Eagle Courts of Honor: Patches Before Pomp


In an online forum for Eagle Scouts, someone posted a common question: If a Scout wants to delay his Eagle Scout court of honor for several months (in this case, because his brother is on military deployment), is it okay to for him to go ahead and start wearing his Eagle Scout pocket emblem?

My answer: It’s not just okay. It’s advisable.

The first reason is that the BSA advancement program is built on immediate recognition. As soon as is practical, a Scout should receive the awards he’s earned. In the case of the Eagle Scout rank, he ought to receive his patch as soon as the troop gets official notification of his advancement and his medal at his court of honor.

The second reason might be even more important: It makes the photos make sense. Here’s what I mean: At every Eagle court of honor, someone ought to shoot a nice, formal portrait of the honoree in uniform, something he, his family, and his eventual descendants may well treasure for generations to come. And it makes little sense for that portrait to show a Life patch and an Eagle medal.

But, wait, there’s one more reason! Many Scouts reach Eagle pretty close to their 18th birthdays. (In 2017, the average age was 17 years, 2 months, and 15 days.) If they don’t receive their patches immediately, many will never get to wear them, having to “settle” for the Eagle Scout knot adults were instead.

So give that new Eagle Scout his patch–and maybe a needle and thread. After all, anybody who’s capable of reaching Scouting’s highest rank ought to be able to sew on at least one patch!

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.


One thought on “Eagle Courts of Honor: Patches Before Pomp

  1. Yes! Thanks, Mark. I’ve often been perplexed by leaders who want to wait for the formal recognition for youth to receive the cloth rank emblem.

    We found it to be a positive outcome when we started presenting the cloth badges at the end of troop meetings when Scouts earned their badge of rank and presented the pocket card at the next court of honor. We achieved immediate recognition and public recognition – and put the Scouts first.

    With Eagle, we waited until we received conformation from the national office that the award had been achieved and presented the rank badge at the next troop meeting. It was a very positive change.

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