop (Scoutmaster
The Eagle Scout Challenge
(SM or _____________________)
(incl. all other
The Eagle Scout Charge
(SM or _____________________)
(Eagle Scout & parents)
Recognition (Eagle Scout & SM)
Closing Hymn (optional)
Closing Flag Ceremony
-- Thanks to Ben Parker,
ASM T-16 Oak Park IL