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When I was a kid, I specifically remember our SM holding Courts of Honor at campouts at least once a year or so. Since Ive returned, we've always done the formal quarterly in the Church Sanctuary and food afterwards ceremony. Sometimes in the fall we've done a corn roast/pot luck with it, but that's as out of norm as we've gotten. I'm thinking this fall or winter about holding one on a Saturday night at a campout campfire. We have 27 active youth with easily 10 rank advancements per quarter (yes, we do immediate recognition after BOR).


So my question for you all is there any troops that still doing this? If so, please provide details and how have they gone.




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I am not sure what kind of details you are looking for jtswestark? They went fine. Why shouldn't they?It's just a different location.


You can hold a court of honor almost anywhere. Here are some places where we have had courts of honor and bridges of honor. A school gym, an auditorium, a courtroom, a campsite, VFW hall, a chapel, our meeting room, a restaurant, a park.


The elements of the program change very very little. It's just a change of scenery. What kind of details are you looking for?

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From what I recall, it was probably my first campout as a young Scout but something I still remember with great fondness. It was a simple event that the new SM hosted after a skit filled campfire, a quiet but fun event that slowed things down as we wound down for the night. He put out two chairs side by side, one for him and the other was empty. He would call us up one by one to sit next to him, ask us some goofy fun questions, sharing our recent journey from his perspective making it personable for each and fun for all. He would then talk about all we had accomplished, ask what we learned, and would present us with the rank or MBs we earned. No parents, no mothers pins, no cookies or cake, no big hoopla. Now at times like that our troop wasnt very boy lead, as our new SM was a real charismatic guy that liked to have things revolve around him. He didnt last long, but those events always stuck with me and others.


But anyways, I thought about doing something like this in a way that still allows our SPL to run it, but also keep the intimacy and calm fun. Will be interesting to see how a youth will do. I think I will suggest this kind of thing and see what he comes up with. I know hell step up for it.


My point for asking others is to maybe share what they have done, program ideas, what worked great, what didnt do so well is that clearer?





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We have a outdoor Court of Honor at out Tenderfoot Weekend in May. One of the older scouts working on Communication M.B., M.C. the Saturday night campfire. The leadership group elect a SPL for the weekend. He gives out the rank advancements (unually it is not only Tenderfoot ranks, but one of two of the leadership scouts will advance in rank that night.)


The campout is held in our local area. Committee members and extra Assistant Scoutmasters are invited out for dinner and the campfire, and to do scoutmaster conferences and Board of Reviews before the campfire.


We usually have a lot of first time scout parents camping with us for the weekend. But all the parents are invited out for the campfire. The adult grup master has four dutch ovens going to give everyone a snack after the campfire. Every new scout receives a Troop nerchiefs that night.

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Outdoor CoH:


One of our Scouts opted for a camp for his Eagle CoH. We staged it at the Scout's Grandfather's farm, not too far away. Set up camp as usual, tents, activities for younger Scouts, etc. Later, Campfire, table, candles. Parents and Troop families brought their own camp chairs. All the usual speakers and charges and such. Full uniform for the participants. The Eagle Scout had all his buddies participate, many were already Eagle, been thru it all with the candidate. After the ceremony part, hotdogs and potluck potatoe salad etc. A very nice time. Dinner over, folks congratulated the new Eagle and went home.

Scouts talked into the night over the campfire, "Lights Out" was forgotten that evening.


Why not a Campfire CoH? Make it happen.

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What you do is only limited by your imagination and the size of your unit.


Some suggestions based on my experiences:


1) Campground no more than an hour away - you want it to be convenient for parents to get to (and yes, parents should be coming - let's face it, they are the real reason to hold Courts of Honor - we already give the lads their badges during the Troop meeting (as soon as possible after they earned them) - the Courts of Honor are public recognition in front of the lads parents).


2) Tweak the Courts of Honor you already do (most Troops have a set agenda for their Courts of Honor, even if a Communication Merit Badge candidate is planning the ceremony, it will still be done according to troop traditions). If you have a set time for things such as FOS presentations, or Summer Camp Info sessions, etc., skip those this time. That way you can use the time in other ways, like Patrols being brought up at intervals to give campfire "summer camp" skits (ie - recognize T-SC-FC ranks, Screaming Banshee patrol does a skit - recognize Star-Life ranks, Jumping Tick patrol does a skit - recognize merit badges, Running Weasel patrol does a skit). Instead of lighting candles, light torches. Make a big ceremony out of lighting the campfire - one way I've seen it is to have three small fires already lit - let each represent one point of the Scout Oath, and from each fire, a Scout lights one of three torches while that point is explained (briefly please) - once all three torches are lit, the three Scouts holding one of each torch lights the large fire together.


3) Consider serving dinner to everyone - here's a great opportunity for the older Scouts, those in Troop Leadership positions (if your Troop is large enough to have a more senior patrol) to show their chops and cook a feast for everyone. You could, if you go this route, have the parents come out earlier to be led on a half-day hike by the patrols while the senior scouts stay in camp to prepare the meal - timed so when the patrols get back with the parents, dinner is just about served. Or each patrol could be could be tapped to prepare a side dish for the whole group, while the senior patrol cooks up the main course. Of course, the adult leaders could get involved too - maybe they make up dutch oven desserts for after the Court of Honor. And if you don't serve dinner? At least serve dessert.


4) Is there someone in the area that might be a really good story teller? Not ghost story, but maybe stories about the history/natural history of the area. If you're at a public campground, ask the staff while you're planning (don't wait until you get there) if they know someone (you may need to spend a little money but it could be worth it) or if they have someone on staff that could give a presentation about wildlife, the park, etc. If it isn't a public campground, call the local chamber of commerce or library - I'll bet they know someone in the area that could fit the bill.


5) Skip the regular announcements. Make this one just different enough so that people won't mind driving 2 hours (one each way) to attend. I can think of no real reason to start talking about Popcorn Sales and Scout Bucks and stuff like that at a campfire - can you? But you can still have fun with it. One skit I've seen is having an adult come striding up ringing a little bell, saying they have an important announcement to make - to be told by the MC that Announcements can be made later. After three or four times of this, the MC can call up "Mr. Announcement" to make his important announcment ("Now?" "Yes, Now") who comes up, does the Announcement song with the Troop, then announces there will be no announcements this night.


Just my 3 cents.



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We just had our last COH at a family campout in September. HUGE success! We live in a rural area so it was only a 20 minute drive to the lake for the campout, so we had about 1/3 stay overnight and 2/3 just come up for the evening. We did a potluck, some of us cooked dutch oven dishes, others brought salads, etc. One of the scouts planned a campfire program and two other scouts planned the entire COH. We did everything by the light of a campfire and a few headlamps. We even had a surprise visit by our former SM who hadn't attended a COH in at least 3 years!


Such fun! During the day, we setup a compass course and had the parents walk through it with the scouts being the 'teachers'. Woo hoo!


Can't wait to do it again!



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At local Scout Camp campfire sites we used 12 old-fashioned torches (the kind you see in movies) to represent the points of Scout Law, as in the Court of Honor ceremony at The Inquiry Net:




You wrap strips of cloth around thick long sticks (about 6 feet), wrap them with some wire, and soak the torches in buckets of kerosene.


Make sure there are no overhanging branches because 12 - 16 torches generate a tremendous amount of heat.


Well in advance, call you local Council office to find out if it conforms to its liquid fuel policies, then check with the camp ranger.



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Here is the agenda for the troops OktoberFest in 2 weeks. With some details removed such as names and places.

So yes other troops do this. This troop has been doing this October COH campout for as long as I can remember.



WHO: All Troop scouts and their families

Any interested Webelos and their families

Alumni from Troop


Camp with us for the weekend or just join us for Saturdays festivities.




For camping meet at Church at 6:30pm for usual departure at 7pm. Families can join us for camping the whole weekend. You may use your own family tent or use a troop tent. Scouts will camp as patrols as they usually do on weekend campouts.


BBQ and potluck dinner will be Saturday at 3pm. BBQ chicken will be provided for all. Scouts will prepare dutch oven dishes to accompany dinner. Families and guests are asked to bring a generous side dish or dessert to pass.


Court of Honor Ceremony will begin at 5:00pm Saturday in the firebowl. This will feature skits, highlights from the summer activities, rank advancements and merit badges earned, a WoodBadge beading ceremony, and much more.


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