Perhaps nothing can highlight the significance of the Eagle court of honor more than having a standing-room-only audience. But how can you ensure a full house without holding the court of honor in a closet? You have to invite people. And that means more than just making an announcement at a troop meeting or posting an announcement on the troop’s Facebook page.
One of my ongoing frustrations as a Scoutmaster was working with families of new Eagle Scouts who had a Field of Dreams mentality. They were thinking, “If you announce it, they will come,” while I was thinking, “Half the families in the troop don’t know your son because they were still in Cub Scouting when he was really active, so why would they show up?”
Here’s my solution to getting more butts in seats:
Early in the planning process (six weeks or so before the court of honor), sit down with the honoree and his family and encourage them to develop a comprehensive invitation list. They should include members of the troop, of course, but also the honoree’s relatives, friends, teachers, and others who would be interested in attending the court of honor. Send invitations out a month before the event; then follow up with meeting announcements, newsletter notices, and personal phone calls to key people.
Here’s a list to get you started:
- Troop members and leaders
- Representatives from the chartered organization
- The honoree’s past troop leaders
- The honoree’s past den leaders
- The honoree’s past Cubmaster
- The honoree’s merit-badge counselors
- Those who helped with (or benefited from) the Eagle service project
- Eagle board of review members
- Camp staff buddies
- Unit commissioner
- District executive
- District chairman
- District commissioner
- Family members
- Religious leaders
- Favorite teachers
- Members of the troop’s brother Cub Scout pack
And don’t leave off dream invitees like local celebrities that might take an interest. If you invite them, they just might come!
You can find more great information in my new ebook, Showtime: 45 Top Tips from EagleBook.com and The Eagle Court of Honor Book; it costs just $2.99 and is available for immediate download.