Language and Eagle Courts of Honor


When the BSA announced the inclusion of girls in what is now Scouts BSA, I knew I would need to update The Eagle Court of Honor Book to reflect the program’s evolution. That job is largely complete–whew! The Kindle edition is available now, while the print edition is at the printer.

As I reread the third edition this summer, I realized how little substance needed to change in the book. After all, everything about the program–aside from its name and the gender of some of its participants–remains the same. But I also realized that the book included a huge number of gender references: he, him, etc. Fixing all those references without saying “he/she” all the time was quite the writing exercise. However, I think I found a relatively elegant solution to the problem, which included creating downloadable gender-specific versions of ceremony materials.

The challenge I faced in updating the book serves as a reminder that every court of honor should be tailored to the honoree and his–or her–situation and personality. As tempting as it can be to recycle an old ceremony by simply changing the names, the dates, and now the gender references, I urge you to take your time and create a ceremony that is as unique as your honoree. And if you aren’t sure where to get started, well, there’s a book for that!

NOW ON KINDLE: The fourth edition of The Eagle Court of Honor Book is now available on Kindle for instant download! Updated to reflect the inclusion of girls in Scouts BSA, the book features gender-neutral ceremonies, a new Scouting segment called “Scouting for Girls,” and downloadable boys’ and girls’ versions of all ceremony materials. Print versions will be available soon from and

3 thoughts on “Language and Eagle Courts of Honor

  1. Dean Whinery

    Hi, Mark,
    Congrats of being on the balland doing a fouth edition of the ECOR book.
    All the uproar about the changes with Scouts BSA has reminded me of the day back in the late 80s after National announced approval of >Zounds!< female Scoutmasters.
    As I arrived at my Council Flack desk that morning, my phone was ringing. Newspapers, TV and radio news people with lots of questions. Several times I assured my callers that we would not be calling any of the new leaders "Scoutmistresses".
    Dean Whinery
    "Retired" Scouter Reserve

  2. Mike Walton

    Amen to that, Mark and Dean!!

    I am going through the Badge and Uniform Site in anticipation of changing the male gender to more neutral ones or the word “Scout”. I hope that will work moving forward.

    I appreciate Mark’s work toward making the Court of Honor booklet more user-friendly across our program!


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