Unique Spot for Eagle Court of Honor
By North Star Museum of Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting
Spring at North Star Museum of Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting is the season for Eagle Courts of Honor. For whatever reason, more new Eagles seem to finish their work, project, Scoutmaster conference, and board of review in time to have a Spring court of honor. The Museum has become a venue of note for such ceremonies, and each is different, and wonderful, in its own way. These events are among the most satisfying moments for Museum staff, and staffing them has become a coveted assignment.
We can think of no better place to recognize a young Scout’s hard work and persistence then in a gallery surrounded by the history of the Scouting Movement. And, while the requirements to attain the rank of Eagle have changed somewhat over the years, the meaning of the rank, and the hard work and discipline that it represents, has never changed.
It might surprise young Eagles to know that in 1911, the requirements were thus: Any first-class scout qualifying for twenty-one merit badges will be entitled to wear the highest scout merit badge [From the Boy Scout Handbook, 1911.] They characterized such young men as the “all-round perfect scout”. Since then, the requirements have changed (although the number of merit badges that must be earned have changed too, but not a lot), and the Eagle Scout Service Project has been added.
For those of you in Northern Star Council, you can take particular pride in the fact that Roy Young, of St. Paul, was the first Scout to earn the Eagle rank in the BSA (although that distinction has been granted to Arthur Eldred of New York). Roy’s twenty-one merit badges were complete prior to Eldred’s, but his paperwork was held up in St. Paul, thus allowing Eldred’s paperwork, and that of another Scout, to slip in ahead of his. Roy ended up being counted as the BSA’s third Eagle Scout, but took the loss of the top spot with an equanimity we would expect of all Eagles.
Generally, the Courts of Honor that the museum has hosted have been singular affairs, for one young man who has achieved this singular rank. However, we have hosted courts for literal brothers, Scouting brothers, and for one developmentally disabled man who worked on the requirements for years. There was not a dry eye in the house that day.
Each one of these is unique: unique to the individual Eagle, unique to the individual troop, unique to the Eagle’s family. The venue is the same, but no two are alike. The museum hosts at least a dozen of them each year. To schedule a court of honor at North Star Museum, visit us on the web at www.nssm.org or call 651-748-2880.