On the surface, an Eagle Court may seem like just another scout ceremony. But when you're up to your eyeballs in the planning, it begins to feel suspiciously more like a wedding-sized task. So call a meeting of your Eagle families several months ahead of time, have everyone bring their calendars and start divvying up the nine main tasks, from venue reservations to recognition letters and reception planning.
- Venue: Have one family reserve the venue for the ceremony and reception - and a rehearsal the night before. This family will also arrange for any special speakers, including someone to do the invocation, if desired, and representatives from the council as well as the troop. They'll coordinate with the senior patrol leader and scoutmaster to make sure the dates work with the troop calendar.
- Treasurer: It's easiest if one person coordinates the finances for the Eagle court. Families submit their expense receipts - for program printing, for example, shadowboxes, bagpiper fees or reception supplies - to the treasurer. The treasurer tracks it all, and at the end, divides the costs equitably, sending bills to those who owe, and dispersing funds to those who are owed.
- Photographs and invitations: If you will be using photographs for the invitations, newspaper announcements or simply to display at the ceremony or reception, arrange for a photo shoot and a photographer. You can purchase unfolded Eagle invitations at the scout store and run them through your own printer, or have them professionally done. Affixing a group portrait of the new Eagles to the inside of the invitation is a nice touch. Tip: Print the invitations, then give them and the envelopes to the individual families to address and mail.
- Programs: If you're doing programs, assign one family to print and assemble them, including, for example, the court of honor program; biographies of each boy, including Eagle project details; an image of the group and individual images of each boy; the history of the troop; and a roster of the troop's Eagles. The program producer should also recruit younger scouts to serve as ushers, and hand out programs. Tip: If you will be submitting an announcement to your local newspaper, you can use edited-down versions of the boys' bios for the press release.
- Ceremony coordinator: This individual scripts the ceremony, and arranges for any entertainment, including the troop bugler for taps, or a bagpiper for the ceremony. He or she makes sure everyone who needs to be at the rehearsal is there, then runs the rehearsal, much as a wedding planner would run the ceremony run-through, ensuring that everyone knows where to stand and what to do and when. He or she also does the last minute checks before the ceremony and cues the start.