An Eagle Court of Honor is held to celebrate the achievements of an individual who’s reached the pinnacle of Scouting and attained the final rank of Eagle. If you’ll be attending one of these ceremonies, you may be wondering what gifts would suit an Eagle Scout, or if you should even bring anything at all.
Do I give a gift for an Eagle Scout ceremony? While you’re not obligated to give a gift to a new Eagle Scout, bringing gifts for an Eagle ceremony is a common practice. When attending an Eagle court, some of the most common gifts given to celebrate the new Eagle Scout’s achievement include:
- Gift Cards
- Outdoor Gear
- College Supplies
- Scouting Memorabilia
- Personalized pocket knives
As an Eagle Scout myself, I’ve had the experience of giving and receiving gifts during Eagle Scout ceremonies. In this article, I’ll be sharing with you the most common presents given during Eagle Courts, my recommendations on what would likely be the most appreciated gifts, as well as a few present ideas that you should probably avoid.
What Should You Give an Eagle Scout?
From my research online and through personal experience, it seems that gift-giving customs can vary among troops. The best rule of thumb is to listen to the Eagle and their parents when deciding on what to bring. In this section, I’ll be outlining some of the best gifts to get an Eagle Scout. If you decide to contribute money, I’ll also be filling you in on the appropriate monetary range to give.
During my Eagle Court, I received a surprising amount of gifts, the vast majority of those being checks, gift cards, or cash. However, I also received a few pieces of Scouting memorabilia that still hold sentimental value to this day. Having the chance to attend other Eagle ceremonies, I’ve been able to see the many different sorts of items scouts have received.
After hearing what my Eagle friends had to say about their favorite presents, it seems like usability is something all great gifts have in common. Always try to choose a gift that the Eagle Scout wants and would have a use for. You don’t want to give random trinkets that will create household clutter. This is just my opinion, but if I had to rank non-monetary Eagle Scout gifts, my preferred order would be the following:
- Specific Sentimental Items: Not to be confused with knick-knacks, (see next section) sentimental items such as framed and signed pictures of the Eagle and their friends, heartfelt messages, or souvenirs from their adventures, are great gifts for an Eagle Court of Honor. Also, cherished gifts from family or relatives are also amazing to receive.
- Experiences: I’ve heard of some scouts receiving tickets to amusement parks, go-kart racing tracks, or rock climbing lessons. Considering that most Eagles will be attending college soon, I think a cooking class or some other form of educational experience would be an amazing gift for an Eagle Scout.
- College Supplies: The key with Eagle ceremony gifts is getting the scout something that they’ll actually use or remember. By gifting an item that they’d bring along to college, such as an insulated thermos or board game, they’ll remember their Scouting journey and your generosity every time they use your gift over the coming years.
- Gear: If you can give a scout anything that will keep them in the outdoors and active, your gift will be well appreciated. Some bits of small, useful gear could be water bladders, lights, or shoe insoles. Try to either choose gear that’s uncommon but practical or something that frequently needs to get replaced.
- Tools: Many Eagle Scouts will be #Adulting in no time. Tools such as screwdrivers, car accessories, or nice pens will prove useful as they move forward into the real world.
Some other gifts that would probably also be appreciated include membership to NESA (National Eagle Scout Association), Scouting books, and other random accessories. However, I’d highly recommend the above five options if you’re not planning on giving a monetary gift.
Gifting Money and Gift Cards To Eagle Scouts
Gift cards are always appreciated, and allow the recipient to pick out the items they’d most like. For an Eagle Scout about to go off to college, I’d recommend the following gift cards, in this order:
- Their Favorite Store: If you know the Eagle Scout has a favorite store, get them a gift card for that place. You know they’ll use it, and it’s always a good gift-giving practice to get someone something tailored to their preferences.
- Amazon Gift Card: Amazon allows the Eagle to order anything they need to their dorm in under a week. It was a lifesaver for me in college.
- Best Buy Gift Card: Best Buy has a ton of useful electronics and cooking supplies, both of which are incredibly valuable to new college students trying to fill their dorms. Also, if they’re into gaming, Best Buy also sells video games.
- Walmart Gift Card: Walmart has everything. Whether they’re trying to buy groceries or appliances, Walmart offers countless options for a low price. This is great for a college student on a budget.
- Food Gift Cards: Whether it’s a card to Starbucks, McDonald’s, or some fancy restaurant, food gift cards are always nice to receive. It’s like you’re treating them to a meal!
In my troop, it was typical for parents to give a gift card or a little bit of money to every scout holding their Eagle Court of Honor. I know that my parents gave money to every Eagle. You may be wondering though, how much money should you be spending on your gift? In this next section, I’ll be covering the customary budget for different types of Eagle Scout gifts.
How Much Money Should You Be Spending on an Eagle Scout Gift?
Remember, there’s no expectation you give a gift when attending an Eagle Court of honor. However, I’ve seen more often than not that Eagle Court attendees bring something to celebrate new Eagle Scouts. Below are the typical spending ranges for the different types of Eagle Scout gifts.
Unless you’re very close to the Eagle Scout, your gift would typically be no more than $50. Many of the gift items mentioned earlier would cost anywhere from $20-$50. However, if you’re giving cash or gift cards, the customary amount is between $10 and $25. Personally, I give $20 to new Eagle Scouts at their Court of Honor.
From being both a host and an attendee of Eagle Scout Court of Honors, I can say that gifts are a very small part of the whole experience. Whether you’re giving a large gift, or no gift at all, just being there to support the Eagle Scout will be something that they’ll greatly appreciate and cherish.
However, there are definitely gifts that you might want to avoid getting an Eagle Scout. In the next section, we’ll be covering five common Eagle ceremony presents that you shouldn’t waste your money on.
5 Things To Avoid Getting An Eagle Scout
When giving Eagle ceremony gifts, although it’s the thought that counts, you’ll need to put in some thought. Like I mentioned earlier, the best gifts are ones that the recipient will use. In this list, I’ll cover some of the most common gifts that are expensive, yet rarely ever used by the Eagle Scout.
Although these are all well-intentioned gifts, some of the things I would not recommend getting an Eagle Scout include:
- Hobby Items: If you know the new Eagle is into a certain hobby, but don’t know them particularly well, getting something related to their hobby might be a kind gesture, but the item will likely not be helpful to them. This is because they probably already have most of the basic things related to their hobby. Gifting them duplicate items, or cheaper versions, likely won’t be the best use of your gift of money.
- Scouting Knickknacks: Unless there’s some sort of sentimental value to the item, (like a photograph or message) large Scouting knickknacks are somewhat inconvenient gifts. Avoid pricey Eagle Scout rings or Scouting jewelry, unless you’re familiar with the Eagle and know they’re actually wanting that type of present.
- Pocket knives: Every scout I know has at least five pocket knives. We probably don’t need another. However, we tend not to have expensive multi-tools, so those might be a good gift.
- Personalized pocket knives or other tools: Personalized pocket knives are particularly problematic. Unless you’re the scout’s parents, a Scoutmaster, or someone else very close to the scout, I wouldn’t recommend getting them any personalized tools. This is a pretty popular gift, but is pricey and not very useful to the recipient if they’ll be receiving multiple copies.
- Religious items: This may be controversial, but hear me out. Every scout likely already has a copy of their religious text. Most ‘fun’ religious games are targeted for kids 11 and under. If you’ll be getting a new Eagle any religious items, be sure to consider how and when they’d use the gift, or whether it’d just create clutter in their house.
I don’t mean to make this section sound judgmental. Keep in mind, there’s no expectation to gift anything. I think it’s kind and admirable of you that you’re willing to go out of your way to give a present to an Eagle Scout, and I just wanted to share with you some current opinions in Scouting of what gifts might be better avoided. Hope this section helps in your decision!
Having your Eagle Scout Court of Honor is an unforgettable moment on one’s Scouting journey. As a guest supporting the new Eagle Scout, by simply attending the ceremony and celebrating their accomplishment, you’re providing them with the best gift possible!
If you’re looking to provide an Eagle Scout with any additional presents, remember that they’ll likely be attending college or entering the real world very soon. Get them something that will be useful or sentimentally meaningful. Avoid getting them things that are Scouting-related and expensive, but will just be kept in storage. Following these rules of thumb will help you to choose the most meaningful gift possible.
If you liked this article, you also might be interested in learning the truth about the overpriced popcorn that scouts sell. Where does the money go, and why does the popcorn cost $20? For an Eagle Scout’s honest insider perspective on Trail’s End popcorn, check out the full story here.