Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
andysmom

Question About Scheduling Eagle Courts Of Honor

Recommended Posts

I am curious how other troops schedule Eagle Courts of Honor.

In the past, the Eagle Scout and his family have come up with a date, we check to see if the church (our CO) is available and if it is the ceremony is scheduled.  Nearly all of our COH, Eagle or otherwise are held in the sanctuary of the church with a "reception" in the fellowship room downstairs.

Most of our Eagle COH are done independently and not part of a regular troop COH although the scout is given the option of what they prefer.  Our new committee chair does not like separate courts of honor for the Eagle Scouts and has strongly suggested that I encourage them to be held together.

 

We had an Eagle Court of Honor this past weekend.  It was also a work day for another scout's Eagle Service Project.  Both scouts knew that the other was scheduled, although the ceremony had been scheduled first.  I got a very direct email that in the future the CC does not want the troop to schedule two "such important events" on the same day.

We have another scout trying to schedule his ceremony and suggested 2 weekends that are the work day's for another Eagle Service Project and the first weekend is also OA induction weekend and the 2nd is the Elk's Club flag day ceremony that our troop has always participated in and has already committed to.  I mentioned this to the CC and he told me that we can't have the Eagle ceremony those weekends because "we all have lives outside of scouting" and he couldnt be there the 2nd weekend.

 

I am torn, when I first spoke with the scout I told him what else was going on those two weekends and asked if he wanted to consider other dates, I had not heard from him when I spoke with the CC.  In my mind, the Eagle Ceremony is scheduled for the convenience of the family and as long as the scout knows there are other things going on and that members of his troop may not be able to make it.  I spoke with another scouter whom I respect greatly and he agreed with the CC to the extent that the troop can't have so many events going on that they cannot support them.

 

I will admit that I am biased because our committee in the past has scheduled BOR etc on their schedule, giving no consideration to the scout's committments.  We had one scout sick on the day of his 2nd class BOR and the committee refused to meet with him any other time because "if you make an exception for one, they will all expect it".

 

What does your troop do in situations like this?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It just depends on whether the events are more important than the boys.

 

Adults in my troop do whatever is necessary "for the boys."  They are responsible for supporting what is necessary to make it happen.

 

Eagle projects and their scheduling of work days is not dependent on having other scouts there.  It will be unfortunate that the boy working on his project is going to miss his buddy's ECOH, but then he's the one that scheduled the work date.

 

A little more boy leadership and less adult interference will go a long way in this troop.

 

If my committee pulled one of those stunts on the BOR, I'd have another troop's committee do the review.  No excuse for adult posturing in this situation, the boy earned the opportunity to have a BOR, and the adults need to make it happen for him.  If the committee members are "too committed" to do their job, then they need to be replaced by those who aren't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two types:

 

Stand Alone ECOH: Family schedules through the COR. Responsible for everything: set up, clean up, script, props, A/V, etc. We have a script library they can use. We have unit props they can use. All is in a troop storage locker. COR works with the family to make sure they have what they need from the unit. The scout and the family coordinate all other stuff. Unit will help with mailing lists, etc.

 

"Piggy-Back" ECOH: When this follows a regular COH. We close the standard COH and then convene the ECOH. If there are special things the ECOH family wants done they work with the COR and scout running the COH to coordinate, otherwise, the Eagle family is responsible for anything else (see stand alone ECOH) they may need.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our ECOHs are all arranged by the families.  Most have them at our CO in the sanctuary, but a lot have them elsewhere.  The parents do try and coordinate with the troop around certain things like campout weekends, although if they are on Sunday, they are usually late enough that the scouts are back.  Everyone in the troop is invited and if certain families and/or leaders are not around, then they can't come.  I agree with @@Stosh that this is for the boys.  Yes, we all have lives outside of scouting and there are good reasons for missing ECOHs, but this is for the boy and his family and if the CC can't make it then that is too bad.  In my time as SM I have only missed two ECOHs, both times I was on vacation, but those dates worked for the families and they understood.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be clear, the troop makes the arrangements with the CO to reserve the rooms because we have an uptight pastor and will only schedule things with the SM.  The scout and his family do all the planning, decorating, feeding, setting up, writing the script etc.  Scouts are there early to help with set up and the troop provides a cake and mails requests for congratulatory letters.  The primary problem has been our current and past committee chairs.  They are so far out of touch with how things should be done that they can't be reasoned with.  For the boy who the CC didn't want to schedule a BOR for, I went behind his back and scheduled it.  When the CC found out about it he let me know that he was not pleased and that I had better be prepared for other boys taking advantage of the committee from now on.  Most of our troop leadership will re arrange their schedules for the scouts, there are a couple who enjoy their perceived "power" .  The current committee chair just started in Feb and doesn't come to the troop meetings, this Eagle Scout probably doesn't even know who he is.

 

I copied the new CC on the email I sent to the scout about considering changing dates and I hope he feels like a jerk when he sees the response I just got from the scout saying that his Mom works in the city (about 3 hours from here) and that those were weekends he knew his Mom would be here.  He went on to say that he really doesn't care when his COH is or who is there, as long as his Mom can make it.

Edited by andysmom
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems like you have a lot of boys on the trail to eagle, and things are crowded. That means you need to get creative, because multiple ECoHs in a year can put a dent in program.

 

If buddies can double up on an an evening, encourage them to do so.

 

If one family can have a CoH at the work site of another boy's project during a lunch break encourage the one family to do so, maybe provide the pizza.

 

If you can hold a ECoH at family night at summer camp, encourage a family to do so.

 

The ceremonies will be more special by virtue of their diversity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the suggestions!

 

This summer is going to be busy for us, that is for sure.  We had a very active group of boys who are working on Eagle right now. 

1 project just finished, 1 project due to start early this month, 2 projects approved by the committee, 1 project coming before the committee Monday and  more scouts putting finishing touches on proposals right now hoping to finish them this fall.  Most of those scouts will Eagle before they age out, one is highly doubtful because of his merit badge situation.  It will be atleast 2 to 3 years before we have another I suspect.  Most of our boys don't earn Eagle before they are 17 but we have a 15 and a 16 year old in that group.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have seen as many as 4 scouts receiving their Eagle at the same ceremony.  We make them out to be more than what they really are.  Yes, it's the last rank.  Yes, it's a graduation.  Yes, you can put it on your resume, your job applications and notify the recruiters.  Yes, you'll probably never see those boys in uniform again.  So why is the troop making such a big deal of it.  Let the parents handle it. At the school we have one graduation, and hundreds of graduation parties all over for the families to celebrate.

 

Once you've reached 4 star general, it's time to quit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have seen as many as 4 scouts receiving their Eagle at the same ceremony.  We make them out to be more than what they really are.  Yes, it's the last rank.  Yes, it's a graduation.  Yes, you can put it on your resume, your job applications and notify the recruiters.  Yes, you'll probably never see those boys in uniform again.  So why is the troop making such a big deal of it.  Let the parents handle it. At the school we have one graduation, and hundreds of graduation parties all over for the families to celebrate.

 

Once you've reached 4 star general, it's time to quit.

That being said, Eagle can be very very important and personal for families for a variety of reasons; as important as a wedding in some cases. We have to be very careful to respect the families in these things and help them understand and work within the limits and capabilities of the troop.

 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am curious how other troops schedule Eagle Courts of Honor.

In the past, the Eagle Scout and his family have come up with a date, we check to see if the church (our CO) is available and if it is the ceremony is scheduled.  Nearly all of our COH, Eagle or otherwise are held in the sanctuary of the church with a "reception" in the fellowship room downstairs.

Most of our Eagle COH are done independently and not part of a regular troop COH although the scout is given the option of what they prefer.  Our new committee chair does not like separate courts of honor for the Eagle Scouts and has strongly suggested that I encourage them to be held together.

 

We had an Eagle Court of Honor this past weekend.  It was also a work day for another scout's Eagle Service Project.  Both scouts knew that the other was scheduled, although the ceremony had been scheduled first.  I got a very direct email that in the future the CC does not want the troop to schedule two "such important events" on the same day.

We have another scout trying to schedule his ceremony and suggested 2 weekends that are the work day's for another Eagle Service Project and the first weekend is also OA induction weekend and the 2nd is the Elk's Club flag day ceremony that our troop has always participated in and has already committed to.  I mentioned this to the CC and he told me that we can't have the Eagle ceremony those weekends because "we all have lives outside of scouting" and he couldnt be there the 2nd weekend.

 

I am torn, when I first spoke with the scout I told him what else was going on those two weekends and asked if he wanted to consider other dates, I had not heard from him when I spoke with the CC.  In my mind, the Eagle Ceremony is scheduled for the convenience of the family and as long as the scout knows there are other things going on and that members of his troop may not be able to make it.  I spoke with another scouter whom I respect greatly and he agreed with the CC to the extent that the troop can't have so many events going on that they cannot support them.

 

I will admit that I am biased because our committee in the past has scheduled BOR etc on their schedule, giving no consideration to the scout's committments.  We had one scout sick on the day of his 2nd class BOR and the committee refused to meet with him any other time because "if you make an exception for one, they will all expect it".

 

What does your troop do in situations like this?

 

First, whether or not the CC is there wouldn't matter to me.  The SM is the only leader that has to be at an ECOH, IMHO.  Sometimes things will conflict on a given day.  Talk to the Eagle and his parents, and find out how critical it is to him that most of the troop be there.

 

The thing about refusing to reschedule a BOR is just crappy, IMHO.  So what happens now? He's stuck at Tenderfoot until next month?  We schedule BORs whenever we can get enough committee members and parents. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That being said, Eagle can be very very important and personal for families for a variety of reasons; as important as a wedding in some cases. We have to be very careful to respect the families in these things and help them understand and work within the limits and capabilities of the troop.

 

Barry

 

And if the families wish to make more of it than a COH, then they may do so at their own expense, not at the expense of programming for all the other boys.  No one says that one has to have an elaborate reception for a wedding.  A trip to the courthouse is all it takes.  No one says that one has to have an elaborate reception for a graduation.  Trip to the school is all it takes.  

 

I don't think it's appropriate that just because a boy hung around until he achieve the highest rank, the troop needs to provide more than a nice COH ceremony which they should be doing for all boys regardless of which rank it is.

 

It may just might be more meaningful that the other patrol buddies chipped in for Oreos and Koolaid for a reception than some grandiose cake with a BSA logo on it .

Edited by Stosh
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... not at the expense of programming for all the other boys.  ..

 

The most infamous schedule "bump" we made was to move our troop's first backpacking trip to Dolly Sods up a week so as not to conflict with an ECoH. Nobody wanted the boys coming back with no time to spruce up for the ceremony. "No problem!" we thought at the time, until that Sunday we woke up to a winter hurricane and a four mile hike to the extraction point. ( :excl:Note: April 1st on the Appalacian Plateau -- even though your scouts have been hiking and camping all winter in the low-lands, even though the forcast made no mention of storms stalling over the Chesapeak -- is playtime for the nastiest weather-gremlins.)

 

The next week, as I shook the hand of our latest Eagle while the sunset beamed through the hall, I said "Congratulations Son, and nice day to a hike, doncha think?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of our committee members need to hang up their shirts and move on.  Maybe at one time they were volunteering for the right reasons, but it seems like they have forgotten what the right reasons are and it seems to be more of an ego trip "I volunteer for blah blah organization and blah blah organization and hold this title for blah blah" etc.  Our old SM was very passive and would roll over at the slightest confrontation and honestly toward the end didn't hold the boys to much of a standard.  My husband steps in as SM a couple years ago and is better trained than anyone on the committee and knows how BSA has changed in the last 20-25 years.  He is holding the boys accountable and demanding BOR a week after SMC instead of waiting till a week before COH.  He is outspoken about the way the program has changed and many of the old committee members don't like it.  He puts the boys first and will hold a SMC at the local coffee shop if a scout has a piano recital and can't make it to a troop meeting.  I went behind the CC back and got committee members to sit for that scouts BOR for 2nd class and the CC was not happy about it.  I went to district when the old and new CC tried to hold a boy back from advancing because they thought he was too young and when they demanded he tie a knot during a BOR.  They have been challenged and they are not used to it nor do they like it.

 

This particular scout just wants his Mom there, he couldn't care less if the CC is there.  This scout knows what is going on with the troop and still chose the dates he did because his Mom would be in town.  I don't know how important this ceremony is for this particular scout.  He is at the top of his graduating class and will be attending an Ivy League school in the fall, though he worked hard for his Eagle and it took him way out of his comfort zone I don't think it will be the defining moment of his life.  I may be wrong, but it doesn't matter.  He earned the rank and he deserves to be recognized for it however he wishes. I have a huge problem with adults thinking that what they have going on is more important than what the scouts have going on.  They assume that these boys go to school form 7-2:30 and come home and play video games the rest of the day.  Atleast with the boys in our troop, that simply is not the case, they have commitments too and that needs to be considered.  I understand that there has to be some kind of rules about some things.  We require atleast 2 week notice before the committee will review an Eagle Project for example and we send a copy of the proposal to the committee to go over prior to the meeting.  Yep, everyone has lives, but some people have to take a good long look and honestly examine why they are volunteering.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First, whether or not the CC is there wouldn't matter to me.  The SM is the only leader that has to be at an ECOH, IMHO.  Sometimes things will conflict on a given day.  Talk to the Eagle and his parents, and find out how critical it is to him that most of the troop be there.

 

The thing about refusing to reschedule a BOR is just crappy, IMHO.  So what happens now? He's stuck at Tenderfoot until next month?  We schedule BORs whenever we can get enough committee members and parents. 

Agreed, challenge your committee to be more flexible. Incorporate more adults in BoRs, and maybe have a different team of available adults every week. Our CC can only be at a couple of meetings a month.  The other MCs go to bat for him. More adults hear from the boys about what is important to them. (E.g., shortly after the fiasco above, one boy at his review said "So, how soon can we go back to Dolly Sods?")

 

Also, the SM does not have to be at every ECoH. If you are having that many Eagles coming down the pike, an ASM can step up as master of ceremony.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And if the families wish to make more of it than a COH, then they may do so at their own expense, not at the expense of programming for all the other boys.

Right! As was said, " help them understand and work within the limits and capabilities of the troop."

 

When we go down the path of lecturing other people of our personal values, we quickly find ourselves coming off insensitive and condescending of other peoples values. Just because we have a different opinion of the honor of Eagle doesn't mean we try to force the opinion on them.

 

One of our first Eagles was scout who wasn't supposed to live past the age of four. He had been through 6 open heart surgeries by the time he joined the troop and had two more scheduled surgeries between age 16 and 20. His family put a very high value on every honor this young man accomplished in his life. There celebration for his Eagle was nothing less than a Wedding. 

 

Not far behind him was our Deaf Scout. His family was no less enthusiastic about his Eagle than the previous example for about the same reasons.

 

When these families speak about their sons' accomplishment, they weep. They have grand dreams and don't want to be told that the celebrations to be equated to some quicky like running to the court house. In fact, they don't want your opinion at all. They just want to know the limitations of the troop so they can plan.

 

Another one of our scouts has a family tradition of Eagles. It's almost a family trait and one the defines the men of this family. Your opinion isn't important. Allowing them to respect and celebrate the best they can within the limits of their dreams is all you have to do. 

 

So with respect we allow the families to deal with the details. We politely explain the limitations of the Troops and patrols then we stand back quietly and let the family do their thing. If they step beyond the limitations of the troop, then we with deep respect point out the limitations of the troop and then step back again. 

 

I have witnessed and participated in many ECOHs and have never seen an unreasonable request. I'm sure it occurs, but most families want to show as much respect for the troop as the troop has shown them.

 

In this case, it appears it's prideful unit leaders that are the problem, not the family or scouts. 

 

Barry

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×