The Five Ws

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In the hustle and bustle of planning a court of honor, invitations often fall to the bottom of the priority list. That’s unfortunate, because the invitation, whether it’s delivered electronically, in person, or by the U.S. Postal Service, is the one thing that will actually get people to the court of honor—especially people who aren’t directly associated with the troop.

Your invitation doesn’t need to be fancy or elaborate, but it does need to provide some very important information. Just like a newspaper story, it should answer the five “W” questions: who, what, when, where, and why. You can skip “how,” the sixth question from Journalism 101, although you’ll surely know the answer after planning the ceremony! (And if you don’t know how, be sure to grab a copy of The Eagle Court of Honor Book.)

“Who,” of course, refers to the honoree, and “what” refers to the court of honor. “When” means the time and the date (including the day of the week), and “where” means the location. (If necessary, include a map; at the very least, include the street address. Not everybody knows where the First United Methodist Church is.)

The final question, “why,” is often overlooked. Somewhere in the invitation, indicate why the court of honor is such a significant event. Explain, for example, that less than five percent of all Scouts become Eagles … or that this will be the first Eagle court of honor in your troop’s history … or something else that gives the event some context. That little bit of explanation might convince people to attend your ceremony instead of watching another episode of “American Idol” on the tube.

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