Sunday, July 18, 2010

Eagle & Court of Honor Decor Ideas

We have been asked by many to share our ideas about organizing ceremonies for the scouts. For us it has been a big challenge, since we are very new to the scout program. So here are some ideas that we hope can be useful to our fellow first-timer scout leaders. Keep in mind that all of these are budget ideas and this all in an effort to share & spark new ideas. If you have any, pleae share! Best of luck!

venu: Our venue is always in our cultural hall at the chapel. It's easy to make the space smaller or open up the partitions to accomodate larger groups. I recommend making sure that the entrances are in the back (behind the seats) so late-comers are not distracting when bursting through that door. lol (talking from experience of my own). Of course FREE is always great, so if not a chapel then reserve the conference room at your local library or have it in somones backyard!

Decor: This is my favorite part of the event! The right decor sets the right tone for your ceremony...especially the tone of "preparation." How many times have we gone to events that were obviously thrown together last minute? that is a big no no, especially for a program that is dependent of monetary support from their community.

We did this for our ceremonies:
  1. Take a table, throw a clean white bedsheet for a table cloth or grab a plastic one from the dollar store. Buy a few dollar photo frames & include recent pics of your troop or eagle. I had a poster with our upcoming events or updates set-up so parents know what's going on. I had this by the entrance.

  2. For simple table decor, I bought scout scrapbook paper (comes with 100 pages) and placed centerpieces on top. You can also use appropriately designed wrapping paper cut out in a circle or perfect square-this will anchor your centerpiece. I did this for my cousins graduation sign-in, yet affective :) see above photo.

  3. I painted large rocks with the various scout laws...Honest, Clean, Trustworthy etc. and gathered some various size of pine cones from the local park.

  4. I made an investment in buying simple round glass vases about a foot tall. I suggest the D.I or any local thrift store. I filled it halfway with small rocks & stuck an American Flag in the middle. The flag was large enough to wrap nicely around the vase-as if it were waving.

  5. On top of your scrapbook paper, place your rock, vase & flag & set-up your pine cones to lean against it...make it look natural :) I did this on rectangle tables, so I had about 3 to 4 centerpieces stretching out.

  6. I had extra vases with flags so I lined the whole edge of the stage with them giving it a uniform look. The flags I found at the D.I thrift store-I bought about 20. You can also buy these after the July 4th holiday on a great discount!

  7. For our Eagle scouts, I downloaded a free program called dotomatics which allows you to take any photo and enlarge in large enough to take up a whole wall. All you need is a printer, paper and tape. It will print off in sections (single sheet) and you just tape it together to form your image. I did this for our Eagles, taped it to a foam board & placed it on an easel on the stage.

  8. If not, just go to your local Costco (must be a member) and order a poster size image-the quality is great & it's about $9 per poster print out. A great way to personalize a Eagle ceremony! I also used it for our youth conference , our team logos.-see above photo.

  9. Award table: I went with the red, white & blue theme. Bought the $1 plastic table cloths in the 3 colors & simply laid them side by side-so it was one seamless tablecloth. I printed large colored images of either the merit badge or the scout logo on cardstock. Simply cut it out & tape to the front of the cloth. Or you can take a book (I used hymn books that were already there) Opened it so it would stand, then taped the cardstock paper logo (don't cut) to the cover-great substitute for an easel. Lay out your merit badges (I placed ours in envelopes & labeled with their name. It looked good without looking ghetto.

  10. Lighting of the candles: You do this for Eagle ceremonies only. It's done at the beginning, but you have three large candles that represent the scout motto. You then have numerous candles (14 i think?) that are lit one by one with the flame taken from the larger candles. Each candle represents the scout laws, and each scout will light one. There's a video link on here with an example (this is not our troop).

  11. We can't light candles in our chapel. So I bought tealight flameless candles from the dollar store (came in packs of 2). Also bought these candle holders that looked like rock. I re-used the rocks that I painted the scout laws on. Had one large candle that was melted in and placed a flameless light in it. When each scout went up to "light" a law, I just had them reach underneath the table, flick on the switch to their candle & place it in front of the large painted rocks. Safe and simple, and still looked authentic.
    see above photo.

Program - Just google "eagle ceremony program" and you'll find plenty of free templates and outlines of how ceremonies should go. We played it safe by doing all the traditional stuff such as lighting of the candles, pinning of the parents etc. but it's best to keep it short and sweet. Make sure the Eagle scouts speak, I had their parents read one or two of their letters of recommendation, and a guest speaker. Keep it under an hour (depending on how many are being recognized) and you should be good. Always provide refreshments, cause it's a chance for people to mingle & talk about the ceremony afterwards.

I suggest buying a stack of pre-printed programs from your local scout shop. It's good quality paper & has a colored image of the Eagle or scout logo. The stack should last you a few ceremonies.

Promoting: With any event, it's crucial to properly promote your upcoming event. I would say no more than 2 weeks in advance if it's a simple fundraiser, but 3 weeks in advance for anything larger. We want to make sure that people are not easily forgeting your event due to lapse of time. See above photo.

  1. Make flyers, colored if possible. If not, just print if off on colored paper. Make weekly announcements at activities, church and on a bulletin board.

  2. The internet is your friend! Put Facebook to use & invite people to your event. It's a great way to make mass announcements & reminders all in a few clicks! This gives people the chance to interact with your page as well (ask questions abou the event, volunteer etc.).

  3. The day of (especially for a fundraiser) put time into signage. Take a few posters & print out reminders or arrows guiding them to your event. Post at all the high traffic areas...entrance, lobby, traffic lights etc.

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