Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Annual Christmas Court of Honor pays tribute to several holiday troop traditions

The troop’s December Court of Honor invokes more than just Christmas-time visions of sugar plums dancing in the heads of Troop 50 Scouts. The annual holiday gathering of Scouts and their families also means visions of a toy drive for the area’s less-fortunate children, a spirited “Dirty Santa” gift exchange, and of course, the new ranks and merit badges Scouts have earned that are the hallmark of any court of honor gathering.

The troop gathered on Monday, Dec. 13 for that very purpose. Senior Patrol Leader Jake and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader Olen opened the court of honor by welcoming Scouts and their families.

Before the awards portion of the program, Assistant Scoutmaster Michael Tullier welcomed Chattahoochee Council Scout Executive and CEO Juan Osario. In addition to outlining the council’s annual Friends of Scouting fundraising program, he honored Assistant Scoutmaster Wes Williams as a James E. West Fellow for Mr. Williams’ personal donation to the council’s endowment fund.

Olen (left) presents Will (right) with his Scout rank.

Jake and Olen then began presenting Scouts with their advancement recognitions, which included 15 merit badges and eight ranks, some of which were completed at the troop's Merit Badge Day on Saturday, Dec. 4.

Scoutmaster Baird administers the youth
oath of office for the newly elected leaders.
The December court of honor also marks the transition of youth leadership. As is the troop’s tradition, Scoutmaster Andrew Baird introduced Scouts elected during troop elections the previous week and administered the youth leader oath of office.

The troop’s youth leadership for the first half of 2022 include:
  • Leadership Corps: Connor, senior patrol leader; Rhett, assistant senior patrol leader; Harrison M., lead troop guide; Tyson, lead instructor; Beck, troop quartermaster; Hunter, junior assistant scoutmaster
  • Ice Knight Patrol: Harrison P., patrol leader; Jake, assistant patrol leader
  • Savage Cabbage Patrol: James, patrol leader; Jackson, assistant patrol leader
Scoutmaster Baird paid tribute to Jake for his six-month term as the troop’s senior patrol leader by presenting him with the traditional handmade neckerchief slide denoting past senior patrol leaders. He also recognized the troop’s newest assistant scoutmaster, Jason DeBlanc, whose first campout with the troop was its November trip to the Andersonville National Historic Site.

Jake shows off the coveted senior patrol leader neckerchief slide,
handmade by Scoutmaster Baird.

The final item of the court of honor program was announcing Will as the troop’s 2021 James J. Baird Jr. Honor Scout Award. First presented in 2015, the annual award is bestowed on the troop's “top Scout” based on his participation in troop activities, demonstration of Scout skills, continuing advancement success, and a vote of his peers. The award honors the memory of Jim Baird, the uncle of Scoutmaster Baird, a 1945 recipient of the Eagle Scout rank and longtime Rotarian leader. Will is the first in Troop 50 to follow a sibling as an award recipient—his older brother, Camp, was the troop’s 2019 honoree.

Will receives the James J. Baird Jr. Honor Scout Award.

Dillon, finally assured he'd be able
to take a "Dirty Santa" gift home
As everyone enjoyed holiday treats and sweets, Scouts and leaders gathered around wrapped gifts for the troop’s customary “Dirty Santa” gift exchange. As with past years, gifts included numerous camping tools and gadgets like flashlights, pocket knives, and first-aid kits. It was the gifts with candy paired with fast-food gift cards that really made the rounds. Along those lines, the title of “Most Stolen From” went to Dillon, who had at least a half-dozen gifts taken from him during the festivities.

Giving gifts to one another wasn’t Scouts’ only focus. In honor of the Christmas season, and in keeping with the troop’s practice since its first Christmas court of honor in 2012, troop families donated toys that will be gifted to Auburn’s Department of Public Safety as part of its annual toy drive. Gifts included sports equipment, games and other outdoor recreational items. Scouts and leaders made the one-mile-round-trip trek from First Presbyterian Church to Auburn Fire Station No. 1 to present their donations and to get their picture with one of the city’s newest fire trucks.

Scouts and leaders after delivering their toy donations to Auburn Fire Station No. 1.

The court of honor and Christmas gathering represent the troop’s final events for 2021. The troop’s Patrol Leaders Council will hold its first meeting of the new year on Monday, Jan. 4, and the entire troop will meet on Monday, Jan. 11.

For more photos from the court of honor and party, visit the troop’s online photo album.