Eagle Courts of Honor: Striking While the Iron Is Hot



In the past few weeks, I’ve had a couple of conversations about bad timing and the Eagle Scout Award. The first was with an adult Eagle Scout (for an upcoming Eagles’ Call profile) whose father passed away unexpectedly before the Scout could complete his last requirements. He still feels guilty that he procrastinated, mistakenly thinking he had all the time in the world to finish. The second conversation was with a friend whose troop had long insisted that Scouts wait in line to have their Eagle courts of honor. Since this troop only held courts of honor twice a year and only gave out one Eagle badge at each, that meant some Scouts were will into their college careers before they received their badges.(Fortunately, this Scouter changed that tradition when he became Scoutmaster.)

A wiser person than me once said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” That mystery part is right, which is one reason why we owe it to our Scouts to recognize them promptly when they become Eagle Scouts–not long after the fact.

In The Eagle Court of Honor Book, I recommended scheduling a court of honor about eight weeks after the board of review. While there are sometimes good reasons for taking longer–planning travel for out-of-town family, for example–convenience and tradition don’t cut it.

2 thoughts on “Eagle Courts of Honor: Striking While the Iron Is Hot

  1. Russell Wittig

    I’ve recently encountered a strange phenomenon–young men who have earned their Eagle rank, but don’t want a full-blown court of honor. They prefer to make their award as part of a troop court of honor, low-key, without a lot of bells and whistles that normally go with an Eagle Scout ceremony. I think part of it is a fear of making *their* speech, and they don’t want the chore of asking someone to be a guest speaker. I confess I’m al little bothered by this, since so many of us consider the Eagle award to be a “Big Deal”. Curious to know if others have experienced this, and how they deal with it.

    • I’ve seen that a few times as well, either because the honoree didn’t want to make a speech or because he thought the ceremony was going to be an over-the-top coronation. While I think it’s perfectly fine for a Scout to receive his Eagle badge at a troop court of honor or without a lot of bells and whistles, I think it’s important to try to work through a Scout’s concerns before deciding not to hold an Eagle court of honor. There’s no rule, for example, that the honoree has to say a word at his court of honor. Or he record a video as an alternative if he has something he wants to say but gets stage fright. I’ve also seen courts of honor (especially for Scouts who’d already gone off to college) that were more likely a reception for a small group of friends and family with the badge presentation dropped into the middle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.