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  • COH suggestions

    Well time for my first COH as SM. I do not remember my COH as a scout and lets just say the old SM's were not great. I don't have anyone who is working on communications and we do not have an SPL currently with only two functional Patrols.

    So what do you do???

    I understand and appreciate the boys should do it, but my troop is not there yet, hopefully with this batch of crossovers we will be big enough for an SPL.

  • #2
    I would ask the Scouts and see if any of them want to volunteer to run it. They might want to, they might not. COH's don't have to be some elaborate affair. It's about recognition. Passing out the awards, a firm handshake, some congratulations. Encouragement to continue. Doesn't need to be a long, formal affair.

    So I guess my first move would be to see if any of the Scouts feel's like running it. If not, then we'd be back at square one.


    • #3
      I asked, and suggested that it might be a great communciations merit badge oppurtunity...... No takers, I am considering having the patrol leaders announce and hand out the awards to each of their patrols.


      • Sentinel947
        Sentinel947 commented
        Editing a comment
        That's a pretty good plan considering you don't have an SPL.

      • Krampus
        Krampus commented
        Editing a comment
        For me this is similar to another thread where an SM was trying to build up his troop's leadership and getting no takers.

        I would say you should get your CC and others on the committee to help, search the Net for a script for a COH (you can PM me and I can send you ours), show the Scouts what they need to do and jointly plan it together. The fun part is there is no right way or wrong way to have a COH. Most of it is just like a regular Scout meeting except you have more awards.

    • #4
      I don't know if we have a bunch of "hams" in our troop or what, but we never seem to have a shortage of Scouts willing to stand up at the front table at a COH and hand out awards or even "say a few words" themselves. (We have a few shy ones too, of course.) I guess it helps that we have an SPL and (currently) four ASPL's, which is too many, but that's another issue.


      • #5
        I'd like to come up with a new model for COHs. We present awards immediately, most of the time we have both advancement cards and badges immediately following a BOR. Consequently COHs end up being the scout standing while someone reads a list of stuff he earned weeks/months ago. Past age 12, our guys really don't care. You can tell in their faces the immediate recognition of their accomplishement circled up around the campfire is important. But months later it just seems lame.

        For the sake of discussion, if you were going to reinvent the Court of Honor what would you do?

        I can envision more of a Scout Show feel, with each patrol creating a "booth" where they show off something they've learned or done recently. Maybe the cook a new dish they've learned. build a lashing project or demonstrate another scout skill, even a science fair-style display of a merit badge they've earned. Insteading of reading list of MBs, we would be out on the lawn (or better yet in the woods) doing stuff.

        If you had to blow up your COH script and start over, what would you do?


        • #6
          Is this a new unit? Rebuilding? As in any new management change, you should help "set the tone". Traditions can be started. A Scout CoH needs to be functional (present the new ranks/badges/ tie ribbons on the flag, etc. ) and ceremonial but not to the poiint of being stultified.
          Some candle lighting, some reciitation of the Scout Promise and Law.
          A reminder of what Scouts is all about.
          Some inspirational stuff, Scoutmaster's minute sort of thing.
          Punch and cookies (if not ribs and cole slaw) after.

          It would not be out of place for the new SM to meet with his PLC (even if it's only two) and talk to them about your desire to "make a small fuss" over things. It is appropriate. Go on line, peruse the choices (there are many , many scripts), find one that suits your situation and sensitivities and instruct your PLC in its elements. Make sure they understand YOUR expectations. For the first few times, this is OK, then , when they get the hang of it, certainly make it "boy done". They will see the purpose and reasons for it.

          CoH s are for the Scouts, the parents and "community". Include the ASMs and Troop Committee in your plans. Make sure you invite your CO leaders: the pastor, club president, whomever. Include them in the celebration, which is what it is, yes?

          I got the impression that you thought things could be improved. Go ahead and improve them. You have my permission.


          • #7
            There's one thing I really hate about Courts of Honor, and that is what I'll call the "baggie syndrome". That's a Court of Honor where a baggie full of cards/patches is held up and a list of stuff is read off for a Scout, he comes up, grabs the baggie, people applaud and then he sits back down again. Still haven't broken that cycle in our Courts, despite my pleas. If anything, maybe just start with calling up everyone that has earned Tenderfoot, recognize them, then go to Second Class, etc.

            But a couple of other quick thoughts -- one idea borrowed from my days as a Scout -- we had several Courts of Honor that were held outdoors. The indoor ones were pot luck dinners. So we've tried to do the same with our present troop. We've settled into an early summer "pool party" or "beach party" celebration. Then this last fall, I got the idea to so a Sunday afternoon "tailgate" at a local park. Troop members seemed to enjoy it so much, I think we'll probably keep the tradition. Now if we could just come up with good ideas for outdoor winter courts, and cold and rainy spring courts :-).

            We also had to try and shape thinking with new troop members -- families wouldn't come unless their sons had earned something. And even then, many didn't come. I've tried to re-educate that Courts are all about celebration, and that whole families are invited. So then the focus becomes having a fun time.

            One last note: my sons made arrangements to meet a merit badge counselor (a Scoutmaster) at their troop meeting location. We came a few minutes early, and stumbled onto what I thought was a Court of Honor. When he came free, I said to the SM "oh, I'm sorry -- I didn't know you were having a Court of Honor". He said, "we're not -- this was a 'parents night'" (even though they were handing out awards from summer camp). I said, "it's not a Court?" He said, "no, we save Courts of Honor for special occasions, like Eagles." Hmmm...

            Anyway, one thing I liked about his "parent's night" -- as he was going through summer camp awards, he managed to wedge in something nice to say about every Scout that came up for an award. Individual recogntion...not just a baggie.


            • Twocubdad
              Twocubdad commented
              Editing a comment
              THAT'S WHAT i'M TALKING ABOUT!!

              And I love "baggie syndrome". That's what I'm trying to avoid.

          • #8
            These are exactly the ideas I needed. Blow up any ideas that I had.......I know they hated the traditional court of honor, sitting with a stuffy ceremony.

            So Scout son another scout got sat down last night, interupted their video gaming, and fed some ideas.

            Well they loved the what we did since last court of honor idea, they liked the Tail gate/ pot luch idea.......

            So right now, we are gonna do a family pizza party, giant pizza we have a joint that doest a 15 square foot pizza the guys love it, with each scout presenting one thing they did since last court of honor.


            • #9
              "Baggie syndrome" That is SO Cub Scouts.
              Sample script, off the top of my head: Lights are dimmed. MC for the evening says: "welcome to the Troop 123 Court of Honor. Please stand for the presentation of the colors. (Color Guard does its thing) . MC: "Thank you . Please be seated. We Scouts recite a promise every meeting, but do we think about what we are saying?"
              Voice in back of room reads loudly "On my honor, I will do my best..." another Scout lights a red candle on the table (on which are arrayed all thw patches and stuff to be awarded) at the front of the room. A third Scout on the other side of the room reads: "It's important and I will do it..." (this back and forth continues thru the Scout Promise). Three red candles are now lit.
              Again, the first Scout intones: "A Scout is Trustworthy" the first of twelve white candles are lit, the second Scout reads:" If I say it, you can believe it. No Question." And so thru the Scout Law, interpreted in modern language. The SM should say nothing thru this.
              MC: "Okay, we are now ready to award alot of bling earned over the last month or so. Mr. SM? Will you come up and help?" and so the Camp badges are awarded, the MBs, and the ranks. Each Scout is named, comes forward, his hand is shook. Maybe all the Citizenship MBs together, like that. A small fuss over the accomplishments. No baggies. Parents come up and help accept the rank badges as the boy pins the mom pin on mom.
              Special things like Totin' Chip etc. RIbbons to tie to the Troop flag.
              Special awards? Wood Badge? Thank yous to adults? In Feb, we have a neckerchief slide making contest with prizes (Dunkin Donut coupons, Baskin Robbins, Cal Tortilla)
              SM Minute.
              MC: "Please stand for the Retiring of the Colors"
              Cookies and Soda.
              Put stuff away and go home.


              • #10
                Being Deaf I realized I hadn't a clue what was said at a Court of Honor (CoH) so I googled for CoH scripts. Later I put them into a reusable CoH notebook and let the Scouts organized how they want to do it. The CoH notebook has several versions of Scout Law and Oath candle lighting along with other awards. Having the notebook is great help in prep for the more advance Eagle CoH. When I printed the pages I separated the parts so the could be reused easier while providing the selection choices. First page has a format outline of the order like presentation of colors, welcoming audience, awarding sections, and so on. Links below helps on the outline.
                Here's a couple liks to my favorite starters:


                • Basementdweller
                  Basementdweller commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The point of my post is that the boys did not like the or look forward to the COH. Breaking the mold and doing something new.

                • Deaf Scouter
                  Deaf Scouter commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Good plan Basement! I wanted to do a 'show and tell' by the scouts as stations and invite the Charter Organization. Gives Scouts a chance to practice communication skills while building a relationship with the charter.

              • #11
                BD, I had a lovely reply. But I got a JSON error and the page crashed on me when I tried to post. Anyway sounds like you've got a good plan. The best ones happen when you interrupt a video game!