Eagle Scout court of honor gifts: Are they appropriate? If so, what should you give?

eagle-gift-bagYou give a graduate a gift when he reaches the high point of his educational career, but what about when a boy reaches the pinnacle of Scouting? In other words: To gift or not to gift, that is the question.

An upcoming Eagle Scout Court of Honor was on Scouter Scott’s mind when he wrote:

What is the protocol for gifting an Eagle Scout at his Court of Honor? Is it expected and appropriate? What are some thoughtful gift ideas?

Great question. Our Facebook friends — now 30,000 strong — seem to have a consensus that a gift is never expected but certainly is appropriate and appreciated.

As for what to give, opinions vary. You can’t go wrong with gift cards, Scouting memorabilia, or cold, hard cash. But for some more-imaginative gift ideas, check out these ideas. I’ve included the submitter’s name in parentheses. 

Scouting-related gift ideas

  • A lifetime National Eagle Scout Association membership (John O.)
  • “I love giving Eagle Scout Challenge coins from Northwest Territorial Mint to Eagles. I have their name and date of their BoR engraved (by NWTM) on the coin.” (Jessica H.)
  • “I recently presented an Eagle Scout with a walking staff with the staff badges from Scout to Eagle as a symbol of his trek along his Trail to Eagle.” (Tom G.)
  • “I gave one of mine who may have well been my own a compass, I had “Get Lost” engraved on the outside and congratulations and his name with the BSA logo on it on the inside cover.” (Stephanie T.)
  • “Our troop gave either an Eagle ring or an Eagle watch. It was his choice.” (Frank D.)
  • “We always gift the hardback book: Boy Scouts of America: A Centennial History. We put a special message to the scout in the front cover. Always well received by the new Eagle Scout.” (Sarah W.)
  • “I always buy a BSA memorabilia box. That way the Scout has something put all of his important Scouting awards/uniform in.” (Jeffrey J.)

Charitable gift ideas

  • Donations to an organization about which the new Eagle Scout is passionate. “My son had his Eagle Court of Honor last spring and he set up an online giving page through the children’s charity World Vision for digging a well.” (Linda W.)
  • “I’ve started giving a donation to Friends of Scouting in the Scout’s name.” (Teresa Z.)

Homemade gift ideas

  • “My wife handmakes a quilt for each Eagle in our troop as a personal gift. I have heard many years later, the quilt is still a big deal to the guys.” (Steve H.)
  • “The most unique gift my son received was from my Godfather, whose father was a Scoutmaster in the town that we live. The gift was an antique, hand-carved neckerchief slide in the shape of an Eagle. It was a fitting gift as the slide otherwise would have been lost to an estate sale. I’m glad it found a new generation.” (Susan H.)
  • “My mom made T-shirt quilts for the grandkids’ graduations. She was happy to make an ‘extra’ quilt for each of my sons with their Scout T-shirts….very special.” (Rhonda S.)

Other gift ideas

  • “I usually give them a gift card, but to where depends on the Scout. If he is active and does a lot of camping, a sporting goods or outdoor store. If he’s getting ready to head to college or loves to read, Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. Young men also like to eat and go out, so restaurant or movies work too. If you don’t know the Scout, ask the leaders; they can offer suggestions.” (Dave F.)
  • “We have given small Bibles for backpacking.” (Rebecca T.)
  • “The last Eagle Scout in our troop was just starting college, so we gave him a gift card to the university’s bookstore” (Jen H.)
  • “I consider an Eagle Court to be on par with a graduation party and usually just put a little cash in a card.” (Dan K.)
  • “I really liked the check that someone gave me at mine.” (Joe B.)

No gift at all

Susan S. suggests adding this to the Court of Honor invitation: “The only gift expected is your presence.”

“Adult volunteers,” she says, “are often active a troop for at least seven years. It can get expensive, considering how many boys they help. They’ve already given the best gift — their time.”

What do you think?

Should you give a gift? What have been some meaningful gifts you’ve given? If you’re an Eagle Scout, what was your favorite gift? Keep the ideas flowing by leaving a comment below.

Photo from Flickr: Some rights reserved by sarelkromer

49 thoughts on “Eagle Scout court of honor gifts: Are they appropriate? If so, what should you give?

  1. When my oldest Eagled, he received money at his COH from friends and family, however there were a few special gifts – a flag flown over the state capitol building from our troop, a very nice homemade scrapbook-style display of his announcements, a walking stick with various staff medals from his camps, ranks, etc (from me) and his father hand-built a rifle in red, white, and blue with an Eagle coin inset in the stock. Shooting with scouts is very near and dear to them and it was a very nice way to remember not only his accomplishment, but some of his best memories with his dad.

  2. Not a Lifetime NESA award, I usually go in with others and get a 5 or 10 year registration. Now for my nephews, I already tracked down duplicates of my (the only solid silver version) Eagle Medal.

  3. I like to give a small Leatherman Clip-On Multi-Tool with Scissors. It’s something practical and doesn’t cost the world. I own one myself and use it every day, because it is so portable (on my key chain)! At that age, boys probably already have a collection of pocket knives and tools, and probably have never even considered this little mini version as it doesn’t seem as cool…but boy does it come in handy sometimes!

  4. I accumulated some Norman Rockwell and Joseph Csatari prints from the Scout Shop, the BSA Catalog, and free handouts at Scouting venues. I frame the print with a frame I purchased at Walmart for around $5.00, so the whole gift runs about $10.00 (A Scout is Thrifty). The Scout or his parents will find a place in the house to hang the print; there’s always a place to hang a Rockwell or a Csatari. The gift seem to go over quite well.

  5. As a scoutmaster, I encourage the new Eagle to take his “gift money” from the court of honor and get his lifetime membership in the NESA. They didn’t earn Eagle to get presents, so to if they were gifted enough for lifetime membership or have to add a little to it, they haven’t lost anything

  6. I’ve often given an Eagle pen along with old edition of the Boy Scout Handbook, preferably an edition from before he was born. They’re easily obtained on eBay and not that expensive unless you’re getting one from before the war.

    In my note, I mention that the old handbook is to remind him of the long history of Scouting and the pen is to be used in the distant future to sign off on some future kid’s Eagle Scoutmaster conference.

  7. I acquired a few dozen key chains with artificial scrimshaw eagle in flight at a shop at the boston national meeting a decade and a half ago. Still giving them out when I actually receive an invitation to an eagle COH.

  8. I always bring a gift usually it is a knife that has etched eagles on the blade and carved fauxIvory all kinds of eagle stuff… Comes in a nice wood case that can be engraved with the special day

  9. I’m going to a COH this Sunday and I think I will give him a $1 silver eagle US coin from this year. I buy a bunch of them so I have extras and at the current $20/ounce it’s the appropriate price. Plus it might be worth a whole lot more in the future, has an eagle and the year on it, and it’s super shiny.

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