What Lady Gaga Can Teach You About Eagle Courts of Honor

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My musical tastes veer toward dead white people (classical composers) and dead black people (jazz and blues artists). Nonetheless, I did watch Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl LI halftime show, as did several other people around the country.

I was impressed by her message of inclusion–sorely needed in our divisive age–and by the sheer energy of her performance. (Maybe the next fad in fitness should be “Pop Star Boot Camp.”) But I also came away with three lessons that apply to Eagle courts of honor. Really.

The first relates to the artist’s dramatic entrance. As you probably know, she started on the roof of NRG Stadium, where she sang “God Bless America,” before apparently diving to the field for the rest of the show.

While you shouldn’t replicate this stunt–which would undoubtedly violate the BSA’s Climb on Safely policies–you could easily add an element of drama by starting a court of honor with an offstage narrator or someone in the church balcony singing the national anthem or members of the troop filing in simultaneously from four different entrances.

What you can do will depend on the space you’re working with, just as Lady Gaga’s performance depending on having a stadium with a retractable roof. What you should do is anything but having the presenters and honoree milling around the stage moments before the ceremony begins.

The second lesson from Lady Gaga’s performance–and really from every Super Bowl halftime show–is that a time crunch is a actually good thing. No matter how elaborate the set, no matter how big the star, the show must fit into a very tight time window and must start and end on schedule.

It’s tempting to let a court of honor run on forever, thinking such a significant achievement deserves a long ceremony. But (relatively) short and snappy is actually much more impressive. So take your next-to-last draft and try to cut a few words here and 30 seconds there and an extraneous speaker over there. Like a deftly edited screenplay, the ceremony will be better as a result.

And the third lesson from Lady Gaga? About her costume: Scout uniforms would be much more appropriate at your next court of honor!


For more great ideas, check out my 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 from both EagleBook.com and Amazon.com.

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