Seeing Old Ceremonies Through New Eyes



Since my own Eagle court of honor 35 years ago this summer, I’ve been to more Eagle ceremonies than I can count. Many I’ve planned, some I’ve participated in, and a few I’ve just observed.

That background has given me plenty of experience in making Scouting’s greatest moment just a little bit greater. But it also has robbed me of the ability to come at courts of honor with a fresh perspective. It’s impossible for a veteran to look through the eyes of someone attending their first Eagle court of honor.

That’s why I’m glad the Heart of Virginia Council recently posted on Facebook a blog post by a first-time court-of-honor attendee. The writer, a Scout mom named Hannah Fancher, described a couple of highlights of the ceremony: 1) when the Scout (who she barely knew) handed out mentor pins and 2) when he asked the audience to help him live out the promise he’d made as a new Eagle Scout. In the end, she wrote, “I came away from this ceremony with so many good things. It fed my soul. It’s probably a little silly, but I was uplifted as a person and inspired as a mom.”

What do people who attend your troop’s courts of honor come away with–especially parents of young Scouts who may not even know the honoree? If you’re not sure, I encourage you to interview a few guests from a recent ceremony. Ask them what they expected, what they took away, what worked for them, and what didn’t. Your conversation may not lead to a blog post like Hannah Fancher’s, but it should lead to more meaningful courts of honor in the future.

Now available from a revised and expanded version of The Scoutmaster’s Other Handbook. Check it out today–and save 20% by entering the code SMOH2017 when you check out at


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