A 20-Cent Court-of-Honor Treasure

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These days, technology has made it easier (and cheaper) than ever to include a slide show in a court of honor. The hardest part, in fact, is sorting through hundreds of images to find those that chronicle the honoree’s growth in Scouting. During the sorting process, of course, you’re likely to find far more pictures than the two or three dozen you’re likely to use in the ceremony. After all, you don’t want the slide show portion of the show to balloon out of control. (If you’ve ever sat through a relative’s marathon showing of vacation pictures, you know how easily that can happen.)

I recommend burning all the relevant pictures you find onto a CD and presenting it to the honoree. One of my readers named Hal Smith did just that several years ago for his son’s best friend. The CD he created contained about 200 photos (culled from a collection of more than 7,000–yikes!) and will undoubtedly be enjoyed by the new Eagle Scout for years to come.

But the best thing about the CD, Hal said, was that the Scout’s mother got to share it with her terminally ill father before his death. Looking at the photos together allowed them to talk about happier times and not dwell on thoughts of cancer and loss. Not bad for a 20-cent piece of plastic.


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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How Eagle Scouts Can Pay It Forward

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One of the most popular exhibits at this summer’s National Jamboree was the National Eagle Scout Association tent. And one of the neatest activities that happened there was the distribution of Future Eagle Scout pins. Over the course of the Jamboree, staff members distributed 2,000 of the pins, issuing a challenge to each recipient to become an Eagle Scout. (There’s no doubt the coins work; several Scouts who’d received similar coins at the 2013 Jamboree came back this summer to show off their Eagle Scout patches.)

So what’s the connection with Eagle courts of honor? Your next honoree could have a similar, albeit smaller, impact on the younger Scouts in attendance.

Several years ago, I heard from a mom whose son handed out Scout Oath and Scout Law pocket coins to his troop’s newest members during his ceremony. As he did so, he said, “My Scouting journey is complete and yours is just beginning; keep this coin with you always to remember to live by the Scout Oath.”

The new Scouts were excited to be part of the ceremony and to receive their coins. The group picture taken that day will doubtless reappear when some of those boys step forward to receive their Eagle Scout badges.

How does your troop involve younger Scouts in Eagle courts of honor? Post your comments below.


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.

Catholic Committee Honors New Eagle Scouts

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Like many faith groups, the Roman Catholic Church strongly supports Scouting. In fact, the National Catholic Committee on Scouting is among the strongest organizations of its kind.

Among the many things the committee does is present certificates to new Eagle Scouts. The best way to get started is to contact your diocesan chair or chaplain. If you’re not sure who that person is, the NCCS website has a handy locator feature. Just enter your ZIP code at http://www.nccs-bsa.org/index.php/locate-me to find contact information. (I checked several ZIP codes and found email addresses and phone numbers for both chairs and chaplains, as well as contact information for the local diocese.)

For more information on certificates and congratulatory letters–including how to incorporate them into a court of honor–order a copy of The Eagle Court of Honor Book. It includes a sample request letter, as well as detailed information about how to present what you receive. You’ll also find lots of information on my blog; just enter “congratulatory letter” in the search box.


For more great ideas, check out my new 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.

Going to the Mat with Eagle Court of Honor Certificates

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Many Eagle Scouts end up with more certificates, letters, and plaques than they know what to do with. There’s the official Eagle Scout certificate, of course, and hopefully a NESA certificate and one of my Eagle Mountain Certificates. And then there are the certificates sent by various public officials and branches of the military, many of which will eventually end up with a scrapbook.

Displaying all these recognition items at the court of honor can be a problem—or an expensive proposition if you decide to frame them all. Of course, you can wave them around during the ceremony, but only people in the front few rows will be able to see what they say.

One of my readers found a simple solution. She bought ready-made mats at Walmart for $3.97 and matted (but didn’t frame) the certificates her son had received. She then set the certificates up on brass plate stands, which she found for $1.00. (Don’t tell that reader, but you can find mats online for $1.00 or less at sites like wholesaleartframes.com.)

This is an impressive and inexpensive way to display certificates, and it lets you later put those certificates in a scrapbook or frame them if you prefer. In fact, you could reuse the mats and stands for future courts 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.

 

Not My Job–Or Is It?

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Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you see something new.

During my tenure as Scoutmaster, the father of our newest Eagle Scout called me a few days before his son’s court of honor. The dad had printed 100 programs for the ceremony—only to discover that that was a task the troop traditionally handled.

The good news is that I’d been waiting until the last minute to produce the programs, so we didn’t end up with duplicates. The bad news is that that father spent several hours trying to lay out the programs in Microsoft Word (I assume) when I could have done the job in 15 minutes with the Adobe InDesign template I normally used.

Interestingly enough, I know I had told the family that the troop would handle the programs. Or at least I think I’d told them. After holding three courts of honor in four months, I might have slipped up.

To be sure we didn’t have a similar miscommunication in the future, I prepared a simple checklist that explained what the troop was responsible for (e.g., room reservations and printed programs), what we expected the family to handle (e.g., invitations and displays), and what should be handled jointly (e.g., developing the ceremony and recruiting presenters). I recommend you do the same. Otherwise, you may get a phone call like I did—or end up with twice as many programs as you need!


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.

 

Invoking a Great Court of Honor Invocation

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Several years ago, I asked our associate pastor at the time, who happened to be a young single woman, to give the invocation and benediction at an Eagle court of honor. She was more than happy to do so, but she admitted that she didn’t know very much about Scouting or exactly what an Eagle court of honor was all about.

To reduce her anxiety level—and to make sure her prayers fit the texture of the ceremony—I gave her a draft of the ceremony script a week or so before the event. The resulting prayers were beautiful; they echoed the theme of the court of honor (“The Eagle Mountain”) and brought the ceremony up to a higher level.

When you recruit someone to offer the invocation and benediction at a court of honor–or to offer any other unscripted comments–give them a copy of your script or take the time to explain what an Eagle court of honor is all about. You (and they) will be glad you did.

 

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.

 

Eagle Palms and Courts of Honor

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If you thought the big news out of Irving this summer would relate to the National Scout Jamboree, think again. Effective August 1, the requirements for Eagle Palms are changing in three significant ways:

  1. Scouts who earn extra merit badges prior to their Eagle boards of review can receive Palms at their Eagle courts of honor; the three-month requirement doesn’t apply in such cases.
  2. The leadership requirement has been expanded to include responsibility beyond the local troop (the logic being that many Eagle Scouts are as involved in the Order of the Arrow or a Venturing crew as they are in their home troops).
  3. A board of review is no longer required for Palms, although a Scoutmaster conference still is.

You can read all the details about the changes in this Bryan on Scouting post (although I advise skipping the comments!). But the changes raise the question of how to present Palms at an Eagle court of honor, something that has been relatively rare in the past.

Under the new requirements, a Scout with 26 merit badges at the time of his Eagle board of review–which isn’t all that uncommon–would automatically qualify for a Bronze Palm. Ten merit badges would equal a Gold Palm, while 15 would equal a Silver Palm. (Beyond that, you apply multiple Palms as appropriate. The blog post above has a handy chart if you don’t want to do the math.)

So how should you present one or more Palms at an Eagle court of honor? To me, the process is pretty simple. After the presentation of the Eagle badge, the certificate, and the parent pins, the emcee should say something like this:

As we’ve already heard tonight, our honoree has never been one to do the minimum amount of work required. In fact, although he only needed 21 merit badges to earn Eagle, he had actually earned 33 by his board of review last month. That total qualifies him for a Gold Eagle Palm, which I’d like to present now.

You could make a bigger deal of this, but I don’t think you need to. After all, the big deal–and the thing he’ll be proudest of a decade from now–is that he’s an Eagle Scout. His Palms, while significant, pale in comparison to that achievement.

That’s my take; what’s yours? How have you recognized achievements like Palms at Eagle courts 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.