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Should my son do a separate Eagle Scout Ceremony or Troop Joint one?

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Please help me with your words of wisdom on whether to do a joint Eagle Scout Court of Honor or request to do a private one for my son

 

Background:

My son got his Eagle Scout Rank a couple days ago. He did a unique project that required many helping hands, most of whom, students & adults, were not in his immediate troop. They show interests to be part of to his Eagle Scout Ceremony. The relationship and the respect to my son is deep during and even more after the project.

To see a glimpse of the magnitude of the project, you can view the finale of his Financial Literacy Education Event here if you are interested http://financialeventvideo.zidan.net. This 20 month project earned him many kudos from peers, adults, and many great opportunities  (with plurals). One at the national level. He worked continuously  very hard for this project which is very difficult and risky.

 

Issue:

Issue at hand is that, my troop do Court of Honor typically once a year with all the Eagle Scouts together. Last year was 4 ES, this year is probably 5. Each boy had their equal share of 1 speaker and the formal presentation of the Eagle Scout ceremonial stuff, to  Eagle Scout, Mom, Dad, Mentors,etc.. The ceremony itself is very nice.

 

For my son, He is associated with many people who would love to talk about him. School official, school district, his district advisors, other outside mentors, his friends, and his 25 student club he founded as part of his Eagle Project. I have 2 concerns with joint Troop ceremony #1) Attention to my son would cast shadow on the good work other Eagle Scouts do. #2) If my son's guests(peers & adults) are not allowed to express to him (either roast or praise), everyone involved is denied of an opportunity to see his being charged with the highest honor and at the same time roasting him, denying the opportunity to create  an unforgettable memory and fun time with him. My multi-unit troop is close 200 scouts (cub & boy scout, daisy & girl scout, venture scouts) who typically attend joint troop event.

 

If we do a separate one for my son, my troop leaders may have the concern that they may appear to have preferential treatment for my son special apart from other Eagle Scouts who earn the same rank with different project. They also may not want to spend much effort to do it more than once either. Furthermore, other Eagle Scout parents in the troop may have bad feelings over this.

 

I really want to do a separate one so we can control the event format to create a special memory. My son is OK with it. His friends encourage it. My wife on the other hand is concerned that it may not look good with the people in the troop. I am trying my best to reduce any bad-feeling but not sure yet how to proceed. If we go alone, my feeling is that we will minimize the formality but more on the relationship between my son and others. I plan to not have the Mom and Dad pin part either as the pins have already been in my son heart and mind for the rest of his life. I will also not advertise it to the whole troop.

 

Please give your advices - Some of which I would like to present to my troop leaders.

Thanks

Lu

Edited by ParkForKids

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You'd be bucking troop tradition here, but with the situation you describe, and the BSA tradition of the Eagle decides his own ceremony, I'd go with an individual ECOH with all the scouts and all the project helpers invited.

 

It might stir up some discussion about how ECOH's are held and that the troop tradition might be better served with the boys making their own decisions as to how they want their ECOH to be run.

 

Somehow I get a twinge in the back of my mind that this troop isn't really boy-led and if a boy makes an independent decision about his own ECOH it's a bad thing.  I don't think so, but the other people who are not part of the decision process in the troop seem to think so.

 

Congrats to your boy!

Edited by Stosh

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First of all congratulations to your son and his hard work! :D

 

Secondly, it's your son's decision to make not yours or your wife's. It's on him to iron things out with the troop (and the crew and whomever) if feathers get ruffled. So you need to let him know HE must talk to his SM's about what HE would like to do.

 

Thirdly, although lots of adults involved with the project would love to talk about him, none of them would be offended if he just chose one representative to speak on their behalf.

 

Fourthly, we in western PA save up our dimes for big old graduation parties (in the summer ... in the winter it's superbowl parties). Then we embarrass the tar out of the kid for every single award he's earned as an army of folks march through the house to offer him all manner of praise.

Edited by qwazse

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IMHO, it's your son's choice.  

 

With that said, our troop and scout tend to prefer ECOH's at troop courts of honor.   We do four COH per year as I'd hope most troops do.  So it's never really that long of a wait.  Plus, ... for our troop ... every COH is a meal.  So the food is better when an eagle rank is presented as the Eagle parents always kick in extra good food for their invited guests.  

 

Finally, ... and most important ... I've been to many courts of honor where there are just not many scouts from the troop present.  Often, there are conflicts and the older scouts have aged out and new scouts don't really know the Eagle scouts that well.   So when there is an extra event and it's an ECHOR and the other scouts are not involved ... attendance is often poor.  I've seen this with many, many troops.  If you only attended ECOH, you'd think most troops have five or six scouts.  

 

So ... along the final lines ... if your son has a separate event .. will the troop leaders support him?  Will he have similar good turn out from the other scouts?  Or will some just not attend as it runs afoul of troop traditions?  ... it happens ...

Edited by fred johnson

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LOTS of good and interesting discussion here!

 

 

Personally,  I don't think much of holding one ECOH a year when several Scouts have earned the recognition.  The BSA standard is that Scouts should be recognized ASAP after earning an award, and I agree with that.

 

Secondly,  I think that pretty often,  too much is made of the Eagle award.  MY preference would be to make the Eagle award as part of the next Troop COH.

 

I was in a troop where a Scout earned the Eagle.  His parents wanted to delay holding the ECOH untill all the family members could attend.  After continued delay,  I again proposed having the Eagle COH ASAP,  and again the father of the Scout demurred.  That was around 2006  --- the Scout NEVER has had his Eagle COH!  (NB:  the father was the Scoutmaster.)

 

Rather than asking the honoree what HIS preferences are,  I suggest that the right person to weigh in on this is the Senior Patrol Leader,  and perhaps the Scouts who received the Eagle at the last mass Eagle COH.  If the SPL thinks there are good reasons to change the troop's recent practice,  he ought to make his preferences known.

 

 

Further comment:  in my opinion,  it's also unreasonable to try to make a big deal of four or five ECOH as separate events each year.  That is likely to burden Scouts and Scouters.  That's why I favor the ECOH as part of the Troop's next regular COH.

 

 

To change the subject,  I feel the same way about weddings,  which are commonly WAY overproduced social events.  In my opinion,  weddings ought to be held as part of the regular Sunday church service in which all of a religious community can witness. (Not part of a religious community or church?  ----Not much of a reason for a wedding then,  is there?  Have a judge do the honors if it's worth doing at all). 

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Lu,

 

    Like others have mentioned, it appears that you are going against troop tradition that has been established for years. Around my council, I have only heard of and participated in Eagle COH's that are separate from troop COH's. As a long time former SM, I always talk with the Scout about what "HE" would like to do for his Eagle Court. They need a reminder that they take the lead in this. We've had a couple of joint ECOH's, but most were stand alone ECOH's. I guide the Scout (and sometimes his family) on where, when, how big does he want it, the involvement of his troop, and any special guests that he wanted to invite. I also had a very special scout that simply wanted me to privately give him the Eagle Award set. I understood. He was one of our best scouts.

 

    If I was your son's SM, I would support and guide him to plan a nice varied program that gives him the chance to say thank you to those involved in his earning Eagle, and where all appropriate recognition's are made. As far as turning the ECOH into some sort of never ending tribute to him from all of the folks that want to say something, I can only say that there would need to be a time limit, and he would have to make the choices. If you the parent demand that he have unlimited time for all of this interaction, I'd withdraw my support as SM, and give you the package to present to your son as you want.

 

    Another thought crossed my mind. How about a nice varied normal ECOH, and then have a nice reception afterwards where everyone could then have the opportunity to roast and/or praise him with no time constraints. Folks could leave as they wish.

 

    As far as your troop's scouts and leaders attending and/or being apart of this ECOH, usually the Eagle Scout has a scout friend or two that he wants involved in some fashion in his ECOH. A flag ceremony to start things off, maybe a fellow scout to give the Eagle Charge (or similar text), having scouts seat people, etc.., are ways to have your troop involved. The idea is to have scouts from his troop involved, so that they can see how an ECOH is done. It adds a visual to all they've heard about earning their own Eagle rank. I would hope that you have his Scoutmaster presenting the Eagle to this Scout, but maybe he wants something else. This is obviously going to rub his troop the wrong way, and I assume that your son has planned to leave scouting after this. Sorry to hear that.

 

Think about what's really happening here, and support your son in what "HE" wants to do.

 

sst3rd

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I concur with the group, it is up to the scout. Most of our scouts do individual ECOH, but some (including my own son) prefer to do it during the regular Troop COH. I support the scout in whatever decision he makes.There are as many ways to do an ECOH as there are Eagle Scouts.

 

With your troop having this tradition, I would recommend discussing it with the Scoutmaster so that he is on board. It sounds like your son led a great project, and congrats to him on his Eagle rank!

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I think it's up to the Scout and his family.  I think Eagle is a significant enough achievement to warrant it's own separate ECOH.  Our Troop does both--separate ECOHs and ECOHs as part of the quarterly COH's.  In general, the more motivated Scouts seem to have a separate ECOH, and the last minute Eagles tend to have their ECOH as part of the quarterly COHs. 

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Glad to see the Scouter is back up and running. 

I concur with the seeming consensus here.  A) What does the Scout want to do?   B) One ceremony a year seems to limit the options unnecessarily. C) I also believe less is often more.  D)  I also am feeling the Troop sounds less Scout led, more Adult led.  What does that mean for the Eaglets (!)?  

To elaborate:  A) & B)  Every Scout is different and will appreciate brou-ha-ha to differing degrees.  Balance out the fellow who wants to go home and watch Wii with the one who will listen to 12 people extolling his virtues and fun gaffs.   One of the best Eagle ceremonies I ever attended was a campout in the back of the Eagle's grandparents' farm. Attendees had to hikeback a couple hundred yards  into the woods, BBQ and picnic potluck (over an open fire that the Scouts tended!)  candle ceremony on a fold up  table. Due ritual, pinning on medals by mom and pop, many Scouts in attendance.  Very Scouty , to my mind.

 

My Scoutson opted for receiving his at the regular CoH (Troop does it every 3 months) with a catered BBQ (friend brought in his smoker) picnic after.  No one ever said tradition can't be adjusted...

D)  Who controls the content of the CoH?   Who plans it, ultimately?  The SPL and PLC or the ASM in Charge of CoH?

 

And, too, you can have the "official" CoH and then your own celebration elsewhere with the Troop et al invited....

 

"Well done" and congratulations  to your Eaglet....

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<<I think it's up to the Scout and his family.>> 

 

 

 

Ummm,  here we have the tail wagging the dog....

 

 

I again suggest that the primary decision maker should be the Senior Patrol Leader and the PLC.  

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I have two sons.  One added his ECOH to the end of the quarterly troop COH.  The other held a dedicated event at the site of his project. 

 

Troop tradition is whatever the boy decides.  Some add to the regular COH.  Others schedule dedicated ECOH.  As mentioned, the dedicated events tend to have a much smaller crowd.  Typically guests with personal invitations attend with just a few scouts from the troop.  Most troop scouts don't make the effort to arrange transportation to the event and forget/don't show. 

 

While earning the rank of Eagle requires a lot of effort by the boy, it hopefully is not the crowning event of his entire life.  Sounds like the dedicated ECOH in the original posters topic is planning to be a bit over the top.  Is the event for the scout or the parents?   I think sometimes the event is more for the parents to show off their son than it is for the scout to be congratulated. 

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I can agree with SeattlePioneer...IF the boy chooses to do the ECOH as a troop activity. Otherwise, the boy (and his family) are  free to make any other choice they want, including no COH at all if that's what he or they want.

I liken this to a graduation exercise. If you want to do it as part of the school ceremony then you're stuck with whatever structure the school decides to have. Or you can have a family celebration, independent of the school. OR you can just accept the diploma in the mail and quietly move on (which is what I did).

Edited by vumbi

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Lu,

 

    Like others have mentioned, it appears that you are going against troop tradition that has been established for years. Around my council, I have only heard of and participated in Eagle COH's that are separate from troop COH's. As a long time former SM, I always talk with the Scout about what "HE" would like to do for his Eagle Court. They need a reminder that they take the lead in this. We've had a couple of joint ECOH's, but most were stand alone ECOH's. I guide the Scout (and sometimes his family) on where, when, how big does he want it, the involvement of his troop, and any special guests that he wanted to invite. I also had a very special scout that simply wanted me to privately give him the Eagle Award set. I understood. He was one of our best scouts.

 

    If I was your son's SM, I would support and guide him to plan a nice varied program that gives him the chance to say thank you to those involved in his earning Eagle, and where all appropriate recognition's are made. As far as turning the ECOH into some sort of never ending tribute to him from all of the folks that want to say something, I can only say that there would need to be a time limit, and he would have to make the choices. If you the parent demand that he have unlimited time for all of this interaction, I'd withdraw my support as SM, and give you the package to present to your son as you want.

 

    Another thought crossed my mind. How about a nice varied normal ECOH, and then have a nice reception afterwards where everyone could then have the opportunity to roast and/or praise him with no time constraints. Folks could leave as they wish.

......

I have no experience with this directly, so I guess this is worth about as much as the electrons used in communicating the opinion...

but, my thought is that this is the logical approach.  

 

Just thinking of it practically, it seems to me that it's 

a) good to give the scout the patch immediately at the next troop meeting or camp (in the spirit f immediate recognition), and then not make such a big deal about it, beyond special short and simple ceremony during a normal and routine COH according to the troop's tradition, and

 

b) suggest a reception after...  could be immediately following, or might even be at another date and time and a different location of the scout and his family's choosing... totally on them to do.  Sort of along the lines of what is typically done for so many big-deal events.... graduations, first christenings, weddings, confirmations, and so on...

Edited by blw2

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A well done Eagle COH  can be an inspiration for young scouts.  One of the questions I ask at the SM Conference for Eagle is "When did you know deep inside that you wanted to become an Eagle?" and I would say 75% of them say "It was at Billy's Eagle ceremony.  That's when I knew I was gonna be up there some day". 

 

A good ceremony can help the entire troop.

  • Upvote 1

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