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A Senior Scout Leader Surprises His Troop With Something Special- and Gets a Surprise Himself
Less than 5% of all Boy Scouts ever achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
So when Eagle Scout and Senior Troop Leader Robert Baden-Powell set out to buy a special gift for Troop 111, he didn’t realize who’d be designing it for him at AllAboutChallengeCoins. But when he found out, it only made it all that much more special.
It started out as a quest to find a nice gift for his fellow scouts at an upcoming Court of Honor. Eagle Courts of Honor are special celebrations for Scouts who have attained Scouting’s highest rank. They often feature a variety of very special ceremonies to recognize the outstanding young men being honored.
“I knew that I would have a Court of Honor as Troop 111 Senior Patrol Leader. I would recognize my fellow scouts and leaders for what was accomplished during the summer of 2022. We had a lot of fun this year with campouts and service projects. We make a lot of memories during the summer.”
During the summer, Boy Scout troops from all over the country take to the outdoors and converge on popular scouting places like Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico. For two weeks, they hike through the rugged wilderness and sleep under the stars.
The experience is unforgettable, and many scouts return year after year. It’s a time and a place where young men can test their limits and push themselves to new heights, and a place where friendships are formed and memories are made.
“I knew I wanted to get gifts so I researched gag gifts which are always fun. Then there were shirts or hats– nice, but that just wasn't it. Then I found challenge coins. I did some research and asked my parents about them. I wanted something unique and this was it.”
Challenge coins are informal awards usually given to uniformed service members, sports teammates, other individuals and groups to acknowledge outstanding achievement. In a tradition that goes back as far as ancient Rome, today’s challenge coins have risen to popularity starting 100 years ago in the United States Army. From there, challenge coins made it to the other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and eventually sports teams, police departments, Fortune 1000 companies, and the Boy Scouts.
“I had to figure out a design, which was easy. I wanted to use our current Troop sign. I wasn’t sure how that would come out on a coin. When I received the design back, it was exactly what I was thinking. We had a few changes which were done quickly. I was able to have a quote which meant the most to me.”
“I was even more excited to find out that not only a fellow scout but an Eagle Scout, Josh Bower, was the one who designed the coin. It just shows how far the impact of scouting can go.”
Boy Scouts learn a multitude of skills like how to be self-reliant and the value of hard work. They are taught how to set up camp, cook their own meals, and hike long distances. In addition, they are also taught survival skills such as first aid and orienteering, and how to be resourceful in nature.
All of these skills help them to be prepared for anything they may encounter in the outdoors, and gives them confidence as they mature to adulthood.
And while challenge coins aren’t necessarily expensive, even with the high levels of detail and options offered, for a young person, they aren’t exactly cheap either. Yet, Robert and his family still made it happen anyway, in true Scouts style.
“Then I had to work some extra hours to pay for the coins. My mom helped me also.”
It was all worth it in the end when Troop 111 caught a glimpse of their first challenge coin.
“When I presented the coin to my Patrol and leaders, they were all surprised.”
It’s hard to blame them. Just look at that custom coin, the way the red soft enamel paint glistens in symmetry with the black troop insignia. Or the gold matte eagle atop an antique gold recess of a hand giving the faithful Boy Scouts pledge.
One thing’s for sure, it results in one heck of a memorable coin. After handing out his very own custom-designed challenge coin at the ceremony to endearing fellow Scouts that momentous day, he had this to say:
“I am giving you a challenge coin, yes, to remind you of yours truly, but also to challenge you as Robert Baden-Powell has to leave the world a little better than you found it.”
Boy Scouts are used to sewing patches onto their uniforms symbolizing the completion of tasks essential to being a Scout and advancing up the ranks, but now they'll have something else to show off in addition to merit badges.
And what better way to customize your very own challenge coin, than with leaving a visual, lasting impression and a personal quote.
Now that’s how you coin a phrase.
“Thank you to All About Challenge Coins and a special thank you to my Eagle Scout Josh Bower for setting another example of Eagle Excellence."