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  • Eagle COH?

    So our troop is having our first Eagle Court of Honor in a few weeks. We are a small (but growing) troop with under 20 boys. In addition to the Eagle Award, I would like to have a few other awards as in a normal COH. Since we are a small troop, the other awards would not be time consuming.

    Others have told me that other awards are NEVER given at an Eagle COH! It is the time for the light to shine only on the Eagle. I did not have the heart to show them the program from my own Eagle COH at which I (as SPL) presented the 2nd Class Rank awards).

    I can see it both ways, but I think the new Eagle is a boy who would eagerly share the light. His parents feel it should be all about him.

    So what do you all think?


  • #2
    We have done Eagle COHs several ways:
    1. As a single ceremony honoring the Eagle scout(s) alone.
    2. As part of our Troop COH, in with the rest of the rank advancements.
    3. As part of a summer picnic / end of year party, as an abbreviated COH.
    4. No ceremony at all, as the Eagle Scout did not want any formal recognition.

    There is no right way or wrong way to award the rank. Some Eagles do not want the pomp & circumstance of an Eagle COH; others are OK with it. We leave it up to the scout and his parents to let us know what they want. After all, it is the new Eagle's choice on how to be recognized or not recognized.


    • #3
      In our troop, the Eagle COH is always a separate ceremony, with no other awards presented. But this is just a matter of our own troop tradition. Part of the tradition also is that the Eagle COH is for one Eagle at a time -- much to the surprise of some Scouters in surrounding troops with whom I have discussed this, whose tradition is that Scouts making Eagle at around the same time have a double or even triple ceremony. (And about one in ten Eagles in our troop has had no ceremony at all, by their own choice.)

      I suspect you will find that a majority of troops do it as an Eagle-only ceremony but that a fair number combine it with other awards. Since you have no troop tradition to draw on, you can make your own tradition. (Although if you do it as an Eagle-only ceremony this time, you are not necessarily ruling out presenting other awards at future Eagle COHs; I think going in the other direction would probably be tougher.) I also think the parents' wishes should be an important factor, though not the sole deciding factor.


      • #4
        I'm aware of no requirements or specificatons for an Eagle Court of Honor. It's entirely up to the Eagle, his family and the unit.

        My preference would be for Eagle to be part of a regular troop Court of Honor. I think that says something about the unity of the troop and a sense that the Eagle award is a result of the efforts of the entire troop. That was the case in the troop of my youth. Eagles -- sometimes more than one -- were presented at the regular quarterly troop Courts of Honor. I received my Eagle at the same time as five very good friends. At the Eagles' request, presentations were repeated during services at the Scout's church.

        (Actually, prior to me joining the troop Courts of Honor were held on a DISTRICT level and could go on for hours. There were district COHs in which 12-15 Eagles were presented.)

        Unfortunately, that's not the tradition in the troop I serve. We've bought into the King For A Day theory of Eagle presentations. I'd love to see it go in the other direction, but unfortunately we seem to be upping the ante every time to that point that full banquets are the expectation.

        I see all this as a trend over the past couple generations. Weddings, birthdays, proms are all excuses to show off how narcissistic we can be.


        • #5

          Maybe it is just a matter of what each of us is accustomed to. In my troop as a Scout, the Eagle COH's were individualized Eagle-only events as well. (Although the refreshments consisted of an "Eagle cake" and coffee or soda, not like today where there is actual food at most of the ceremonies.) I wouldn't mind if our troop combined the Eagle COH's with regular COH's, but that doesn't seem to be the direction things are going.


          • #6
            I personally would ask what the Eagle wants to do as it is his advancement. 95% of the time I've seen 1 eagle at a time. 4% of the time it is either a double ECOH (two brothers in one case) or a once per year troop Eagle COH.

            Now 1% of the time I've seen it in conjunction with a normally scheduled COH. In the two cases I've seen, a normal COH was held and ended. These were usually 20-30 minutes max, THEN a formal ECOH began.

            But again I'ld talk to the Eagle as it is his COH.


            • #7
              I have a feeling I am going to be in the minority on this one, but here goes: I would talk to the Eagle and his parents and have them make the decision as a family.


              • #8
                First of all, I agree with you all that it is a matter of preference and tradition. While I would like our ECOHs have more a feel of a unit event (whether that includes presenting other ranks or not) rather than the personal/family thing it has become, that's not a battle I'm going to win, even in my own troop. Not a hill I'm willing to die on.

                But on a rhetorical level, E92, would you allow a Life Scout -- or Tenderfoot for that matter -- to dictate the presentation of his award? That, too, is his achievement.

                Where I come down philosophically, is that it is NOT the Scout's Court of Honor, it is a troop Court of Honor at which the Scout will receive his award. While our troop will allow the Scout and his family great lattitude (especially regarding logistics and receptions) the troop has final say over the ceremony.

                But I think we debated this point pretty thoroughly a year or two ago specifically regarding whether or not the parents could serve alcohol at a ECOH.


                • #9
                  Hasn't somebody from your outfit visited other troops to see what they do? Pick up some hinst from others in the area. If the parents want it to be an individual event, I'd lean that way. I see it as an either-or. Can do it as part of a troop COH, and play it up or down as much as you like. Or do it as a separate event. Personally, I wouldn't hand out other awards at an ECOH. It could diminish the significance of the other awards. It's an interesting concept though. It would be fun to plan this if that's what the family wants to do. Could be unique and special for everybody. As you've read, it's not a "decision" to be made by us. All we have are opinions.


                  • #10
                    Yah, I'm with some of da others, eh?

                    If you're just startin' a tradition of your own, I'd lean toward including the Eagle award with the other presentations at a troop court of honor.

                    Better yet, make the Eagle Award really special for the young man. Award it in the field! Somewhere meaningful to him. Have the speakers be his friends and patrol mates and da younger scouts he's helped, not adults and "dignitaries".

                    You know... make it like real Scouting.

                    Maybe I'm gettin' old, but the compete-with-the-Joneses, King-for-a-Day, wedding-banquet style Eagle Courts of Honor just rub me more and more the wrong way. Just seems to fall into the "Me Me Me!!" generation thing which Eagle is supposed to represent the exact opposite of.

                    Funniest thing is that sometimes it seems like the kids who do the least (smallest projects, weakest PORs) throw the most lavish galas. With good kids, it often seems like they're a little embarrassed by the hoopla. More often than not, it's their parents drivin' it, not them.

                    I think da troops that keep control of the thing and tailor it toward being scouting-focused and kid-friendly do their Eagles a great service.

                    And on this Silent Night, Holy Night, it's worth rememberin' that the King for All Time came in the quiet, humble outdoors of a manger, not in the Big Party goin' on at the Inn.

                    Merry Christmas to all who celebrate the coming of the Christ!

                    Beavah(This message has been edited by Beavah)


                    • #11
                      Last September my wonderful son and his best friend had their ECOHs. We asked them what THEY wanted to do. They weren't sure since they too were the first Eagles in their young troop (started in '03), so the Scoutmaster - who is an Eagle - briefed them on what he'd seen and heard about.

                      They decided that they wanted their ECOHs together. They also decided they wanted them tacked on to the regular COH - their choice.

                      We did the regular COH first, had dinner, and then did the ECOHs.

                      The troop is small, so we didn't have much money to spend. We held it in the church gym, the troop bought fried chicken, had parents bring food, and the Eagle parents went together on dessert (two large cakes w/ ice cream). The Scoutmaster did a great job putting a script together - not too fancy, but it emphasized the meaning and uniqueness of the Eagle rank. Beav is correct, my son was kind of embarrassed, but afterward he said he enjoyed it.

                      We had the Star & Life Scouts do the flag ceremony and did much of the presentations. The boys were presented with certificates of congratulations their parents had obtained for them, and then they were very surprised when a group of local US Marines (older real tough-looking men) presented them with certificates of congratulations and a KABAR Marine knives (you should have heard the "wows" from the Life Scouts still on the stage when the knives were presented).

                      Ask your son what HE wants, and LISTEN to him.

                      One last thing ... the SM gave me (an ASM) some excellent advice recently. My son's best friend (a new Eagle Scout) came to a campout but forgot to bring his water bottle. I asked him (with a smile) how an Eagle Scout could forget a water bottle ... the SM heard this and later - in private - warned me not to use his accomplishment "against him". It was a valid point - lesson learned.


                      • #12
                        Agree with twocubdad, we also leave this honor to the boy and his family. Sometimes more than one family will combine to have a big shindig. All other awards are done at troop courts of honor in various venues.


                        • #13
                          Every troop has their own standards and traditions. Some troop give the youth options, some are set in stone, and some let the eagle do whatever they want. And believe it or not I've seen troop that do allow the PLC to plan the COH in toto, and that did include skits and songs.

                          Second best ECOH I saw was a young man who was heavily involved in the OA dance team, had the ECOH at the local camp with the OA dance team performing, including an Eagle Dacne that he performed.


                          • #14
                            We've had it done a number of ways. During a regular COH, 4 eagles at once (all good friends) solo COH, indoor, outdoor, fancy, low key.

                            Each eagle decides and then does what suits them.

                            My favorite was where the eagle gave a great speech weaving funny troop stories with meaningful life lessons.


                            • #15
                              I can see it both ways, but I think the new Eagle is a boy who would eagerly share the light. His parents feel it should be all about him.

                              Sounds like everyone needs resources. Email the scout and parents with this link and say have a great time planning the ECOH. Let me know the date and time, if you would like me to speak, and let me know if I can bring a salad.


                              Go ahead with the date YOUR TROOP has selected for the troop court of honor and let the new Eagle and his parents decide on another date and time for the ECOH.