Recently, the Scouting magazine blog ran a great story about a troop that brought back a troop alumnus to cater an Eagle court of honor. There were a lot of things to like about this story, including the fact that the chef in question, who cooks at New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, wore an Eagle Scout neckerchief during the event.
But the best thing about the story, in my opinion, is that the troop found a way to put this alumnus to work. People planning courts of honor–especially proud parents–tend to think that everybody will want to come to the celebration. The reality, however, is that people need a reason to come if they don’t have a personal connection with the honoree. A troop alumnus who’s in college may not even remember the honoree, who might have been little more than a snotty-nosed Tenderfoot when he himself became an Eagle Scout. And an older alumnus, one who’s settled into a career and a family? Fuhggedaboutit!
I’m not saying that every alumnus you invite to a court of honor need prepare a gourmet meal (not that that wouldn’t be nice!). You can find ways to include alumni that are much simpler. For example, many troops form an “Eagles’ nest” of Eagle Scouts at the back of the stage during the presentation phase of their courts of honor. Typically, each person is asked to give his name, the year of his award, and his home troop and city. Sometimes, the new Eagle Scout’s medal is passed along the line as a symbol of the connection between all Eagle Scouts. This is a simple way to make alumni feel more engaged. Plus, it can make for some great photos.
How do you engage troop alumni at your courts of honor? Post your ideas in the comments section.
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.