The Eagle Scout Award represents many years of dedicated effort. It is a firm
demonstration of how people, working together through the years, can truly help
mold a young man with a solid sense of leadership, citizenship, and
The Eagle Scout Court of Honor is a very personal event in both the life of the
Eagle Scout and the lives of his family and friends. Thus, in situations where
many Eagles are to be presented, it is essential that adequate recognition be
given to each INDIVIDUAL young man. Far too often there are so many boys
receiving awards at a given Court of Honor that the individual Scout is lost in
the shuffle. It is a tremendously important moment for the Eagle when he
receives his badge, and attention should be focused solely on him when the big
Appropriate planning can insure a memorable Eagle recognition ceremony and
award presentation, one that will not soon be forgotten by key participants.
This pamphlet has been prepared for you to assist Scoutmasters, troop committee
chairmen, advancement committeemen, and others in their planning. Recognizing
that variety is an important feature of successful courts of honor, several
different ceremonies and other materials are included. In addition, helpful
comments are given regarding general pre-arrangements, features of a good Eagle
award ceremony, and the Eagle charge. On behalf of all Eagles yet to be, it is
hoped that your award presentations will always be performed with the
sensitivity, care and dignity which the occasion deserves.
The EAGLE COURT OF HONOR HANDBOOK, by Gary Hendra, the MacScouter, is a
compilation of material from many sources, including the following:
Don Demers' EAGLE SCOUT CEREMONIES HANDBOOK could not have been possible
without the contributions from a lot of dedicated Scouters and Council folks.
- San Mateo County Council, CA, and Troop 137
- Pine Tree Council, ME, and Troop 171 / Troop 118
- Katahdin Area Council, ME, and Troop 189
- Northeast Illinois Council, IL, and Troop 55
- Okefenokee Area Council, GA, and Troop 223
- Coastal Empire Council, GA
- Northern Lights Council, ND
- Columbia Pacific Council, OR
- Tidewater Council, VA, and Troop 209
- The National Eagle Scout Association
- Order of the Arrow
Fred Rogers' EAGLE SCOUT COURT OF HONOR SCRIPTS FAQ was compiled from many
sources. Most of the scripts were distributed originally by the National Eagle
Scout Association or were taken from Woods Wisdom. Other scripts and
information came from the Scouts-L Youth Groups Discussion List on the Internet
and the rec.scouting newsgroup on Usenet.
In addition, contributions to this EAGLE COURT OF HONOR HANDBOOK have been
gratefully received from Steve Aberle, firstname.lastname@example.org, Ben
Parker, email@example.com, Jack L. Eidson, Mike Walton -- Settumanque!
the Blackeagle, Greg Gough, Joe Ulrich, firstname.lastname@example.org, Scott
Drown, Paul Sweeney, email@example.com, Ed Schmitt, and many others.
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. If a hall or other facility is to be used for the
ceremony, the necessary arrangements should be made with the owners or other
responsible group as soon as possible.
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
When the who, what, when, and where have been established, those who will
actually plan the Court of Honor should be brought together. This group will
usually include representatives from the troop committee, the patrol leaders
council, and the troop ladies auxiliary (if the troop has one). 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. Periodic rechecking
to make sure that preparation in all assignment areas are progressing on
schedule is a good idea. 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 planing 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 or some group 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. (Explicit mention
should be made of the candidate's Eagle Service project.)
- The Eagle candidate's parents should be escorted to the front of the room
and should stand or sit near their son. (If neither of his parents is able to
attend, his guardian, a close relative or friend should join him.)
- 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
- 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. Don't
try to get by with candles that have previously been used. The Eagle ceremony
is a big enough event to warrant fresh candles. Then, save them and use them
for other purposes.
- Make sure you have matches or a working lighter available. A lot of people
have given up smoking and it is more difficult to ask a group of people for
matches and get a positive response.
- Check the PA system immediately before the start of the ceremony.
- Check all props before the start of the ceremony. This includes the
lectern, any lights being used, the candles, etc.
- 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. The mother
should wear a dress or suit with lapels or a blouse with a collar. This makes
life for the Eagle Scout a lot simpler than a turtleneck sweater. The father
should wear a tie or, at least, a jacket with lapels.
- Order the Eagle Presentation Kit as soon as word is received from National
that the application has been approved. Council service centers do not always
have them in stock and it may take several weeks to get one.
- PLEASE rehearse the ceremony. Stumbling over words detracts from the
quality of the ceremony. The young man worked hard to achieve the rank of
Eagle; we want to make the ceremony appropriate to his achievement.
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.
Some of the ceremonies in this document include the presentation of a
membership in the National Eagle Scout Association. Such a presentation can be
added to any of the ceremonies. 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
All of the Courts of Honor in this document assume that the Eagle Scout comes
from the "traditional family:" one mother and one father. This is not
necessarily true. Be prepared to handle the exceptions by modifying the
ceremonies, as appropriate. Some Eagle Scouts will be part of a single parent
family while others will involve multiple sets of parents. Be sensitive to
Finally, a word of advice to the mother 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
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
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
There are basic steps to follow in publicizing any Scouting event. The
following suggestions will help unit leaders develop a media plan for the Eagle
CONTACTS: Prepare a mailing list of the newspapers in your council, district,
and unit area. These should be daily, weekly, religious, and school newspapers,
business, church, organization, council and district newsletters.
BIO: Obtain detailed biographical material from the recipient and a 4"x 5" (or
larger) black and white glossy photo, (some newspapers take their own photos.)
Include Scouting honors and leadership positions, education, church, civic and
school activities, and include the troop number and the Scoutmaster's name.
Prepare a one page double-spaced news release from the biographical material.
This should be typed on a standard 8 1/2"x11" sheet of white paper. Be brief,
use short words, always use exact dates, give age of the Scout, name the
chartered organization and above all spell every word correctly.
When preparing a news release, six points are important to remember: Who...
What... When... Where... Why... and How. Get all those points into the first
two or three sentences. Then go into the details of the story.
Address and mail all news releases to the editor of your local newspaper and
newsletters at least a week in advance of the presentation, or as soon as
possible after the ceremony. Because of space limitations, most large
newspapers deal exclusively with photos and captions of Eagle Scouts. Smaller
suburban newspapers welcome photos and longer articles and are more likely to
The Eagle candidate should send out invitations to VIPs about 3 months before
the actual ceremony. This allows time for busy politician and business leaders
to respond to the candidate's invitation.
A Sample Invitation Letter
123 Main Street
___ Month 19____
The Honorable _______________________
Washington, DC. 20510
Dear Senator __________
I would be greatly honored if you could attend my Eagle Scout Court of Honor on
13 July 1998 at the First Banquet Hall of Fame at 2 PM in Mill Valley,
Illinois. Your presence would greatly add to my receiving the Boy Scouts of
America's highest honor, the Eagle Scout Award. I hope you will be able to
attend my Eagle Court of Honor.
Yours in Scouting,
A Sample Invitation List
When writing to a member of Congress, use the address below:
THE HONORABLE ________________________
Washington, D.C. 20510
THE HONORABLE _________________________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D. C. 20515
For example, Paul Simon is a Senator from Illinois. His address would look like
The Honorable PAUL SIMON
Washington, D.C. 20510
When writing to the President of the United States, use the address below:
Mr. William Clinton
President Of The U. S.
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
Mr. Al Gore
Vice President Of The U. S.
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D. C. 20500
Key leaders in your home town that you may consider sending an invitation to:
City of ____________
City of __________
Chief of Police
City of ____________
Superintendent of Schools
Key BSA Council Staff to consider inviting:
- Council President
- District Chairman
- District Senior Executive
- Council Commissioner
- District Commissioner
- District Executive
It is common practice to write to a variety of government officials,
celebrities, and others to request Commendation letters for a new Eagle Scout.
These letters are then presented to the Eagle at the Court of honor, usually in
the form or a scrap book. A list of possible addresses can be found at
This is an example of instructions and a worksheet that can be adapted for
your Troop, to give information to the Eagle candidate parents, and help them
develop plans for the Eagle Court of Honor.
The Committee of Troop 16 sends our sincere Congratulations on achieving
Scouting's highest honor, the rank of Eagle Scout. Every Eagle Scout is
constantly looked up to as a special example of leadership and service. It is
indeed a special accomplishment.
Because of the special significance of this award, we invite the Eagle Scout
and his parents to assist in planning the Court of Honor, so it will always be
a special memory for him. This guide has been prepared to help you in your
choices. While there is an organized plan to the ceremony, there is also a
good deal of flexibility, to accommodate any special people or events that you
want to be part of the ceremony. If you want to make changes, please do so,
and let us know what you would like to do. The Troop Committee will appoint
someone to work with you throughout this process. Please note that it takes 6
to 8 weeks to make all the necessary arrangements, select teams, rehearse them,
print invitations, etc.
The date, time, and place of the Court of Honor are basically up to you to
decide. You should, of course, be cognizant of holidays, school, church and
Troop schedules. This will allow a maximum opportunity for other Troop members
to attend. It may be done at First United Church, at your own church, or at
another location that has special significance for you in your son's
achievement. You should also give thought to whether or not a reception
afterward will be held, and if suitable facilities are available for it.
Please note we are a large Troop and the number attending the Court of Honor
and reception can easily be 100 or more people.
Once a date, time and location have been determined, please notify us and the
Troop will print invitations on standard BSA Eagle stationery. We will give
these to you for addressing and mailing. The members of the Troop will all be
invited by an enclosure in a regular Troop mailing. You may also have your own
invitations printed if you prefer.
The Troop will also make the printed programs for the Court of Honor, based on
the Program Worksheet enclosed, again on standard BSA stationery, unless you
choose to provide your own. The Troop will provide scouts to serve as the
Master of Ceremonies, ushers, the Color Guard, and the Dedication Team. The
Troop will of course provide the Eagle award presentation kit which includes
the Eagle Ribbon badge, cloth badge, Mother's miniature pin, Father's tie-tac,
and Scout's miniature pin, as well as a framed Eagle certificate. Additionally,
the Troop will prepare a binder for the Scout which will include (mounted in
plastic sleeves) all congratulatory letters and a copy of the ceremony. The
Troop will also pay for the Scout's initial (5 year) membership in the National
Eagle Scout Association.
You should know that once your son's Eagle application has been processed by
the National Office, you will receive various solicitations directly from
National for various Eagle mementos, stained glass windows, plaques, and other
forms of recognition. The choice to purchase of any of these items either by
yourself or as a suggestions to family relatives is of course up to you.
Court of Honor Program & Ceremony:
In planning the location and time, please remember the Troop needs to have
access to the location a minimum of 1 hour before the ceremony, for setup and
rehearsal by the various teams that will be performing. There is a worksheet
attached which outlines the principal parts of the ceremony. Many items are
indicated as optional. You may include them or not as you choose. The choice
to include any kind of music, such as a hymn or the camp song is optional. If
you want a organist or other musician for accompaniment of music you will need
to ask them yourself. The Master of Ceremonies will usually be the Senior
Patrol Leader of the Troop, but you may select another Scout if you choose.
The Color Guard will usually be composed of Troop members, but you may select
other scouts if you desire. The 'Dedication Team' will be composed of Troop 16
boys because this ceremony is unique to the history of Troop 16. You may
choose the boys to participate on this team or leave it up to the SPL.
The Call of the Eagle is an audio or video tape special presentation. Its use
The choice of Speakers is up to you, or we will help with suggestions. The main
purpose is for various adults, in different aspects of the Scout's life, to
briefly tell of the effort and accomplishment of the Scout in the area of
experience they know him. It is not necessary to have all 5, but there should
be at least 3, ending with the Scoutmaster. The speaker representing the BSA
may be a Scouter from another Troop, a District or Council Executive. The
speaker for the Church usually represents the church where the COH is performed
or someone from the Scout's own religious training. A significant teacher or
perhaps someone from the community, perhaps with whom the Scout worked on his
Eagle Project, is another possibility. The Scout may have another personal or
scouting mentor, a person from the OA Lodge perhaps, or a relative of
significance to his achievement. Lastly, will be the Scoutmaster, who will
relate the Scout's record of accomplishments and scouting history in the
The Eagle Scout Challenge is a statement in the responsibilities expected of an
Eagle Scout and all other Eagle Scouts present will participate at this time.
The Eagle Scout Charge is the actual 'oath of responsibility' and immediately
precedes the presentation of the Eagle Award. The parents will be a part of
this ceremony. The Scout will receive his award, and he will in turn, present
miniature awards to both parents.
The Eagle Scout is expected to say a few words in acceptance of his award,
perhaps thanking particular people who have been of special help along his
trail as well as inspiring others Scout's still working the Trail to Eagle. The
Scoutmaster will then read from various letters of congratulations and
recognition from political figures or others unable to attend. This may be
followed by an optional closing hymn and then the closing flag ceremony.
After the Court of Honor:
Since the location of the Court of Honor is your choice, the place of a
reception afterwards is also yours. Whether or not to have a reception, what
kind of refreshments, how much to have, etc. are all up to you. If asked, any
members of the committee will help with these arrangements, but the principal
direction and decisions must be yours. The Troop will pay for a decorated flat
cake for the reception.
The reception is a good time and place to present any additional family
recognition, and also to display a 'memory board' of your son's involvement
with Scouting as well as the book detailing his Eagle Project work.
Troop 16 Eagle Scout Court of Honor Work Sheet
-- Thanks to Ben Parker, firstname.lastname@example.org, (Oak Park IL) ASM T-16 Oak Park IL
Eagle Scout Court of Honor Work Sheet
for Eagle Scout ___________________________
Suggested Program Outline (ver# _____)
(greeting & seating by ushers)
Call to Order (SPL or _____________________)
Opening Flag Ceremony (Color Guard)
Invocation (optional) _____________________
Opening Hymn (optional) _____________________
Re-dedication of Eagle candidate to Scout Oath & Law (Troop 16 Team)
Speakers: (minimum of three)
For the Boy Scouts of America _____________________
For the Church _____________________
For the Community or School _____________________
For the Scout _____________________
For the Troop (Scoutmaster or ___________________)
The Eagle Scout Challenge (SM or _____________________)
(incl. all other Eagles present)
The Eagle Scout Charge (SM or _____________________)
Award Presentation (Eagle Scout & parents)
Acceptance & Recognition (Eagle Scout & SM)
Closing Hymn (optional) _____________________
Closing Flag Ceremony (Color Guard)
The Eagle Scout Resources pages are presented by R. Gary Hendra -- The MacScouter -- CM Pack 92 & CC Troop 92, Milpitas, California