February 24, 2015

how to plan an eagle court of honor...

He was a Cub Scout for five years, and earned his Arrow of Light, the highest honor in Cub Scouting. He climbed the ranks as a  Boy Scout from Tenderfoot to Life Scout, and then made the decision he was going to earn Eagle Scout.  Twelve years, and hours and hours of time and effort is something to make a big deal about.  A really big deal...


Step One:  Choose the date for the Court of Honor, and the venue, then check with all of your important people to see if it will work.  Hooray! Everyone said it was PERFECT!  Then, re-schedule it for the next day, because there is a chance your son will have to interview for a scholarship in a different state on the day you thought was perfect.  Now you can create your invitations.  After a disappointment at a certain drugstore that offered "premium paper" {thank you for not making me take these!} I created my own in photoshop, ordered from Mpix and was delighted!

front...
...back
Step Two: Start looking through pictures to find all of those adorable Cub Scout moments!  This of course, can turn into a huge job... especially if your pictures are on two different computers, several flash drives, and an external hard drive that may or may not have been dropped.  Oh, and then there are the years before I had a digital camera, but had the photos put on CD.  This might turn into the best time to organize all of your photos... or at least begin.  Once you find all of the pictures you thought were missing, you can try to finish the scrapbook you started ten years ago. Don't forget to put your absolute favorites in a different folder so you can make a power-point presentation that will make you cry your eyes out and wonder where the time has gone!  {Disclaimer- this step might have to be worked on through every other step of the process, until you finally decide it must be finished the night before the Court of Honor. And... your husband might gripe that he made everyone else turn in their completed presentations three days before the ceremony!} 

Step Three: Decide what you want to eat after the ceremony.  We decided to have a cake and punch reception, and thought about making the cake ourselves... until we had the super-fancy-and-delicious cake at another Eagle Scout ceremony!  We went to the bakery, Cam tasted some white chocolate mousse filling, and we asked the advice of the very experienced bakery how much cake should we order? We were very happy with their advice and and recommendations... and then we second guessed them and changed our order to include a larger cake.  I also ordered some very special, beautiful cookies that I just had to have.  As for punch, I didn't want red... so I tweaked our favorite lemon/lime refresher punch recipe to include strawberries and lemon sherbet.  You might have to change up the punch recipe in the grocery store when you discover that they don't sell lemon sherbet. And if you are just not sure how much to buy?  Throw a few extra bottles of lemon/lime soda... you might need it to wash down all of the leftover cake!


Step Four: Send away for letters of commendation.  There are Boy Scout sites that have lists of addresses- there are some you can even do online!  And you can even have a flag flown over the Capitol Building to honor your scout!  We took the note to go for quality over quantity, and chose to request from people that would mean something to Camden.  The president, George W. Bush, JK Rowling, Dale Jr.  It takes a while to get these, and Cam is actually still receiving some. You might even receive a letter that will take your breath away and have you keeping a secret for months...

Step Five: Write the ceremony. You can check out the Boy Scout sites again, and there are books, too, that have sample scripts.  Of course, don't forget Pinterest!  You can pick & choose, cut & paste and rewrite to your heart's desire. Some are flowery, others are very formal.  If your guests don't know as much about scouting as you think they should, choose some segments that will make it come alive for them.  Make it meaningful. And... if you have a way with words, be brave and write from your heart, then take a deep breath and decide to read the words in front of your family and friends. They may say they hate you afterwards, but it is probably only because your made them ruin their mascara.

Step Six: Plan your decor.  This step makes me giddy.  I had all kinds of pie-in-the-sky ideas {thanks to Pinterest, of course} and moms who had already had their ceremony offered me whatever they had left over.  But I am me, and I had my own ideas... which turned out to be very simple and easy. I wasn't trying to out-do anyone.  Glass vases, American Flags, clear plates, cups and forks with flag napkins for accent.  Fresh flowers from church.  Tablecloths I already had (plus a borrowed one or two.)  A few curtain sheers that somehow were arranged to look like the Eagle Award.  The only crafty things I made were two paper banners to decorate the fronts of tables, and one of those was re-purposed from Christmas.  But if you are still working on Step Two while you are figuring out Step Six, your son might have a few words for you.  He might say I think you are over-doing the pictures, in which case, you decide not to add a photo to the flag vases that will go on each table.


Step Seven (which is kind of a continuation of Step Six, and closely related to Step Two):  Put all of your memorabilia together so that it can be displayed.  His Cub Scout shirt and hats.  Pinewood Derby cars and trophies. Patches and awards.  There are some great examples of scout shadow boxes online (ahem, Pinterest) and if you can find all the pieces you are looking for in the first trip through the boxes on the top shelf of the closet, you might be able to replicate one.  Or... as you admire them online, you might find that the WEBELOS Compass with the earned points might be among the missing... along with the American Heritage Award, and Tiger Cub bead-y thing-y. You could still manage to make a beautiful shadow box, or you could just lay it all out on the table willy-nilly and give people the opportunity to be able to admire and pick up the patches and... see what they feel like?

Step Eight: Make a program. Or not. I did, but only because I like to know what is coming when I am sitting in the audience, and I wanted some of the scouts to have a job to do at the ceremony.  The truth is, most people won't keep the program... even though it has a really great picture of your son on the front.  I made ours in Publisher, and it didn't print exactly as I had planned... but I put those imperfect pieces at the bottom of the stack and moved on.  Done is better than perfect. And if my mother happens to get one of the icky ones?  She will still think it was beautiful... because it has a great picture of her grandson on the front.

Step Nine: Recruit help.  Friends and family will offer to help... say yes.  Write out a set-up plan (with sketches if need be!) and let them follow your instructions.  Recruit a few someones to cut the cake and maybe someone else would offer to mix the punch.  And if you are your family photographer, hire a high school student who has a nice camera and loves to take pictures.  I couldn't ask anyone to live this once-in-a-lifetime-moment through the camera!

Step Ten: Breathe. Tell your son how proud you are of him. Sit back and enjoy the day... even if that means wiping away the tears as his sweet little face slides by in the power-point and then again when his Scoutmaster recounts the years that brought him to this moment.  Bask in the glow... because anytime your child is shining, it also reflects on you. Smile, visit with your guests... and hope that no one asks for that punch recipe...

More Eagle festivities to come...

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2 comments:

Southern Gal said...

I am enjoying reading your step by step preparations! You and I are so much alike, friend. The picture step(s)? Yes, I can feel your frustration and joy when you find what you're looking for in all the files on your computer, drives, etc. Procrastination? Check. Oh, but it turned out lovely and was worth every minute of sweat and tears, right? The photos are beautiful. And I want to have a piece of that cake now! I know you're proud of his accomplishments, but mostly just him.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I love how you've documented this!!! Of course, I laughed at you skipping steps and your being told 'that you're overdoing' and procrastinating too. SO you!!! It was such a wonderful event and I think you planned it out perfectly; not too much, not too little, just perfect. {Goldie Locks!}
I never said I hated you for making me cry....who would have the nerve to say that? LOL. Those were happy tears. :)
I hope you pinned some of your clever items so others can benefit from your creative brain.