The Eagle Scout a/k/a It's Only A Pin by S. Kurtz Hingley, 1930.
First published in The Quaker City Scout in 1930 as illustrated to the left.
It was republished in 1931 in Scouting Magazine and again in 1955 in
BSA's Troop Ceremonies pamphlet.
A fond Mother watches her boy where he stands,
Apart from his comrades tonight,
And see placed on his camp-battered tunic, a badge...
An Eagle... the emblem of right.
It seems to her just a few short months have passed
Since he joined with the youngsters next door.
How proud he was then of his Tenderfoot pin
As they told of the message it bore.
But the years have gone as he struggled along
To learn what the Scout Law's about;
He practiced them daily, that Oath and that Law,
Until now - he is an Eagle Scout.
You may smile with your worldly wise wisdom at this
And say, "Why it's only a pin."
But I tell you no honors he'll gain as a man
Will mean quite as much to him.
The red, white and blue of the ribbon you see
Are symbols of honor and truth.
He has learned how to value these fine attributes
In the glorious days of youth.
And the out-flinging wings of the Eagle that rests
On the breast of this knight of today
Are the things which shall lift him above petty deeds,
And guide him along the right way.
Yes, it's only a pin, just an Eagle Scout badge,
But the heart that's beneath it is true,
And will throb to the last for the things that are good;
A lesson for me... and for you.
Several altered or revised
versions of this poem exist under various names including The Eagle Scout Badge,
It's Only A Pin, and Eagle Scout Mother. One is these later versions is
The Eagle Scout Badge
Two fond parents watch their son where he stands
Apart from his buddies tonight,
And see placed on his camp-stained, almost-outgrown shirt,
A badge, an Eagle, an ancient emblem of might.
It seems just a few short months have passed
Since he joined with the youngster next door.
How proud they were then of his Tenderfoot badge
As he told them camp stories and lore.
The years have gone by as he struggled along
To learn what Scouting's about;
Scouting is outing, and he has been wet and muddy and lonely and cold,
Far from home, on a trail climbing higher, discouraged, full of dismay and of doubt.
More than once he was hungry and dirty, tired and sore,
Scared about cooking, rafting, hiking, rappelling, and leading,
Embarrassed sometimes by his uniform, insignia, and more,
But he's come a long away, by his will and his parents' pleading.
He can manage a knife, a rope, a tent with its fly, nasty weather.
He can sleep on the ground, bake a Dutch oven cake, drink boiled muddy water,
Address a juvenile group, Leave No Trace, stand tall,
Light a fire, manage an Eagle Project crew, thanks to his mother and father.
Daily, he practiced the Slogan, the Motto, the Oath, and the Law,
He grew fast, straight as a pine, never quit, stayed the course he set out.
He learned how to backpack and camp, cook, and scrub up a pot,
Handle an ax, teach knots and first aid, until now he's an Eagle Scout.
You may smile in your worldly wisdom at this
And say, "Why, it's only a pin."
But I will tell you, no honor he will gain as a man
Will mean nearly as much to him.
The red, white, and blue of the ribbon you see
Are America's symbols of courage and honor and truth.
In his family, his church, his school, and his Troop, he learned
How to value these fine attributes in these glorious days of his youth.
The broad span of the tiny Eagle that rests
On the chest of this young man today
Are powerful wings which will lift him above petty deeds
And carry him along the right way.
This badge is more than a pin, a ribbon of cloth with a silver design.
It, like the man, was forged out of values that last.
Decades away, the Scout who now stands with his new Eagle medal
Will still cherish this moment long after his youth is long past.
More Eagle Scout poems can be found at