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dancinfox

Youth Planning Eagle Courts of Honor

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Had a message from someone in my council who is involved in a lot of Eagle Court of Honors and feels the trend is going from adult leaders and parents planning the court of honor to the Eagle themselves planning. I just wonder what everyone's thoughts on this are?

Dancin

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Usually most Eagle COH are planned by the Eagle and his family. Of coarse it is expected that they will coordinate and consult with the unit leaders. However, the purpose of the COH is to recognize the Eagle and his accomplishments. As such, it is fitting that the recognition take the form he chooses. I would suggest that if a unit has some traditional way of conducting a COH, it would be good to inform the Eagle of those traditions and provide materials such as examples of previous scripts and such to use as a guide, if he chooses to do so.

 

There is also a good book with sample Eagle COHs in it available through supply division. I would highly recommend every unit have a copy to loan out to those families planning such events.

 

Oh, I would also note that I did a good deal of the decision making about the content of my COH. I even chose the individuals that would do each part of the ceremony. I took elements from a couple of the standard ceremonies in the book, and added in some of the traditional troop things, and even a few things I thought of myself. In my opinion (biased as it may be) it was one of the best COH I have seen.

 

Now I left most of the details, such as getting the programs printed, and food for the reception, and things of that nature to others. (Actually my mother handled most of that.)

 

I should also offer a piece of advice. A good way to "force" the other members of a unit and their families to attend is to ask the family of each scout to do something, like bring drinks, or help decorate, or bring a side dish if a full dinner is planned.(This message has been edited by Proud Eagle)

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"Now I left most of the details, such as getting the programs printed, and food for the reception, and things of that nature to others. (Actually my mother handled most of that.)"

 

Same with me I planned everything else. Everything went smoothly no issues.

 

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Our Eagles plan their COH. They are given examples of past COH and either modify them as they wish or go with a 'standard' troop COH.

 

It is their ceremony and the last 15 or so that I have been to have been varied and all very good.

 

My youngest just had his (finally) and comments about the ceremony were all positive. ( it was done at the same time as another Eagle, his best friend of 16+ years)

 

yis

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Several years ago, several of us in the local NESA chapter started assisting with the Eagle COHs. Over a period of time, it became like planning a wedding. I couldn't help comparing myself to Martin Short in Steve Martin's, The Father of the Bride. I am not sure that we helped by making the ceremony so elaborate.

 

It is an important step and should have the proper decorum attached but I have never been satisfied with what I have assisted with and what I know about it. It seems like it should be simple, semi-formal, yet dignified.

 

Here are a few suggestions:

A table should be set up with a display of the Scout's projects. I would like to see either a video or still shots on a large screen with highlights of the Scout's career, narrated by a good speaker with background music. A biography of accomplishments could be given by one or two friends/Scouts. The SM could give an overview of experiences. Scouting music could be sung by a group of Scouting friends. The presentation of the Eagle and a quick acceptance speech about what the Eagle means to the Scout. The ending should have a group song that is meaningful and inspirational.

 

Afterwards, a potluck dinner. The first part should be no longer than 20 to 30 minutes with the dinner planned for no longer than 45 minutes. Clean-up should be simple with paper plates, napkins, and plastic ware for utensils. Everyone should tape their names to the bottom of their dishes and one Scout should be in charge of getting all dishes to the families and checking for names on dishes brought to the main serving table. Have large plastic lined trash barrels, so that everyone can police their own mess.

 

This kind of an event involves everyone, yet gives the Eagle Scout a personal evening.

 

My .02,

 

FB

 

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One thing I might suggest.

 

Consider inviting a Cub Scout Pack or, if there is a new Boy Scout Troop in your area, inviting them to the Eagle Court. I well remember when my year old Troop was invited to an Eagle Court by a nearby Troop. It was the largest single factor in convincing me that I could become an Eagle Scout and I should set that as my goal.

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I know a lot of Eagles are involved in planning their own COH's, and they probably should have some input, but shouldn't it be the Unit and family's responsibility? It seems to me that an Eagle COH should be a special recognition. Isn't recognition for a job well done more meaningful if it comes from someone else?

 

I've never liked the recognition program we have at work because we have to nominate our own projects. I want my work to be noticed by others not me.

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Just my opinion: the Eagle COH is a troop function and, as such, should be planned and run by the SPL and PLC, with guidance from the SM. If parents want something special and are willing to fund it, they can make the offer to the SPL.

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As an adult, I felt really weird planning my own Wood Badge ceremony. I have no problem with an Eagle candidate assisting or giving his blessing on his Eagle COH ceremony but I'd hate to but the complete burden on him.

 

The wedding comparison is similar. I've seen too many brides (not so many grooms) sink much effort into planning out their wedding and when the big day comes they spend too much energy worrying about the flowers, caterers, music, etc. and don't really enjoy the event. Kind of sad really.

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Thinking way, way back in the recesses of my mind. Seems like I gave some input into a few things I wanted (had a combined COH with a buddy, who I wanted to invite, who I wanted to do the Eagle Charge), but most of the planning was left up to the troop leadership. I think my mom worked with the food preperation.

 

I think the Eagle recipient ought to be involved as much as he wants to be. But, ultimately, the troop leadership (adults & PLC) owe it to him to put on a great ceremony.

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I should also note that I greatly appreciated the chance to have some input in my COH. There were many things I liked about the traditional troop way, but there were other things I did not like, and there were some things I did like that the troop hadn't traditionaly done. This allowed the very nature of the COH to reflect on me, rather than just the specific content of certain parts of the presentation.

 

I should note, however, that often local tradition is the best place to start. It allows the Eagle and family to have a nice, easy, ready to go format if they choose not to make changes. It also keeps some continuity between ceremonies, while allowing for customization.

 

Using a stock ceremonoy and not allowing any deviation would produce very impersonal ceremonies, in my opinion. This would be particularly true if a troop used the same ceremony for every Eagle, and even more of a problem if it held Eagle COHs relatively frequently. It would suck the special and unique nature of the Eagle COH right out of the thing if every one in the troop sat through the exact same ceremony every other month.

 

Now as to the role of the PLC in planning the COH, I think it would be appropriate to work with the PLC to plan the event. For example, if a color guard is needed, it would be a good idea to ask the PLC if it could provide one. Things such as this should be left to the PLC when possible. (Note, the Eagle and family should not demand anything of the PLC, but rather make polite requests. The PLC should also be allowed to give some feedback about things.)

 

For planning for decorations, invitations, programs, and the reception, it would be best if the troop established a permanent policy on who is to pay for what in these catagories. It may be best to have the family handle the invitations, while the troop may do decorations. It may also be a good idea for each family in the troop to bring some food or drink item for the reception, with either the family or troop supplying the cake, or some other such breakdown. (In the past, my troop had the family of the Eagle handle invitations and programs, while the troop would provide decorations and meat for the reception dinner, each family in the troop would provide a side dish, and the Eagle's family would provide the cake.) Another option would be to provide a fixed budget for each COH, and let those planning it determine how to use the funds.

 

Finally, I must say I like the idea of the local NESA chapter providing assistance in planning and carrying out the COH. While control should remain with the Eagle and his family, I am sure many would appreciate the assistance. This is especially true if a troop has not recently had an Eagle COH, and therefore does not know all the ins and outs of planning one.

 

Ultimately, the Eagle Court of Honor must incorporate the wishes of the Eagle and his family, with the guidance of experienced Scouters, the assistance of the Troop, and remain within the limits of what the troop is willing to provide.

 

If the Eagle says he wants to let the troop PLC, supported by the troop committee, and with the guidance of the Scoutmasters, plan his COH, then that is perfectly acceptable to me. If on the other hand the Eagle has some idea, complete with script with i's dotted and t's crossed, for a COH unlike any other, and is willing to make the effort needed to have it happen, then that is fine with me as well.

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We will do whatever the Eagle and his family requests. It is his day after all. In most cases, the troop assigns an assistant SM to work out the ceremony with the eagle and his family. There are certain elements the troop always does and others that are totally flexible. The family normally takes care of the invitations and reception with some assistance from the committee. But it really is on a case by case basis.

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