No matter how hard I tried I could not get Ken to an Eagle court of honor.
Ken Ryan was Scoutmaster of Troop 12 across town for thirty years and decided to retire the year I became Scoutmaster. By that time troop 12 had ten or twelve older Scouts and little other adult help, so Ken sent his remaining Scouts over to our troop.
Ken maintained his registration with our troop and visited a troop meeting once or twice a year until he died a couple of years ago.
When invited to attend our Eagle courts of honor Ken demurred. I pressed him on it and he said:
“When I was a boy and got my Eagle (that would have been in the nineteen thirties) I went to a troop meeting, my Scoutmaster handed be the badge and shook my hand.. ” At this point Ken raised both hands as if in benediction and concluded with; “… that was it.”
I think Ken’s felt some of our elaborate ceremony obscured the awards simple meaning.
Understand that I value the achievement of Eagle; I just don’t see why that moment should be overloaded with pomp and circumstance like a coronation. A simple, meaningful presentation is more poignant than an elaborate pageant of florid theatrics.
Richard Zuendt says
I so agree with the idea that Eagle Court of Honors have become coronations! Being both an Eagle (class of 1967)and having three sons who are Eagles, I found this idea of an individual COH for an eagle to being outside the spirit of scouting. The only difference between and a Court of Honor and an “Eagle” Court of Honor is just that, and Eagle Medal will be pinned on someone! When an Eagle COH is run right, the younger scouts can take an active part in the court by finishing rank requirements and getting their second, first, etc. rank. What a thrill it is for them to be acknowledged in front of all of the people who are attending to honor the Eagle Scout! Let’s get back to honoring Eagles in the proper manner, by acknowledging all of the people who helped the scout along the scouting trail.
Louisville Scoutmaster says
I do not disagree with avoiding “overblown, distracting showmanship”
At the same time I do not believe that the organization is best served by presenting the Eagle in the way Mr. Ryan received his. I do it that way if that is what the young man wants to do. But a special ceremony, done right, is a way to reinforce the concepts taught in this program to the younger scouts and to those not that familiar with the program.
And the best news is I think you don’t have to do it the way we do, and I don’t have to do it your way.
Clarke Green says
I don’t think I have missed the point at all. If anything I am advocating that we preserve the point from getting lost in overblown, distracting showmanship when simplicity and clarity is so much more meaningful.
Louisville Scoutmaster says
I think you miss the point here. As I tell those young men who earn the Eagle rank with our troop, the Court is not so much for them, but for those young men in the troop who may not think that they can do it. It is to encourage them. Also it is a promotion of the troop to the sponsoring organization and to the community, but that is a far distant 2nd. Finally it is a way for those young men to thank those who helped them along the way.