Planning your Eagle Court of Honor
Eagle courts of honor are fully developed celebrations recognizing Scouts who have attained Scouting’s highest rank. They often feature a variety of very special ceremonies commensurate with the high honor being bestowed upon outstanding young men.
As soon as the Eagle Scout presentation kit arrives, if not before, the Scoutmaster or troop committee chairman should begin serious preparations for the Eagle Scout Court of Honor. The Eagle candidate and his family should be invited to designate an award presenter who should then be contacted and his participation firmed up.
In order to obtain letters of recognition and congratulations from government officials, the requests must be mailed a minimum of four weeks prior to the ceremony.
When the who, what, when, and where have been established, those who will actually plan the Court of Honor should be brought together. Coordination should be established concerning such details as:
- Other advancement recognition
- Ceremony details, including props, public address system, and the movements of the participants
- Invitations to the guests
- Printing of the program
- Publicity, with special emphasis on photographs in newspapers
When the planning is complete, it is essential that all key people understand their roles in the arrangements and in the ceremony itself. The presenter and any other guests who will have a speaking part in the award presentation should be contacted directly. It is helpful if these people have a thorough understanding of their individuals duties as well as some general information concerning Scouting history and the significance of the Eagle Award.
As the day of the ceremony draws near, those who will participate should be well prepared. They should know precisely how the entire Court of Honor is to take place. In summary, everyone should understand where and why they fit in.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while planning an Eagle Court of Honor:
- The ceremony should have a crisp definitive opening.
- A proper introduction of the Eagle Scout candidate should be made by someone the Scouts in the Troop respect.
- A complete and easy to understand explanation should be made regarding what must be accomplished to attain the Eagle Scout rank.
- The Eagle candidate’s parents or guardian should be escorted to the front of the room and should stand or sit near their son.
- The Eagle candidate should reaffirm his belief in the ideals of Scouting by either reciting the Scout Oath or participating in the Eagle charge.
- The presenter should be someone of special significance to the Eagle candidate. The presenter should be given a few moments to speak concerning the individual Scout or the Eagle Award.
- Either the presenter, assisted by a troop committee member, the Scoutmaster, or the Scout’s parents should pin the badge on the Eagle recipient.
- Both the mother and father should receive some recognition from the Eagle Scout himself.
- The Eagle Scout should receive congratulations from all people involved. All or some of the letters of congratulations may be read to those present.
- The Eagle Scout should be given the opportunity to say a few words if he is inclined to do so.
- The ceremony must have a definite closing.
In Eagle ceremonies, as in so many other areas of life, it is often the small things that cause the problems and ruin the big things. The following are small items that are often overlooked:
- When using candles for the ceremony, get a supply of fresh candles. The Eagle ceremony is a big enough event to warrant fresh candles.
- Make sure you have matches or a working lighter available.
- Check the PA system immediately before the start of the ceremony.
- Check all props before the start of the ceremony.
- Remind the parents of the Eagle Scout that their son will be pinning awards on them also. They should dress in a way to facilitate this.
- Order the Eagle Presentation Kit as soon as word is received from National that the application has been approved.
- Prior to the ceremony, detach the badges and pins from the presentation box.
- PLEASE rehearse the ceremony. Stumbling over words detracts from the quality of the ceremony.
A guest book which can be signed by everyone who attends the Eagle Court of Honor makes a wonderful memento of the occasion for the new Eagle Scout.
Consider presenting a NESA membership to the new Eagle Scout. Whether you present the membership or not, invite a representative of NESA to attend the ceremony and to say a few words as part of the ceremony.
Finally, a word of advice to the parents of the Eagle Scout: enjoy the ceremony. Let someone else do the work of providing refreshments and decorating the hall. This day belongs to your son and to you; make it a day that you will remember fondly.
Who Will Benefit:
Name the group or organization who will benefit from your project and how your project will benefit them. Remember, the project cannot benefit the Boy Scouts. Do not describe the project again, just focus on the benefit of the project.
This is the heart of the project plan and the area which will require the most work. The plan should include all details needed by someone else to carryout the project as though you were not around. The plan will include the sections discussed below, if appropriate. All sections are not applicable to all projects, so may be omitted if not needed. Since there is limited space in the workbook, you may attach extra pages with the details. You may prefer to write or type the plan on separate pages and then cut and paste them into the proper section of the workbook after your advisor has helped you get it into the final form.
Describe the current condition or situation that you are going to change. This is a good place to include pictures (either photographs or drawings) of the project area.
If your project is to build something, you will need detail plans or drawings. Show all dimensions, paint schemes, floor plans, layouts, or other detail that can be drawn. Photographs may also be of value here for some projects. If you have made a design (e.g. emblem, logo, etc.) include it in this section.
Materials are those things which become part of the finished product. Include material specifications (exact size, quality, brand, finish, etc.), number of each item, and cost. If items are to be donated, state so. This section is best presented in the form of a separate list attached to extra pages in the workbook.
Provide a list of all tools required to work the project, don’t take for granted that required equipment will just appear when you need it. Be very specific. Tell how those tools will be obtained. If you must purchase tools, include them in the financial plan. If you must buy tools, discuss what is going to be done with them after your project is complete.
Examples of supplies are sandpaper, trash bags, posters, gasoline, pens, markers, paper, paint rollers, drop cloths, etc. Provide a list of all supplies you will need and where you will get them. Since supplies cannot normally be reused, you need to either buy them or have them donated.
Make your best estimate of how long tasks will take and in what order they will be done. Your schedule may be in the form of a Gantt Chart (like the one attached to this document, showing the time it takes to do the generic project), a calendar with tasks entered on the appropriate days, or just a list of tasks and the date when they will be done. Include project planning and approval on your schedule.
Instructions should read like a recipe in a cookbook. These tell the workers exactly what to do. Include a list of every task you can think of, what order they will be done, who will do them. Include the clean-up of the work site in your plan.
Provide a list of all materials, tools, supplies, etc. with a cost of each. This information may be part of your list of materials/supplies. If items are loaned or donated, state so. Remember to include fees (e.g. city dump fees) in your cost estimate. Once you have determined how much the project is going to cost, you must find the money to pay for it. You may consider several sources for funding, including the organization for whom you are doing the project, donations from others, from your allowance, or any other legitimate source. You may conduct fund-raising activities to finance the supplies and materials needed for your project. Obtaining the funds to do the project is your responsibility, don’t assume that someone will cover cost until you have asked them.
If you cannot come up with all the money you need, look at reducing the cost to get within your budget. You may even find that the project is too expensive and you will have to chose another one.
Written /Printed Information
If you are going to use handouts, posters, letters, or other written materials as part of your project, include a copy of those in the plan. These should be included as attachments to the workbook.
Discuss who will be doing the work. You do not need to tell names, just the number of people, what organization they are part of, and what special skills will be required. However, if you can make a list of potential helpers (with their phone numbers) it will help you get volunteers later. For example, are you going to need a carpenter? Describe how you are going to organize the workers to get the work done efficiently. Will they be divided into teams and if so who will lead the teams? What tasks will each team be doing? How will you use adult leaders? Discuss how you will ensure the safety of the workers.
Remember, you do not have to DO any of the physical work yourself; you are responsible for LEADING others in carrying out the project and ensuring that everything is done the way you want it.
Boy Scout policy requires at least two adult leaders be present at all times during any Scouting activity. At least one of them must have ‘Youth Protection’ certification. It is your responsibility to ensure that this policy is followed. Don’t assume that the right people will just ‘be there’ – arrange, in advance, for them to be there. You should state how you will ensure this in your plan.
Where will the work be done? If you are going to build something, are you going to build it at the location where it will be used or somewhere else then moved? Remember, you must get permission to use any work site from the responsible person/owner. If the location where you are going to work requires special facilities or tools, state so. Think about how the weather will effect your work site.
Moving people, materials, supplies, tools to/from a work site will most likely be required. Discuss what needs to be moved, what vehicles you will need, where you will get those vehicles, and who will drive. BSA policy places limitations on drivers under 21 years old; ensure you are aware of these limits and work within them. Remember that all passengers must be seated with a seat belt on whenever a vehicle is in motion. All of this is your responsibility.
Keep in mind that the purpose of an Eagle Court of Honor is first, to honor the Scout. If the Court of Honor is executed well, it will inspire other Scouts to follow the adventurous and rewarding Eagle trail. A dignified and meaningful Court of Honor will also show the community the result of the Scouting program, so they will direct other boys into the Scouting programs and support the movement.
Some things to think about while planning the event:
- Make it simple, but keep it fun.
- The Master of Ceremonies (MC) sets the tone and the pace of the ceremony.
- Keep the aisle space clear for parading the colors.
- Use props with candles; Scout spirit candle.
- Make sure the candidate’s parents sit in a special place.
- An Eagle Ceremony should be held separately from troop Court-Of-Honors.
- Master the lighting and sound system before a ceremony..
- Have the principle speakers sit close to the front to reduce program lag time in traveling to the podium.
- Have the troop march in with patrol flags, and sit together for colors.
- It is appropriate to let humor in and to expect the unexpected.
- Have the Eagle speak from prepared notes!
- Daytime window light may affect slide programs
~ SOURCE: EagleScout.org