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Origin of the Eagle Pledge and Eagle Charges

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#1 qwazse

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 05:42 AM

I'm spinning this off the other thread about sharing costs of ECoHs. Most of us agree that ceremonies can be bogged down when folks (usually excited parents) try to pack in too many elements. That lead to some interesting questions about the seemingly wordy Eagle Pledge and Eagle Charge which, on paper don't seem like much, but can be the last straw when preceded by guest speakers, special recognitions, etc ... .

So when did did the pledge and charge become part of the ceremony? Some of us youngns remember it back in the 70s. Anybody got a memory or publication with things of the sort from an earlier court of honor?
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#2 fred johnson

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 08:27 AM

My question ... where is the Eagle charge and Eagle pledge documented ?   I can't find official references beyond differing wording and different usages.  Sometimes the charge is spoken by a "charger".  Other times, it's a similar but different oath. 


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#3 TAHAWK

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 09:05 AM

Several options, some shorter: http://www.eaglescou...coh/charge.html


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#4 RememberSchiff

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 09:09 AM

My impression was there were some local variants of an Eagle pledge, promise, oath, charge,....and maybe NESA  as it formed in the 70's felt the need to meddle and offer their version or two. I could be wrong.

 

When I first encountered this, I thought as an Eagle that it was over the top and insulting. Don't dangle his Eagle at him and his parents by first requiring him to recite a different pledge, promise,..He has earned his Eagle, award it to him!  He can stand tall wearing his Eagle and recite the Scout Oath and the Scout Law with his troop.

 

When Eagles in the audience are asked to stand and recite these new, random Eagle promises/oaths/pledges/warranties/user-agreements, I remain seated. I will stand and recite just the Scout Oath and Law as I did at my ECOH.

 

Another $0.02,


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#5 qwazse

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 09:16 AM

There is no single form (e.g., http://usscouts.org/...eaglecharge.aspsays Please note that many forms/variations of this are used. No single charge is considered to be the "right" one.)

 

NESA promotes its version of the Eagle Promise (http://www.scouting....pdf/542-404.pdf) with no reference to its origin. Several other versions are here (http://www.macscouter.com/Eagle/EagleBook_Pledges.asp).

 

So far I haven't found anything with a date. At least @TAHAWK's online source has some names.

 

So @RememberSchiff, I think your impression is fairly accurate. (Although, I've never met a scouter, until you, who was bothered by it. So either folks around me weren't bothered at the time. Or, the dust had settled by then.) When did you get your Eagle?

Maybe if a few other Eagles from the same decade recall being saddled with only the scout oath and law, we can put a rough date on the innovations.


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#6 RememberSchiff

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 09:21 AM

1971.

 

There is something to be said for tradition here. I have seen fellow dads and grandads (old Eagles) scratch their heads and wonder why? Maybe we are few and in time we'll be gone, so what. But we gray-beards can ask, why we had a higher percentage of Eagles attending their ECOH than do now and what is amiss.  :unsure: 


Edited by RememberSchiff, 26 September 2016 - 09:32 AM.

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#7 fred johnson

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 09:31 AM

When I first encountered this, I thought as an Eagle that it was over the top and insulting. Don't dangle his Eagle at him and his parents by first requiring him to recite a different pledge, promise,..He has earned his Eagle, award it to him!  He can stand tall wearing his Eagle and recite the Scout Oath and the Scout Law with his troop.

 

When Eagles in the audience are asked to stand and recite these new, random Eagle promises/oaths/pledges/warranties/user-agreements, I remain seated. I will stand and recite just the Scout Oath and Law as I did at my ECOH.

 

Another $0.02,

 

I don't feel strongly about this, but I agree.  I see relatively little harm though.  I just don't see the point of a separate oath or pledge or charge.  

 

The ECOH is to recognize someone who already earned the award.  The ECOH has no authority to award or to add another pledge or oath or anything.  I like it when the ECOH is kept simple.  I personally like it when it's kept to the scout oath and law.  Those are the words we hope each scout remembers for the rest of his life.  Personally, I hope by remembering the scout oath and law, the scout can think about those words; use them as guiding influences; and, use them when making decisions.  I don't see value adding a one-time only oath or charge.  


Edited by fred johnson, 26 September 2016 - 09:32 AM.

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#8 DuctTape

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 10:39 AM

I see value in a charge. I liken it to when a speaker at a graduation recognizes the future hopes for the graduates. A pledge, not so much. The scout (or graduate in my simile) is not required to accept the challenge (charge) put forth. They have already earned the honor being bestowed.
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#9 NJCubScouter

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 11:44 AM

I am not a huge fan of the Eagle Charge.  I don't think it's necessary to tell the kid he's a "marked man" at his Eagle ceremony.  Let him revel in his accomplishment in the company of his family, friends, fellow Scouts and leaders, etc.  A briefer reference tgo his future obligations to Scouting, mankind, etc. would be preferable in my opinion.

 

The Eagle Pledge (we use the one with "make my training an example" which I have always thought was slightly curious wording, but I don't think the kids are sitting there analyzing the grammar), on the other hand, I am ok with.  At the peak of the advancement program, there's a new pledge.  They don't have to memorize it, they are just repeating after the person administering the pledge.  In our troop, at that point all Eagle Scouts, ranging from those still in the troop to all others in attendance, are standing in a semicircle around the Eagle candidate and repeat the pledge along with him.  I think it's a good part of the ceremony, and even better when my son attends an ECOH for his old troop and is standing up there, which I did not earn the right to do myself.  My "Eagle dad" pride gets renewed a little bit.

 

It's certainly better than listening to "Every 100 Scouts" and out of date statistics for how many Eagle Scouts are in Congress, the astronaut corps, etc. etc., for the 100th time.  We know it's a big deal.  That's why we're here.  Let's get on with it and focus on our new Eagle, not some dry and obsolete statistics.


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#10 Sentinel947

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 02:26 PM

I always tell my Scouts, anything in the ceremony is optional....I think the Charge/Challenge/Pledge is corny as heck. But its the tradition at this point.
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#11 NJCubScouter

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 02:45 PM

I always tell my Scouts, anything in the ceremony is optional....I think the Charge/Challenge/Pledge is corny as heck. But its the tradition at this point.

 

You could argue that any ceremony is corny.  But if it is kept within reason, I think there is a benefit to it.

 

In about a month my Eagle-son will be undergoing a much cornier ceremony designed to join him in wedded bliss to his girlfriend, till death do they part.  The ceremonies don't stop, they just become bigger and more extravagant.


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#12 RememberSchiff

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 03:07 PM

You could argue that any ceremony is corny.  But if it is kept within reason, I think there is a benefit to it.

 

In about a month my Eagle-son will be undergoing a much cornier ceremony designed to join him in wedded bliss to his girlfriend, till death do they part.  The ceremonies don't stop, they just become bigger and more extravagant.

 

Plan B - elope.  The thrifty plan. :)


Edited by RememberSchiff, 26 September 2016 - 03:08 PM.

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#13 qwazse

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 03:25 PM

Plan B - elope.  The thrifty plan. :)

When the DILT was going through sticker shock and agonizing over the guest list, I told her if she wanted to elope, I'd block off the street after they got back, set up a big come-as-you-are ox-roast in the back yard, and she could invite whomever she wanted (plus any neighbors who would otherwise complain about the noise and whomever I would need to permit the street closure). Everyone would eat mighty fine and dance all night (maybe into the next day) for a third the trouble.

 

She didn't bite.

Quite a few did eat, and we danced till about 10. Almost as fun as the grad par-T's that followed the son's ECoHs!


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#14 NJCubScouter

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 04:06 PM

Plan B - elope.  The thrifty plan. :)

 

I agree, but nobody has asked me for my opinion, and I'm not paying for it.

 

Come to think of it, I liked that plan 35 years ago for myself, but nobody really asked for my opinion then, either.


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#15 desertrat77

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 07:14 PM

Fall of 1977...I recall a charge or an oath or something of the sort at our ceremony

 

There were six of us, and the narrator read the charge/pledge in bite size chunks.   We recited it back at the appropriate spots.   Don't recall the wording, but it indicated that we were now expected to be role models, etc.

 

In retrospect, seemed a bit redundant.   But it no doubt added to the pageantry, so I guess it was of some value.


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#16 The Latin Scot

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 10:05 PM

Until I read this thread today I had never so much as heard of and "Eagle Pledge/Charge/Oath/Monologue" or whatever. Of the five Courts of Honor I have attended this year, none have had anything like this, nor did I at my own. Is this an official BSA element that I missed? I would have thought such a thing would be included in the Official BSA Handbook ...
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#17 qwazse

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 08:16 AM

Until I read this thread today I had never so much as heard of and "Eagle Pledge/Charge/Oath/Monologue" or whatever. Of the five Courts of Honor I have attended this year, none have had anything like this, nor did I at my own. Is this an official BSA element that I missed? I would have thought such a thing would be included in the Official BSA Handbook ...

Thanks for the report. Were the ceremonies you attended at the same troop or different units?

 

The National Eagle Scout Association promotes these in some of their sample scripts for ECoHs. There's a book (maybe two?) specifically on ECoH ceremonies. So clearly your people have either never seen them. Or, they saw them and said "Meh, who needs it?"


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#18 Tampa Turtle

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 02:08 PM

Our Council gave us a PDF of a bunch of scripts while telling us to keep it simple. The best ones I have been to have been the simple ones. In my Troop I have seen some ceremonies clogged up by speakers who decided to include an unsolicited Eagle charge/History of the Eagle/Yet another John Wayne re-telling when all that was wanted was a little personal story.


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#19 clemlaw

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 04:36 PM

My ECOH in 1978 included an "Eagle Scout Charge," and according to the program, that was done by the DE.  That was followed by the "Eagle Scout Investiture," which I believe was when the medal was pinned on my uniform.  That was done by the Scoutmaster as well as the guest speaker, who was a minister who I believe was a family friend of the other scout becoming an Eagle that day.
 
All Eagles in the audience were called upon to come forward and gave the scout sign, but I believe they gave the Scout Oath and/or Law, although I could be mistaken.  I don't have any recollection of taking any special oath.  The entire program is as follows:
 
Opening Ceremony
Convening Court of Honor
Invocation
Introduction of Candidates
Eagle Scout Requirements
Introduction of Guest Speaker
Guest Speaker
Eagle Scout Charge
Introduction of Parents
Eagle Scout Investiture
Congratulatory Letters
Presentation of Legion Awards
Recognition of Parents
Candidate's Comments
Closing Court of Honor
Benediction
Retiring Colors
 
IIRC, the ceremony took about an hour, and was followed by a reception hosted by the troop "Mother's Club".

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#20 SSScout

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 06:38 PM

1963.  You do the math.   Regular Troop CoH, .   We said the Scout Promise, Law, and that was it.  SM talks about the "Eagle Trail", I think, Mom pins Eagle pin on shirt, Dad beams,  Applause, photo op.  punch and cookies afterward.   That was it.   I was the first Eagle in the Troop, no one else to share it with.  No previous examples to compare to. No precedent, I guess. Local newspaper article in my scrap book.  

  'Course, now,  I do remember that I wasn't asked what I wanted.  It was just the last  part of the usual CoH which was (by tradition) very nice and thoughtfully done.  Candles on a log candelabra:   Three tall ones in the middle for the Scout Promise pieces (I came to believe there are FOUR parts to the Promise, more on that another time), twelve more for the Scout Law, which were lit in turn by one candle held by the Ceremonialists , as the Spirit of Scouting. 

 

I have seen many Eagle ceremonies in the intervening years.  I have served as speaker, awarder, and Chaplain to "say a few words".  I tend to agree with the overload complaints.   The last one I attended, I was not asked to participate, and perhaps that was a good thing.  The Scout is a good kid, very much a "Type A" personality, and very involved in the Troop. I expect he will be in Scouting for quite a while yet.    He had 87 Merit Badges at age 15. He had , as speakers, his ex-Cubmaster, OA Chapter Advisor from his previous Council, DE from his previous council,  the state legislator from our District, pastor from home church (ceremony held in Troop's CO), present Smaster, previous Smaster,  summer camp Director, and someone as MC who I did not recognize, but evidently knew the Scout  (he was Wood Badge) and had definitely done this MC thing before.  His script was in a three ring binder, in sheet protectors.  

The punch and cookies (Eagle Scout cookies) and cheese and cracker thingies were in the church social hall, served by a caterer. The Scout's scout history was displayed on seven big tables (the mom is a scrapbooker, the older sister is a pro-photographer) around the outside of the room. 

They had a large extended family in attendance, and a lot of the Troop, and many Scout folks from other areas of his past.   It was a BIG affair.  I had a good conversation with the Scout's Montessorie Teacher (first grade?)  (he did his project for the school), who knew very little about Scouting ("he worked hard on that project"). It was  Two hours before I left, and I arrived 15 minutes late. 

 

Very good cookies....


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