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Two CoH questions

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  • Two CoH questions

    As SM of a new troop, we're having our first Court of Honor next week (and all the boys are advancing!). I've had a couple of attire questions come up that I'm looking for help with. As background, we're having this in the sanctuary of our CO (church) and following up with a spaghetti dinner in the fellowship hall.

    1) What should the parents, friends and other members of the audience wear? My first thought was something along the lines of "business casual," but since it's in the church, should it be more formal? (this is a regular CoH, of course, not an Eagle).

    2) One of my scouts is earning his first merit badge. He is super-excited about it and has already gotten a sash. Is there any reason why he can't wear his sash and have the merit badge pinned on during the ceremony? He wanted to, but then thought it was weird to wear it with nothing on it?

    Thanks...

  • #2
    First off congratulations on wonderful first step with your unit! Remember that recognition is an important part of the program, don't make it too elaborate, but there should be a certain level of ceremony to it.

    1) Business Casual, anything they'd wear to church or to any other somewhat formal event.

    2) There isn't anything in the by-laws I'm aware of that says a Scout can't wear an empty sash, if he's all pumped up about it, I don't see a reason to put a dampner on it. I think that's the Scouts call.

    Congratulations again!

    Comment


    • #3
      One way to make the sash less empty would be to sew some excess "temporary insignia" for which there is no room on the right breast pocket that the scout may have earned, onto the back of the sash.

      Comment


      • #4
        1) What should the parents, friends and other members of the audience wear? My first thought was something along the lines of "business casual," but since it's in the church, should it be more formal? (this is a regular CoH, of course, not an Eagle).

        I think you're better off just trusting the judgment of the parents, friends and other members of the audience to wear the appropriate clothing rather than giving them directions of what to wear. I doubt anyone is going to show up in flip flops, cut-offs and muscle tees. Is there anything wrong with jeans and a nice pullover shirt? Heck, that's acceptable wear in most churches these days.

        2) One of my scouts is earning his first merit badge. He is super-excited about it and has already gotten a sash. Is there any reason why he can't wear his sash and have the merit badge pinned on during the ceremony? He wanted to, but then thought it was weird to wear it with nothing on it?

        By all means, let him put on his sash and pin the merit badge on it. The sash is a part of the uniform whether it has something on it or not. Though for the most part, the sash is an optional part of the uniform, I know of some Troops that require Scouts to wear sashes as part of the uniform at all CoHs no matter when they joined the troop so guys that crossed over 6 months ago and haven't earned a single merit badge yet will all be wearing empty sashes. Don't sweat it.

        A suggestion for the future - when a Scout earns a Merit Badge, try to get it to him within the next couple of meetings, whether they are CoH's or not. At the CoH, hand out the card as recognition.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the quick replies!

          And eisley, I thought about adding some temporary insignia as well -- I need to go digging for something!

          Ok, one more question:

          I originally thought that the CoH was where the awards were presented, but then I saw this excerpt from the Advancement Guide:

          "Each time a Scout advances in rank, he should be recognized on two occasions. The first should occur as soon as possible after a Scout has been approved by a board of review and an Advancement Report has been filed with the council office - preferably at the next unit meeting. This ceremony should be dignified but simple, involving not much more than presenting the Scout with his new badge of rank.

          The second occasion is a court of honor, a public ceremony to recognize Scouts for successful achievement and to describe the importance of the program. The main purposes of the court of honor are to furnish formal recognition for achievement and to provide incentive for other Scouts to advance."

          But lots of the scripts I found online had the presentation of the badges as part of the CoH, so now I'm confused. If I already have the badges, can I present them to the boys early and the CoH can be just recognition? (That might also solve my "empty merit badge sash" question...

          Comment


          • #6
            Why not present the badge early (at the BOR or next troop meeting) and the rank pin/parents pins/card at the Court of Honor?

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            • #7
              we award badges as soon as earned, bought, and he shows at meeting. Then at COH we have them come up and announce "since last court of honor he has earned...." we give them the merit badge cards then so that's how we know what he has earned since his last COH. We do the same with ranks - but parent pins are given at COH this helps with getting attendace at those.

              as to your questions - I wouldn't get into what parents are wearing... some may be coming straight from work and not have time to change. Some may be taking a break from an evening shift job just to come. Just be glad they are there and don't worry about what they wear.

              as to the sash - since it hasn't been handed out yet then I see no issue with pinning it to his sash. If you are going to continue to award badges at COH instead of asap I would then make that a tradition and stock up on some pins.

              Comment


              • #8
                Short answer: yes.

                Those scripts were written by folks who weren't in your troop!

                Growing up waiting to receive advancements at CoH nights, I used to be bothered by my boys' troop giving them early. But, it does catch recording errors earlier if boys know they should be receiving an advancement at the next meeting.

                Suggestion: Check with the CO rep if they have any opinion on how folks should dress in their sanctuary when it's not being used for worship. Most are pretty informal these days.

                Strong suggestion: explain to the PL's how you plan to run things. Ask them if it's okay. In the process, try to give them as many speaking parts as possible.

                Especially strong suggestion: keep it short. Time how long it takes you to read your parts out loud. Keep that time under 10 minutes. You are standing between an audience and their dinner. They'll forgive the boys. You, not so much.

                Comment


                • #9
                  we award badges as soon as earned, bought, and he shows at meeting. Then at COH we have them come up and announce "since last court of honor he has earned...." we give them the merit badge cards then so that's how we know what he has earned since his last COH. We do the same with ranks - but parent pins are given at COH this helps with getting attendace at those.

                  as to your questions - I wouldn't get into what parents are wearing... some may be coming straight from work and not have time to change. Some may be taking a break from an evening shift job just to come. Just be glad they are there and don't worry about what they wear.

                  as to the sash - since it hasn't been handed out yet then I see no issue with pinning it to his sash. If you are going to continue to award badges at COH instead of asap I would then make that a tradition and stock up on some pins.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks again, everyone.

                    I actually have the merit badge (since he earned it a while back), so I may go ahead and give him the merit badge so he can put it on his sash and not feel "weird". And then give him the card.

                    The badges, I'll get this weekend and I'll just pin them on this time (or maybe use the plastic holders -- I'm on the fence about those) and give them the card as well.

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                    • #11

                      Congratulations and thanks for all you do (and WILL do!) for your boys.

                      Two notes: First, be aware that you are setting precedent, starting traditions. Take the PLC aside , early, and make sure they understand the gravity of the event. It should be serious ,but not grave. Fun and happy, but not comical. Take the examples you've found, add your Troop's own personal stuff and give'm something to remember. Pastor's prayer/benediction. Candles. Recitation. Ceremony. Scoutmaster's Minute at the end, close it with gratitude and due ceremony, but DO give it an end. I have memories of ceremonies (not only CoHs) where they just - let - it - dwindle away. A sad end to an otherwise pleasent and worthy evening.
                      Two, make sure the boys take the credit and do the ceremonial stuff. You stand in the back and shake hands and (maybe) help move things along if necessary.
                      In that light, come to think of it, here's Three:
                      AVOID addressing your Scouts as "guys" or anything other than "SCOUTS" and "BOYS". You will be surprised the difference in attitude if you insist on this with yourself and your other leaders.

                      Good Scouting to you!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I really like the idea of the empty sash. I wouldn't even worry about it being empty nor go through the trouble of adding temporary patches. Make it part of the ceremony in pinning on the earned merit badge patches. It makes the ceremony special AND encourages parents to get those sashes now. Have a sewing party at the next Troop meeting so the scout sews them right on. (Staplers come in handy better than sewing pins)

                        For my CoH, I gave the patches as soon as the youth leaders earned them which was at the new Troop meeting and save the cards and mother/parent pins for the CoH. I also saved the MB for the CoH. I really like the idea of doing CoH three times a year: right after summer camp like the second week in Sept, again in Nov-Dec for those not finished during Summer Camp with the merit badge university earned added and the end of the year. If a fouth is needed its falls during the crossover month adding in the Scout badge.

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