Court of Honor




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Chapter VI

The moment you took over your Patrol you became not just one leader, but two. A Siamese twin!

You became the leader of your Patrol. But, at the same time, you became a leader in your Troop, with the duty of sharing in the task of running the Troop.

With your Patrol Leader's badge and stripes goes the privilege of being a member of the Court of Honor.

In this Court of Honor, you meet with the other Patrol Leaders, at regular intervals, to plan the activities of the Troop and to discuss and solve Troop problems.

At the Court of Honor you have the chance to express the aims and hopes of your Patrol, to explain what it is doing and what it expects to do. Here also, you receive the guidance and help you need to conduct your Patrol affairs and train your boys.

In the Court of Honor you pick up inspirations for making your gang into the best possible Patrol. Here you'll discover that by running a good Patrol that takes an active and loyal part in Troop life, you are helping to make your whole Troop good.

Who Attends?

All the Patrol Leaders and the Troop Leader (if there is one) are there. The Scoutmaster may be present as an advisor and guide. Assistant Scoutmasters and Seconds may also be there to join in the planning.

The Court of Honor is a business meeting, in every sense of the word, and should be conducted along formal lines. A Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer are necessary and these positions are filled by election from the Court of Honor members.

These positions are not permanent and elections should be held each year, usually in the Fall, and everyone should get the opportunity to try his hand in one of these positions.

Meetings Of The Court Of Honor

To be effective the Court of Honor should meet regularly. Many Troops find that a short meeting following the regular Troop Meeting each week is satisfactory. This plan with a longer meeting once a month has also proved valuable. The longer meeting away from the regular Troop meeting gives the Court of Honor a chance to discuss problems more fully and to plan events in detail.

It is up to each individual Court of Honor to set its own time. In order to save time and get right down to business the Chairman and the Secretary should draw up an agenda and follow it.

Here's how a typical Court of Honor Meeting might go:

The Troop Leader is Chairman. He calls the meeting to order and takes the roll.

The Secretary reads the minutes of the last meeting. They are short and to the point. The Patrol Leader of the Foxes moves the minutes be accepted as read. "All in favor", say "Aye".

From here we go to unfinished business. This might cover items such as the Scoutmaster reporting that he has located a nature expert to go on the next hike with the Troop. Someone else reports on current recycled paper prices. One after another some of the members report on projects assigned to them at previous meetings.

Now they turn to planning for the month ahead. The long range plans have already been made and now is the time for putting the plans into action. The theme is "Exploring".

Suggestions are offered for an exploration hike. A number of spots are suggested, discussed and finally one is decided upon by majority vote. Special emphasis will be laid on compass, map reading and orienteering.

The discussion continues. This project calls for plenty of planning and training. Slowly the program for the next few weeks takes shape: demonstration in use of compass—map study—indoor and outdoor games involving compass work—checking hike equipment—hike menus—food lists. A whole pile of things to do at Troop and Patrol Meetings until the big event comes off.

The PL's make notes. Here's something to get his Patrol excited about.

New Business! This is the time for other decisions to be made.

A question of policy comes up. The Troop has been asked to sell tickets for a carnival—a request courteously refused. Another request for Scouts to serve at a church concert. Accepted.

A first aid course coming up in the District soon. Any of the Patrols interested?

Other items come up for decision, are ruled on, assigned to someone to look into or arrange for.

Now each Patrol Leader has an opportunity to stand up before the Court of Honor and report on his Patrol's activities since the last meeting—what meetings it has held, what service projects it has undertaken, which boys have advanced. Everything that shows the progress of his Patrol.

Now the Scoutmaster has an opportunity to say a few words and then the Court of Honor meeting is properly adjourned.

Short, interesting meetings that show progress and keep all the members on their toes are the thing. As a member of the Court of Honor you should contribute to the discussions and join in on the planning. Remember you are there to represent the thinking of your Patrol and to present their ideas. You are not serving them well if you take a back seat and do not actively participate.

The Job Of The Court Of Honor

The Court of Honor is the governing body of the Troop. It is responsible for:

(1) Guarding the honor of the Troop: This is the Court of Honor's first and most important function. You as a Patrol Leader must have a sense of responsibility, both personal and corporate, for tradition and honor. A Troop without honor and a sense of its responsibilities will not contribute anything worthwhile to the development of its individual members, or to the Movement as a whole.

The Court of Honor and the Patrol Leaders who form it, must set the highest standard possible in regard to smartness, courtesy and general efficiency. The joint example of the Patrol Leaders will do more than anything else to develop the right spirit in the Troop.

All new recruits should come before the Court of Honor before they join, so that the traditions of the Troop and the function of the Court of Honor may be explained to them. They should also be told what will be expected of them in return for the privilege of joining the Troop.  Membership is a privilege—don't let any boy think that he can treat it lightly.

Before any boy may be tested for a proficiency badge he should first get the approval of the Court of Honor. There is more to the earning of a badge than the mere passing of the technical requirements. The Court of Honor, through the Scout's Patrol Leader, should be reasonably sure that the boy is ready to pass the technical requirements (saves wasting examiner's time) and that he has displayed the right spirit and amount of effort in preparation. For instance some boys may be selfish and work for badges for themselves to the neglect of their duties to their Patrol, or a boy may be ready for his First Class but making no effort to live up to his Scout Promise. If it is evident that a boy is not ready, he must be told so, and why. He should be presented with a challenge which will encourage him to make up his deficiency and go on to earn the badge.

Most disciplinary action can, and should be performed by the Patrol Leader concerned — usually after consulting with the Scouter. Occasionally however, a more serious problem may arise and the Court of Honor asked to consider the matter. A defendant should be given a chance to state his case before the Court, who will then decide the necessary disciplinary action—if any.

(2) Program Planning:  As a result of a Patrol-in-Council, each Patrol Leader brings the ideas and wishes of his Patrol to the notice of the Court of Honor. These are discussed and those receiving majority votes are put forward as program material. In this way the type of Troop programs are built which the majority of boys want.

This is real democracy. The Patrol Leader has to learn to represent his Patrol and to put their case forward even though he may not agree with it personally. He has to persuade his Patrol to back up loyally any decisions of the Court of Honor, even when they are contrary to their own wishes. He must learn to accept success or defeat with equanimity.

Program Planning should be achieved in three stages—Long Range, Short Range and Immediate Planning

Long Range Planning consists of setting up objectives to be achieved during the coming year, noting special events scheduled to occur and developing general themes and ideas which will help the Troop achieve its objectives.

Long Range Planning must not become too large or involved—too many items or too much detail at this stage will cause congestion and confusion. If you plan too many things over which to spread enthusiasm, you may well end up indifferent to them all. Long Range Planning is best done in the period July-August and the ideal place is Summer Camp when a special event can be made of it. Then, at the last camp fire, the Troop can be let in on some of the adventures in store, so they can look forward to something special.

Short Range Planning is the main business of the special monthly Court of Honor. Here the Long Range Plan is taken and expanded to cover the immediate future, usually the period of the next three months. More details are added ; possibly additional objectives are included, dates are fixed and organizing responsibilities are allocated. Programs for the immediate month are put into outline shape.

Immediate Planning is done by the person or persons responsible for the activity. Most immediate planning will be done by the Scouters using the Short-Range Plan submitted by the Court of Honor as a basis. However, the Court of Honor should take on given activities to organize from time to time. Last minute suggestions for final plans will be put forward at the weekly Court of Honor meetings.

A few minutes should also be taken at the weekly Court of Honor to analyze the last program, to learn by mistakes, note what was popular and to make necessary adjustments in the coming programs.

In addition to program planning Patrol Leaders should be accustomed to running Troop meetings and the troop should be accustomed to their doing so. In this way, if a Scouter is unable to attend a meeting, the Patrol Leaders can take over without any problem or unusual comment. During a Troop meeting (but not necessarily every Troop meeting) each Patrol Leader should be responsible for an activity, which he will prepare and run by himself. Occasionally, Patrol Leaders should run an entire meeting by themselves.

(3) General Administration: A Court of Honor also looks after the administration of Troop funds (weekly dues). It is responsible for the proper maintenance of all Troop equipment and any general decisions affecting the Troop.

Court Of Honor Code

As a valuable aid to establishing and maintaining a tradition of sound Court of Honor operation, it is strongly recommended that each Troop adopt a Court of Honor code. This code should be visible at each meeting of the Court of Honor and should be used or presented in card form to each Patrol Leader at the time of his investiture as a Patrol Leader. It would serve as a guide to the job he has to do, a constant reminder of the responsibility which he has to discharge. 

The extent to which a Court of Honor can be left to itself depends on the experience and training of the Patrol Leaders. Patrol Leaders need as much training and guidance for their work with the Court of Honor as they do for skills, and the wise Scouter will always be feeding ideas and suggestions to stimulate their imagination. Remember the Scoutmaster is the catalyst who stimulates the action of his Patrol Leaders. The Court of Honor represents the hub from which action in the Patrol System stems. Thus it is evident that a Troop can only be as good as its Court of Honor.

Here is a suggested Code, use it or write your own but keep it simple and to the point:


It is the duty of each member of this Court of Honor:


  1. To set a good example in living the Scout Promise and Law.
  2. To uphold the Honor and Tradition of the Troup.
  3. To consider the wishes of his Patrol before his own.
  4. To be fair and just in making all judgments.
  5. To abide cheerfully by the decision of the majority.
  6. To respect the secrecy of the Court of Honor discussions.
  7. To loyally assist the Scouters in the efficient operation of the Troop.

The Patrol Out of Doors

The Patrol System






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.