The way Scouts earn Eagle Palms has changed in a big way

Update, Oct. 25, 2017: After hearing from volunteers, the BSA will allow current Eagle Scouts to receive Eagle Palms retroactively. The change to Eagle Palms requirements comes in response to passionate feedback from volunteers and was approved by the BSA’s National Executive Board.

The original post from July 10, 2017, follows.

Eagle Palms are bronze, gold and silver awards presented to young men who earn five, 10, 15 or more merit badges beyond the 21 required to become an Eagle Scout.

This week, the BSA has announced significant changes to the way Scouts earn Eagle Palms. The modifications take effect Aug. 1, 2017.

The changes bring Eagle Palm requirements in line with the needs of older Scouts. The National Boy Scouting Subcommittee has eliminated unnecessary obstacles, such as the Eagle Palm board of review, and expanded the definition of active participation.

But the biggest change affects young men who haven’t yet earned Eagle. Beginning Aug. 1, all earned Palms may be awarded instantly to new Eagle Scouts at their Eagle court of honor. This abolishes the wait of months or years for these young men to receive all Palms available to them.

Here’s a look at what’s changing. Below that, an in-depth guide to the new Eagle Palm requirements.

What’s changing?

  1. A new Eagle Scout can instantly receive, alongside his Eagle medal, all Eagle Palms he has earned for merit badges completed before he became an Eagle Scout. These Palms recognize additional merit badges earned before completing the Eagle board of review. Previously, an Eagle Scout needed to wait three months between each Palm — even if he earned the extra merit badges before becoming an Eagle. This meant that, under the old rules, a young man who became an Eagle Scout at 17 years and 10 months, was mathematically unable to earn any Eagle Palms.
    • Example: Glenn, a 16-year-old Life Scout, has 36 merit badges at the time of his Eagle Scout board of review — 15 more than required. Previously, he would’ve needed to wait three months after his Eagle board of review to receive his Bronze Palm, another three months for his Gold Palm and another three for his Silver Palm. Under the new rules, he can get that Silver Palm (representing 15 additional merit badges) along with his Eagle medal at his Eagle Scout court of honor. No wait required.
    • Note: After becoming an Eagle Scout and receiving the Palms already earned, additional Palms may be earned by completing the revised requirements, including the three months tenure between awarding each Palm.
  2. The three-month tenure requirement has been expanded to allow active participation in any BSA program — not just the troop and patrol.
    • This recognizes that as some Scouts get older, their Scouting participation shifts to the Order of the Arrow, summer camp staff or elsewhere.
  3. The leadership requirement has been broadened to include “accepting responsibility” as well as “demonstrating leadership.”
  4. The Eagle Palm board of review has been eliminated.
    • Eagle Palms are not ranks, so the Eagle Palm board of review was seen as an unnecessary step. A unit leader conference is deemed to be sufficient and may be conducted at any time during the tenure requirement.

Eagle Palms: the official requirements

These are effective Aug. 1, 2017.

After successfully completing your Eagle Scout board of review and being validated as an Eagle Scout by the National Service Center, you will be entitled to receive an Eagle Palm for each additional 5 merit badges you have completed before your Eagle Scout board of review. For these Palms only, it will not be necessary for you to complete any of the requirements stated below.

After becoming an Eagle Scout, you may earn additional Palms by completing the following requirements.

  1. Be active in the Boy Scouts of America for at least three months after becoming an Eagle Scout or after the last Palm was earned. **
  2. Since earning the Eagle Scout rank or your last Eagle Palm, demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Tell how you have done your duty to God and how you have lived the Scout Oath and Scout Law in your everyday life.
  3. Continue to set a satisfactory example of accepting responsibility or demonstrating leadership ability.
  4. Earn five additional merit badges beyond those required for Eagle or last Palm. ***
  5. While an Eagle Scout, participate in a Scoutmaster conference. *


*For Varsity Scouts working on Boy Scout requirements, replace “Scoutmaster” with “Varsity Scout Coach.” For Venturers working on Boy Scout requirements, replace “Scoutmaster” with “crew Advisor.”  For Sea Scouts working on Boy Scout requirements, replace “Scoutmaster” with “Skipper.”

**Eagle Palms must be earned in sequence, and the three-month tenure requirement must be observed for each Palm.

***Merit badges earned any time since becoming a Boy Scout may be used to meet this requirement.

Eagle Palms: the official requirements, annotated

Here are those same requirements annotated.

  • The new requirements are in green. Remember, these take effect Aug. 1, 2017.
  • The old requirements are in red.
  • Notes in orange explain why each change was made. The text comes from the National Boy Scouting Subcommittee.

After successfully completing your Eagle Scout board of review and being validated as an Eagle Scout by the National Service Center, you will be entitled to receive an Eagle Palm for each additional 5 merit badges you have completed before your Eagle Scout board of review. For these Palms only, it will not be necessary for you to complete any of the requirements stated below.

By implementing this proposal, a Scout can be recognized with an Eagle Palm(s) for the extra work he has put into earning merit badges and acquiring additional education prior to earning the rank of Eagle Scout regardless of his age at the time he earns the rank of Eagle Scout. If the Eagle Scout has sufficient time remaining before his 18th birthday, he can then continue to earn additional Eagle Palms by completing the following proposed requirements.

After becoming an Eagle Scout, you may earn additional Palms by completing the following requirements.

1. Be active in the Boy Scouts of America for at least three months after becoming an Eagle Scout or after the last Palm was earned. 

1. Be active in your troop and patrol for at least three months after becoming an Eagle Scout or after award of last Palm

Requirement 1 has been changed to include being active in the “Boy Scouts of America” instead of just “troop and patrol.” This allows a Scout to receive active participation time credit for programs such as the OA, Venturing, serving on camp staff, NYLT and NAYLE staff etc. In addition, participation in positive non-Scouting activities can be given consideration, as explained in topic of the Guide to Advancement. This significantly broadens the opportunity for Scouts to stay involved in Scouting or other character-building activities and receive consideration toward earning additional Palms after earning the rank of Eagle Scout.

2. Since earning the Eagle Scout rank or your last Eagle Palm, demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Tell how you have done your duty to God and how you have lived the Scout Oath and Scout Law in your everyday life.

Requirement 2 is unchanged.

3. Continue to set a satisfactory example of accepting responsibility or demonstrating leadership ability.

3. Make a satisfactory effort to develop and demonstrate leadership ability.

Requirement 3 has been updated to include accepting responsibility as well as demonstrating leadership ability. This is not as restrictive as the current requirement, which focuses only on leadership. It is reasonable to make this change because Scouts can achieve Eagle Scout rank by serving in a position of responsibility rather than just serving in a leadership position. Accepting responsibility or demonstrating leadership should be sufficient. If a young man demonstrates leadership, we can assume that at some point he developed it.

4. Earn five additional merit badges beyond those required for Eagle or last Palm.

Requirement 4 is unchanged.

5. While an Eagle Scout, participate in a Scoutmaster conference.

Requirement 5 is unchanged, expect for the addition of this footnote: For Varsity Scouts working on Boy Scout requirements replace “Scoutmaster” with “Varsity Scout Coach.” For Venturers working on Boy Scout requirements replace “Scoutmaster” with “crew Advisor.” For Sea Scouts working on Boy Scout requirements replace “Scoutmaster” with “Skipper.”

6. There isn’t a No. 6 under the new requirements.

6. Successfully complete your board of review for the Eagle Palm.

Requirement 6 has been eliminated. A Palm is an award to recognize achievement beyond the rank of Eagle Scout. It is not a rank itself, so it is not necessary to have a board of review. It also generates confusion, becomes a barrier to recognition because delays can result in a Scout being short of time to earn another Palm, and is one more duty for a unit advancement committee which should be devoting more attention to building advancement throughout the unit. These are Eagle Scouts; they’ve already reached the pinnacle. They represent youth with whom we have most likely already achieved our aims. Approval of the unit leader is sufficient.

The right way to wear a combination of palms

The Bronze Palm represents the first five merit badges beyond the 21 required for Eagle. The Gold Palm represents the next five (10 total), and the Silver Palm the third five (15 total).

After that, you’ll combine multiple Palms. While qualifying Eagle Scouts can wear multiple Silver Palms, they should never wear more than 1 Bronze or 1 Gold Palm. You’ll see why in this handy chart that shows the proper Palm combinations.

Total number of merit badges Number beyond minimum Palm combination
21 0 None
26 5 1 Bronze
31 10 1 Gold
36 15 1 Silver
41 20 1 Bronze, 1 Silver
46 25 1 Gold, 1 Silver
51 30 2 Silver
56 35 1 Bronze, 2 Silver
61 40 1 Gold, 2 Silver
66 45 3 Silver
71 50 1 Bronze, 3 Silver
76 55 1 Gold, 3 Silver
81 60 4 Silver
86 65 1 Bronze, 4 Silver
91 70 1 Gold, 4 Silver
96 75 5 Silver
101 80 1 Bronze, 5 Silver
106 85 1 Gold, 5 Silver
111 90 6 Silver
116 95 1 Bronze, 6 Silver
121 100 1 Gold, 6 Silver
126 105 7 Silver
131 110 1 Bronze, 7 Silver
136 115 1 Gold, 7 Silver

Answers to your questions about the changes

Following are some questions and answers regarding the new requirements. These were provided by the National Boy Scouting Subcommittee.

Q: Why were these changes made at this time?

A: The BSA has a longstanding policy and tradition of quickly recognizing Scouts for their achievements. In the case of Eagle Palms, many Scouts were not receiving any recognition for the extra work they were doing by earning additional merit badges.

Q: Why are these requirement changes being implemented immediately instead of waiting until the Boy Scout Requirements book is published in 2018?

A: This is consistent with any other requirement change introduced mid-year. The intent is to allow the greater flexibility of the new requirements to be used as soon as possible so more Scouts can take advantage of them.

Q: Can a Scout who completed his Eagle Scout board of review before Aug. 1 go back and receive Palms for merit badges he has already completed?

A: No, the change to allow awarding Palms as described above is not retroactive. If the Scout still has eligibility remaining, he may continue to earn Palms by completing the new requirements.

Q: Other than having completed at least five additional merit badges before his Eagle board of review, does a Scout have to complete any additional requirements for a Palm to be awarded immediately after he is validated as an Eagle Scout?

A: No, there are no additional requirements to complete if a Scout is to receive Eagle Palms based on the merit badges he earned before his Eagle Scout Board of Review.

Q: After becoming an Eagle Scout and receiving any Eagle Palms he might be entitled to, how does a Scout earn additional Palms?

A: By completing the revised requirements.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of Eagle Palms a Scout can immediately qualify for following his Eagle Scout board of review and verification by the National Service Center?

A: No limit. So long as the Scout has completed the required number of merit badges, he may apply to receive the equivalent number of Palms.

Q: How does the Scout apply to obtain any Palms he might be entitled to receive?

A: Eagle Palms may be reported by the unit leader submitting an Advancement Report No. 34403, making the appropriate entry via Internet Advancement, or via Scoutbook once the option is available. The Eagle Scout Palm Application, form # 58-709, was previously discontinued since it is not necessary for Eagle Palms to be processed or approved at the council level.

Q: Why was “… be active in your troop and patrol” replaced with “… be active in the Boy Scouts of America…”?

A: This requirement was broadened to recognize that Eagle Scouts have many positive character-building activities that they can participate in both in and out of Scouting. Those activities should be considered when reviewing this requirement. See Guide to Advancement topic “Active Participation” for an in-depth explanation of active participation.

Q: What does the phrase “accepting responsibility or demonstrating leadership ability” mean?

A: A Scout can meet this requirement by accepting responsibility or demonstrating leadership in many ways in or out of Scouting. For example, he could perform a Scoutmaster-assigned project or be an active leader in district or council activities, serve as a lodge officer in the Order of the Arrow, or even serve on camp staff. A Scout could also meet this requirement by accepting responsibility or serving in a leadership position on their sports team, as a student council officer, accepting responsibilities in other youth or religious organizations, or in a myriad of other positive activities outside of Scouting.

Q: If a Scout has earned a total of 25 merit badges but doesn’t complete one more merit badge before his Eagle Scout board of review, will he have to wait until three months after his board of review to earn an Eagle Palm?

A: Yes, he must wait. Only the required number of merit badges earned prior to his Eagle Scout board of review may be considered when awarding Palms immediately following the board of review.

Q: A 17 year old Scout, who has earned 24 merit badges, has completed all his Eagle rank requirements but has not yet had his Eagle Scout board of review. If he earns two more merit badge before his Eagle board of review can he receive a Palm at that time or does he have to wait?

A: So long as he completes the two additional merit badges before his Eagle Scout board of review, the Scout can immediately receive a Bronze Palm.

Q: Four months before his 18th birthday a Scout successfully completed his Eagle board of review with a total of only 21 merit badges although he had numerous partials he was working on. After his board of review he completed 10 additional merit badges. Can he receive a Bronze and a Gold Palm at the end of the three months?

A: After the Eagle board of review, the Scout must meet all the requirements, including three months tenure between each Palm. In this case he is only eligible to receive a Bronze Palm.

Q: If a Scout who has earned 25 merit badges has passed his 18th birthday but has not yet had his Eagle Scout board of review, can he complete one more merit badge before his board of review to receive a Palm.

A: All merit badge work must be completed before the Scout’s 18th birthday.

Q: Why was the board of review requirement for Eagle Palms eliminated?

A: Eagle Palms are not a rank and thus don’t need a formal board of review. Also, in some cases, scheduling boards of review had become a barrier to earning additional Eagle Palms. The Scoutmaster’s conference is deemed sufficient since it can be conducted anytime during the three-month tenure period.

Q: Palms can be an important part of keeping a Scout involved in Scouting after they have earned Eagle Scout rank. Do the new requirements eliminate any incentive for them to stay in the program?

A: The new requirements provide recognition for the work a Scout has already done while providing the opportunity for Scouts who have time before their 18th birthday to earn additional Palms. Eagle Palms are only one small part of an exciting and engaging program which is what really keeps Eagle Scouts motivated to stay active in Scouting.

Where to buy and wear Eagle Palms

Buy them at your local Scout Shop. Eagle Palms are restricted items, meaning you must submit the required paperwork.

As for wearing them, you have three options:

  1. On the Eagle Scout square knot, which is worn by adult Scouters.
  2. Attached to the ribbon of the Eagle Scout medal, which is worn on special occasions by youth and adults.
  3. On the Eagle Scout rank emblem (patch), which is sewn on the youth field uniform.


  1. My son had his Eagle BOR in May and has received his certificate from National. He has over 70 merit badges. What are his options?

    • The answer is in the FAQ:
      Q: Can a Scout who completed his Eagle Scout board of review before Aug. 1 go back and receive Palms for merit badges he has already completed?

      A: No, the change to allow awarding Palms as described above is not retroactive. If the Scout still has eligibility remaining, he may continue to earn Palms by completing the new requirements.

      • My son is the same boat. Not cool to not allow scouts to all be recognized for any MBs and palms if they are not 18 as of Aug1st. So a new eagle on Aug 1st with 121 MBs and 18yr old will walk away with eagle and 1 bronze and 7 silver and an eagle that got his eagle on July 31 and 18 yr old with 121 BM only gets his eagle and no palms. National messed up on this one big time. Make it retro for anyone under 18! make it uniform. Recognize them all.

        • How did this new change come to be. We are punishing scouts that got their eagle prior, and giving great credit to the ones who might be a screaming eagle. I want to change the date of my sons eagle, so that he gets credit for his hard work,

        • Well, yes, if you are 18 when the change becomes effective, you are too old. But that’s ok, there’s still three more years of Varsity/Venturing.

        • 121 merit badges? Im not sure if that is impressive or corrupt? I can only imagine how much time was spent on those badges. Was there any time in that scouts life to do anything other than eat and sleep?

        • This whole change is problematic. I have watched Scouting decline over the last few years, trying to make it easier for kids to “earn” stuff. The boys who have earned a lot of merit badges didn’t do it to earn palms. Hopefully, they did it to earn knowledge. The only change that maybe should have happened is maybe no board of review, but I would even question that. My son is getting ready to go to his Eagle Board of Review so falls under the new rule. It’s nice, but I would rather he feel like he had to be more active to be recognized. I especially don’t like the “show responsibility” change; and in other areas besides scouting? My son is a leader in his high school band. He gets recognized there for that. Scouting shouldn’t do that. Eagle scout should show leadership. Let’s stop giving away the farm!

      • We have 2 scouts in our troop that are in the same situation. These new rules seem to punish them. There should be a way to award the scouts that have already earned their Eagles and encourage them to continue to earn more merit badges. This seems unfair that scouts with far less merit badges than these 2 will be awarded with more palms than they have earned…. simply because of the date thet earned their Eagle. This isn’t fair!

        • If they are in your troop, and have been active for the past three months, then as soon as Aug 1 hits they are eligible and can get all the palms that they have merit badges for. I don’t see how the new change is a punishment?

        • We have an Eagle scout that has 71 merit badges, but he only has 3 palms because of the 3 month service requirement. Seems unfair that he has to serve the 3 months for the all of the merot badges that he had already earmed before he got his Eagle and the new Eagles don’t.

        • Well I must say as an Eagle Scout who got their Eagle in March and with 51 merit badges, I can say that I am completely mad that I am only able to get half of the palms that I would have been eligible for if I waited an entire half a year to earn my Eagle. All this hard work and time to earn those extra merit badges are going to be masked over with these new requirements. smh.

        • Bart, that is not correct. From the Q&A section above:
          Q: Four months before his 18th birthday a Scout successfully completed his Eagle board of review with a total of only 21 merit badges although he had numerous partials he was working on. After his board of review he completed 10 additional merit badges. Can he receive a Bronze and a Gold Palm at the end of the three months?

          A: After the Eagle board of review, the Scout must meet all the requirements, including three months tenure between each Palm. In this case he is only eligible to receive a Bronze Palm.

        • I have always considered doing what is right for the scout. Put it to your committee or awards chair or scoutmaster team. Often large organizing cannot change quickly enough. I wouldn’t make it a rule, but in these 2 cases, why not? One time exception to recognize then as they should be.

      • Wow. That doesn’t seem fair. My nephew had 40 merit badges when he received his Eagle rank in May of this year. So he’s being penalized a silver palm because he earned his Eagle three months too soon? :facepalm:

        • Well, if he already turned 18 before the change goes into effect, then yes, he’s too old to continue earning more Boy Scout awards (although he can still earn Venturing awards). If he’s not 18, and has been active for the past three months, then as soon as Aug 1 comes he can instantly get a silver palm.

        • Bart, you are incorrect in your assessment of these new changes. Boys that have already earned Eagle, ARE NOT RETROACTIVELY AWARDED PALMS. They STILL have to follow all the older rules except no BOR. They will not be awarded all of those palms in spite of the fact the merit badges were earned BEFORE Eagle BOR was completed. The NEW EAGLES going forwarded are awarded all of them though.-SM T584

        • Scouts that earned Eagle prior to 8/1/17, ARE NOT RETROACTIVELY AWARDED PALMS. They STILL have to have 3 months active + 5 MBs. Are you sure the pre-8/1/17 Eagles no longer need SMC nor BOR for each Palm?

      • This is punitive to current Eagle Scouts. My son earned Eagle on 3/20/17 and has 41 MB (36 at time of Eagle). Had he waited to get Eagle or not been so disciplined and organized he would have his Silver now. BSA has taken a another step backwards.

        • My son got Eagle on 2/3/15 and he got his bronze palm on 1/26/16, gold on 5/17/16; silver on 5/9/17 and now, at his next meeting he’ll get his second bronze. He’s still got a lot of badges that he hasn’t used on palms or on Eagle and he’s now won’t be able to get palm credit for the new ones he just got at summer camp because he can’t fit them in before his 18th birthday.

      • Consensus is for Eagles prior to 8/1/2017 must still have 3 months + 5 MBs for each Eagle Palm. The ONLY things that MIGHT have CHANGED 8/1/2017 for the pre-August Eagles, is MAYBE skipping the need for SMC and BOR each three months. National BSA wasn’t able to clarify, maybe Bryan can.

      • I had a scout earn over 100 merit badges when he received his Eagle. He now has over 115. It seems unfair for those that are now still under 18. He would have had 10 silver palms, and now will barely get 4. Seems unfair to me at this point.

      • I know plenty of boys who have earned many merit badges before earning their Eagle prior to August 1, 2017. It simply doesn’t seem fair to ignore their accomplishments.

        While I understand that there has to be a cutoff somewhere, it doesn’t seem right to have a boy who is just earning his Eagle get, for example, 1 Silver Palm, while a boy who had his Board of Review less than 6 months ago has earned 30 merit badges and can only have a Gold Palm, at best.

        There’s an inherent inequity here that needs to be addressed immediately! These boys have worked hard to earn their merit badges. It isn’t fair to skip over their hard work simply because they earned their Eagle sooner than another boy.

        This is a policy that doesn’t seem to have been thoroughly considered before it was implemented. It will hit those who have been Eagles longer harder than I think the upper levels of Scouting realize.

    • 1. Have fun.
      2. Lead.
      3. Come August, apply for a bronze and two silver.
      4. Harsh reality: realize that Eagles heretofore who actually served our troop for months on end to earn their palms will look on his bling as rather trivial.

      • Sorry, I missed the Q&A that Bill mentioned. So for my #3: apply for his bronze. and for #4 look down on subsequent Eagles who don’t lift a finger for their troop and patrol.

        • Just like when the Eagle rank didn’t involve a project and then it did? Those scouts who didn’t have to do the project were less of an Eagle than those who did? Or those who had to earn Cooking – then those who didn’t – and now those who do? Get over it. Sheesh.

    • I think this should apply retroactively for any current scout. It seems to me to be only fair to current scouts who didn’t wait until the month before they turned 18 to finish their Eagle. Heck, my youngest son (nearing Eagle) may have more palms than my oldest son (recent Eagle) despite the older son having more merit badges.

    • (Not in reply to any particular comment)
      I say simply do away with Palms altogether. Isn’t earning the PATCH enough recognition for completing more merit badges than the minimum?
      If the Palms are meant to encourage Scouts to do more merit badges, they get a patch, and hence, a bigger/better sash display. If the Palms are meant to encourage younger Eagle Scouts to remain in the program longer, why not improve the program, not make it easier to earn trinkets.
      If the Palms are meant as an easy way for Scouts to brag about how many merit badges they’ve completed so far, what about those Scouts who love the program, have been on a lot of Troop campouts, activities, etc., love doing merit badges, but don’t have interest in making Eagle, for whatever reason? They get no Palms to display on their chest?

      Palms are overrated in my opinion.

    • Ya know, maybe we just make everyone an Eagle Scout from the start and eliminate all those really tough “rules”; democrats would be very happy with that ya think???

    • Sorry this doesn’t answer your question. I have my own, I understand the new requirements from above. My problem is = My son eagled at 16 last Nov. He had 25 merit badges, he got one more and was supposed to get his Bronze Palm -but his Scout Master didn’t get the paperwork handled in time of awards. That was last May 2017. They haven’t done awards since! My son has worked hard to get 5 more merit badges and would be earning his next Palm but.. Scout Master says he isn’t sure how/ what we fill out now. Scout Master is also saying he doesn’t show in the “advancement, online tracker” that my son HAS the first one! He does show he earned this 26th merit badge in the “tracker”. Even after commenting on the way to summer camp that he could be awarded both at the same time because of barely missing last award session! So either they LOST his palm stuff, or the new junk messed it all up and it isn’t being tracked anymore! So what do I do? How can I help my Eagle Scout get his Palms?

      • Update, Scout Master is saying he may have his Bronze on Monday Sept. 25th but they will not reward him for Gold, he has had his scout master conference and was told no. He went to camp with the new kids and was the Scout Guide (helping the SPL and ASPL learn to lead) , went on camp out last month and helped the new kids learn to cook, but he supposedly hasn’t taught enough in a leadership roll. To which we found out they have been having merit badge sessions he was not invited too. What options do we have? Scout Master says if he works hard in 6 weeks he may have it, and he will back date palm to this week so that he will have time to earn 2 more before aging out if he wants. My son is very discouraged, he feels like he has been left out on purpose and punished for their “secret” meet ups.

        • This is not a criticism but rather a suggestion to help you get a response. By putting these post near the first of 500+ entries and in with post that people read two months ago, it’s probably likely that you will get no answer. I only found your posts because I have been watching this topic closely, saw there was a new post today and took the time to review all the posts. You may want to repost your inquiry at the END of all the posts on this topic or repost it on another topic. Good luck!

  2. This is one change I whole heartedly agree with. So many young men do not earn their Eagle until closer to 18 because they are involved in other activities but have earned 40 or more Merit Badges. They deserve those Eagle Palms.

    • Why? What kept them from earning eagle at 14 and helping the troop for four years without the burden of rank advancement looming over their head?

      • In my case (30 years ago), it was a troop that was basically held together by my patrol, an outdated merit badge counselor list and not know where else to turn to in order to find counselors for my last two Eagle-required badges. How outdated was the troop’s list (no district list at that time)? One of MB counselors I tried to contact had been deceased for 3 years. I finished my project at 15, but didn’t get my last badge completed until 5 days prior to turning 18. Not all troops are perfect. I was persistent and lucky to complete it.

      • What kept them? In our case, school, church group and sports simultaneously with scouts. That’s not always the case, as we have seen plenty of inactive scouts come back to try to earn Eagle before they turn 18. We have also seen scouts become Eagle 13 & 14 and never come back.

        • M, in other words (as opposed to Scouter Scott) scouting wasn’t a priority. Same with my kids. Sons had the badges, but didn’t earn palms. That’s okay. I think active kids are a blessing (albeit hard for us parents to keep up with). The didn’t earn palms. But they got plenty from earning Eagle.
          Not sure they needed anything else.

      • Awesome story. The fact that you stuck with it when scouters in your district weren’t on top of things is a testament to how important it was for you to earn Eagle and, we assume, a sash full of MB’s along the way.
        What the world doesn’t know (and it’s a shame they don’t know it) is if you did earn that bird at age 15, would you have stuck around that imperfect troop like you did?

        Until now, Palms tell a story of a boy who wraps up rank advancement in a timely fashion and a troop who keeps him engaged. Your story reminds me that scouters would do well to hold up their end of the bargain.

        For what it’s worth, when I pulled it from the attic, my kids loved thumbing through the badges on my sash. The palm was nice, but a little redundant. In their mind, there was no way Dad would do anything but scouting for as much time as he could spare.

        • I’m sorry, I’m not able to reply to your comment under mine… Yes, scouting is a priority but it isn’t the only priority. School is the first. It is hard for all of us parents, trying to fit in as much as we can in such a short time!

        • No worries about the replies. They all blurr a little anyway.

          Yeah, sure, school’s important. But you also mention youth group and sports. Same for my boys. And there were girlfriends and video games as well.

          That’s why they don’t deserve a palm. They simply didn’t put rank advancement first. So Eagle happened later. They get a pretty sash, and that’s good enough. They all got varsity letters in sports.

          I got my Eagle with time to spare and kept scouting. Other things (band, sports, and to a degree youth group) came second. I get a palm. On the other hand I never earned a varsity letter. That’s the price I payed to scout well.

      • Life happens, people advance at their own pace. A 14 year old Eagle Scout is an awfully young Eagle Scout, not that he hasn’t earned it, but there are reasons that the vast majority of all Eagle Scouts don’t earn their Eagles until age 16 or older.

        • Perhaps one of the reasons they were 16+ when they earned their Eagle was because they weren’t as motivated as the 14-15yo.

        • Or perhaps they were having fun going to NYLT, doing Jamboree, going on a high adventure trek, and maybe getting involved with the OA.

          I know when I got Life at 13, and well on my way to getting Eagle at 14, I was starting to burn out because Scouting was not as much fun as it should be. Doing the above made Scouting fun again.

        • And for all that, a scout gets a cool “trained” patch, a Jambo patch, and a lodge flap.

          Does he also need a Palm?

          What of the scout who doesn’t get burnt out and wraps up Eagle with room to spare, and keeps on scouting. Isn’t he worthy of a little more recognition than you or me who got a little weary of the “oval chase” in our mid teens?

      • Not complaining, but it could be a number of things. I didn’t get to 1st class until after I was 14 because I was such a bad swimmer.

      • In my case, actually taking time to LEARN the program. I couldn’t swim because I was afraid to jump off the ledge. It eventually hit me when there were 12-year-old First Class Scouts and I was a 14-year-old Tenderfoot that I had to face my fear. I ended up passing, and I’ve used that lesson countless other times: getting over social anxiety, serving as the student body president in college, and in my jobs with the government.

        It took me four years to earn First Class. It took me nearly eight to earn Eagle. I don’t regret it one bit.

      • My son earned his Eagle at 12! He knew he wanted to work on palms. Now it seems it would have been just as w

        • It may have been just as well for him to have waited and received his palms after August 1. These new rules seems unfair to the Eagles that had numerous merit badges at the time their Eagles were earned.

        • Why? Presuming he’s been active for three months, as soon as Aug 1 hits he can earn as many palms as he has merit badges for. If he didn’t want to work on merit badges because they sucked, then 1) he probably had poor merit badge counselors and 2) it’s probably better that he focused on other things.

      • Because my son became highly involved with the OA Ceremonial Team. He revitalized our chapter team, was on our Lodge team. For the last 4 1/2 years has done lived and died for ceremonial team. At NOAC the Brotherhood Team he was a part of medalled, his Vigil ceremony he medalled. He has trained umpteen young men and was SPL, OA rep, Chaplain aide, and whatever was needed for the troop. So it took him 2years To go from Life to Eagle, he worked. And earned 41 MB s, worked 3years at a BSA summer camp, and the day he turned 18, Dec of his senior year, turned in an adult App and became a college unit reserve adult. This kept him from earning an eagle at 14. He lived Scouting and became Eagle. I think he was better for it.

      • You are assuming that since they didn’t have the burden of rank advancement that they haven’t been helping the Troop. That is not always the case. My son made Life at 14 but did not earn his Eagle until the month before his 17th birthday. During that period of almost 3 years, he missed no more than three meetings (all due to school band concerts), was a Troop Guide and SPL and for the past 2 years has been an Instructor with the Troop working specifically with the older Scouts who entered the Troop after 6th grade or those that have had problems with advancing. He also worked at our Council president camp for three summers, completed NYLT and NAYLE, completed a Philmont Trek and has participated in several service projects. At the time of his Eagle Board in February, he had 56 MBs but will only be able to earn 4 Palms. Had he decided to take a little more time and completed his Eagle Board after Aug 1, he would have earned 7 Palms. For boys like my son, this doesn’t seem completely fair.

        • “Had he decided to take a little more time and completed his Eagle Board after Aug 1, he would have earned 7 Palms.” Presuming your son is still active in some branch of Scouting, then as soon as Aug 1 hits he can get as many palms as he has merit badges for.

        • I agree completely . This is very unfair and needs to be amended before the policy goes into effect on Aug. 1st

        • Bart, according to the way the new requirements are written any scout who earned his Eagle before August 1, 2017 will not be eligible for “insta-palms”.

    • Sorry to disagree with you. My son earned his Eagle at 14 specifically so he could earn palms. He didn’t want to “Eagle and Out”. He’ll continue to serve and stay involved and EARN the palms.

    • Might as well just eliminate palms altogether. Why give them out if they require no further effort? Let the sash speak for itself.

      • Agreed. I am troubled (deeply) by the fact that this reduces palms to “recognition for extra merit badges” rather than “recognition for extra merit badges and leadership.” Another watering down of Scouting…

      • I wholeheartedly agree. The merit badges themselves are their own achievement. A large part of the palm (imo the largest part) has always been engagement with the program post-Eagle. This was not a part of the program that needed change.

    • Other activities? Please. I think it’s not important to parents until “the end” of their sons tenure. If it really meant something the scout would have got it done with encouragement from adult leaders along his trail.

    • The Eagle Scout who earned his Eagle before August 1 doesn’t deserve all the palms he earned but any scout after August 1 does? There should be a grandfather clause for those who earned their Eagle prior to August 1 but haven’t aged-out yet.

      • agree whole heartily. That is the right solution. It is only fair and BSA can/should still add this clause

      • I agree! This angers me that the BSA penalizes the scouts who earned Eagle before Aug 1st. My son earned his Eagle at 14 2 years ago and had 80 merit badges and with this 3 month rule even if he stops earning merit badges today he will never receive all the palms he deserves. But a new Eagle can.

        Really, it should be the same for ALL Eagles across the board period!!

      • Eagles earned before 8/1/17, ARE NOT RETROACTIVELY AWARDED PALMS. They STILL have to follow all the older rules (3 months + 5 MBs), except no BOR.

    • They do, but so does the eagles that put the time in prior to their eagle to get a lot merit badges and got it prior to August 1. 2017. What would hurt if it was retroactive for boys under the age of 18. Most of those parents have all of the paperwork, so what is the problem with BSA to NOT honor past eagles.

    • The awarding of each of those merit badges was the acknowledgement for their effort to earn them. I’ve always looked upon the awarding of Palms as BSA’s recognition of the Scout’s ongoing investment of time in their Scouting unit…. not merely another medal which duplicates the award of those MBs!

  3. No a fan of seeing a scout immediately earn palms. I always felt the most important part of earning a palm was not earning the merit badges but providing continuing service and leadership to the troop (or other BSA group) after earning Eagle. A centerpiece of the Eagle court of honor is reminding the young man that achieving the rank of Eagle Scout is not the end, but the beginning of providing service to others.

    If anything, I would have liked to see the elimination of the three palm colors and creation of a single color palm. Most scouts keep all of their earned palms on their ribbon or patch anyway – not to overstate what they have earned, but because they simply do not want to lose the palms.

    • YES- I have never seen Palms as just a record of how many extra MB they have earned. They have the badges- that is the reward there.
      To me, the focus of Palms was an indication the scout did more than the “Eagle done and run” that so many do. He stayed active. He continued to help others. That is huge since so many drop once they have Eagle.
      I’m feeling like the guys who put in the time after to earn their palms, now have that award trivialized by guys who only had to time it to earn extra MB before their Eagle board.

  4. question. my son has turned 18 and is waiting for his eagle board which is set after the 1st of august. he has earned 33 merit badges. can he be awarded a palm at his court of honor.

  5. Can you advise on a Scout who passes his Eagle BOR in late July (currently scheduled) but is not likely to be validated by National before Aug 1?

    • See my suggestions above. The EBoR date is the “anchor date” under the current requirements. So three months after that, as long as he hones his leadership skills in his troop or patrol, a scout with the requisite additional MBs can apply for a bronze palm.
      I’m pretty sure most scouts will not want to postpone their EBoR just to hasten palm acquisition!

      • Except in three weeks there won’t be a three month waiting period (other than having been active for the last three months). So, presuming that a youth has been active for the past three months, and has an Eagle BoR today and passes, then in three weeks that youth can earn all the palms that the youth has merit badges for, because the youth will meet the then-current requirements.

        • The word “since” is still in the requirement. So the scout will have to have been active for 3 months SINCE he became Eagle or SINCE he earned his last Eagle Palm.

    • I’d say schedule his BOR for after August 1. If taKen in July, his recognition date is not when National approves his application but rather the date of his BOR. This would make him ineligible for the changes, I’ve been advised, according to the article.

      • The new requirements go live Aug 1. If the youth meets the requirements that that point, according to the article, then the youth can earn as many palms as they have merit badges for. So if the BoR is taken in July, and the youth has been active for the past three months (and continues to be active, of course), then the youth will get all the palms that they’re entitled to in August.

        • Incorrect. Eagle BOR on August 1 or after, they get palms equal to the number they have at the time of the Eagle BOR. Palms erned aft the August 1 EBOR require 3 months still, and only 1 palm for every three months.

      • Yes but this does not help the scouts whom attained Eagle earlier this year and are still not 18. BSA needs to change this

    • How many merit badges has he earned? For one palm, just wait the three months. For 8 palms, delay the BOR.

  6. So, we have a Boy Scout “A” with 61 merit badges completed his Board of Review June 12th he turns 18 September 16th.
    So, we have a Boy Scout “B” with 51 merit badges will complete his Board of Review August 10th he turns 18, September 16th as well.
    With these requirements Scout “A” may earn a bronze palm and Scout “B” may earn two silver.
    Is that correct?

    • I was told that any who earn the Eagle before August 1 are not eligible for the new rule. Scout 1 has to use the three month rule and scout 2 gets a bunch of palms.

        • Bart you need to reread the rules and stop telling everyone the three month rule is gone. It is not. The only “out” to the three month rule is right at the point of earning eagle and it’s a one time thing. At the moment he earns eagle, the scout gets handed a now devalued palm for enough to use up any badges over 21. After that, the three months start for any future badges in palm increments.

    • I guess this would be a great teaching tool on how life is not fair and that procrastination could be very beneficial!

    • That is why I would like to see the change made retroactive to take care of the Scout who earned a bunch of Merit Badges before the change took place & had his EBOR before the 1 August 2017 change date. The current Eagle Scouts are limited to the number of months before they turn 18 for his palms. I know a Scout that earned 118 MBs before his EBOR in April 2017. He can only earn 10 palms (3 Silver & a Bronze) if he makes his SMC every 3 months. He will miss the 3-month mark for his 1st one because he will be at National Jambo as the SM did not want to do the SMC until he actually had 3 months as an Eagle. If the system was made retroactive to current Eagle Scouts under 18, the Scout would be immediately eligible for 6 Silvers & a Bronze plus any more that he earned between now and his 18th birthday. There is no incentive for him to earn any additional MBs because they will not give him any more palms under the current change. If made retroactive, he could still earn additional palms giving him even more incentive to earn MBs and show the leadership/responsibility along with the other requirements.

      The new palm system may make Eagle Scouts even less likely to continue to continue to show leadership in their units if they get a bunch of palms because they had a bunch of MBs at the time of their EBOR.

      • I agree 100%. They have made all the other new changes retroactive when implemented. Why not this also? I can see many scouts being frustrated by this change and becoming discouraged.

      • Are we reading the same article? Palms aren’t only awarded when a person gets Eagle — that’s when you earn as many as you can get, for the merit badges that you have. But you can still keep earning merit badges and keep earning palms, with no waiting requirement in between, other than having to be active (i.e. registered) for at least three months before you earn a palm.

        So, Jan/Feb/Mar, a boy is registered, earns five merit badges, and the boy earns a palm. The boy is still registered during April. Then in May, the boy finishes five more merit badges. The boy was active during the previous three months (Feb/Mar/Apr) and thus gets another palm.

        • Bart, the article clearly states under the new requirements that after being awarded the first round of palms that **Eagle Palms must be earned in sequence, and the three-month tenure requirement must be observed for each Palm.” This applies to subsequent palms.

      • The issue is that the new system will reward Scouts for earning a bunch of MBs before their Eagle BOR, but does not make it retroactive for Scouts who worked hard before Eagle if they are already an Eagle now. This is a Scout in our unit that had 118 MBs when he did his Eagle BOR in April 2017. The most palms he will be able to earn since he is 15 1/2 years old is 10 of them (which he probably will do so). If he would have waited 3 1/2 months to do his EBOR, he would have been awarded 19 palms (6 silver & a bronze as 19 X 5 = 95 MBs + 21 for Eagle = 116 MBs). If he would have been a little more “lazy,” he would have been rewarded with almost twice as many palms on the day of his EBOR + earning more between now & his 18th birthday. He is actually up to 121 MBs after the summer camp season so he could have received his 20th palm in November 2017 if he had waited until 1 August 2017 to do the EBOR. Now in November 2017, he will have only earned his 2nd plam instead of the 20th.

        • The Scout asked him to do on the next to last day of summer camp (about 2 weeks early), but was told he had to wait until the 3 months were up. This will add about 3 weeks to this 1st palm. A few more delays and he will end up with 9 instead of 10 palms. Still a good haul, but nothing like he could have gotten if he would have delayed his EBOR until after they got back from the National Jamboree and gotten 19 immediately under the new system effective at the start of August 2017.

        • H David Pendleton – That SM was completely in the wrong. The requirement is clear: “While an Eagle Scout, participate in a Scoutmaster conference.” The SM has no right to make the scout wait three months.

      • Yeah… my eldest son earned his Eagle at 17 and 7/8– due to his first project being cancelled by a firing at the project beneficiary! His Eagle BOR was further delayed by turnover at the council level, so didn’t happen until he was 18 + 2 months, in October, 2015. He had earned over 40 merit badges,by age 18, NYLT, WFA, Governors Honor Guard, 2 High Adventures, OA Brotherhood and attended NOAC — but the delays, all beyond his control, eliminated his ability to earn Eagle palms.

        He’s still active, registered in a Venture Crew, done two more High Adventures, earned Vigil and serves as Chapter and Lodge leadership in OA, and is “second adult” leading a scout group camping on a wilderness island this summer.

        So yeah, I absolutely believe this should be made retroactive for any Eagle who remains registered and active in the program. I absolutely believe it would be appropriate for him to be able to get the Eagle Palms he earned before age 18 and his BOR. They would be a lovely way to display his Merit Badge achievements as a Boy Scout, now that that MB sash is packed away forever.

        But– if it ain’t permitted, it ain’t permitted. His scouting experience won’t suffer. 🙂


        • Jean, your Scout does not need any palms, kudos, halos, etc. In my opinion he has had a charmed Scouting experience and should be proud. He will remember these experiences (good and bad- the best teacher ever) forever. There is one other thing – clearly he EARNED what he received. I have many Scouts who Eagle with low badge totals, they are commonly the most proficient ones. Well rounded, core program kids who have all the skills. Sound familiar ? I like your last sentence the best….. Daniel

    • No. “A” will get his Eagle as of June 12th. Then on Aug 1, presuming he was active May, June, July, he would meet the then-current requirements and can wear both one gold and two silver palms.

      “B” will get his Eagle as of Aug 10, and presuming that he was active from May 10 through Aug 9, can immediately get two silver palms to go with his Eagle.

      • No, that’s not what the new rule says. If the Scout’s Eagle BOR took place before 8/1/17, that Scout will never be able to get multiple Palms in one shot, but will only be able to get one for every 5 MBs and 3 months post-Eagle.

  7. Bryan, can we have a story on how it was decided that this revision was needed?
    Who was surveyed?
    I certainly didn’t see any Voice of the Scout questions on the topic.

    • It was probably demanded by an adult in our troop who did the work for his son’s eagle and hounded the scoutmaster till he signed off on it, and now wants this son to get palms even though he rarely comes to meetings or does anything with scouts.

    • I am REALLY torn on this.
      – LOVE the change to eliminate the BOH
      – LOVE the change to allow BSA service, vs just TROOP service..
      – Not in love with the “insta-palm”

      This change in the rule is going to almost instantly be “gamed” by the scouts….
      It is now to their ADVANTAGE to delay their E-BOR, and Project till closer till their 18th birthday.
      There is no incentive to work for it earlier (say 16), and then have something to continue pushing them.

      I would recommend ONE change to this: They can be award a max of 1 palm at their E-COH. Same spirt of the above rule change, but doesn’t eliminate the only direct-incentive to stay an active part of the troop after earning their Eagle.

      Yes, there are JASM roles, yes there are leadership roles. But the vast majority of youth today, as we know, flip a life-style switch at 16… and get significantly separated from scouting….

      Also it is a shame there is no type of grace, or retro period on this. I have a VERY deserving scout, that due to many factors… just had his E-BOR last week. He is 18 in August, and leaves for college. He won’t earn any palms. I have three Life Scouts, in progress of getting their projects completed, and will E-BOH probably by years end.. One will get 4 Palms, one will get 2, the other will get at least 2 possibly 4, depending on his results from summer camp and an MBU…..

      • No, it’s not in their advantage. Getting Eagle doesn’t mean that you can’t earn more palms, it just means that you get all the palms that you would be entitled to based on the number of merit badges earned.

    • They make whatever changes they want. They have “watered down” requirements and changed scouting from its traditional roots all in an effort to be more politically correct and attract more individuals…not working out

      • This one I don’t see in the Political Correct arena, or will directly attract more scouts. In my opinion, it will have a reverse effect, and we could LOSE scouts. I love that they can now use Venture, Varsity, or Sea Scout time to be considered Active… that is great, and needed to help those programs continue to grow. I love that the Troop BOR, has a little less burden on something that was a meer technicality. These scouts still have to put in YEARS of work to get to this point, but I see this opening a door for a quicker exit for older scouts…

        I can clearly see the goal for the BOR, and BSA Service… but I don’t see the full reasoning behind granting any number of palms at the E-COH, but then requiring them to stick to the three month rule afterwards.

        • Sea Scout, Varsity, and Venturing always counted towards POR requirements.

 states ‘All Boy Scout awards, merit badges, badges of rank,
          and Eagle Palms are only for registered Boy Scouts,
          Varsity Scouts, and Lone Boy Scouts; and also for
          qualified Venturers or Sea Scouts who are not yet 18
          years old. Venturers and Sea Scouts qualify by achieving
          First Class rank as a Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or Lone

 States ” For a Varsity Scout team, the committee member
          responsible for advancement, the advancement
          program manager (youth), and the Coach serve on
          the board. Composition for Boy Scout rank or Palm
          boards of review held in Venturing crews or Sea
          Scout ships is the same as that for Boy Scout troops.”

          What is new is OA, Summer Camp Staff, and elsewhere. OA chapter chief, lodge chief, lodge executive board member, etc didn’t count. District and Council VOA positions didn’t count. Summer camp staff didn’t count.

  8. Disappointing that Aug 1 does not allow all active Eagle Scouts to do a one time palm submission
    We’ll have 2 year Eagle Scouts who will have fewer palms but more badges than newer eagles
    Seems unfair
    I understand the three medical month requirement for all after August 2017

    • I agree. We have 2 scouts in our troop that will be very disappointed. They earned their Eagles young, had numerous extra merit badged, and have simply been waiting on the time requirements. Seems unfair to these 2 that others will be warded with more palms than they have been able to EARN.

  9. Simplifying it’s good if you what to amplify.
    We always need to remember they are youth growing to adulthood; and merit earned still merit to be awarded.

  10. So, if Scout A has earned 60 merit badges, and completes his board of review in July, and scout B earned 36 merit badges and completes his Board of Review Aug 1 (or later), then scout B will be awarded three eagle palms (immediately upon completion of his BOR) even though he has earned fewer merit badges. Scout A will not be allowed to earn palms retroactively (according to the Q&A), so he will have to wait three months for each palm. Seems a bit unfair to scout A, who did much more work, and simply earned his Eagle a month earlier.

  11. The way I understood them, Eagle Palms were about a lot more than earning a bunch of the “fun” merit badges. They were a way to recognize service to a scouts’ unit above and beyond what is expected. These changes have now put them more into a “participation award” category. Very disappointing.

  12. If a scout earned merit badges before his Eagle court of honor, he should also be awarded the Palms earned. The three month tenure should apply for the merit badges earned after the Eagle court of honor.

  13. So let me get this right – It appears that after Aug 1, if you worked hard and were active, you are awarded and recognized for work done – Great!! However, if you worked hard, you have to wait potentially for months to be awarded and recognized for your work. Seems to me that there could have been a one-shot “catch-up” opportunity period for “Active” Scouts to reconcile this and have all Eagle Scouts on the same page, versus having tracking for “Palms before August 1, 2017”.

      • Thank you for sharing that link – very informative to see the feedback they sought out prior to making this change. I certainly hope they got additional feedback after that point, but with almost 2000 respondents in the original survey, the response was very clear, but certainly not followed. Very disappointing. We don’t have many Eagles during my tenure in our troop, so I’m not persoanlly experienced in this area, but this doesn’t seem like the right direction.

      • The survey also shows 94 percent of respondents rated the requirement of three months tenure as “very important” or “important”

      • I do not think the folks who created the new policy actually reviewed ALL of the results. Folks wanted tenure and leadership. AND they did not want to include time while Life Scout to earn palms

        Further no stats are given regarding BORs and SMCs

    • “However, if you worked hard, you have to wait potentially for months to be awarded and recognized for your work.”

      No, the waiting period was removed. But you do have to have been active. It never says that these are exclusive active periods. If you are active Jan/Feb/Mar and earn five merit badges, you get a palm. Then if you’re active April and May and finish five more merit badges, then because you were active Mar/Apr/May you get another palm. I.e. if you’re active, then as soon as you finish five merit badges you earn a palm.

      • You can’t earn the next palm until 3 months after earning the last palm. The waiting period was not removed for palms earned after attaining the rank of Eagle.

    • Exactly! What can we do so that BSA reconsiders the retroactive portion for active Eagle scouts today?

  14. I have a scout who turned 18 on June 1, 2017. He has completed all his Eagle requirements, but hasn’t had his BOR yet. If he has his BOR after 8/1/17, would he be eligible for palms? He has 20 more than he needs for Eagle.

    • I believe he would have to get a letter from Council to National telling why the board is so late. But with all the watering down of the requirements, they will probably do it.

    • james B. You have 90 days after turning 18 to have your Eagle Board without explanation or a request for extension. So YES, he can have his board in AUG and qualify for this rule change (get his palms at his Eagle Court). He would receive one Silver and one Bronze Palm in this situation.

    • I know in our Council they don’t do Eagle BORs in July. So if the scout did not schedule his BOR in June than it would be in August here.

  15. So if a scout has been given his Eagle board of review in January 2017 and he has 20 additional merit badges he has already earned, he has to wait the 3 months increments for every 5 badges to get his palms, but a scout that has 20 additional merit badges and gets his Eagle Board of Review in August 2, 2017 can get all of his palms at the same time?

    This makes no sense and punishes the scout who got his Eagle before 2017. Why reward one set of Eagle Scouts and punish another for not making this retroactive?

    This does not seem fair.

  16. Well… gonna go ahead and say it… not a fan. I’ve read through the comments and got an insight on some of the view points and scenarios. I do believe a scout should be recognized for their achievements…or over achievements… but I don’t think immediate palms was the way to do it. How about a number on the ribbon that represents above and beyond 21 and on three month intervals of service, pin palms?

  17. I am 17 and an Eagle candidate whose board of review is on July 20th. I don’t necessarily think that the implementation of getting the palms immediately will end as they hope. I have over 40 merit badges, so if I was eligible for this under the new rule I would get a gold and silver 2. By changing the time requirement, the idea of giving back to scouting once you are an Eagle is taken away a little, as they could get three or four immediately, and don’t need more. Also, many of my friends have already become Eagles and are either still active or turned 18 already, and if I was able to use these new rules to get gold and silver 2 immediately it wouldn’t necessarily feel fair and right.
    As for my advice, don’t let this new policy degrade Eagle, you should have your board of review as soon as you can and not push it off because of something National did. I am still going July 20.

    • Joey – Your maturity shines through your comment. I know how I’d vote if I were on your EBOR. Good luck with your BOR and your future.

  18. I am gutted. Without a “true-up” for present Eagles under 18, there is now a 2-class system. I’ve had scouts scrambling to meet dates to make sure BORs happened before birthdays over the years. I’ve got 4 scouts in my troop between 15 and 17 with 60, 70, 80+ MBs all on “timeclocks” who Eagled before August 1st, 2017. This is HUGE disincentive to them, because they are not allowed a “CATCH UP” at their next Palm SMC/BOR. There needs to be an August 1. TRUE UP clause!

    • I like the true-up idea. We have a scout that earned his Eagle in January 2016 a month before he turned 14. He has already lost the opportunity for a palm because of delays in Nor. He is waiting for his 2nd silver which will be his first palm with a merit badge earned after Eagle. If these rules were in effect when he got his Eagle he’d be waiting on his 11th palm in stead of his 6th. He would be able to get closer to the max number of palms. He does have the merit badges. He’s wants to get them all.

    • Shocked I got some down arrows, and wanted to clarify, I do NOT actually want the “true-up” , as I think “palms @ eagle” is bad bad bad BAD! BUT if this must be, at least allow this to be retroactive for eagle scouts still active in program. Any policy that creates “strategy” to radically affect awards received is going to promote bad behaviors and unfair actions… I would MUCH PREFER to see palms always awarded every 3 months until their 5-badge batches & leadership tenure has expired. If we want to reward those with badges and service for the age-18 Eagles, allow service to units go until 21 for the tenure (but all MBs earned before 18) that way, IF those aged-18 Eagles who have 50-60-70 badges, stay as an ASM or OA Youth+ or Venturer or Sea Scout they can earn the palms until 21. (They could be a unit leader after that, so I think stopping at age 21, giving them essentially the option to earn 12 palms by service extension is enough recognition.) My greatest concern is the disincentives for the continuously active and achieving, when we now have a system which rewards, and we all know of a handful, those scouts who after 6 months of leadership/service as Life, check-out, disappearing at 14-15-16 whenever, only to reappear with 3.1 months to go, and race through the project and Personal Management/Personal Fitness/Family Life and maybe Communications and some of the Cits, for those day-before-18th-birthday SMCs. Before this policy, I have given the sobering-but-not-devastating (“Hey, you ARE getting Eagle!”) talk: “Look how well you did, all of this in 3months! If you had just worked like this sophomore summer and been done then, you would have gotten X palms” Even age 18 Eagle I have said that to understands, recognizes, and learns from that. Now that lesson is moot, even “old-fashioned” “Wow, Eagle AND I pick up those palms for free.” I understand we want to prevent the racing eagles at 11 who only do it for huge palm totals, but those scouts who are earning Eagle at the 1950s average age of 14-15 are getting screwed. We are actively encouraging the Eagle BOR delay. I rarely make “sky is falling” type comments but I am dreading the fallout when not only am I dealing with last minute Eagle candidates, but also the flagging motivations from those accomplishing many things without concern for strategy who are not rewarded in the same manner.

    • The “true up” clause would at least make things fair. Great idea. I hope someone from BSA looks at this feed.

  19. I really wish was retro active, I earned approx 40 merit badges but didn’t finish my eagle project til 17&1/2.

  20. I also agree that the change should be retro active to include the Merit Badges earned prior to the EBoR. After the EBoR requiring the 3 month active is appropriate, but perhaps make it so that if a boy earns 10,15, etc… MB’s between the EBoR and the 3 month mark that 2,3, etc… palms could be awarded at once. I would hope that the boys join early and are active for a long time, but some don’t crossover from Cubs and are trying to “catch up.” Alos, If a boys is able to do multiple Summer Camps or MB intensives and completes multiple MB’s in a short time they should be able to apply those to Palms even after they have completed the EBoR. I could easily see an example where a boy earns their Eagle in the spring and completes multiple MB’s over the summer but can’t apply all of them to palms due to time requirements.

    • I think this is the best idea for a change out of all the comments! It rewards boys for the extra work they put in before Eagle (lets them earn palms for all extra merit badges), keeps them engaged after Eagle (six month time and leadership requirements), and rewards them for working hard during their time requirements (awarding palms for all merit badges earned during their 6 month wait). Why didn’t National consult you before making this change?! Genius!

  21. We have active eagle scouts in our troop that have earned merit badges in the 40’s before their EBOR. So National is going to tell them tough and award Eagles after August 1st a slew of palms? What is National thinking? A scout that had his Eagle Board in July isn’t worthy but the one in August is? What BSA is doing is making palms irrelevant. Go back and fix this BSA. You know what to do.

    • What you’ve identified isn’t the only problem with the change either. The other problem is this actually encourages delaying the Eagle Board of Review. A scout is now better off to do his BOR as late as possible and get all his palms based simply on merit badge count at that time. Otherwise, after BOR, all the extras must be fulfilled to earn the palms.

      Here’s an example
      OptionA – scout gets his Eagle at age 16 with 21 merit badges, then he earns 15 more merit badges and each time must fulfill the requirements of being awarded a palm.
      OptionB – scout finishes his Eagle at age 16 with 21 merit badges but delays BOR while working on additional merit badges. Scout finishes 15 more merit badges, then schedules BOR. Scout bypasses the requirements of being awarded palms and receives them anyway.

    • Yes! It completely devalued the palms! Now a palm will just say a scout had a stack of badges and nothing more. My son eagled a long time ago and plans to earn every badge but the important part of the palms was that he stuck around the troop and served as a leader and helped the younger ones learn and grow. Isnt the whole guise of Scouting that it is boy led and wasn’t the point of the honor of a palm that the scout actually stuck around and paid it back to those behind him? Now the scouts can drop out and do nothing until they get closer to 18 and then reregister for six months and leave with more palms than another scout who earned his eagle before 8/1. And they no longer have any meaning beyond a summary of extra badges. This is really sad. The whole pat on the back for paying it forward is gone so how many older, trained scouts will there be for future troops?

      • Kary,
        Bingo, you hit the nail right smack dab in the middle of the head!
        Prior to August 1, 2017 Eagle palms showed us an Eagle scout who stuck around & gave back to his unit & Boy Scouts of America & worked on a few more merit badges beyond the 21 & done needed for Eagle. After August 1, 2017 they are nothing more then “Insta- merit badge palms” Those palms after Eagle (needing the minimum 3 month activity), are true Eagle Palms.
        We have a current Life scout in our troop who has 48 merit badges who we have not seen in the 2 1/2 years that we’eve been at our new troop. He came back a few months ago, worked on his Eagle project & will turn 18 in October. He’ll receive 5 “Insta- Eagle Palms” for these 48 merit badge & not have had to give back to his unit/scouting in order to receive them.

        • Thanks. Frankly, I don’t even see the point of the palms now. If they are just a tally of badges in increments of five with no purpose to involvement in scouts, then aren’t they just redundant next to the badges they represent? My son had over 70 badges when he earned his eagle and can’t even earn enough palms to use those up but he was still proud of the ones he has and will still “get” – as opposed to when we used to say “earned”. Now those that he already has earned suddenly mean nothing more than that he earned five badges. There is no distinguishing those palms earned from the new instapalms so all prior palms lose their own meaning and respect. So sad BSA, so sad. A year from now when you see a scout with some number of palms, are you going to nod with respect or just think “instapalm”?

  22. So a scout that has earned say 61 Merit Badges when he did his Eagle BOR before Agust1, would have to wait 2 years to earn the available Palms for those additional badges? While a scout that does his Eagle BOR after Augsut1 with 61 Merit Badges would have all of his palms at once. Doesn’t seem quite fair! Both Scouts worked just as hard to earn those Merit Badges. The Scout that earned his Eagle later would wind up having more Palms than the scout that earned his Eagle first.

    • Lee, You have basically just described my son’s situation perfectly. At this time he has 64 merit badges.
      He had his Board of Review on Oct. 13th, 2016 and his Eagle Ceremony on Jan. 8th, 2017. He turned 16 this past Feb. The way it stands now, He needs two more merit badges (which he is working on), at which point he will get his last (3rd Silver) just before his 18th birthday. And with the new requirement, A scout with say 40 merit badges and has their board after August 1st, will load up on palms, and never be seen again at a scout function, while my son sits and wait for 2 years to get all of his palms. This need to be changed and made to be retro active.
      This is a dumb move in the part of the BSA.

  23. 1. The non-retroactive rule is COMPLETELY unfair to pre-Aug 1 Scouts, and
    2. The “Insta-Palms” gives Scouts no reason to return!

    1. I feel sorry for those Scouts who worked hard to earn all of the MBs they could, and now – at the 11th hour (as this is just now being announced…and being announced mid-year, no less…is there a Scout of a BSA Executive who needed this?!?) – are being told that just because they didn’t wait X months for their Eagle BOR, they can’t get the Palms they earned, but the later ones can.

    2. Although my sons will be (and have been) able to earn all of the Palms they are eligible for, my youngest has at least a little more motivation to keep active in Scouting. He had 55+ MBs when he had his Eagle BOR…but few camps or MB fairs offer MBs outside of what he’s already earned (and he’s not really motivated to earn more on his own), so if he had received almost all of them at his Eagle COH, why bother to come back?

    Palms are a milestone that keep Scouts engaged. If he had gotten all the Palms he earned at his Eagle BOR, I’m not sure he would have stayed as active in the Troop (or the OA)! Scouts also like to be recognized at COH’s. Now, these Scouts will have less to be recognized for in the future…and isn’t that a part of Scouting? Recognition?

    In addition, if they know they can get Palms, they work the timelines backwards and think about when they need to get their Eagle by to get all of their Palms which can be a motivator for them to complete their Eagle.

    I also believe that if a Scout says he’s an Eagle with 4 Palms (or however many), that means something…it means he made a commitment to his Troop long after he got his Eagle and paid it forward.

    Now the BSA has just watered that meaning down…

    • Yes! Palms will now just be an accounting of a total number of badges and symbolize nothing about leadership contribution to the scouts in his troop.

  24. Here’s my thought…
    Add a totally different color palm (black, red/white/blue, etc.) that can be the insta-palm to be awarded at the Eagle COH for those bulk MBs earned before the Eagle BOR date. Everything after the Eagle BOR needs to be earned as typical 5 badges/participation for Bronze, Gold, Silver.

    • I like this idea!!! Rewards those that had a bunch of MBs before Eagle and continues the tradition of the Bronze, Gold, Silver, for those after.

  25. What about an Eagle Scout that has earned every merit badge (or at least had until the Exploration merit badge was introduced in early 2017, which this Eagle Scout is currently working on)? There is an Eagle Scout in my troop that at the time he completed his Eagle Scout board of review, he had earned enough merit badges for 5 palms. However, due to the soon-to-be old rules, he had to wait a total of 1 year and 3 months after his Eagle board of review date to get these 1st 5 palms. Up to this point (7-10-2017), he has earned 5 complete sets of palms and under the soon-to-be old rules would only qualify for one more palm (his 6th Bronze) in mid-August 2017 since he turns 18 in mid-October 2017. However, he has earned enough merit badges that qualifies him for 7 complete sets of palms plus an 8th Bronze and 8th Gold. If these new rules were in effect when this Scout earned his Eagle rank (on 8-14-2013), I guess he would be qualifying for his 7th Silver on 8-14-2017 instead of just his 6th Bronze. I pretty much know what the answer will be, he still will only be able to receive his 6th Bronze. However, I just wished there was a way he could received these other palms (his 6th Gold, 6th Silver, complete 7th set, 8th Bronze, 8th Gold) he has the merit badges for but doesn’t have the available time left to earn them..

    • Same situation that the Scout in our troop who earned his Eagle at 15 1/2 with 118 Merit Badges. He will have time for 10 palms before he ages out. If he would have waited until August 2017 (Age 15 years, 10 months) to do his EBOR instead of April 2017, he would have been awarded 6 Silvers & a Bronze (total of 19) Palms. His “reward” for earning his Eagle “early” was that he will be able to earn only 10 palms before aging out if he continues on in the troop or another Scouting unit making the requirements. His Cub Scout den mates who currently have 51-61 Merit Badges each will receive 6-8 palms after their ECOH without ever having to show one additional minute of leadership.

    • I agree…they should have some in-between…or a way to acknowledge that these Scouts earned MBs…but earning Palms isn’t just about MBs – it’s about demonstrating Leadership in the Troop/OA/Crew/etc *after* Eagle has been earned.

  26. I do have to interject something here. Palms DO NOT necessarily tell the whole story. Time will show you that I could only earn 1 Silver and 1 Gold Palm. I earned my Eagle Scout one week before my 16th birthday. However, I earned all 119 Merit Badges that were available at the time of my 18th birthday. National does not recognize this achievement. And while I know it is a rare feat, a Knot is in existence that would recognize this accomplishment. National should endorse this Knot as an exemplary and extra-ordinary feat. (It was fun to do, by the way!)

    • “Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”

      ― David McCullough Jr.

    • I don’t think a knot is necessary to show that someone earned “all” the Merit Badges. The number continues to fluctuate as the anniversary MBs are phased out and newer ones come on line.

      National needs to decide what the palms are meant to represent. With this change, it appears that they are to represent two different things. One is that the number of MBs earned before Eagle; and the number of MBs earned after Eagle but there is no way to tell based on the palms being worn. I believe there was a 14-year old Scout back East that earned all the MBs at the age of 14, but don’t remember where in the process the Scout earned his Eagle. If done beforehand, he could have received the equivalent of about 21 palms and left his troop never to be seen again to help provide leadership for the younger Scouts in his Troop.

      If we were to ever run across that Scout, we would never be able to tell whether his 7 silver palms meant he was a young Eagle who gave back to his troop or a Scout that earned Eagle late leading his troop until he turned 18.

      • My son was that young man. Despite all the challenges of high school, varsity sports, extracurricular activities, and a job, he stayed active, went on some campouts, summer camp, and is about to go to Sea Base a 2nd time. His Troop only allows SM conferences on campouts, but he still EARNED 9. He was a 13 year old Eagle. If he had waited until Aug 1 of this year, when he’s still 17, he would be GIVEN 23 palms. FaFair? You can read his words later in this list.

  27. I am almost 70 years old and received my Eagle at age 15 completing 27 merit badges. Am I eligible to receive one palm now?

  28. Yep, unfortunately we will be seeing the “lawyers” coming out of the woods on this. It really does gnaw a bit at the “fairness” of the lack of dealing with the retroactive scouts. Over time it will shake out, but in the short term, we are going to see a great deal of complaining and as noted, even legal threats. Perhaps National will review one more time and tweak it to properly deal with the obvious uneven decision.

    • I am not a lawyer, and don’t portray one…. I am a Scoutmaster, who just lost one of the tools that we had to encourage scouts to stick around after they earned their Eagle. (which is tough challenge as it is). Also opening the door immediately for some really tough discussions possibly with some youth and their families, who just completed their E-BOR (successfully)… as compared to some that will do theirs next month, and be under different rules.

      There has got to be a way to tweak this just a little bit… I understand the spirit of most of the changes.
      I would be okay, with just 1 palm can be “earned” pre-Eagle and awarded at the E-COH. But theoretically being able to have 4,5,10 palms recognized… doesn’t seem right and fair…. and discussing “fair” is often the case when we are dealing with 11-18 year old youth, who are torn by multiple opportunities for their time

      • Look at it from another point of view. A scout who earned a lot of MB’s early on and who then slowed down and fell backwards into his Eagle rank could coast under the old rules, earning a new palm every three months without earning a single extra MB after his Eagle rank. Under the new rules, if the scout wants more Palm bling, then he has to earn more MB’s.

        As Citizens of the Nation, Congress passes laws all the time. By the very nature of laws, those who have the most tightly vested interests associated with those laws see them as fair or unfair. With BSA there have been recent changes in the Cub Scouting program, one in particular that affected First Year Webelos, and more recently the introduction of the 13th edition of the BSA Handbook with its extended requirements. Boys who joined January 1, 2016 had a more extensive path to first class than those who joined on December 31, 2015.

        • That’s not true. The scouts dont simply get handed the palms under the old rules. They earned them by being involved with the troop after getting their eagle – by sticking around after they got older and had sports, girls, cars, whatever to distract and pull them in twenty directions. They had to stay a part of the troop and, by doing so, the younger scouts could be scout-led because there were older scouts staying involved. Here here for the adult scouters who put in all they do but the better spirit of Scouting is when the adults don’t have to do as much because the older scouts stay involved and do the leading and teaching. Now, where is the carrot offered to the scouts that stick around? When they are adults, they will understand it was the right thing to do to stay involved and pay it forward but these are teenage boys and a meaningful pat on the back has been taken away.

    • My problem here is I’m trying to wrap my head around why National would make such a poorly thought out decision that is blatantly uneven. A little more tweaking could have made a workable policy instead of telling active Eagles with a BOR before August that they’re not worthy. Let them lawyer up. Someone has to let National know how stupid this draft is!

  29. Q: Four months before his 18th birthday a Scout successfully completed his Eagle board of review with a total of only 21 merit badges although he had numerous partials he was working on. After his board of review he completed 10 additional merit badges. Can he receive a Bronze and a Gold Palm at the end of the three months?

    A: After the Eagle board of review, the Scout must meet all the requirements, including three months tenure between each Palm. In this case he is only eligible to receive a Bronze Palm.

    It seems to me that they he should be eligible to receive a gold palm, not a bronze palm, and certainly not a bronze and a gold palm.

    • You have to earn them in order. First additional 5 = bronze, second additional 5 = gold. In the example, he earned 10 more badges, so after 3 months he earns the bronze, then after three more months he earns the gold.

  30. I think I have this completely absorbed. One scenario is still unclear to me. What about the scout who has his Eagle BOR after his 18th birthday after August 1, 2017? Is he eligible for any palm(s)?

    And enough. The debate seems to be over and these are the new rules. There are many more changes in life that are even more unfair and that actually affect your life and will affect the lives of scouts in adulthood. The BSA is not a cafeteria organization where you pick and choose what you want such as following only 10 of 12 points of the scout law or choosing only 5 of 8 of the methods or a no PFD exception for BSA trained lifeguards on an ocean kayaking outing. The goal of the program is that the boy becomes a better person because of scouting – everything else is just window dressing. If the bling is that important, then go to eBay and buy it and issue it with your private requirements.

    Please do not lose track of the program. Learning is its own reward. Just because sewing is not a skill required on the trail to First Class nor part of an Eagle required MB does not mean that is not an important life skill and one that can be used to sew the bling.

  31. How is having to wait for Eagle Palms any different than having to wait to earn a rank? Your can’t earn Star until you have been a 1st class for 4 months, even if you met all other requirements. Maybe we should just do away with all time requirements then we can have 11 year old Eagles, you know because they need instant recognition and they get busy once they get to junior high.

    I also don’t think it is fair to basically punish those scouts who earned Eagle before Aug. 1st, by making them wait the 3 months to earn each of their Eagle Palms, but instantly recognize those that earn Eagle after August 1. As it is now, if a scout has his BOR on July 31 and has earned 31 merit badges he will have to wait 6 months to earn those 2 Eagle Palms. But a similar scout who has his Eagle Board of review on Aug.1,and had earned the same 31 merit badges will automatically earn 2 Eagle Palms. Both boys did the same about of work but by chance one scout had his EBOR 1 day before the cut off and now must wait 6 months for the recognition.

  32. My son’s earned 11 and 7 Eagle Palms respectively. That was the absolute max they could earn before hitting 18. With these new guidelines they could have earned many more.

  33. I was one of those Scouts that got his Eagle at age 16 with over 60 merit badges earned. As the first one from my troop to get Eagle that far before age 18, my troop committee wasn’t sure if I needed to earn five new merit badges after Eagle or if five of the ones I had earned and not used for Eagle could count. That cost me one palm. Looking back, it is not an issue but this new method is just another way to recognize a Scout for his hard work. It also keeps it simple. I say, “Kudos!”

    • Wayne. same thing happened to our then 16 yo Eagle scout who had 5 palms when we moved to a new unit in another state. (He has100 MB’s) they told him he could “wait as he already had 5 Palms”. He waited 9 weeks until he finally had his Eagle Palm SMR & Eagle palm BOR, They kept putting him off each week & told him they had other scouts that had been in a unit who they were going to “get to” before him even though he was ready every week. Each week one of the “old scouts” would come up & ask for a SMC or BOR and they would take them instead of my son who was “on the books until they had time”. Eagle palms were a rarety in this troop as most Eagle Scouts earn the 21 & done needed for Eagle.

      • SC, that is so very wrong and unscout like of that new group you went to. Most definitely that troop’s fault for any advancement problems for your son. If you ever have problems go to the Council office!!

  34. I would like to thank National for coming up with an idea that will further dilute the meaning of being a Boy Scout. Thank you!

    I do have a heart. I do see why a scout would think it unfair that they worked very hard to earn merit badges but could not earn any palms because they became Eagle Scouts at an older age.

    The creation of the “Eagle Palm” was a great idea. The 3 month waiting period to earn palms kept Eagle Scouts engaged with their Troops. They were able to earn awards while at the same time, they gave back to scouting. Again, a great idea.

    So, a better solution than to simply dilute the meaning for a scout who worked hard for months or years and earned one or more palms should have been created.
    We out here are unpaid volunteers but you guys have salaries. Go back and come up with a better plan!!
    We know that you probably won’t because of politics, ego, etc.

    Many of us know deserving Eagle Scouts who, through no fault of their own, became Eagle Scouts closer to age 18 than they would have wanted.
    However, many more of us know Eagle Scouts who were either too busy engaged in other activities and therefore could not earn Eagle Palms.
    Or, they lost interest in scouting, perhaps at age 14 and then suddenly became “interested” in scouting once again at age 17.

    Again, thank you National for diluting the award for those Eagle Scouts who earned Palms the hard way.
    But what do I know, I’m only an unpaid volunteer.

  35. Sadly, Because of the non-retroactive restriction, my son who didn’t procrastinate will only be allowed to earn a maximum of 4 Eagle Palms (he has enough for 6), whereas his friends who are just starting/finishing their Eagle will get the full maximum before he earns his 4. It’s not the same award without the 3 month activity requirement (especially for older Scouts), so why don’t you change the name to something other than Eagle Palm?

  36. Totally understand the frustration, but I also see the reality. My sons (now 15 &17) both earned Eagle at 13 (a debate for another day) and one now has 138 merit badges and the other 135. Had they waited until 17 yrs 364 days, they would have earned Eagle and a basic boatload of Palms. Truth be told, the only time either of them have ever actually worn the palms is the ONE time we had a formal portrait taken of the two with all of their awards. Of course, 9 palms for my older son and 4 and counting for my younger son has been taken as a sign that they stayed involved (3 mos/palm), cared about others, helped move other Scouts along the Trail to Eagle, etc. Many Scouts will now get those same 9 and 4+ palms without doing one moment of work beyond Eagle. That said, nothing will ever replace the looks they get from young Scouts when they see the sashes for the first time AND my sons turn around to show nearly full backsides of sashes we modified to hold 75 on each side. Nor will any number of palms replace the thanks they receive at Eagle projects and Courts of Honor for younger Scouts they helped along the way. I do think this is a terribly unfair decision, but only because it robs Scouts of the incentive to stay involved!

    • Tim, You have hit the nail on the head regarding Eagle Palms and what is lost in the way they will be awarded after August 1 to new Eagle Scouts. “Of course, 9 palms for my older son and 4 and counting for my younger son has been taken as a sign that they stayed involved (3 mos/palm), cared about others, helped move other Scouts along the Trail to Eagle, etc.” Eagle palms shows a scout has not ditched scouting & “Eagled out” as so many scouts do. (Ran as fast as they could once they earned their Eagle rank.) Without these older scouts staying arund to mentor younger scouts, teaching them what they have learned where would the scouting program be? After all…. don’t we strive to have boy lead, adult guided troops?

      • Thanks for the comment. Shared this with my two sons. Their reaction: “So some Scout with every merit badge at Eagle will get 23 palms without being active after Eagle, while the current high mark (21 palms) stayed involved 5 years after Eagle”. My sons and I go to Sea Base in August. I had hoped to use palms as a tool to keep my 15 year old involved. Not much incentive when the Scout who did nothing after Eagle will have 23 and SEVERAL in his Troop will have 6+ by delaying Eagle. Sad.

        • I believe I have the perfect example of the inequality of not making this change retroactive to Scouts currently under the age of 18. I have 3 Scouts all in the same Troop, and all will be high school seniors this fall. The first earned his Eagle shortly before turning 16. He has gone on to be the Chair of his local OA Chapter and is currently working as a camp counselor at a local summer camp, while continuing to be active in the Troop. He currently can only earn 8 total Palms before aging out, despite completing 106 merit badges, most of which were earned before his Eagle BOR. The second Scout just earned his Eagle in May. He has completed roughly 50 merit badges, but will only get credit for 3 Palms before aging out under the old guidelines. Both of these first two Scouts were Senior Patrol Leaders in their Troop. The third Scout also has roughly 50 merit badges. He has the bare minimum in leadership as either the Troop Historian or Librarian, and needed adult assistance from the District in completing his Eagle project. He delayed finishing his project and write-up until recently due to other non-Scouting priorities. He most likely will now earn his Eagle shortly before aging out as he is the oldest of the three, and now will receive 8 Palms automatically at his Eagle COH, and at least on paper, appears to have the same qualifications as the other two. As the Advancement Chair for the Troop, how do I explain this inequality to the first two Scouts and their parents? I can’t. This change is completely unfair and clearly awards the lazy. We also now have different “classes” of Eagle Scouts for the first time, which makes no sense. I agree with tweaking the leadership requirements and getting rid of a BOR in which the Scout and the adults have nothing left to talk about, but automatically awarding the Palms at an Eagle COH was completely unnecessary.

        • Tell your son that by staying active & giving back to his unit not only is he helping the younger scouts learn all the scout skills he has learned over the years but in turn they too will be helping mold him into a better leader.

    • I hope the only reason why scouts in your troop stay involved is not just for the palms. In our troop those who reach the rank of Eagle have came to earn an appreciation for the Scouting movement and stay active for years past them earning the rank of Eagle, palms or not. I would say that 90% of the scouts who earn Eagle in the past few years in our troop come to at least a couple meetings a year as an adult to see how things are going and talk with the adults. So I guess what I’m trying to say is palms in our troop are just a little bonus for earning Eagle early/ all the hard work, and don’t force kids to stay active in the troop, it’s the bonds to scouting and friends that keep them.

  37. Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” I think we can modify this quote slightly to apply to this situation. “You can PLEASE all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot PLEASE all the people all the time. I think it’s time to quit complaining and get on with our lives. In the scheme of things, this is not worth arguing over. Change will cause problems for certain people. It’s what change does. We need to move on to more important issues.

  38. Lets make it easier, wouldn’t want those boys who have earned there Eagle to stay around the Troops and pass on their experience to the younger Scouts. Lets keep making scouting easier and less important. Scouting is not about making Eagle Scouts, it is about making youth into good citizens and respectful young men. The woosification of Scouting is making it harder to be a part of this once great organization. Lord Baden Powell must be having nightmares.

  39. My son will have his Eagle Board of Review tonight. He has 60 merit badges. Disappointing that if he waited a couple weeks for his BOR he could get palms for his extra MB’s and instead will have to wait 3 months to earn his first one.

    • I go back to earning Palms isn’t just about MBs – it’s about demonstrating Leadership in the Troop/OA/Crew/etc *after* Eagle has been earned. But I still don’t think this rule is right…

  40. Like mentioned by a number of people, I don’t like the fact that current scouts who earned Eagle before this change can’t submit for the palms that they would have been recognized for if the had their BOR after August 1st.

    On the other hand:

    I earned my Eagle at 17, with a few days to spare before I turned 18, in 1987 with the basic 21 merit badges needed.

    Thirty years later, the question is: Are you an Eagle Scout?
    Not: How many palms did you earn?

  41. Many troops have become Eagle factories to get all the kids through before the Chartering Org shuts them down because of the constant weakening of the values that once were the standard of Scouting. I believe the Eagle badge will not mean anything in 5-10 years outside scouting since even old Eagles do not respect the watered down requirements. A boy does not have to plan his eagle project anymore, all he has to do it provide a 10,000 foot overview and then show up for the project, he doesn’t learn real world skills from that. He should still have to make the complete plan, and take it before the benefactor, scoutmaster, troop committee, and district to get approved, that teaches him the planning necessary to complete a project in the real world. This is gone, too. Scouting values are in a downward spiral. Everyone must get the trophy and eagle is the trophy so any requirements that require work or study will soon be eliminated from the requirements for this entitled generation.

    • Talk to the staff adviser of your district or council advancement team. The Scout must lead the project. He must still have his unit leader, committee, benefactor, and district validate his plans. I’d suggest looking into the way your district operates EBORs because it seems that there is confusion on the requirements somewhere.

      • That changed in 2014, see this link from this site:

        I don’t agree with it, I have had scouts build bridges and decks that were intended to support 30 people on the bridge and 50 people on the deck, in the detailed planning, both intended to use 2×4 ‘s as main support beams, and one had the approval of his beneficiary while the other would have received a rubber stamp approval had he asked for it. Neither beneficiary had any idea of how to support people or what a 2×4 was for that matter. If either of these projects was built, people could have been hurt by an Eagle project. BTW, the bridge was built, and the other scout built recycling bins instead, he didn’t have time to put in a foundation and build the deck in 3 weeks before ins 18th birthday.

  42. Keep all palms post-Eagle. Keep the 3-months-each requirement. Extend the time period for palms to age 21. Keep it as an incentive to remain active and to reward/recognize those who do.

    • I like this option, it will keep the right Eagles in Scouting, but I wish they would put back the position of responsibility while allowing it to be Troop, Team, Crew, Ship, or OA

  43. I have read all the comments. I can’t believe BSA is making this change. I would be OK if they renamed the award to reflect what it is. It is not an Eagle Palm (since the word Eagle denotes a youth leader) but a Merit Badge Palm. Roll out your new MBP program if you like but do not kill an excellent opportunity for post-Eagle BOR youth leadership development.

    The only other change I would recommend it to allow Scouts and helicopter parents to submit the form to get these awards without unit Scouter approval because none is needed. Show up with 5 signed MB cards and buy the bling for the uniform.

  44. If you want to change the palm requirements, so be it. But you need to be consistent. All active Eagle scouts should be eligible to earn palms in the same manner as new Eagle scouts. Need to make this retroactive, or not do it at all. I have one scout in my troop that got Eagle a few years ago, and will age out with 6 palms. Had he waited, he could have gotten 11. Another scout about to get eagle next month can instantly get 7 palms with less merit badges. Again..we need consistency.

  45. I am a long time Scoutmaster, Eagle Scout, have two sons who are Eagle Scouts and have over 50 years experience in Scouting.

    I agree with the comments that changing the requirements to allow the boys to get Bronze, Gold and Silver Palms automatically when they get Eagle is a BAD idea. If we want to recognize work done (Merit Badges earned) before Eagle, then we need to give them a NEW symbol. It could be a Black Palm with the number of Merit Badges earned before Eagle on the Black Palm. This change to allow automatic Palms when they get Eagle will do nothing to help keep the boys active in Scouting.

    Making this significant change of what a Palm means is NOT good for the boys or the program.

    • I completely agree. I think this change goes the exact opposite of where I thought we should go. I saw the title and had a brief glimmer of hope, only to be completely disappointed the more I read. The issue I see is becoming an Eagle and earnings palms has become a notch in the belt for college entrance and career prospects, a carrot/stick to hold over kids to get their license, etc., as opposed to being a fortunate outcome of becoming a leader, serving humanity and building character. Becoming an Eagle should be the first day of commitment to a life of giving back to others. Palms were a way of giving incentive to further leadership and commitment to scouting. This was a really poor decision which takes away an important characteristic of what made scouting different from other youth activities.

  46. This is a very constructive change to recognize hard-working Eagles! However, it does not go quite far enough. We have some super achievers who are pursuing most, if not all, merit badges. If they are not allowed retroactive application for the merit badges they earned pre-Eagle, they cannot receive all the Palms to which they are entitled. 135+ merit badges minus 21 Eagle-Required merit badges, leaves over 114 merit badges. That makes for the possibility of 23 Palms (depending on the total number of merit badges then available in the inventory). 23 Palms times 3 months per Palm (not allowing for retroactive pre-Eagle Palm credit) equals 69 months needed to get all deserved Palms, which in turn equals 5.75 years. Since all Palms have to be earned by age 18, that means that young man would need to be Eagle by 12.25 years old. Anyone have a plethora of 7th Grade Eagles? Make the change retroactive to ALL merit badges earned pre-Eagle — please. OR extend to age 21 as suggested above — since Venturing goes to age 21. I have a nice group of Eagles in the Crew who would take up the offer.

  47. What I see is that Scouts will earn their Eagle, except put off the Board of Review, contine earning MBs, then do the BoR just before age 18, to receive their full complement of palms!
    Otherwise, it would be nearly impossible to earn ALL the possible palms, with crediting only five MBs, four times a year.

    — To give an extreme example: A super ambitious and caple Scout earns Eagle at __ years old, with say 35 MBs on BoR night, then gets in high gear earning the remaing 136 before his Court of Honor for the Eagle with one gold palm — then dribbles on with one new 5 MB palm each three months?

    There is need for more thinking by BSA. A workable compromise would be to allow for the award of one new bronze, gold, or silver palm [with supporting MBs, &c] every three months . As, the all-the-palms-you-earned idea is going to be retroactive for current Souts who earned their Eagle in the last year or two ….. going back very far could be quite a task and records lacking.

    • Correction: Last sentence should say that I expect that BSA will hear the out cry of the July 31, 2017 and earlier Eagles, to allow for sum retroactive application to current Eagle Scouts, but not way back Eagles.

    • I don’t see a big accounting issue as each Troop can do it for their current Eagles to go back to see how many MBs they had at the time of their Eagle BOR. For my son, it took me less than 2 minutes to figure it out. Our troop of over 60 Scouts has about a half-dozen Eagle Scouts. That means it would take the Advancement Chair less than 30 minutes to figure out how many palms the Eagle Scouts should have if the change was made retroactive to all current Eagle Scouts. For those that made Eagle several years and has 4 palms (as an example), the Scout would get palms for every 5 they had at the time of their Eagle BOR and if they earned 20 MBs since, they would get 4 more.

  48. I will miss the board of review. I will admit every three months is a little too much but most don’t progress at that pace. It will be an even bigger loss for those that earn their Eagle at 12, 13, and 14. Our Board presses the tougher questions for the older boys that the young pups will never have to answer. I always say this is like the real world job interview training. We like to ask questions about their future such as college prep or job prep.

  49. So essentially the palms ive earned, after getting my eagle scout, only represent merit badges ive earned? Not the 3 extra years of participation ive had after getting eagle? Im one of the few scouts in my troop who has palms, and i have more than any of the other scouts and adults in my troop, but now those mean nothing, as a scout who gets eagle at 18 after august 1 could easily have more than me now. I cant even begin to understand the reasoning behind this. Eagle palms shouldnt represent merit badges, they should represent participation after eagle. Im being told my troop will understand that i earned them the old way, but if i got to camp, all they represent is that i had x number of merit badges when i got eagle.

  50. This seems like endorsing the concept of instant gratification to me. I know that seems harsh, but I am reading the backlash in the comments and the undertone. It’s unfair no matter which side of the fence you are on.

  51. The BSA blew this one again as usual!

    A scout after Aug 1 can receive all his palms and my son age 16 who earn his eagle a year ago and has 75 merit badges will not receive them all before he ages out is just wrong!!

  52. Hello,

    In the aforementioned scenario, a scout with 36 merit badges before his Eagle Board of Review would receive a Silver Palm along with his Eagle badge at his Eagle Court of Honor. Would he also receive his Bronze and Gold palms in addition to his Silver Palm as he had achieved those merit badge requirements before his Court of Honor or go directly to a Silver Palm with the opportunity to earn Bronze and Gold Palms by earning more merit badges at a later date? Thanks.

    Ben Gregory III

  53. So here is a thought. Do not award palms at Eagle BOR, keep the 3 month requirement for ALL Eagles. If a Scout is still active at his 18th birthday and hasn’t been awarded all the Palms he earned because time prevented it award them right before he turns 18. It would still encourage Eagle scouts to stay and give back and they wouldn’t lose any Palms by awarding the ones not earned because of time right before the Scout turns 18.

  54. We have two scouts who earned their Eagle Scout on Jun 1, 2017, each Scout has earned 30 MB. Both are going to the Jamboree next week. If both scouts earn 6MB at the Jamboree how many Palms would they rate/receive on August 1?!

    • The answer would be ZERO on August 1. Since they are both Eagles before the 1 August 2017 change, they have to wait 3 months from their EBOR (1 June 2017) to be eligible for a palm. That means that they can receive one on 1 September 2017 if they meet all the other criteria, a second on 1 November 2017, and a third on 1 February 2017 as they will have 36 MBs (21 + 5 + 5 + 5 = 36).

  55. The lack of retroactivity makes little sense. If my son had waited a month for his board he would be receiving multiple palms at his COH. As is, it is possible his younger brother will earn his Eagle later, yet receive his palms earlier. While there are policy arguments for and against the change, I can see no argument for failing to apply it retroactively. I wonder if we will see an Eagle dip in July as Scouts wait for the August 1 effective date.

    • Concur. If the Scout is not turning 18 between now and August 1, it makes sense to delay the EBOR until after the change and pick up all the palms they now qualify for.

      • Which is sad to do, but understandable. As District Advancement Chair, I have told our District there will be no Eagle Board of Reviews in August unless the candidate was turning 18 prior to that time.

  56. There needs to be more thought for this policy. It really penalizes Eagles that have not earned a palm yet or even had their ECoH yet. And please dont call a 3 week advance notice a ‘normal midyear’ change.

  57. Isn’t this really all about the merchandising? One more area to maximize sales of stuff. Extra merit badges and Eagle palms are like Cub Scout gold and silver arrow points, busy work after attaining rank. Maybe there should be more focus on earning the required badges in a timely manner, rather than the scatter shot of attending merit badge days without focus. I attained Eagle at 13 11/12 in 1963 with 24 merit badges. There were less merit badges in those days, with more dedicated to agrarian pursuits like the good old Hog Production merit badge. I focused on troop leadership positions, national Jamboree, an International Exchange to England, some OA work, and multiple High School and CYO sports.An Eagle Scout had to wait six months to earn a palm. That’s when I realized that palms were just “just work” like “arrow points”. Although I sampled several hobbies before age 18, I never felt the need to memorialize them with a merit badge. The gallery of available outdoor awards in the back of the advancement requirements book never existed then. That might have been a fun challenge, to earn the various clusters, leading to the medal. Maybe they should be more vigorously promoted by BSA. Why reward a Scout with an avalanche of palms at the last minute attainment of the Eagle rank? because you can sell a lot more bling off of the shelf.

  58. Grossly unfair to every active Scout who earned his Eagle prior to August 1st and doesn’t have enough time remaining to earn all his palms. I guess I should consider myself luck as only one of my Scouts is affected by this and only for one palm. Who knows? Maybe I’ll try to sneak one through before he turns18 in September.

  59. Before this rule I had a tool the keep Eagles involved. Palms were rare and gave the Eagles a sense of pride. This change devalues all of the palms earn before this. I thought the merit badge sash was the recognition for the merit badge work and the palms were the recognition and incentive to be involved beyond Eagle. This change is in the wrong direction but that seems to be the direction of the BSA lately.

  60. Seems a simple fix and fair to award palms for eagles who had more than 21 mbs when held ebor, to encourage them to do more. Keeping the 3 month req per palm after that keeps them active, and making it retroactive would be simple since records of dates mbs are earned are kept and checked by local councils and national.
    Life is hard enough, why not reward all eagles for hard work and going the extra mile instead of those whos bors fall after aug 1st?!

  61. Come on BSA, come up with a true up for current eagles. Look at the bright side all that extra bling you would get to sell through the scout shop would be a windfall. $$$

  62. What a horrible decision. I understand the comments with respect to acknowledging merit badges earned by those earning Eagle with little time left. However the merit badge in and of itself is recognition of this accomplishment. The timing requirements were what truly gave value to Palms. It reflected longer commitment by those striving to be involved in scouting long term. I understand that many scouts have school activities and sports and therefore can’t or won’t dedicate as much time to scouting and that is fine, that is their choice. But to those whose dedication towards scouting IS their choice, this removes all value in the Palm. It is a participation award and like it or not it punishes those who were following the established process with no recourse for a true up or retroactive award. Terrible.

  63. Folks, lets stop grousing about the boys who are “hurt” by not getting to take advantage of the change and celebrate for the boys who will be helped. This change will encourage Eagle Scouts to continue participating in scouting and earning MBs after they earn Eagle. This is a great change and every change has to have a starting point.

    No scout is out anything that they weren’t already out under the old system. There are no losers, only winners.

    I’ll be the contrarian here and say “Nice job BSA.” And the rest of you can whine about what is in it for you, or for your scout and not think about how this change affects Scouting over the next 20 years.

    The “what’s in it for me/mine” mentality is a cancer in scouting and about a hundred of you just proved me right with your selfish posts above. Please go ahead and thumb me down now, it’ll probably make you feel better.

    Every single scout matters, even the one who doesn’t call you mom or dad.

    • The hypocrisy in your post is unfortunate. “Every single scout matters”? Except of course the ones shortchanged by this policy right?

      I don’t see the disappointment as whining rather more an obvious realization of an unfair change.

      Sure, make the change, but make it fair. It’s not about what’s in it for the scout but how to honor their effort at the same level as the new policy.

    • can you show me the good in this change within now and the next 20 years? I don’t see it encouraging those with the MBs at EBoR to continue scouting. What is the incentive to sticking with scouting if you’ve earned all you can earn. In turn that takes away the older scouts sooner which are supposed to be the ones helping the younger ones grow. My son is well on his way and will benefit from this change in regards to palms, but even he doesn’t think it’s a smart change in regards to retaining scouts.

    • Wayne S., thank you for your contrarian post.
      1: Just because you are a contrarian doesn’t make you right, it just makes you a contrarian.

      2: The posts above you that you derided, come from dedicated, unpaid volunteers who have untold years of experience in scouting. They are saddened by yet another poor decision made by the paid leaders of the BSA. Most of those posting above you probably prefer no change to the Palm award, except maybe tweaking it a bit but if a change must come, then it ought to be fair.

      3: Your comment:
      “This change will encourage Eagle Scouts to continue participating in scouting and earning MBs after they earn Eagle” tells me that you probably have a long history of coming up with incorrect conclusions when facts are laid out plainly before you.

      4: It would be great that all Eagle Scouts would simply stay active but I know that the 3 month waiting period after becoming an Eagle Scout to earn each additional Palm keeps many Eagle Scouts in scouting. The facts laid out before me are plain to see.

      5: The BSA has decided to find a solution where no problem existed. Removing the BOR requirement to earn a Palm should have perhaps been the only change. Unless the BSA’s need to sell additional pins was a problem that needed solving.

      6: As to your comment: “The “what’s in it for me/mine” mentality is a cancer in scouting”. Maybe that cancer is headquartered at National. It is estimated that many, many scouts will be leaving the BSA for various reasons. Perhaps National should be looking at that issue. Now that’s a problem that needs fixing and they won’t be able to sell enough Palm paraphernalia to offset that loss.

      7: The dilution of what it once meant to have earned an Eagle Palm will affect all scouts. Every single scout matters, even Wayne S’. son(s).

    • Poor comment. I’ll agree with you in there are some comment talking about “my son”. Those make me cringe a little too. But most are about all Scouts or Scouts in my troop. My sons are done — seven and five palms respectively. So my comments only refer to Scouts who don’t call me Dad.

      I don’t feel strongly about awarding a “lump sum” of Palms at the EBOR. There are pros and cons to the old system and the new system. But why wouldn’t you “carp” about something that doesn’t treat all Scouts equally and is so easily fixed?

  64. I have thought about this. I believe the problem the way this new program being role out. Is not that one scout is getting more bling then the other Scouts. It is that scouting is always been about rewarding hard word, but with this new rule. We have deviced a way to skip to the end. It is like we are rewarding the grass hopper in the fable of the grass hopper and the ant. In our desire to keep older scout in the scouting program we want to make sure we do not forget the scouts that work hard. So we need to look at the example of one scout who works hard for a year. Show up to scouts and works for 3 eagle palms. The other scout goes to a couple of merit badge universitys and then finial finish up his eagle scout at the end of the year. Both these scout would get 3 eagle palm at the end of the year. We are saying that one scouts hard work is not as important as the other scouts work. If you look at the new rule. the boy scout are filling a whole in the system that as been their for a while. Their are more merit badge then time to earn eagle palm.

    I am not sure if this part is right. Let me know if i am reading the rules right.
    The other thing these new rules may open up is eagle palm to scout over the age of 18.
    Scout who are in a venture program can be youth scouts until the age of 21. By this rule you can subsatute scoutmaster for crew adviser. Making it possible for a crew member to keep earning eagle palms. I am not sure if that was an part of the change or a technicality that has come about. Either way it would let scout who were not allowed to patisipate in this change still earn the 23 eagle palms if that is their gaol. No part of the rule does it say you need to finish the requrment before your 18th birthday. That requirement is in the rank of eagle scout. I guess we could look at this as a bridge to move scout into the venturing program. The only proviso would be that the scout would have to finish all the merit badge before he becomes 18. Then he could get the las two palms as a crew member. Or still get palms as a crew member between the ages of 18 and 21. This rule is so open.

    Could a scout who goes on to be a scout leader still earn eagle palms. If he has earn the merit badge while he was still a scout. He can meet all the requriment of the new program as a scout leader.

    Let me know if i read these new rule right. Just remember use your merit badge training when you read the rules. Do not read into the rule. Read them as they are. Read what the requirement are and do not add or take away from the rule as it is stated.

    • Couldn’t the first Scout have also gone to the merit badge universities and thus be awarded six palms instead of only three like the second Scout who didn’t do any work outside the universities? If you earn the same number of merit badges, you get the same number of palms.

  65. My son will have his BOR of review today 7/11/17 with 43 Merit Badges earned. He leaves for Jamboree on Friday 7/14 and will visit Arlington Cemetery to present a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier with two other Eagle Scouts from his council. He could have pushed out BOR to after August 1st, but the honor to pay his respects to our military men and women who have fought for our freedom is just as important to him if not more than Eagle Palms. As an Advancement Chair for our Troop I’m glad to see this change. We have a Boy Scout who will have his BOR after August 1st and I feel he is very worthy of earning any Palms that come his way even if it is not my son. There are winners and losers, but as scouting leaders we are here for all scouts not just for our own sons. I am pleased with this change even if my son doesn’t get to reap the benefit because he is 21 days too early. Good job BSA for this change.
    My soon to be Eagle Scout is 14 and very involved with the troop and plans to continue this until his 18th birthday. Proud Eagle Mom with or without Palms.

    • Congrats on your son earning his Eagle and the honor to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

      Your son may be okay. The requirement states that the date that matters is the date that the National Service Center validates the application. It generally takes more than three weeks for your local council to get the application entered into the system and the NSC validating it. To be certain, your Council should probably hold all Eagle applications with recent EBORs until after 8/1 before entering them into the NSC system. I’ve copied the language below.

      After successfully completing your Eagle Scout board of review and being validated as an Eagle Scout by the National Service Center, you will be entitled to receive an Eagle Palm for each additional 5 merit badges you have completed before your Eagle Scout board of review.

  66. That’s a lot of comments. Most against this. Are you listening National? Do what is right and fix this.

  67. I understand cut off dates and the need for their to be one, but I do have a suggestion to those seeking a more “fair” outcome for their scouts earning Eagle at this time, but whose BoR happened before the 1 Aug. cutoff.

    Why not do this. If the Scout is under 18 years old, as if 1 Aug. and he has enough merit badges left where he would be able to earn palms, then award him the palms, even if it is more than one, on 1 Aug, just like those who earn them if their BoR falls on or after 1 Aug.

    That puts all boys, under 18, in the same boat on the number of palms they can earn from here on out.

  68. Not a good move by national-they want to promote,,,,but NOT FOR ALL WHO HAVE DONE THE WORK!!!! All should be recognized now no matter how far you go back. If they change it, change it for ALL, how long do most wear their uniform anyway???

  69. Anthony, There is no right or wrong in this, only opinion. And my opinion, as a long serving unpaid volunteer is that this change is in the best long term interest of scouting, even though there will be a perception of loss by boys who earn Eagle between the date of this change and the effective date; a pretty narrow slice of time. Those boys don’t lose anything, they just don’t get what some other boys will get.

    Not sure what facts I’m missing that you are able to see. And define fair. It is a whole lot easier to criticize those who have to make hard decisions than it is to make those hard decisions. Once you’ve defined fair, write it down. Send a memo to national expressing your opinion and asking for a change. Griping on a blog won’t drive change.

    Read closely. The three month wait is still there for additional palms, the change is that now Eagle Scouts will have an incentive to earn more merit badges. So many boys have more MBs on their sash on the day they earn eagle than they will ever have time to “convert” to palms. This way, they are rewarded for that hard work, and the stage is set for them to continuing earning MBs and adding an additional palm every three months going forward. Yes, we see these “facts” differently, as I think this will incentivize participation, not curtain.

    Scouting is in trouble. Not today and not next year and maybe not in the next decade, but if Scouting does not continuously adapt and find ways to appeal to today’s youth, then someday, in the distant future, it won’t survive.

    And yes, my sons matter, but in Scouting, they matter the same to me as every other boy in my troop, in my district, in my council and in the national and international scouting movement, both boys and girls. But my son’s and daughter’s scouting success matters less to me than the availability, relevancy and health of the scouting movement in the coming decades.

    • Wayne S., thank you for being a long serving unpaid volunteer like myself and the many others who have commented on this article. It certainly has generated a lot of opinions and emotions. In a few years, we will look back and see how this decision by National has affected the value of the Eagle Palm. Hopefully, scouting will be even stronger in future years than it is today, no matter what changes arise. Good luck to you and to all of the scouts of your Troop.

  70. Clearly this string of comments shows how MB manic the program has become. When a scout can get 12 MBs as a 2nd class at a single summer camp, well…

    Here’s some history from my archives:

    1926 BSA Annual Report established Palms as an incentive program for older scouts to remain active and provide leadership to younger boys. There was discussion around this time that some wanted to establish a rank higher than Eagle since more boys were earning Eagle and they wanted to keep them involved. Palms were supposedly the compromise decision.

    Requirements first appear in 1927 BSHB. This is also the time frame that the Life-Star-Eagle rank progression went to Star-Life-Eagle. 6 months between Palms. Only badges earned after the previous palm counted for the next one. Getting any MB in the 1930s was much more of a challenge than today.

    I have a reference that says Palm BORs were held at the council level just as Star-Life-Eagle and Merit Badge ones were back in the 1930s. Some councils placed a 2 MBs per month max as well

    1965 Tenure requirement changes to 3 month between Palms but still could only count badges earned after previous palm.

    1984 1st mention of allowing any MB earned to count for Palms

    I’m sure Mike LoVecchio will remember this from our emails back in 2012.

    • Matt: I always enjoy your thoughtful comments on this forum and agree with most of what you wrote. While I agree that with MB events, it is easier to obtain MBs than in the “old days.” But not all MBs in the old days was like the Agriculture MB that required the Scout to grow an acre of corn that produce 25% more than the average for the area. Some of the other MBs in the early day were not so tough: In 1911, the Swimming MB require little beyond what all Scouts have to do to earn 1st Class today. The Scout had to (1) swim 100 yards; (2) surface dive; (3) demonstrate the breast, crawl, & side strokes; and (4) swim on their back for 50 feet. Most Scouts could have earned the Swimming MB in less than 30 minutes. The 1911 Astronomy MB was also much easier than today: (1) general knowledge of the stars & their movement; (2) point out 6 constellations, find North using the stars & tell time with the moon; and (3) have a general knowledge of the positions & movements of the earth, sun, moon, tides, eclipses, meteors, comets, sun-sports, & planets.With what a Scout learned in school, they probably could talk to a MBC for less than an hour (at night) to earn that MB.

      By the way, I have never seen a Scout earn 12 MBs at a single summer camp in this area and would agree that if they were earned in a 7-day camp, their standards are probably not to the book. The most MBs I think I have seen is 7 around here, but then our camp is 10 days long. If a Scout took all 3-day (some of the tougher MBs are 6-day long) MBs in ecology or the arts & crafts area, they might be able to earn 8 MBs. No one in our troop have ever done that because we encourage them to do swimming their 1st camp & that is a 6-day (6 hours) MB as are almost all Eagle MBs for us along with others that require a lot of time such as Pioneering.

      • David…I wasn’t necessarily referring to the harder vs easier argument. We can spend a lot of electrons just on that discussion. I was showing that the process to get any MB was much more challenging for early days scouts and he started from scratch after each Palm. Can anyone imagine your council doing BORS on MBs?

        The 12 MB issue resulted in the 2013 GTA modifing para and adding and 4.8. Matt

  71. I question why there was no notice or period during which the change would be phased in. I can imagine several Eagle boards scheduled during the upcoming 21 days will be asked to be delayed. If the intent is to reward Scouts for earning Merit Badges, why not make the change effective immediately?

    My son became an Eagle Scout on May 5 of this year. He rushed his Board of Review date so that he would be able to earn the same number of palms as I did. It was important to him that he “tie me.” Had he known that by delaying his Board of Review date by fewer than three months he would be able to be instantly handed five palms, he certainly would have done so. Again, I question why there was no notice or period during which the change would be phased in. I suggest that the advancement team revisit this part of the change to allow past Scouts an opportunity to be awarded these palms.

    I also question the reasons for the change. I know that the survey a few years ago likely led to a task force to study the change before it was implemented but I would suggest that the change will hurt rather than help with retention.

    • Presuming your son has continued to be active, then it seems as though, on Aug 1, he will be able to earn as many palms as you and tie you. In fact, if he keeps earning merit badges, he can beat you.

      • Bart, Why do you keep saying this over and over? As it currently states no Scout who has his Eagle Board Of Review BEFORE August 1, 2017 can get any insta- palms on August 1, 2017. The multple palms received at once only effect scouts whose Eagle BOR is on or after August 1, 2017.

  72. I considered Eagle Palms as supporting the following Aims and Methods of Scouting: Req 1 – Patrol Method, Req 2 – Ideals, Req 3 – Leadership Development, Req 4 – Personal Growth, Req 5 & 6 – Association with Adults.

    Please note that I did not say Advancement. Eagle Palms are not a rank but an Award.

    I hear and sympathize with the feelings that Eagle Palms are a way to keep an older Scout engaged and active with the Troop. But from my experience, the Scout sticks around long enough to get the Palms for the Merit Badges already earned. I haven’t seen those Scouts that have made Eagle and said “Hey, I want to earn a few more Merit Badges”. I am not saying this is the way it always is everywhere, but this is what I have experienced.

    After August 1, 2017 – I don’t see an issue with awarding Scouts for the work that they have already completed. Working up to their Eagle Board of Review they have had to been active, lived the ideals, participated in a leadership role, and completed a Scoutmaster Conference and a Board of Review.
    What I do see is that if a Scout wants to continue being awarded Palms, he will need to actually continue his Personal Growth by earning Merit Badges vs. relying on a stockpile of ones earned at an earlier date. This could be a good thing.

    I do see the disparity of drawing a hard line in the sand of August 1st. Scouts going through their Eagle Board of Review after this date will get the instant recognition for their previous work while Scouts that completed their Eagle Board of Review prior to August 1st are in effect penalized and have to be awarded each palm in three month intervals possibly to the extent that they will receive all the palms that they could had they waited to have their Eagle Board on August 1st. Yes whomever said life was fair was mistaken. But in setting a hard line, National could have and should have made it so those Eagle Scouts that were under 18 and currently registered would be included.

    After thinking about this change for a day:
    • I don’t hate it.
    • I don’t see it the further decay which will lead to the inevitable demise of the BSA.
    • I think I will miss having the Scouts go through Boards of Review for their Palms. I always have equated the Board of Review to the Scouts as practice for job interviews preparing them for become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law.

    For those that say that the Palms were the only thing you really had to keep the older scouts interested and active, I challenge you to look at the Scouting Program that your Troop delivers. There has to be something, more than a $1.29 piece of metal, which can be improved in the program to make older scouts want to participate until they are 18. Finding that one thing could be the key to ensuring Scouting’s future.

  73. This is crazy. Let’s just give the palms always. Part of getting the Palms isn’t just the merit badges. Here is your Eagle and three palms. Now all these other scouts stayed active for 9 more months to earn theirs. You we are just going to give you three palms, doesn’t matter if you stay active or not.
    Palms will no longer mean near as much.

  74. If say a scout does his EBOR on July 17 and passes and the paperwork is then sent to national and is not approved till after Aug. 1st would he get the insta palms or would he have to wait for them.

    • This answers your question:
      Q: Can a Scout who completed his Eagle Scout board of review before Aug. 1 go back and receive Palms for merit badges he has already completed?

      A: No, the change to allow awarding Palms as described above is not retroactive. If the Scout still has eligibility remaining, he may continue to earn Palms by completing the new requirements.

  75. I was asked.

    So I assume there is no longer a Palm application since there is no longer a BOR?

    I answered yes. True?

      • I was using my stash of paper copies. So evidently this has been planned since Chris and I talked about it in 2012! :-). Did you like my history write up? Hope all is well in AZ.

  76. A Scout in my troop has his Eagle board of review scheduled for July 25th… I am going to see if I can get the signatures and paperwork bumped back a week (so it is signed and submitted after August 1st). This boy has earned 15 merit badges beyond the minimum required for Eagle. However if he has his BOR on the 25th he’d have to wait 3 months to get hi first palm, and sadly he’ll then turn 18 before he’ll be able to earn the second and third. But if he holds off on earning Eagle (just one week) he can get all three palms right away (before his 18th birthday). Hopefully the board is able to delay their signature so this young man can get 3 palms rather than just 1.

    • Didn’t you read the article? There’s no waiting period between palms now. That was part of the reason for the change, to remove the waiting period. You just have to have been active for three months. So presuming that he’s been active, even if he has his Eagle on the 25th of Jul, as soon as Aug 1 comes he’s eligible for his palms. The activity period isn’t exclusive — you don’t need three exclusive months for every palm. Have him have his EBoR Jul 25th, then on Aug 1 (presuming he’s still active), he can earn them all.

      • Bart, please stop commenting. You clearly do not understand the change in policy and I would hate for someone reading all your posts to think that they will earn palms as you suggest. Simply put, if you have your eagle board of review before August 1st, you do not get any palms, even if you have 50 badges. You have to earn them, one every three months. If your board of review is August 1st and beyond, you get palms for the merit badges earned above the eagle requirement, immediately.

      • Except the activity period IS exclusive. It clearly states that a scout must be active for 3 months after earning eagle or his previous palm.

  77. Terrible, terrible decision, and I don’t get worked up about too many. This decision”cheapens” the palms. The merit badge itself is it’s own reward for developing and working on a field of interest. The badge IS THE REWARD FOR THE WORK DONE! The palm is a reward for continued PARTICIPATION, SERVICE, AND LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT to the unit. Earning additional merit badges are for the continued development of the self, which also in turn ultimately benefits the unit.

    I am all for giving scouts incentives to keep scouting, but this is just a very poorly thought out decision. On the one hand, you get palms JUST for having extra merit badges, but then after that Eagle Board, you pretty much have to earn them the old way: tenure, service, leadership, badges. Really cannot see the justification, nor any way to make it fair or comparative to efforts of past Eagles.

  78. This is just wrong and unfair, especially to current Eagle scouts whom are still not 18. Just because they proactively attained the rank of Eagle early they are now penalized by being eligible for less palms than their peers the same age whom waited and could end up with more palms despite having less merit badges.
    One of the incentives to attaining Eagle early was to be able to earn Palms, and yes it motivated them to stay active. Now their is actually an incentive to postpone earning the Eagle rank as long as you can since you can earn many more palms by waiting until your 18th birthday and earning palms the new way.
    Plus there was no notice for those scouts under 18 today whom worked to get their Eagle earlier to earn more Palms whom might have postponed their BOR had they known they would be penalized. The BSA has always given advance notice when things are changing, I am not sure why they didn’t this time especially with policy that directly impacts how scouts plan their advancement.

    I feel very strongly that this should be amended and made retroactive for those Eagle scouts whom are still not 18 by Aug. 1st whom are y are penalized the most vs. their peers because they are in that unfortunate window and were given no notice.

    Does anyone know whom we should write to to request that the BSA amend this policy? It is important that we raise our concerns to the right people before Aug. 1st.

  79. Maybe this is a good thing. As a parent who has lost her son and family time to many a scout activity, I see my son being less involved with his troop. Those palms were a badge of honor. Now that they will just represent a tally of his badges, that carrot won’t be dangled in front of him anymore. They will never represent what they once did. So thank you, BSA. Thirty more badges and I’ll get to spend weekends with him again. (He does plan to earn all the badges even if the palms now mean nothing).

    Say what you will but these kids are still kids and maybe adults should”do the right thing” just because it’s right but when a teenager does the right thing and looks for a simple pin to represent a pat on the back, I say give it to him. He chose from a whole slew of options and remained there to pay it forward and that little pin has now lost all its value and representation. He used to be proud to stand at the court of Honor and get that pin because it had meaning….now it doesn’t.

    Yes, some sarcasm here but this is going to happen across the nation now. The palms mean so little now that there’s no incentive to stick around after eagle. So say goodbye to a whole lot of older scouts staying to teach the new guys. My son owes a lot and will stay but I see a lot of others around him that will just collect their instapalms and walk away….a lot!

  80. Ohhh this make me upset. I received a Golden Palm but had enough merit badges for multiple palms but my birthday was 6 months after my Eagle Scout. My friend got his Eagle at the same time but he didn’t really care about palms but earned a silver palm simply because his birthday was 3 months after mine. I did a lot more work than he did but when people saw our palms they assumed he did more because he had a higher level one than I did. Under these rules I would be given the palms that I earned but since i didn’t have the 3 month “cool down” between earning them I wasn’t awarded them. We both crossed over on the same day, why is it fair that I couldn’t earn as much because my birthday is earlier. I’m still active in the Boyscout community so it isn’t like I just bailed after I was done.

    I can understand some people thinking this lessens the meaning of palms but as others have said the kids that have done that much work before their eagle deserve it, age shouldn’t be a restriction on what awards you can earn for the work you’ve already done.

    • Wait a minute! You got A SASH FULL OF MB’s. Trust me, if you hold onto that thing, your kids — be they boys or girls — will love thumbing over it when you pull it out of the attic. Palms are tiny in comparison and go virtually unnoticed by the people you will come to cherish the most.

      Besides, if you really wanted more palms than your friend, you should have earned your Eagle two years earlier than him! 😮

      In all seriousness, congratulations to you and your friend for making rank and having great careers as a scout! It doesn’t always happen.

    • Okay, I’ll admit I’m making the assumption that you’re an adult leader right now. I think if your upset because the rules changed and scouts now earn more recognition than what you earned, you need to rethink why you are still involved in Scouting. It’s not about you. It’s about the Scouts.

      • Well, Just a SM, I find a lot of brand new SM’s have a hard time accepting the Time-to-act-like-an-adult lecture. Let’s consider that demanding that they think like one – whatever that way of thinking may be – is even harder.

        Brad was kind enough to enter his opinion on this adult forum as a newly-minted “one of us.” (Although, really, it is awesome when youth post their mind as well.) Regardless of if we agree or disagree, we need to keep in mind that someone else out there just turned earned Eagle under more demanding rules for palms and no doubt they have a friend who put in the same effort and, earning it next month (either because of age difference or procrastination), might just wind up with a weightier medal. That someone might be in our troop or crew.

        It might be handy to tell him, “There’s a stranger on the internet who feels the same way you do.”
        In doing so, we let him know that we’re listening. And, we might just retain an adult leader who has it fresh in his mind about what it feels like to be one of our youth.

        So, thanks, Brad. Keep posting!

  81. In spite of the fact that the article makes the statement about the Scoutmaster conference “Requirement 5 is unchanged” but in fact there was a very significant change in the stated requirement. The old requirement was “While an Eagle Scout, or since your last Eagle Palm, participate in a Scoutmaster conference.” The new requirement is “While an Eagle Scout, participate in a Scoutmaster conference.” It used to be that a Scoutmaster conference was required for EACH palm. Now a Scoutmaster conference is only required for the first one, since apparently that conference (while an Eagle Scout) counts for every palm. I see no other explanation for the change, although I doubt that is what was intended. I prefer the old wording.

  82. In the example of “Glenn” I assume he’d actually get all three palms when he achieves his Eagle rank, not just the Silver as stated in the example?

  83. seriously does anyone know whom we can write at National to have them review and hopefully rectify the retroactive clause for Eagles whom are still not 18?

  84. Soccer participation trophies come to BSA. If Johnnie couldn’t follow the rules and earn Eagle with the specifically focused required merit badges while still having fun with the 9 or so elective merit badges on the trail; let’s reward him retroactively with Eagle Palms for wandering off course and losing his way and still having lots of fun. The helicopter parents’ lobby has run amok with more Skittles and juice drinks so that Johnnie and the parents don’t feel so bad when the chickens came home to roost. When you can’t follow the rules, you water down and change them to make the original accomplishment irrelevant. Just issue numerals signifying total merit badge count that you can pin to your ribbon, badge or knot. Number 24 would have special meaning to me, it’s also the Celtics Sam Jones retired number. It would surely look good on my adult knot ! Cancel this travesty of a revision before it is too late!

  85. Yes, with change comes pleasure and discontent. Cutoffs exist. Everything cannot be retroactive. What are you going to do, reissue palms to all prior Eagles? Back to what year? My son, for example, was a fairly young Eagle with BOR in 2012, who stayed active until he aged out at 18. Perhaps he would have earned more MBs, if he had been eligible for more palms. Or maybe not…we’ll never know. Just roll with it, please adults. By-and-large the youth will accept it, unless the ‘grown ups’ make it a big deal. Much like rules changes in sports, past records and statistics are not necessarily comparable one era to another. YiS.

  86. I always thought the palms were an incentive to try to get the Scouts to earn their Eagle earlier rather than wait until they were 17 years and XX months old. I like Darrin’s sports analogy about records and different eras may not be comparable but I’m wondering what the motivation was for the change? Does national think this will keep Scouts more involved?…… longer? retroactive palms……….I also don’t understand why you would remove the Board of Review?

  87. I was fine with the old rule, I’m fine with the new rule. But joining the chorus of many who have already commented, it does not make sense to me that a Scout who already earned Eagle and is not yet 18 may end up with fewer palms than someone of the same age and same number of merit badges who earns Eagle after 8/1/17. If the rules have changed, why not put all current Scouts on the same playing field?

    • It’s coming down to just a check in the box and a trophy for all .With more and more Merritt badges being done in one day at merrit badge workshops for a fee you didn’t see this coming

  88. My word, what a complicated system. First, why not bronze , silver then gold just like the Olympics (I know silver is above gold in the military). Then bronze equals 5 MB’s, Silver equals 10 and gold equals 20. An Eagle Scout with with 26 MB’s earns a bronze, 31 equals silvers, 36 equals bronze plus silver, 41 equals gold, 46 equals gold plus bronze. This way 4 palms would be the max and 4 gold palms would be 102 MB’s.

  89. Copy of e-mail message:

    BSA Advancement Team –

    Can you share your rationale for not making the Eagle Palms award change retroactive to all currently-registered Eagle Scouts (that is, to those Eagle Scouts not 18 years old as of 01 August)? It’d be a trivial exercise in our troop to find the earned Merit Badges as of an Eagle Scout Board of Review date, and to award Palms at the next Court of Honor if they weren’t already awarded under the previous scheme.

    As it is, next month we’ll have a new 13-year-old Eagle Scout leapfrog a 15-year-old Eagle Scout. I don’t mind disappointing Eagle Scouts older than 18, because they’re no longer youth members; but I do mind disappointing Eagle Scouts younger than 18 who wonder why they have to continue – for years! – under an outdated policy. Suddenly the “merit badge bank” at the time of an Eagle Board of Review can be cashed-out immediately, instead of being redeemed over many calendar quarters.

    However, disappointment isn’t really relevant to my question, which is asking about the downside you must’ve considered in deciding the policy change, and found to have significantly outweighed the upside.

    Many thanks –

    CC, T18/ Ute 03/ Pikes Peak 060

    • Can I “reply” to my own post? Apologies if this is a breach of etiquette.

      I’ve read most of the comments here, and read many along the lines of “Well, if they’re going to change the policy, then let’s make it retroactive for all currently registered Eagle Scouts.” (I agree with this.)

      This makes me wonder why we aren’t reading some justification for *not* doing so. And that’s the point of my e-mail message to the BSA Advancement Team. I’m sure these are smart, dedicated, and hard-working Scouters, and the notion of retroactive application occurred to them during what must’ve been a long and difficult decision-making process. For reasons so far known only to them, they decided against that notion.

      So without questioning their judgment, I’d like them to share not just their rationale for the changes as we see in the main article, but their rationale for not extending these changes to an equitable conclusion.

      • Regarding replying to one’s post. Please, anyone with a good afterthought — even to their own post, write it up!
        I’m still deciding if and how to write National about this, and if I should involve any of our scouts. What you say may decide it for me.

  90. Congratulations I think you have just wrote the tickets for the gun and run. Let’s see how the average age of an Eagle will be and how many stay till they are 18 now. I got all my awards at 17 so now I don’t have time for more might as well quit and not worry about mentoring others. That is going to make older scouts drop earlier and not stay to mentor others. (I got all I can earn I’m to old at 17 and 6 months.

  91. Wow! I read every post to this point, and obviously quite a few people are upset by this change. Change is hard as they say, but it is especially hard if implemented in an unfair way. After reading all these posts, I would summarize by saying (1) the changes are a mixed bag, (2) the changes clearly need one tweak if implemented as otherwise proposed–Scouts under 18 who already earned their Eagle before August 1, 2017, should be given the same benefit in terms of receiving all “earned” palms as those scouts on or after August 1, and (3) this “Bart” guy cannot read (and should stop providing confusing comments on the new three-month waiting period that he doesn’t comprehend). If he ever obtains reading skills, he should read the passage below, copied from the green passage of the new rules from the details at the top of all this, which clearly states the 3 month waiting period for EACH palm after July 31 not only continues, but “has been expanded”:

    After becoming an Eagle Scout, you may earn additional Palms by completing the following requirements.

    1. Be active in the Boy Scouts of America for at least three months after becoming an Eagle Scout or after the last Palm was earned.

    • Being active is the key. The way that BSA National views an ‘active’ scout is to be simply be a registered, dues paying member, and to fulfill the troop’s reasonable attendance requirements. What other group would allow for that? Join a baseball team, and never show up, but still get the awards at the end of the season, or get hired for a job, and never show up to work? That is what we are teaching our youth today.

  92. So the BSA needed some more money. How to do it? Dumb down the requirements for a Palm, sell more Palms. So many boys wait until 18 years old to make Eagle so they can’t earn Palms. Now you can wait until your 18th birthday and get many Palms. There goes that incentive to earn Eagle earlier than 18.

    BSA said “gee, hardly anyone is earning Palms”. Now everyone will get Palms and BSA will say “WOW look how many more boys now earn Palms.”

    It was fine the way it was.

    • As I said below, it’s all about the numbers with National. Could it also be due to worry about competition from the recent BSA spinoffs?

  93. I do not understand why everyone is so upset about the change. If palms were that important, the boys would have planned to earn them under the old way. Now, just because someone has the chance to get them in a different way you are upset? I wish they would have kept it the old way, or even to reward ONLY the badges earned AFTER the eagle to keep boys in.

  94. If we want change parents are going to have to get their councils to put pressure on national. The squeaky wheel gets greased.

  95. Sorry folks one more comment. Is wearing the Eagle badge more important or is it more important to wait to get an Eagle so I can have more Palms. I don’t know about the rest of you but I am going to encourage my boys to get their Eagle. Just something about that Eagle patch on a uniform. I certainly don’t look for the palms when I see an Eagle patch. Don’t get me wrong I don’t agree with national on this one. Why not just let the boy get the palm anytime he earns 5 merit badges. Chances are if he is still earning merit badges he is a leader in your troop.

  96. I’m concerned about a misinterpretation of the word “retroactive.” As I see the rules that will be in effect on August 1st, any boy who is an Eagle Scout (regardless of when earned) as of August 1st is entitled to receive a Palm for each additional 5 merit badges he completed before his Eagle BOR (wording here is extracted from the new rule. Thus, if a boy had his BOR in February 2017, and had earned 5 additional MB before the end of 2016, even though he could have had a Palm BOR in May 2017, if he had not he would be entitled to be award a palm without completing the listed requirements. I don’t think the palm award date would be retroactive, but believe it should be awarded effective August 1st.

    • DB, please explain further, as question and answer three from above states the following:

      Q: Can a Scout who completed his Eagle Scout board of review before Aug. 1 go back and receive Palms for merit badges he has already completed?

      A: No, the change to allow awarding Palms as described above is not retroactive. If the Scout still has eligibility remaining, he may continue to earn Palms by completing the new requirements.

      My two sons earned Eagle this year – April and June, both would be eligible for palms under the new rules to take effect on August 1st. I do not read the rule as you do. It appears I am in the majority and would love to be wrong on this issue. My sons, like all active scouts make choices. My sons wanted palms. They also wanted to be Eagles at Jambo. In order to get them, my oldest had to choose between earning a Varsity letter in track or his Eagle. Per school rules, he could only miss one event, if he missed more, he forfeits his right to his varsity letter. He missed two track meets to be with the troop. It appears that his sacrifice stings greater as other scouts will not have to make the choice he did and will get their palms instantly. My son is now limited to his remaining time, is not on a level playing field with current scouts and can not earn as many palms as scouts getting theirs instantly after August 1st. If I am correct in my understanding, the new rule is very unfair and penalizes the boys who worked hard and made sacrifices to earn palms under the old rules. Furthermore, the reason given for the change “to address the needs of the older scouts” doesn’t make sense to me. If that is the sole reason, there is no reason national can not apply the rule retroactively to reward the current boy scouts who made Eagle prior to the new rule taking effect.

      • Martin. Well stated.
        Why not make it retroactive?
        I think it goes back to that mantra “Once an Eagle, Always and Eagle.”
        So the question becomes how far back do we go? It sounds like you want to make it for Eagles who are currently registered, like your sons.

        But, if my sons who are registered are still Eagles as much as yours, why not them? (Note: I have no clue if they earned 26+ MB’s before earning Eagle at age 17.99.)
        What about me? (Again, no clue if I earned five more MBs than my palm(s) indicate. It’s been a while. 😉 )
        What about the very first Eagle who earned 5 more MB’s than required? Should his estate have the right to acquire a Palm retroactively? Even though they weren’t available to him at all for a couple of decades?

        Where do we draw the line? If we can’t agree on that, maybe the August 1st line should be “erased.” And demand the existing requirements stand as suggested by the majority of scouts when they were asked a couple of years ago (, see page 12.)

        • Q, My suggestion, which appears to be the majority, is that the regulation should apply to all active scouts, so everyone currently in the program is treated equally. August 1st is nothing more than an arbitrary date as far as I can tell. If they really desire this new policy, and want to treat everyone equally, why not all current scouts get the upgrade or if not, than all current scouts are bound by the original requirements when they joined and this new requirement is applicable for all NEW scouts joining going forward. No current scout gets the benefit. I see no reason that a current scout, who was very active in his troop and worked hard and sacrificed should be penalized for showing initiative and effort and obtaining his Eagle Rank earlier.

        • If they would abide by the poll they would not have this policy.

          “Noting the importance of Scouting ideals, leadership, and service, 85 percent of those polled disagreed with awarding Palms based solely on earning five merit badges. Additionally, 81 percent rejected the idea of allowing additional active time at Life rank to count toward Eagle Palms.

          So only 15-19% of the people polled wanted this to happen

        • Oh wait, I for got this part of the results:

          “75 percent rated the three months of tenure as “very important,
          and another 19 percent rated it as “important.” [ That’s a total of 94% think 3 months tenure is important Also, 78 percent agreed that three months was the proper tenure,”

        • Martin, at this point, it’s really hard to tell the majority. The usual nuances about who responds to blogs apply.
          Moreover, who are the stakeholders? New crossovers? Current Life scouts? Eagle scout youth? Currently registered Eagle scouts, including ASMs? Lifetime NESA members? Any past Eagle scouts?
          Who qualifies as a “current” scout given that we are taught “once an Eagle, always an Eagle”?

          Fairness, by definition, does not just consider one class. It considers all classes.

  97. This is beyond messed up we rushed to squeeze my sons board of review in trying to get two palms before his eighteenth birthday in October but he has actually earned enough merit badges for 4 palms prior to his board of review. So my son is being punished now that his board of review was in April of 2017 instead of August 2017. He will not be eighteen years old till October 14, 2017. Why was he not told this information was changing when he set up his Eagle board and had to wait over a moth for his board date to even happen. The Eagle board of directors should have know this was happening and warned him to hold off because he would have gladly waited. Any and all scouts that have earned Eagle Scout this year and will not be 18 years old as of August 2017 should be eligible to receive all palms earned before their board of review now without waiting the three months each as do any scouts that have their board of review after August first. Another boy in his troop just had his Eagle Board of review two weeks ago also is screwed out of his palms because he has since turned 18 and he could have received a few palms also instead now he will have no palms at all. This needs to be corrected for these boys that have worked very hard in scouts as well as school and sports. This decision was not just made it has been worked on for awhile to ever get approval. All of us parents and scout leaders need to help these boys get what they have worked so hard to earn. It’s not fair to them they completed the Eagle Rank a few months before their 18th birthday when another scout completes theirs a few days before their 18th birthday and they receive 4 or five palms now instead of none. This needs to be fair across the board for all scouts not just some that happened to procrastinate longer than others.

    • Reason why the Eagle Board did not know this was coming was because it was just announced this week.

      I agree it should be fair for ALL the Scouts, past and present. 3 months tenure per palm should remain. heck 94% of those polled agree 3 months tenure is important or very important.

    • Q, don’t believe it is hard to tell the majority. BSA’s own study appears to establish majority not in favor of the new policy, yet BSA implemented it anyway. Really would love to know the reason behind the new rule. “Addressing the needs of the older scouts”, sorry not buying it. Older scouts who are not Eagle are concentrated on making Eagle, not Eagle and getting palms. I believe they will remain active in scouting until they obtain Eagle. The instant gratification of palms does nothing to promote older scouts continued participation in the troop after obtaining the rank of Eagle. If a scout earns Eagle at 17 years 10 months can’t get palms and was going to leave scouting, he was going to leave scouting whether he received a palm or can now walk away with 5 instant palms and still leave. Why stay, he still can’t earn a 6th palm. It is the integrity of the scout and the strength of the program that will keep scouts interested in scouting. Sorry, but this new rule dilutes the value of palms earned before August 1st and truly is a slap in the face to all Eagles who earned rank prior. It especially stings to those who recently earned the rank of Eagle.

  98. Well to start, I’ve been a leader in Scouts for about 10 years. Cub Pack, and Boy Scouts. A boy who completes 5th grade and is 10, or will be 11, or earn the Arrow of Light and be 10, can be a Boy Scout.
    First, that makes going to summer camps difficult due to age requirements for some, because of the 14 yr. old age requirements. Also, same maturity as the high school boys… ? need I say more.
    I can not understand how a 13- 14 year old boy is mature enough to earn the highest honor of Scouting with the requirements that the merit badges require and, the skills they need to learn to achieve rank.
    I have four scholars/athletes in my Troop, makes things interesting. I have worked with them for years since they were cubs and they earned life rank at 15, (that was with some push)
    (New) a Scout rank needs to spend an overnight campout, and some other things.
    To earn tenderfoot you need an overnight campout,
    For second class you need three overnight camp outs, plus two activities,
    To earn first class you need six overnight camp outs and four activities,
    (So 11 overnights, (like two summer camps, just saying, unless you are able to a weekend a month, lucky you), two activities at one rank, and four at the next rank, and six merit badges at the age of 11, (ok, they are real focused at that age and within a year).
    To earn Star, you are to be active for four months as a first class scout, and earn six merit badges,(while at first class rank, I can not see an 11 yr. old doing that paperwork), six hours of service, (would like to know what those service hours were).
    To earn Life, you need to be active at the Star rank for six months, earn five merit badges, (what 11-12 yr. old likes paperwork), six hours service,(bet they do some real serious stuff), three being conservation- related, (do they understand what conservation is?)
    Now at about 13 I bet they are the Senior Patrol Leader with 16-17 yr. olds in the Troop. They are now going to earn the highest rank in scouting.
    To earn Eagle Scout they are to be active as a life scout for six months, they can tell me how the scout oath and law will guide their life in the future, (when they don’t even know if they will go to college or take up a trade or go into the military), earn 10 more merit badges, (the young and that paperwork, like oil and water, mix together well), oh yea let’s not forget they know what references are, so they will get two – three individuals who will say they have the quality, and qualify to be an Eagle Scout, last but not least, the Eagle Scout Project. A 13 year old is able to pick a major project, communicate that well to adults what they need, fill out that paperwork, and are able to supervise older scouts,(bet they love this scout) and adults to complete their project.
    What about service hours, camping and hiking at this rank? They should be leading the way and coming up with the ideas for the troop.
    I’m all for the new palm changes, my son has 31, my other two scouts have 26, they are athletes and do well in school and have achieved life rank, they drive (they seem to lose interest when that occurs), and have jobs.They wanted to earn palms but didn’t think they could because of their age, and the other things they do, and that they had to earn them after earning their Eagle rank, (which they would be aged out then).
    Outstanding for them and I can’t wait to tell them, they earned them. I am sorry for the scouts who have recently earned the Eagle rank and hope something can be done to fix that quick.
    I guess a scout who is able to earn 60-141 merit badges only does scouting, sounds like they do nothing with the family, are not involved in extra curricular activities at school, and has someone real special assisting them with a lot of paperwork.
    I’m a teacher, so I know they do not like it. Camping out with 13 year olds, hope they are use to being away from mom and dad, 11 overnights is a lot at that age. Oh I coach to and I do not play the daddy/buddy ball or agree with the participation award. So earning 60-141 merit badges, who is completing all that paperwork and holding hands at camp?
    Change sometimes stinks, but if you see something that needs fixed, FIX IT!
    We might not like it at first but it is for the better and the older scouts will not care.
    Being an athlete, no one at the high school level cared what you did in middle school, in college no on cared what you did in high school, in the pros no one cared what you did in college.
    The EAGLE RANK ITSELF will get you a rank in the military, you will get hired at a job before others. They don’t care about whether you earned any palm.
    So stop crying and whining, Please. You are suppose to be adults.

    • There’s a lot to digest in this post, but here’s a couple of take-aways.
      1. Let’s not turn our troops into Eagle factories, let’s keep the integrity of the rank true to itself and its meaning.
      2. Let’s be sure the scout is earning each rank, not being coddled or coerced into the rank.

      I really agree with many of the comments, especially about ‘Who is really doing the paperwork?’ and ‘Does a 13 y-o actually know the meanings of the requirements, or understand the responsibilities involved?’ Yes, there are always exceptions, but the general population of scouts are not qualified to earn an Eagle rank at 13 to 15 y-o. Most are barely able to achieve a true rank of Star, and have an appreciation for what it truly means.

      Adults, parents, leaders of scouts: Encourage your scout to do his best, and support his decision. That might mean they won’t make Eagle rank, but it really needs to be their choice and their achievement. Yes, my son is an Eagle scout. Yes, I am an Assistant Scoutmaster. Yes, allowing a boy to fail to reach a goal is painful to watch, but life can be painful at times. Sometimes the painful memories and experiences are the ones that cause the most growth and better planning in the future.

      These are my opinions. Take them or leave them.

    • Scouts around here can earn a lot of MBs because we have a dozen districts in 16 counties surrounding a major metropolitan area including 3 districts in the same county. Almost all have their own MB event. My son has earn over 100 MBs and he still has time to play sports (tennis), participate in his church youth group (mission trip & support vacation bible school), & do other things in Scouting (OA Brotherhood, CIT, NYLT, NAYLE, NYLT Staff, Day Camp Staff 4 summers, & right now he is headed to the National Jamboree) so evidently is doing more than eating, sleeping, & earning MBs.

      The only thing that I see he does less of when he is doing MB and other Scouting stuff is that he is not on his computer & phone 8 hours a day. It’s amazing how much time someone has when they get away from their TV, computer, & phone.

  99. I find it humorous how many of the posts here include, “my son….” and how few start with “I earned Eagle….”

    You parents need to back up! Let the kids enjoy the program. Find your own arenas to compete in. Find your own ventures to build your self esteem. Stop pinning your worth on the accomplishments of your children.

    • Karl, the header explains that this is “a blog for BSA’s adult leaders.” Many Boy Scout leaders have sons in their troop, so that’s a reasonable point-of-reference for specific examples instead of generalizations. Rather than finding the posts humorous, I find them heartfelt. The overall message is that we shouldn’t disadvantage some Scouts while advantaging other Scouts, because that’s not the way Scouts should behave. There’s an easy fix, and that’s making the policy change retroactive for all currently-registered Eagle Scouts.

      As for me, I’m the Committee Chair of a troop of about 40 Scouts in a small town in Colorado, and I don’t have a son in the troop. And I didn’t earn Eagle, because when I immigrated to the USA over 50 years ago I was told by the Scoutmaster, “we don’t want your kind of people.” Nevertheless, times change, and I believe in Scouting’s mission.

      • Michael, I am sorry you were denied the ability to participate in the scouting program as a youth. It is truly a wonderful program for young people.

        As a committee chair perhaps you have encountered the kind of parent that my comment was directed to. The helicopter parent who pushes their child to get to Eagle as fast as they can, to get as many merit badges as possible, to beat the other kids in the troop. These parents often become MB counselors just to move their kid along. When I was a scout and earned Eagle, many moons ago, there were very few of these parents. Now every troop seems to have a few.

        I stand by my comment. Several leaders are also Eagle scouts who have earned enough MB’s to have earned some palms under the new regulations. You don’t see many comments here from us complaining about the lack of palms we should have got under the new rules. Are those little pins for our uniform worth the outrage?

        Most grown men who are Eagles would say no. Apparently the helicopter parents and tiger moms on this board feel otherwise. I happen to find their outrage a little funny because it is so misplaced.

  100. I just told my 16 year old son who is an Eagle Sout for the last two years about this change and he is just as frustrated as I am when I read this.

    He will age out and never receive all the palms he has earned (and deserve). He has 80 merit badges so far.

    Yet a new Eagle Scout can instantly at his COH get all his palms the he has earned (deserved)!

    HOW fair is this to the current Eagle Scouts out there that are still active in their troop!!! I have seen scout earn Eagle and then stop going to meetings. My son is there every meeting and is ASPL.

    1. Make it the same for ALL Scouts.
    2. At the last Troop Court of Hour for a Scout turning 18
    present them with all outstanding Palms they gave
    not received yet due to 3 month rule.

    The BSA promotes equality and fairness. Maybe they apply that here. You have one scout family upset over this!!

  101. I agree and am in the same boat. We all need to write BSA so that they realize the unfairness. I am hopeful that they will adjust this and make it equitable for all active Eagles. They are penalizing boys for earning Eagle early. Not cool.
    Please write now: We should also probably write our own Council presidents.
    We need to get this done before Aug. 1st!

  102. I’m fully expecting many thumbs down comments, but it finally makes sense to me. Between this decision and the next Blog post on reducing number of camping trips for 2nd and 1st class, one can only conclude that National wants to encourage Scouts to get Eagle at a young age, get all their Palms at the Eagle COH, and not care if they stay active past 14. We all know one major chartering organization that wants exactly this formula. National isn’t going to change this decision, but they could at least admit why.

    • I don’t disagree with your assessment, clearly the BSA would like to see venturing grow. I also think the change is being made to encourage older boys to continue to go to summer camp. Many BSA camps struggle with attendance. To encourage older boys to go to camp they often offer high adventure programs at camp for older boys who have lost interest in merit badges. Now Star and Life scouts can continue to benefit from working on merit badges even if they have all of the ones they need for Eagle.

  103. When I was SM I appreciated the “active” and 3 month tenure requirements necessary to earn Palms as a way to encourage older Scouts to remain involved with the troop. This change is designed to further disconnect older Scouts from the troop where their continued involvement and influence on younger Scouts was – for me – greatly appreciated. No BOR is no big deal since it was pretty much a formality anyway, but instantaneous recognition is a bad idea. These changes to be more about National’s numbers than something to strengthen the program.

    • John, “more about National’s numbers” – just wondering how many people have received an email or aware that National is holding “Scouting Families Discussion Groups” on “how we can make the whole scouting program more accessible for both boys and girls, in the families we serve”. Looks like more changes are coming.

      Not looking for thread drift. I will certainly be sending an email to National noting my displeasure with the new policy re Eagle Palms.

      • They are having these discussion group meetings in the Heart of America Council (Kansas City area) starting on Monday. In the invitation email, it did not reference the addition of girls to Boy Scouts, but I have since confirmed that this is the intent of the discussions. It will be interesting.

  104. My son finds this very frustrating. His EBOR was June 15th. He said it shouldn’t keep Eagles, real Eagles from dropping, but finds the rule completely uneven and unfair. He’s a better man than I…

  105. Q: Can a Scout who completed his Eagle Scout board of review before Aug. 1 go back and receive Palms for merit badges he has already completed?

    A: No, the change to allow awarding Palms as described above is not retroactive. If the Scout still has eligibility remaining, he may continue to earn Palms by completing the new requirements.

    What are you people thinking? You have made some really odd decisions over the years, but this one really makes me question BSA standards.
    Not only have you diluted the rank of eagle to a patch with all of the relaxed requirements that will allow a boy to buy a rubbermaid shed and set it up and use the pre printed instructions as a eagle write up for a eagle project.

    Which we now call “Eagle in a box” that same boy can now earn all of his palms in one stroke of a pen. But the boys that do it right are penalized and have to wait for their palms.

    How does this seem fair to ANYONE?

    Maybe the LDS churches are on to something, Scouting is becoming less leadership and goal driven but more PC just let every one have a trophy/patch.

  106. Question: Are Scouts allowed to decline the “giving” of the palms after they complete the EBoR, after Aug 1? I would believe, if we taught them correctly, a true Eagle Scout would want to “earn” his awards and not just have them given to him because he reached a milestone. He can then state with pride that he EARNED all the awards he has received!

  107. i just got this comment back from National : there needs to be someone we can appeal this with. any ideas? it is not fair. I don’t even have the heart to tell my son with 105 merit badges that his peers with BORS after Aug. 1 will get many more palms and that he will only get 5 because he can only get them 3 months at a time.

    When reviewing the Palm requirements (for the last two plus years), many things were taken into

    consideration, unintended consequences were explored, and compromises were made. This was not a unilateral decision and was reviewed by many of our volunteers. Ultimately, the National Executive Board as well as the National Key Three approved the changes, rationale, effective date and implementation. As with many requirement changes, there are going to be those who believe the change, or the effective date, postponement of Eagle boards of review to take advantage of the recognition of Palms, or the fact that the changes were not made retroactive, are unfair and do not benefit all.

    Thank you for your support of Scouting.

    Member Care Contact Center

    • Wow. What an unresponsive reply. “There are going to be those who believe … the fact that the changes were not made retroactive are unfair.” That’s an accurate observation, but utterly useless. Can the Member Care Contact Centre explain why the changes were not made retroactive? And why the policy change is not unfair itself?

      In my troop, making the changes retroactive to include all currently-registered Eagle Scouts not yet 18 years old would be quick paperwork. I don’t understand the downside to doing so. Perhaps the National Executive Board and the National Key Three could explain their rationale.

    • 1) Thank you for posting the response.

      2) yes they have been looking at changing the requirements for over 2 years. I was part of the survey.

      I was part of the 69% that thought palms were important. With this change not anymore.

      I was part of the 80% that though it strengthened units by requiring participation. This change now allows new Eagles to earn Eagle and palms at the same time, and quit,

      I was part of the 85% who believed earning palms should mean more than just 5 MBs. This change makes it all about the MBs now.

      I was part of the 81% that rejected allowing time as a Life Scout be used. With this change there is essentially no time requirement, and any MBs earned can be use be used for palms Yes, I know a Star Scout who only needs his Eagle required MBs for both Life and Eagle. Under this insane rule, he will earn a Bronze Palm automatically if he earns Eagle.

      I was part of the 94% who thought 3 months tenure was important or very important. With this change, tenure no longer means anything.

      I was part of the 69% who thought leadership was important. Now you can use the same POR time for Star, Life, Eagle, or heck, no POR time at all if you think about it, to get a bunch of palms.

      Overall I am thoroughly disgusted with this change. The only part I do agree with allowing OA leadership positions, summer camp staff, and other non-unit leadership positions count. If BSA changes back to the old policy, and I pray they will. I hope they WILL keep this part of the change,

  108. I think they are trying to reward the extra work of going beyond the 21 required for Eagle, without having kids funneled through an Eagle factory to get Eagle at 12. Maybe the recognition of additional MBs and the recognition of post-Eagle involvement and leadership should be two different awards. Or maybe a fourth type of Palm could be awarded at the Scout’s 18th birthday if he has leftover MBs that he didn’t have time to convert into Palms but he has earned every possible Palm since he made Eagle. So a Scout that makes Eagle just before turning 16, could earn a max of eight Palms the old way, which would use up 40 additional MBs (so 61 total). If the Scout actually earned 75, and did in fact earn all eight palms, he could be awarded a fourth color of Palm (white, or red/white/blue, or maybe diamond, I don’t know) with a device in the middle indicating that he earned 14 additional MBs beyond the 61 shown on his Palms, and the Palm itself would show that he stuck with the program all the way through to 18 with no breaks. So to get that final Palm would be quite the distinction.

  109. My e-mail and the response….Kind of feels like, meh, who cares? Question: has any other topic garnered 300 comments on this blog? National should pay attention at least.

    I would like to respectfully request that you revisit the decision to change the Eagle Palm requirements. If you would like to allow for all the palms “earned” to be given to a boy at his Eagle BOR on August 1 and beyond, please consider ALL boys who currently have earned their Eagle rank and allow them to also retroactively receive all the palms (as long as they are under 18). Once the field is level, they can all serve the 3 additional months to earn additional palms.

    Please take note of the 275+ comments on Bryan’s blog and see that this is a decision that should be revisited.

    Thank you for your consideration


    Thank you for your message to the national Advancement Team. If you’ve offered an idea or suggestion we’re grateful for your thoughtfulness and time. Please be assured it will be read and considered. If you’ve asked a question or requested assistance we’ll do our best to provide a timely response.

    If you are emailing to subscribe to the Advancement News newsletter please include your name, email address, and the name of your council spelled out.

    Thank you for your interest in advancement.

    National Advancement Team
    Program Impact Department

    • “Question: has any other topic garnered 300 comments on this blog?”
      Well there’s this one: 😮

      Counting the # of comments isn’t exactly fair, because folks like me post multiple (relatively) short comments. Others post once but with a lot of detail. Most are in the middle. On a scouting forum, they don’t represent votes so much as folks trying get their heads around a concept.

    • Is this change now official? When will it be added to the website? Does the committee holding the Eagle Board of Review have any part in verifying or awarding the Palms earned before the Eagle Board of Review?

  110. I think we should all send emails and copy our respective Council Scout Executives. (that was suggested to me by someone in our Council). Plus they also suggested sending hard copies, in addition to the emails. It is so much harder to ignore a pile of actual letters and you can’t send back a “robo” email. My guess is that not many people know about this or the outrage would be even greater. I also received the suggestion that should email or write the president of NESA.

    We need to make this happen before Aug. 1 or no one will so lets’ all:
    1) Send an email to and copy our respective Council Scout Executives

    2) Send a hard copy letter to National , potentially print out a copy of this blog highlighting all of the comments requesting this be retroactive
    1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane, Irving, TX 75038

    3) Contact President of NESA
    Glenn Adams , only email I have is
    National Eagle Scout Association (NESA)
    Boy Scouts of America
    1325 West Walnut Hill Lane
    P.O. Box 152079
    Irving, Texas 75015-2079

    4) post on the national BSA Facebook page

    Do this all soon because it is going to get lost in the National Jamboree scramble

    • The only thing I would add to Scout Mom’s post is that I would also (intend to do myself) send a copy to Mike Surbaugh, Chief Scout Executive. I had a problem with my local council and after being stonewalled for over a year, I advised I would get National involved. I called National and after getting the run around from the secretary, I finally said “I am about ten minutes away from suing the boy scouts”. With that she abruptly hung up on me. Low and behold I received a telephone call from an attorney representing BSA and the issue resolved itself shortly thereafter.

      Seeing the responses received from the complaint submitted above, I would go to the top man and register my complaint. I think if enough people register their displeasure with the new policy, something might be done. I am not holding my breath though.

      • someone suggested starting a petition on While this is somewhat of a niche topic, there are news outlets and attorneys that monitor these petitions which would draw the attention to BSA very quickly. It worked in other niche issues such as a recent one with the national fencing association and the issue immediately got attention

    • This is a horrible change. It devalues the Scouts that earned palms under the old plan. My son wanted to exceed his troops record by achieving four palms. He would have been one merit badges shy of that when he made Eagle. He spent the year giving leadership to younger Scouts and the Troop in general. If he had gotten his palms with his Eagle, he may have concerned himself more with his own advancement.

      The other problem I see is Summer Camp Staff. Camps rotate staff positions and staff earns all of the merit badges taught at each station. With approximately 50 merit badges offered at summer camp, There will be a lot of “automatic” palms being awarded, Since most required badges are not given at summer camp, you can have a new Eagle with four or five palms with years to go to earn more.

  111. Why is there nothing about this on Nationals or website? And will the Guide to Advancement be updated?

  112. National should make this retroactive to the beginning of the BSA. Not at all fair to award duly earned palms to new Eagles and not all the other Eagles who have come before. Below 18 or above 18, if an Eagle earned at least 5 more merit badges above the current requirement of 21, they should be able to receive the appropriate palm(s). How many Eagles anguished over the fact that they had too little time left before turning 18 to earn all the palms they deserved. BSA…make this retroactive !

  113. I’ve been away on a business trip and I’m just now catching up on my emails. When I read Bryan’s post, “The way Scouts earn Eagle Palms is about to change” I thought it was another of his elaborate hoaxes, like the kind he enjoys playing on us every April 1st. After reading the post in detail, I realized to my dismay, that this change is real. Even after reading the rationales provided I still can’t believe some elements of this ill conceived proposal were ever given serious consideration let alone approved for implementation.

    The good: As was stated, Palms are an award, not a rank. A Board of Review should never have been included in the requirements. It was an unnecessary burden on the Scout and the unit, and that change is welcome. Similarly, it’s nice to see that an Eagle Scout will be able to earn additional Palm Awards after reaching the age of eighteen by continuing his affiliation and participation in other BSA programs.

    The bad: The BSA has just created two types of Palms – those that are earned and those that are simply granted. Each merit badge a Scout receives is the recognition he gets for doing the work to earn the merit badge. Every Scout should wear all of his merit badges with pride. Under current requirements, Palm Awards are based on three components – three months of active participation in a unit, development, or demonstration of leadership ability, and earning five additional merit badges. Merit badges are only one part of the program and the idea that a Palm Award should be granted simply for earning five merit badges more than the minimum twenty-one required for Eagle rank only serves to cheapen the award. Additionally, while the BSA encourages Scouts to strive to maintain a steady rate of progression, this change all but eliminates one of the most important incentives a Scout has for completing the requirements for Eagle rank in a timely fashion. Likewise, if a Scout can now walk away with a handful of Palm Awards when he finally does earn Eagle rank, he won’t have much incentive to remain active in his unit and “give back” to the younger Scouts and the Troop Leadership who’ve given so much to him during the past six or seven years.

    The ugly: When requirements are added to different parts of the program such as merit badges and ranks, there is always a phase-in period. Normally, during that period, Scouts are given the option of completing that part of the program under the old requirements or under the new, usually more stringent requirements. In this case, the situation has been turned on it’s head in that most of the requirements for the award (Palms granted at the time Eagle rank is earned) are being eliminated. It’s hard to believe that no consideration has been given for Scouts who’ve already earned Eagle rank and are still active in their units. They’re being held to a higher standard and are being denied the immediate granting of all of the Palm Awards that should rightfully be theirs. This is not honorable treatment and it’s a real insult to these fine young men. I’m sure, that as Eagle Scouts, they will carry on with a smile, in the best tradition of Scouting, but I won’t blame them for feeling bitter about the shabby treatment they’ve received.

    I totally disagree with the granting of Palm Awards for simply earning merit badges, and I feel that this change will ultimately have a negative impact on the program. That said, I feel strongly that if these changes are implemented on August 1, all Eagle Scouts should be made whole and they should all be granted Palm Awards for the merit badges they’ve earned. What’s fair for one is fair for all.

    I’d like to see a change in the way BSA does business. I’d like to see all proposed changes posted for everyone to read, and a comment period of at least thirty days provided, before any more changes are imposed on the organization. The many thousands of Scouts and Scouters around the country who are doing the work and carrying the load should be given a little more respect by taking their input into consideration before program changes are implemented.

    • Could you explain how a BoR is an “an unnecessary burden on the Scout and the unit”?
      Your notion kind of blindsided me because I never thought of it that way. (I noted my personal recollections on

      Our committee chairs have prepared their members to hold boards on very short notice. If we had an Eagle who wanted to “check in” every three months so as to rack up Palms, we’d bend over backwards to help him do that.

      There’s no logical reason why BoR’s should be exclusive to “ranks”. E.g. Venturing only has “awards” and not ranks, but the core awards require BoR’s. “A rose by any other name …”

      • Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

        I commend the adult leadership of your unit for their adherence to the requirements outlined in the Guide to Advancement and, more importantly, for their dedicated support of the Scouts in your program.

        Unfortunately, too many units operate with little more than a shell of a Troop Committee which exists on paper, but not in reality. In the case of our Troop, Boards of Review are often cobbled together by the Scoutmaster on the day of a regularly scheduled Scout meeting and made up of parents who happened to be dropping their sons off for the evening. Since our unit doesn’t meet during school or public holidays (which includes the entire summer other than a trip to Summer Camp), Boards of Review have to be set up at inconvenient times and locations just to meet the time requirements for Palm Awards. That may not be a problem for large, well run units, but this is the unfortunate reality for many small, rural units with weak organizational structures and limited parental support.

        Since our unit has only one Eagle Scout still active, and the only Scout to earn a Palm Award in anyone’s memory, my frame of reference is limited. In this young man’s case, he serves as our only JASM and almost never misses a Troop meeting or activity. He attends our District Roundtables and actively participates in monthly OA meetings. He has served his Lodge as an Elangomat and a ceremonialist, and has accepted Brotherhood membership. He is currently serving as a counselor at our Council’s Summer Camp and he’s preparing to attend the National Jamboree at the Summit next week. He has a long list of other Scouting accomplishments but the point is that all of the adults who repeated serve on his Boards of Review have known him since he was a Cub Scout. Typically, the Board is called to order and the young man is asked how he’s doing. After hearing his reply, the Board members collectively shrug their shoulders and perfunctorily approve the Palm Award. Since the young man has already completed a Scoutmaster Conference and the Scoutmaster has confirmed that the requirements were met, the Board of Review (in this case) is a pointless exercise. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the truth.

        There are a large number of Boy Scout awards, some of which have more rigorous requirements than the Palm Award. All require some kind of certification, but the Palm Award is the only one that requires a Board of Review: Boardsailing BSA Award, BSA Lifeguard Award, BSA Stand up Paddle Boarding Award, Conservation Good Turn Award, Cyber Chip Award, Den Chief Service Award, Den Leader Training Awards, Emergency Preparedness Award, Firem’n Chit Award, Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award, Historic Trails Award, International Spirit Award, Interpreter strip Award, Kayaking BSA Award, Keep America Beautiful Hometown USA Award, Lifesaving and Meritorious Action Award, Memorial Gold Star Award, Meritorious Action Award, Messengers of Peace Award, Mile Swim BSA Award, National Duty to God Award, National Honor Patrol Award, National Medal for Outdoor Achievement, NESA Life Membership Award, NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout Award, Nova Awards, Outdoor Ethics Awareness and Action Award, Paul Bunyun Woodsman Award, Recruiter strip Award, Religious Emblems Awards Program, SCOUTStrong Be MedWise Award, SCOUTStrong Healthy Unit Award, SCOUTStrong Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, SCOUTStrong Splash and Dash Participation, Scuba BSA Award, Service Stars Award, Snorkeling BSA Award, Torch of Gold Award, Totin’ Chip Award, World Conservation Award, etc.

        Your personal experience as a young Scout is inspiring and I wish all units used their Boards of Review to enhance a Scout’s experience with Adult Association and to review, guide, encourage, and commend their Scouts as the Guide directs. The unfortunate truth is that for many units, Boards of Review are little more than a collection of ill informed and unprepared parents (through no fault of their own) who simply rubber-stamp the Scoutmaster’s recommendations.

        I understand and appreciate your basis for feeling differently, but those are my reasons for saying the Board of Review for Palm Awards has been an unnecessary burden on the Scout and the unit, and why I’m glad to see it go.

        I want to reiterate though, that I am adamantly opposed to the grant of Palm Awards at the time Eagle rank is earned. This devalues the award and greatly diminishes its value and importance. I view this change as an insult to the many thousands of Scouts who’ve “earned” their palms through participation and service (leadership). Just my opinion.

        Guide to Advancement 2017 Purpose and Timeliness of Boards of Review
        After a Scout has completed the requirements for any rank (except Scout), he appears before a board of review. Its purpose is to determine the quality of his experience and decide whether he has fulfilled the requirements for the rank. If so, the board not only approves his advancement or Palm but also encourages him to continue the quest for the next rank or Palm.
        Because the board of review date becomes the effective advancement date, boards should be scheduled promptly as Scouts are ready, or set up on a regular basis that assures Scouts are not delayed in beginning time-oriented requirements for the next rank. Boards of Review Must Be Granted When Requirements Are Met
        A Scout shall not be denied this opportunity. When he believes he has completed all the requirements for a rank, including a Scoutmaster conference, a board of review must be granted.

        • Thanks for the details. Few boys earn more than 40 MBs, let alone meet the time requirements for more than one silver palm. So, your situation is unique. I would encourage your board, such as it is, to never discount the power of a regular “how ya doing” in the most active scouts. As a parent, that’s something I count on from my for me committee — even now that my kids are young adults.

          Arguing rank vs. award is quite novel. As a crew advisor, I know that core venturing awards (not ranks) also require BoRs. Also, even though Scout is now a rank, it doesn’t require a BoR. The way I’ve understood it for four decades is that BoRs are for “significant milestones” — some are ranks; others, awards; and some on rare occasions, corrective actions. Up until now, every piece of BSA literature supports that notion. I just have no idea where the rank-award distinction, as it relates to boards of review, comes from.

          Now, if palms are no longer a “milestone” under new requirements, I understand how boards of review become unnecessary.

    • The age limit is still 18. What the new active interpretation is that scout’s can fulfill the requirement by being active in many other types of BSA activities not just their unit.

    • Stupid little phone. I was trying to like this and accidentally hit thumb down. Ignore that. I wish I could undo it. To the contrary, every point you made is exactly how I feel – just stated so much more eloquently than I ever could have put into words. So sorry the post that most expressed my thoughts now is marked thumbs down by me.

    • Tomasquawk, your comment was great. I also thought it was an “April Fools” type of post when I first read it.
      Unfortunately, I don’t believe that we are being led by people who really care about what we think. They know that many of us won’t quit scouting over this decision. That is why they don’t really care about our opinions nor do they respect us.
      Many of us who have commented on this are saddened that National has passed yet another decision that 80% or more of us in the field know is terribly wrong.
      As a scout leader, I cannot understand why National would remove a great incentive for an older scout to give back to scouting.
      Eagle scouts from my Troop were proud of the Palms they earned because they were a rare achievement. Soon, they will not be so rare and therefore not much of an achievement.

  114. Big Mistake. Sounds like something from the ‘every kid gets a trophy’ school of thought. Palms recognize scouts who stay in scouting, help their troop and provide leadership to younger scouts after earning Eagle. Palms become meaningless under this revision.

      • They may not be meaningless, according to Webster’s, but they mean nothing significant now. The merit badges themselves already represent the work done to earn the badges. Now that the palms are handed over at the same time as the Eagle, they cannot be distinguished from the ones that were earned. When you see a palm in a year, will you know if it was simply handed over to represent five merit badges or later earned by giving back to the troop and teaching and leading? After 8/1, it is impossible to see a palm and know that anything more than earning a merit badge was done to earn the palm and, again, the merit badge already says he earned the merit badge. It is redundant. So, yes, you are right, it isn’t by definition “meaningless” but the meaning it represents is a redundant indication of the merit badges already on the sash. Whereas a palm used to garner respect because it represented leadership and giving back to Scouting, now it is just an adding machine tape in metal form. And because the meaning of it has changed, it devalues all of the ones that were earned before 8/1.

  115. So I had a Scout complete his Board of Review YESTERDAY, 2 WEEKS, before Aug 1. He has 33 merit badges and has to wait 3 months (twice) to earn his 2 palms, but if we would have Waited 2 weeks for his Eagle Board of Review, No Wait. That is not Cool. I saw this online, but didn’t read it 100%, and told him at his BOR it looks like he may get both palms, wrong and bad of me I guess.

    • Congratulations to your scout. Does he need to leave the country in the next six months?
      If not, give him a creative job to do in the troop so that he has a reason to stick around and have the SPL hand him the palms in October and December. Learning that adults make mistakes is not the worst news a guy will ever hear.

  116. Has there ever been a topic to raise as much opposition as this one? Well, yes, here lately it seems National has made plenty of decisions that has lit up the boards so to speak but those against this way out pace those for it.

    Here, in part, is what I wrote to my Council Key 3:

    “Scouts have always had their merit badge sash to impress people inside and outside of scouting. A full sash draped over a shoulder speaks to a lot of work for those that know and those that casually know what it takes. Palms are understood less by those inside and outside of the BSA but for those that do know it is much more than ‘”I earned five additional merit badges after earning the Eagle rank and the required 21 badges.”‘

    “If there is anyone at National collecting responses to this announcement please forward mine. I did not even earn Arrow of Light so it is not personal jealously. I have however seen my son and others treasure earning their palms because they chose to remain active and to “give back” as our Eagle Board encourages each new Eagle. This new policy is the equal of the participation trophy many programs have gone to over the past twenty years. If this is what it is going to take to reach the newest generation we are cheapening the mean for so many that have come before them.”

    Every leader I have spoken with agrees this is a bad decision. My Eagle scout son with four palms had a very interesting solution that I believe solves the issue of boys not receiving palms because they turned 18: extend the age to 21 years old and encourage Eagle scouts to continue participating in programs so they may continue to earn palms. He could no longer earn merit badges but if a palm means something to him (and it should) then he needs to put in the time just like everyone else. I don’t think any youth would object to that nor any adult. This way an Eagle does earn all his palms by continuing to serve, National meets the goal of encouraging participation beyond the troop and the prestige of the palm in maintained.

  117. The only problem with saying “the merit badges themselves show the merit badges earned” is that you can’t wear the sash once you hit your 18th birthday. Maybe a square knot or some other device could be introduced that indicates various levels of exceptional merit badge. That way, even if the Scout couldn’t convert all his merit badges to palms, he can still wear something on his adult uniform indicative of his work as a youth.

    • But adults don’t need the bling. And in my opinion, this does a disservice to those Eagles, both those still registered and those who aged out, who mot only earned Palms, but could have earned Palms if they had more time.

      I’m an Eagle, but I would not have earned a palm since I only had 22 MBs. And I got Eagle at 18. But I had friends and Scouts whom I worked with who did earn palms. I had Scouts who if they had more time could have gotten more palms since they had the MBs already. Palms meant more that just having more MBs. It meant staying involved and giving back to the troop. It meant serving in a leadership role and inspiring the younger Scouts. And for those with goals, Palms gave you an incentive to remain and keep learning. Sadly this change loses all that.

      I’ll give you an example. My oldest son is Star. He has all the extra MBs needed for Life, Eagle, and currently1 palm. All he needs to work on are the missing Eagle required MBs. If he earns Eagle, under this new rule he automatically earns at least a Bronze Palm. No extra leadership responsibilities for that palm. No extra time giving back to the troop to get that palm.

      And here is the kicker. This giving away of Palms won’t mean a thing. It will be viewed as a “participation award.” Scouts do not value something they didn’t earn. Son will point blank tell you which MB do not mean anything because the camp or MBU gave them to everyone, even if they didn’t earn it. There is one MB, Chess, he only needs to do 1 thing to earn: teach someone to play. This is a kid who is plays in tourneys, has a bunch of trophies, and is ranked.Sadly he lost all interest in earning Chess MB after several Scouts in the troop “earned” it at summer camp by going to a 1 hour chess tourney. When he realized that a lot of the counselor’s at one MBU gave away MBs, he lost interest.

      So I see this decision going in the opposite direction.

      • Nothing adults wear is for the benefit of the adult. It’s all to inspire the youth members. Palms themselves are worn on the adult uniform. I understand the desire to keep the Palm requirements the same, because they traditionally haven’t been just an accounting of merit badges but also an acknowledge of post-Eagle leadership, but I also get why BSA is trying to do something to acknowledge and encourage additional merit badge work beyond the 21, even if for whatever reason that work doesn’t result in Palms.

      • @Tomasquawk,

        Actually Totin Chip has a temp patch that can be worn. Unfortunately it’s the shape of an OA flap, so many Scouts incorrectly wear it on the flap.

        And someone created a private issue 50 Miler knot. I admit, I have some of is “reproductions,” specifically those knots in Sea Scout white, navy, and “Exploring” green 😉 on my uniforms, I don’t have any of the unofficial ones.

        @Holly McWilliams,

        If the BSA wanted to come up with yet another award, then I would have no problem with it. But messing around with something that has been here since 1927, I have issues with. Just like when the then National Director of Venturing told a bunch of us that “the Silver Award will replace Eagle Scout as Scouting’s highest award,” and a bunch of us were ticked off.

    • There’s a knot for the Arrow of Light Award and a knot for Eagle rank. I definitely don’t intend this as sarcasm, but where might it end? A knot for the Whittling Chip? A knot for the Fifty Miler Award? There are already too many knots, pins, and badges for the Scout uniform. I don’t agree that we need more youth-accomplishment knots for adults.

  118. Regardless of where this debate gets us …
    You know what would REALLY be crazy cool now that we’re entering the age of 3-D printing? Custom palms with the specific MB medallions (or at least the names of the badges) earned by the scout to obtain each award micro-printed in the veins of the device.

  119. I am 17, and I earned Eagle shortly before I turned 16. I just got back from summer camp, and I now have 63 merit badges. This totally bothers me because now I am either being ripped off from my hard work, or others are being rewarded for nothing. I am not a fan of this change. The creation of palms was meant to keep Eagles active. This change is completely undoing the point of palms. This change could have successfully gotten rid of many Eagles around the country. I hope everyone is happy with the damage this will do.

  120. Our troop has 2 boys that had their Eagle BOR three days before this announcement. Each has enough MBs for 3 palms. The certificate from National probably won’t even be ready or arrive prior to Aug 1st. Both boys are waiting for a third scout to have his board, which is delayed due to a teacher not getting the recommendation letter back yet, so they can have their COH together. We have advised the 3 rd boy to wait until August for his BOR.
    Uncool that you would make the others wait. Had we known about this prior, we would have advised the other two to wait also. A three week lead time for announcing is ridiculous. I can’t find anything about the change on either, and have tried many search strategies. BSA needs to take the boys who also have done the requirements prior to their BOR into consideration, instead of them having a perceived punishment. 3 days prior to announcement and 3 weeks before policy change, come on!

  121. I think this should also include the current Eagle Scouts under 18 and then ones going forward. My son received his Eagle in October 2016 and he just turned 17 in June. He has currently earned 133 merit badges to date and his personal goal is to earn them all. However, he will not get all of the Eagle palms because he is on the old plan of every 3 months. Does not seems fair…..

    Old plan:
     26 total merit badges (21 required + 5 additional) = 1 bronze palm
     31 total merit badges (21 required + 10 additional) = 1 gold palm
     36 total merit badges (21 required + 15 additional) = 1 silver palm
     41 total merit badges (21 required + 20 additional) = 1 bronze palm and 1 silver palm
     46 total merit badges (21 required + 25 additional) = 1 gold palm and 1 silver palm
     51 total merit badges (21 required + 30 additional) = 2 silver palms
     The pattern continues like that until the Scout runs out of merit badges or turns 18.

    New plan:
    Total number of merit badges Number beyond minimum Palm combination
    131 110 1 Bronze, 7 Silver

    • So we can either all just continue to comment on this blog, or we can send emails (and letters which are harder to ignore to the national BSA advancement committee The policy has not gone into effect yet so they may still reconsider if we all contact them.
      We need to make this happen before Aug. 1 or no one will so lets’ all:

      1) Send an email to and copy our respective Council Scout Executives

      2) Send a hard copy letter to National , potentially print out a copy of this blog highlighting all of the comments requesting this be retroactive
      1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane, Irving, TX 75038

      3) Contact President of NESA
      Glenn Adams , only email I have is
      National Eagle Scout Association (NESA)
      Boy Scouts of America
      1325 West Walnut Hill Lane
      P.O. Box 152079
      Irving, Texas 75015-2079

      4) post on the national BSA Facebook page

      Do this all soon because it is going to get lost in the National Jamboree scramble

    • What you suggest goes against what the majority of those polled wanted. Then again, this whole change goes against what the majority wanted.

    • Debi, I’m still trying to get my head around one thing: why the ageism?
      NESA’s taught us that ALL OF US who fulfilled the rank requirements set down by he national court of honor are current Eagle Scouts – be we adult or youth. Why should current Eagle Scouts under 18 years old present themselves any differently than current Eagle Scouts over 18? Why should your son be recognized any differently than the first Eagle Scout to earn 130+ merit badges?

      I mean, your son sounds like a really great guy, and I’m really glad to have him counted amoung us. But right now each palm on his medal means exactly the same thing as any palm I may put on my medal. If we were in the same room, people would *know* he hustled up and got his bird younger than I did and served for years afterword, while I stopped. Why would you want scouters to wonder if your son was one of those earn-my-bird-at-the-last-minute kind of Eagles?

      • Q, “Why should your son be recognized any differently than the first Eagle Scout to earn 130+ merit badges?” Since you have an issue with “ageism”, please answer the following?

        Why should Eagle Scouts be recognized differently from August 1st on?

        Why August 1st? What is special about that date? Why not back it up to January 1, 2017? 2016? Sept. etc.

        In my opinion, the rank of Eagle Scout is not being changed. You still have to perform the requirements before 18. And yes, I understand that rank requirements have changed throughout the years, but the book and its requirements were supposed to be the level playing field for all scouts. That is no longer the case and those current scouts who made Eagle prior to August 1st and are under 18 are getting the short end of the stick. The requirements haven’t changed, but the “reward” has. Yes, it is unfair to the scouts who have aged out of scouting, however, I believe there are significant numbers of active scouts still giving back to the troop versus the adult Eagles who are not active and giving back to a troop. Are you active and involved with a troop? Good for you if you are. Have you asked any of your current Eagles who do not get instant palms? Any feedback? Are retroactive palms that important to you as an adult versus a kid still in the program and giving back? Yes, I know, scout should be selfless and give back without the reward, but, they are still human beings and clearly know when the rules are changed against them and they are not being treated equally.

        Current active scouts, still in the program are being treated differently, plain and simple. They are not being recognized and provided the same opportunity as those earning Eagle after August 1st. I mentioned this to both of my sons who made Eagle April and June this year. Both have years before they age out. They both replied that the rule was stupid and will have a negative effect on scouting and that the purpose was to give back to the troop to earn palms. They believe that a scout who can get 5 or 6 palms now and disappear, will.

        Frankly, it goes back to the reason BSA stated why they changed the rule. “To bring Eagle Palm requirements in line with the needs of older Scouts”. I don’t know what that means. If an Eagle candidate wanted palms he should have put the time in like all other scouts who earned palms before. The majority of Eagles I’ve seen over the years, struggled to make the 21 badges prior to their 18th birthday. This rule does not help them in any way, but has a negative impact on the scouts who did earn merit badges over the minimum and are still active in the troop and earned Eagle before August 1st. To be fair, palms should be awarded for all Eagles, or make the new reward system start from August 1st, for all newly registered scouts going forward. That way all active scouts are on the same playing field. If you are going to reward the effort of some, you should reward the effort of all. Instant palms is a bad policy and just the latest in the need for immediate gratification for the younger generation.

        Q, Sorry to single you out, but if someone can tell me the real reason behind the change and why the start date of August 1st makes sense, I would appreciate it. Thanks.

        • This change doesn’t make sense at all. 94% of those poll opposed this.

          As for why August 1st date, I think I know why. In the past, whenever something changed, it started on August 1st. Some examples include August 1, 1982 was when Tiger Cubs came out nationally. August 1, 1984 was when Webelos got the option to continue with the blue uniform or go with tan and green. August 1, 1989 The World Crest no longer had to be earned, Skill Awards and Leadership Corps went away, requirements changed, and a new BSHB came out. August 1 1998 was when Venturing separated from Exploring.

  122. I think this change will be a big topic at Jamboree. You have so many scouts who pushed to finish Eagle Board of Reviews just before Jamboree to say they are Eagle Scouts. Seems if you must do this change that is kind of a kick in the teeth for some of our best and brightest.

    I don’t agree with the change in the rules for awarding new eagles with palms for merit badges only and not make retroactive for Scouts under 18, if you must make this change. This change is a retroactive award program for work already done for scouts with a lot of merit badges as now being presented. So why tie a date to it and offend scouts.

    The Other Changes that are recommended make a lot of sense and can understand why. But a collection of eagle palms out of the gate just does not send the right message. It will be very tough to explain to my Jamboree scouts that you don’t get your eagle palms but the 3 other scouts finishing the end of this year will.

  123. The requirements for earning an Eagle Palm have been tweaked before, and if national feels that they need to be tweaked again that is all well and good. The old system perhaps served to keep scouts involved after they earned eagle, the new system will perhaps give fuller recognition to those eagles who just make Eagle before they turn 18.

    The terrible problem of the new system is the absolute failure in (at the least) making it retroactive for all current scouts.

    Our troop has four scouts who have been together through cubs, three are Life and one just recently became Eagle. The scouts have been helping each other on the Eagle road, several have made sure others had rides to events, they have worked hard together. The Eagle had 46 merit badges at the time he passed his BoR, he has earned 6 more since and has had time to get his first palm. The next of the four should get his Eagle this fall, he will have 40+ merit badges then. The other two should make Eagle by spring.

    This is going to create a situation for the troop, as undoubtedly some of the scouts will notice what is going on with the number of palms each of these boys will have.

    As a troop leader I do NOT look forward to tension created by an ill considered half thought out change by national.

    At least in our troop we will not face having two brothers involved, the second boy getting Eagle has a younger brother who will undoubtedly surpass him in merit badges, but we will be safe by a couple months at least.

    I truly do commiserate with troops that will have to deal with younger brothers passing elders due to this ruling.

  124. I see this insta-palm-gate as a thing that needs to be re-evaluated.

    1. I earned my Eagle a week prior to my 18th B-day (19 years ago), If this was in practice back then I could have walked away with 1 gold and 1 silver palm… BUT its not retroactive.

    2. I and my fellow scouts from my troop never saw any real hoopla in regards to palms. Those who earned Eagle earlier stayed in the troop because of our venture patrol, the OA, or just the simple fact that we were a family, loved being around each other, and loved scouting. Yeah they earned them but we saw no weight in them, didnt brag about them etc,

    3. As an Adult NO ONE ever asks or cares about how many palms your earned as a youth. It is the RANK that counts not the feathers afterwards, and NO ONE outside of scouting knows what palms are anyway.

    4. IMHO this has the stink of a Scout Exec who’s son was/is getting his eagle by his 18th b-day but couldn’t earn any palms….. (SAD FACE)

    5. IF this is going into effect, then it should be retroactively awarded, but IMHO this should be cancelled as an ill-thought idea that benefits a few but not others.

    • I’m laughing out loud at your #4, HW175. From what I garnered from the the few times I’ve met our current chief SE (back when he was our council SE), you all are his “sons!”

      I think concerned scouters didn’t like seeing so many Eagle ribbons out there without palms. Why that concerned them, I have no idea. Why they don’t also think it’s so important as to make it retroactive for all current eagles under or over 18, I have no idea either.

  125. This is just SOOOO wrong!!!

    I totally agree with doing away with the BoRs! They were really just a formality and a waste of time.

    I am TOTALLY against the way a select few have changed how the Palms are awarded.
    I DO NOT agree with giving the scout all of his Palms when he gets his Eagle. It serves NO purpose and actually will have adverse effects in that the Scout will more than likely just leave after he gets all his palms. In my troop the Scouts strive for and continue to be active in the troop while earning their Palms.

    It is also TOTALLY unfair to those scouts who can’t get their in a ‘lump sum’ when everyone else is.

    You need to either make it retroactive so that all scouts can benefit or do away with this stupidity all together.


  126. From the Land of Unintended Consequences: Thank you BSA for throwing a monkey wrench into the scheduled July 2017 Eagle Boards of Review. Many are allowing candidates to reschedule already scheduled (and rightly so) Boards of Review to post August 1 to take advantage of the liberalized rules regarding Eagle Palms. This allows more time for Board Members to pursue other leisure activities for a few extra evenings. For this, we thank you. I will hopefully use the time from the rescheduled Boards wisely. Maybe I can read a good book. But, the floodgates are now open. Still, Eagle Scouts must earn the Citizenship in the Nation merit badge (sometimes begrudgingly, because it’s all about history – yucchhy to some, but they do plow through it!). In reviewing our nation’s history, a Scout just might find that as a nation, we have granted amnesty to several classes of people. Confederate soldiers, draft dodgers, and illegal immigrants come to mind. However, the powers that be at BSA have seen fit to create an arbitrary and capricious policy that sets a date of August 1, 2017, a “Day that will live in Insanity”, as an “Imaginary Curtain” to seal off past Eagles from benefiting from the policy change. Grant Amnesty to pre- August 1, 2017 Eagles.! Free all of the Older Eagles back to the 20th Century, the dawn of BSA ! Allow all Eagle Scouts past, with multiples of 5 merit badges over the required 21 to share in the new bonanza. Also, eliminate the 3 month requirement, it is now inconsistent and rendered meaningless. Allow an Eagle to receive an Eagle Palm, upon application at anytime when 5 additional merit badges have been earned. Working on the merit badge is a scouting activity. What difference at this point does it make?

  127. So I wanted to make sure I understand this correctly. I have a Scout that put in his application in June prior to turning 18, turned 18th the first week of July,.

    He could get Palms with his Eagle if his Board of Review (BOR) was on or after August 1st, but since his BOR is July 26th, he falls under the old policy? Doesn’t that make it an incentive to wait?

      • Pays? Each palm costs a couple of bucks.
        W’s scout is saving money that could be used to buy some random crew advisor (who might just happen to reply to internet blogs) a decent espresso! 🙂
        I say it always pays to hustle up and get that bird! Nobody knows what tomorrow may bring.

  128. Someone else posted this above, but it is worth re-posting. Requirement 5 has a big change in it, even though Bryan wrote that there is *no* change.

    NEW: 5. While an Eagle Scout, participate in a Scoutmaster conference.

    OLD: 5. While an Eagle Scout, **or since your last Eagle Palm**, participate in a Scoutmaster conference.

    I think that this can be interpreted to mean that the Eagle Scout need only meet once with the SM when earning the first Eagle Palm after becoming an Eagle. No need to have a SM conference with him for subsequent Eagle Palms. Just meet requirements 1-4, since requirement 5 seems to be permanently fulfilled after the first SM conference.

  129. The other disadvantage of this policy: cost. Palms add to the cost of Eagle awards. The existing requirements spread that cost over a number of months. Now that sounds trivial to a well-financed troop. But to a smaller troop, who has already gone through the expense of buying ambitious scouts MB medallions, this constitutes a retroactive tax above the cost of Eagle kits. It could translate into paying for one less camping night for a beleaguered scout.

    It sounds small. But I remember the numbers lost from my crew directly because of “small” increases in membership fees.

  130. For the most part, I’m not bothered by the revised requirements EXCEPT for the “entitlement to receive” Palms at the Eagle Court of Honor. Reading above, I’m not alone in this. As many have stated already, this causes Palms to fall into two categories: “earned after” and “earned before” Eagle, and there is no way to differentiate the two. Awarding Palms with the medal dilutes the significance of the achievement, and the efforts of all previous Eagle Scouts who have had to spend the time and energy to earn them.

    For the record, I earned Eagle Scout in 2001 (with exactly 21 MBs), and earned my first and only (Bronze) Palm three months later (26 MBs). I stayed active in Scouts for another 2 years, but never completed enough Merit Badges for a Gold Palm (28 MBs total). I was more focused on leadership development and starting a Venturing Crew, than accumulating Merit Badges.

    I’m an adult leader now, and I wear my Bronze Palm on my NESA knot with pride. Why? Because it symbolizes my continued time, leadership, and commitment to Scouting after I earned Eagle, not simply the number of additional MBs I earned. Palms may not be a “rank” above Eagle, but they are little marks of distinction between Eagle Scouts and acknowledge their continued history and accomplishments in Scouting. Most of the Boy Scouts I encounter now rarely see Palms, so wearing one is special.

    This is partially because our Council suffers from an inordinate amount of “Screaming Eagles” (i.e. Scouts who pass their Eagle Boards just before or just following their 18th Birthday). Often, these Scouts spent an extraordinary amount of time focused on Merit Badges, but are deficient when it comes to personal/time management. Granted, there are Eagle Scouts who aren’t “Screaming” and there are those with extenuating circumstances, but that seems to be the exception not the norm.

    Some Rhetorical Questions:
    1. BSA feels justified in recognizing “Screaming Eagles” for both their procrastination and their over-emphasis on Merit Badges?

    2. Now an Eagle Scout with two “entitled” Silver Palms (indicating 30+ Merit Badges) is “on par” with the accomplishments of an Eagle Scout who “earned” 30+ badges AND had an additional 18 months of leadership and character development?

    3. Now an 18-year old Eagle with two “entitled” Silver Palms is “more accomplished” than an Eagle who “earned” his one Gold Palm and benefited from an additional 6 months of leadership and character development?

    4. With these changes, why should I (or any other Eagle with Palms) continue to wear my(our) Palm(s) on my(our) uniforms?

    5. THE LOOPHOLE 1: Why should a 15-year-old Life Scout, who has met all his requirements for Eagle, pursue his Eagle Board of Review at 15, when he can spend the next three years working on Merit Badges, for the sole purpose of maximizing the number of Palms “entitled” to him, thus (possibly) surpassing the number of Palms he would have “earned” had he passed his Board of Review at age 15?

    6. THE LOOPHOLE 2: Why should a 16-year-old Life Scout with enough Merit Badges for 7 Silver Palms, choose to stay involved with Scouting after he makes Eagle and receives all 7 Palms at once? He’d never make that many the “earned” way!

    Another thing I would like to point out: there isn’t enough room on the square knot to accommodate a large number of Palms. With the clutch backs, I’d be surprised if four fit on there.

    In my opinion, the “entitlement” may benefit some Scouts in the short term, but the change dilutes the meaning of the award and will have an adverse effect in the long term. I have a hunch that eventually Scouts may elect their time to make Eagle and “cash out” their Palms when its best for them, or when they are simply done with Scouts. Eagle Scouts are role models for younger Scouts; Palms should reinforce the example they set for them.

    Many commenters made solid points, some in favor, some against. Thank you all for your input. For those reading this long comment way down at the bottom of the page, thank you for your time.

  131. so the question is do we know if anyone at BSA is reading this? There are 300+ comments, but some are duplicates. My guess is that most people in scouting don’t even know about this change yet. Is there any hope that BSA will reconsider?

  132. Doubtful. 94% of folks survey were against the major piece of this policy, “insta-palms.” Why would they listen now?

  133. So – I read the camping requirements for 2nd & 1st class are being reduced. BSA will now award “Insta-Palms.” At the same time – they have introduced barriers to getting the Scout Badge. SO – water down the program, but let’s not let new kids join?

    • This is just another step in hastening the demise of Boy Scouting. My son earned 66 merit badges – most earned before he became Eagle. One of the major reasons he stayed in scouting after he became Eagle was to get the Palms. I saw him grow a lot during those three years for which he would not have been there if he could have gotten Eagle and palms together. We have a boy in our troop right now that plans to leave Boy Sciouts as soon as he gets his Eagle and three palms. If he delays his Eagle BOR till September he can be gone before the first frost. Thanks BSA. The appropriate change would be to make sure a boy gets all the palms he has earn just before turning 18.

  134. In a faraway land a BSA unapproved badge is being manufactured, saying something like “My Palms each represent a Season of Service”

  135. I called the national and asked. They said that beginning Aug. 1, all earned Palms may be awarded instantly to new Eagle Scouts at their Eagle court of honor even though BoR is prior to Aug. 1. In our troop, we have 7 scouts passed the Eagle BoR this month and the COH is scheduled on 8/12. So for these scouts, we’ll be able to award them Palms at the same time as the Eagle medal.

  136. So they are making it retroactive only for anyone whom has not had their COH? Whom did you speak to at National with authority to make that adjustment to the policy? It seems like that is already a change to what they published which might be promising.

  137. Unfortunately, without the “policy” in writing from someone with authority, we are in limbo. I spoke with a woman who represented herself to be with NESA. Her response to my question on the subject, (as told to her by whomever she checked with) was to redirect me to the rule. I advised her that her response was not an answer to my question. She advised that she would inquire again with Mr. Mike LoVecchio and get back to me.

    My next contact was with a gentlemen at National who first advised that come August 1st, all Eagles could catch up to be on the same “field”. After a lengthy discussion he changed his mind and ultimately said he did not know and that scouts would have to wait until the rule is official and published. He advised that Bryan on Scouting is not official. He too, said he would file my inquiry for an answer. This response is to come to me via email. Time frame on the response – unknown.

    I will update, if and when I hear further. Hopefully, if enough people contact BSA requesting a “Grandfathering” or a catch up date, BSA will do the right thing by all Eagles, especially those still active in the program.

    • Thanks Martin.

      If the revision can’t be repealed (although I still don’t know why it can’t), the grandfathering requirement certainly can be amended. But wording matters. Having been chastised more than once for using past tense, I now know that I am an Eagle scout. I am active in the program. As my crew points out, not realizing how quickly their day will come, I am “quite old.”

      That’s why the dust should not settle on this until it is quite clear that any Eagle scout from any era should get the number of palms that allow all observers to make a uniform interpretation of the badges he earned on the advancement trail.

  138. I was also told to email Mike Lovecchio whom is in charge of advancement, which I did. He is apparently out training at Philmont until Aug. 1st with little access to email. I am told by people who know him that he is a “good and reasonable” man so I am hopeful. Maybe more of us should try reaching out to him and shower him with thoughtful rationale for our perspective so that he can consider and hopefully influence the policy change

  139. How about MB Paws for pre EBOR recognition and Eagle Palms for post EBOR recognition?
    Merchandising still makes out also 😉

  140. This change was a BAD move by the BSA. As a Scoutmaster, the Eagle Palm program was a GREAT incentive for the Scouts that got their Eagles at 16 (or younger) to stay involved with the troop. I awarded many Eagle Palms, and the scouts in our troop understood the program.

    It was a special recognition for those scouts that didn’t just obtain the Eagle Scout Award (typically before High School) and then disappear (because they had the reward to put on their resume).

    As a professional that hires people, when I see Eagle Scout on a resume, during the interview I’ll ask about their scouting experience, and palms.

    Now the BSA has devalued the Eagle Palm program, that’s too bad. I’ll have to remember August 1st 2017, and keep that in mind as I review resume’s in the future.

    Bad move BSA…….

  141. I earned my Eagle Scout Award in the early 1950’s I also attained the bronze, gold and silver awards Being almost 76, my memory isn’t what it use to be, I am sure, but I don’t recall any special board to obtain my palms, I am sure I was awarded mine at a regular Troop Scout of Honor ceremony

  142. Also back in my day we wore all 3 palms on the ribbon of our Eagle scout badge. Bronze, Gold and Silver

  143. All this about Palms and fairness. I’m getting up in years; earned both God & County when it was the single-award ~1 year program AND Eagle Rank in 1963, continued as a Scout ~ 2.5 more years… Troop leadership, Philmont national leadership & conservation training, Camp Staff, High adventure trips, Several OA clans and was awarded Vigil Honor at age 18 for contributions. That was a huge surprise because I was not Lodge Chief. And there was also always school, church, my dog, family, chores, JOBS, buddies, dating, sports, hobbies, maintaining all our vehicles, & racing karts. At 18 I had only 26 merit badges so earned the first palm and never felt cheated or abused; that one was enough. I was blessed… and Scouting was a life-changing great experience for me. I’ve carried-on when able (opportunity & time). Sorry; this above is meant as “qualification” to speak on this topic, not bragging.

    To the point: Now with merit badge “universities” and helicopter parents as Scouters.. many with an agenda for THEIR sons which is more active than presenting a full program to ALL… and now this…. Palms are becoming another achievement race; and therefore to me, less meaningful. I’m 1000% more concerned about all Scouts earning First Class Rank; Scouts who can’t tie bowlines; and the priorities National Council pursues while BSA’s membership percent of population plummets.

    I think the impact of this will become how adults approach the topic of Palms. An Eagle Scout that I helped mentor who just finished Eagle and aged out as a Scout but is staying with Scouting will see this new policy. He’s a good Scout. I know he will think “rats” for missing several added Palms; but then forget about it and move on. There is PLENTY more for Scouts to do. I also think putting Palms on the Eagle square knot (mostly an adult recognition for having earned Eagle Rank) is downright bizarre. How about putting our Sunday School attendance pins on the religious award square ? [ Possible BSA Answer: NO; unless BSA can sell them and it was a BSA idea first.]

    • Mr. Ellis:

      “All this about Palms and fairness. I’m getting up in years; earned both God & County when it was the single-award ~1 year program AND Eagle Rank in 1963, continued as a Scout ~ 2.5 more years… Troop leadership, Philmont national leadership & conservation training, Camp Staff, High adventure trips, Several OA clans and was awarded Vigil Honor at age 18 for contributions. That was a huge surprise because I was not Lodge Chief. And there was also always school, church, my dog, family, chores, JOBS, buddies, dating, sports, hobbies, maintaining all our vehicles, & racing karts. At 18 I had only 26 merit badges so earned the first palm and never felt cheated or abused; that one was enough. I was blessed… and Scouting was a life-changing great experience for me. I’ve carried-on when able (opportunity & time). Sorry; this above is meant as “qualification” to speak on this topic, not bragging.”

      Sounds like your beating your own drum to me. The above is totally UNNECESSARY for someone to have a valid opinion on the proposed new rule.

      Congratulations to you. It sounds like you had a “blessed” experience. I don’t know why you would feel “cheated” as you did not earn any merit badges above the first palm, so you received everything you earned.

      I can say that not all scouts are as fortunate as you. You state:

      “To the point: Now with merit badge “universities” and helicopter parents as Scouters.. many with an agenda for THEIR sons which is more active than presenting a full program to ALL…”

      My families experience has not been so blessed. In fact, it was the opposite. The so called “adult leaders” had an agenda for THEIR kids or the kids they favored while everyone else fell by the wayside. I can tell you stories of bias but I will leave you with this quote, as spoken by the “Scoutmaster”….

      “I don’t want the troop to find out because I don’t want to have to step down over the incident”…..

      Sorry, not the lesson in personal responsibility I am teaching my boys. I also don’t believe it is line with BSA policy. And yes, I was an adult leader in the troop fighting for a level playing field for all scouts. Another adult leader shared my philosophy. Neither one of us is active in that troop anymore. The troop is only as good as their adult leaders and their willingness to follow the BSA rules for all, not just the scoutmasters relatives or favorites.

      I stand by all I’ve said. Unequal treatment for Eagles who earned rank before August 1st and a policy which I believe will have a negative impact on the future of scouting. Perhaps that is why National is conducting meeting to possibly include girls in scouting.

      I hope National either repeals the new policy prior to enactment or they make it retroactive for all Eagles.

  144. My son just got back from camp today and informed me of this change. He doesn’t age out until Sep of 2018. He got his Eagle in May of 2016. He has been active and went to camp so he could get the last few merit badges he needs to have enough to max out his palms.

    He said that if the new rule is retroactive he wants to scale back his weekly participation. He will still attend all the camping trips, but, his words, “there is no reason to go to all the meetings.” (since he will have all of his palms)

    On the other hand if it isn’t retroactive then he said he is done applying for palms. Since they are now meaningless and he doesn’t get credit for his merit badge total, there is no point in getting any more. He pointed out that he will still go on camping trips, but he is done attending all the meetings and working with the younger scouts. He pointed out that under the new system, it will appear as though he was a minimal scout that barely did the minimum to achieve Eagle. As he will only have 3 Silver Palms if he works hard for the rest of his time with the scouts, while there will be new Eagles with 3 Silver Palms in just a few months. And most of them will age out or leave right after. And no one will be able to tell the difference between them and him.

    Because of your very poor decision, I now have a long road ahead trying to convince my son to stay active beyond camping.

    Thank you National BSA for dumping on all his hard work.

    Thank you National BSA for rewarding the Eagles that never show up after they receive their rank.

    Thank you National BSA for providing no means of recognition for the Eagles that stay and continue to provide leadership to their troop.

    After all is said and done, this change is bad no matter how it ends. You took all the meaning out of the Eagle Palm program. Now no one will be able to distinguish between Awesome Eagles and Paper Eagles.

    It would be great if someone from National would just admit that this change is because they want to make all Eagle Scouts equal. They don’t want a way for one Eagle Scout to look head and shoulders better than other Eagle Scouts. This is all about Paper Eagles not be distinguishable from Awesome Eagles.

    • If an Eagle Scout doesn’t continue to give back and be loyal to his unit in any way he can, is he truly living the Scout Oath & Law? I understand that there are conflicts with sports, school, work, etc, an older Scout will often miss meetings. But just to arbitrarily decide not to go to any more meetings because the palms no longer mean the same thing as before is probably not likely the best course of action to continue to live the Scout values.

    • You got the good point, and I’m glad your son can make those logical thinking, he’s preparing for life.
      I’m not favor of this change too. It basically killed the significance of Palm’s worth and motivation for continue participation, turned it to MB count indicator (after 8/1/17).

      But we still need to convey the meaning of MB to the youth, I’d rather Scout learned things from the process than got a stamp and a patch but have no idea about it. Every patch he earned on the sash tells the achievement, with or without the Palms, what he learned is his to keep.

      Honestly, you can easily tell who is more Eagle characteristics and high spirit as he earned. Judge from what he did, what he’s doing; not what he said or paper said. Please encourage your son continue to participate, maybe in higher level involvement like OA lodge, Council even National(!) Eagle Scout is (not was) forever, never get done.

      It would be harder for you (thanks National), but it is important he got the spirit straight marching the fine young man adulthood.

  145. How do the current active Eagle Scouts feel about this? How do the Life Scouts feel about it?

    The policy should be delayed until there is more discussion with the scouts and the scout leaders.

    There is a link to a 2014 survey that clearly is against the changes. Why have a survey is you are going to ignore it?

    Do another survey and this time listen to the results…

  146. @ Martin: I’m glad to have returned to this active blog so can reply. Rereading later, you make some good points; and in fact we are generally the same side of this issue, but good luck getting National to change it now.

    My unnecessary “beating” was indeed that and I could have / should have also said there was nothing remarkable about it, most of us stayed that busy; and we had a flight of 8 Eagles in one year just in our troop and more across town. That made big news locally and it was a big thing… for our troop and our troops. None of us scouts thought it all that remarkable and I don’t recall that any of us had over 25 merit badges at that time. Now I see Star & Life Scouts with more than that and hear about Scouts going over 100… yet for some of them it’s still I doubt if they will make Eagle before aging out. If they make it all many are last minute.

    The drum beating was intended to illustrate that MANY merit badges & Eagle Palms were not ranked high in the larger realm of Scouting because there is so much more to do, AND some of the Eagle badges required individual initiative and “outside” effort by the Scout. The counts were not run up simply by attendance. Now I see that many merit badges are common but it’s usually by group effort, with the initiative of going for it being provided by the adults ( ie merit badges ARE the troop program… and others are awarded from rushed GROUP camp programs… plus now the MB Universities etc. I sometimes ask if they read the entire MB booklet and often get a blank look. So I wonder if some of those MB’s were well and truly earned. And we still have a lot of last minute Eagles or missed opportunities anyway. Therefore I don’t believe further encouraging the run-up of a lot of group-earned merit badges with this revised palm program is going to be a good idea. Yes it might “work”, so it will be viewed as successful; but is it really a wise thing to do overall? That’s why I think how parents & Scouters react seems crucial

    On the other hand: Real hot-shots who are good well-balanced youth and Scouts and are just merit badge machines? Sure, let them roll up the MB tally and have the palms they well & truly earned.
    As for fairness: Change requires there has to be a transition somewhere. So: Where?

  147. I’m 33yrs old and earned Eagle exactly 3 months before I turned 18, so ended up with 1 palm, but could have gotten 1 or 2 more with the merit badges earned prior to Eagle.
    If they allow Scouts who earned their Eagle before Aug 1st 2017 to go back and get their palms, how far back should they go? Should I be asking for mine too? 🙂

    I also am not a fan of the insta-palms as mentioned above, but have a proposal / is this a loop hole for earning all the additional palms?

    Although I can’t get any more merit badges myself by being over 18, I don’t see anywhere in the rules above that say I now can’t earn any more palms after I had turned 18. (Apologies if detailed somewhere else). As long as I have 3 additional months in a BSA program, living scout oath, law and duty to god, show leadership, and complete a scoutmaster conference.
    I am active in the BSA now by being a leader in my son’s Pack. So having done that for 3 years, do I now just need a scoutmaster conference? Could the new rules let me retroactively get palms past my 18th b-day?

    Would potentially encourage scouts who are adults to continue to keep scouting in life and not just disappear/stop after Eagle.

    Once an Eagle, always an Eagle.

      • Thanks for pointing me to that document.
        Would the satisfactory compromise for the intent of the new rule perhaps be simply revising the Eagle palms award age and not auto-awarding palms?
        Obviously you couldn’t earn any merit badges past 18 years old, but perhaps your service to the BSA could be obtained at any age to keep the additional 3 months past Eagle rule in tact for each additional palm and this would also help keep people in scouting as an adult.

  148. As an Eagle Scout (1987) with two palms, I think this rule is a mistake. Merit badges are enough recognition by themselves — there should not be a duplicate award for their accumulation. I understand those that think this is punishing recent Eagle Scouts, but it is really just belittling the efforts of scouters who previously earned their palms the “right way” — very similar situation to the World Crest a few decades ago. BSA: please don’t make the same mistake again.

  149. IMO softening requirements is disrespectful to the thousands of Eagle Scouts who adhered to the prior rules. Sometimes changes may or may not be softening the requirements. This very clearly is. An Eagle who ages out 1 day before the change is suddenly less deserving of the palms because of when he was born? How does that make any sense? Trustworthy would be for the rules to remain consistent, NOT making it easier and easier for new generations of scouts.

    Either go back through the records and do it for all Eagle Scouts or don’t do it.

  150. If this change had been in effect when I was a scout, I would have a bronze palm. I didn’t get my Eagle until I was 18, and that three month thing killed my chances at a palm, even though I had enough merit badges. With they would make this retro active.

  151. I agree the new rules devalue the palms earned by prior Eagle scouts through active participation. Our troop has a few recent Eagles who are very active and working their way through the palms. We also have a couple soon to be Eagles that have coasted with very low participation in recent 2 years except to finish 1-2 merit badges and project. Under the new rules, those that procastinated will instantaneously be recognized with palms that really aren’t deserved. Granted, its the new rules and we will have to follow them .

  152. In my day, you used to have to wait until 1st class to be able to work on MB’s (also had to do ranks in progression without overlapping – IE Tenderfoot complete before starting to work on 2nd class). The new rules really make scouting history quite meaningless. Not that’s it’s necessary to be able to compare today’s Eagle to those of yesteryear- but the rank of Eagle has been cheapened, and this continues the trend.

  153. I do not see this as a good thing. We are giving away the palms instead of having them stick around and show leadership to the younger scouts. Its nice that Scout A had so many merit badges, but if he didnt earn eagle till he was 17 and 3/4. why should he be rewarded with a bunch of palms when scout B stayed on track finished at 16 and has been giving back to scouting in order to earn his palms.

    Which Parents cried to National to get this policy changed?

    • The question is how many of us are contacting National to express our rationale for why this change should not go into effect. If they hear from enough of us maybe they will rethink it

  154. My son has 20 merit badges above the necessary 21 and will have his BOR this fall. Would he get awarded 2 bronze, 1 gold and 1 silver at his Eagle BOR but only then be able to wear one bronze and one silver?

    • Yes, he would receive 4 palms but to signify on his cloth patch (if he wants), he wears 1 silver (for 15 MBs) & 1 bronze (for 5 MBs).

  155. Why not just remove the 3 month requirement for palms?

    Instead of having two castes of current youth Eagles with regards to palms, this would allow current and future Eagles to be on the same level. All <18 year olds (and 18 year olds awaiting their BoR) would be on the scale.

    What's the big deal? – the number of palms may be a discriminator for things like the NESA college scholarship, other college scholarships, and college admissions.

    Billy was an Eagle with his BoR after 8/1/17, 38 merit badges, 3 palms and dashed after his court of honor. Johnny was an Eagle with his BoR before 8/1/17, 60 merit badges, 2 palms because he aged out before he could earn more, and stuck around to be the senior patrol leader his last 6 months while he was under 18. Billy may look better on paper since he has 2 palms to Johnny's 2

    • What about Billy’s Eagle scout granddad?
      All Eagles, since the very first one, are current Eagles.

      (Actually, I’m not entirely sure about the universality of that, when I die, can my estate finally say I *was* an Eagle scout?)

  156. Hello Advancement Team, My troop and troops in my District, Council and Nation disagree with the new Eagle Palm rules. We find these new rules are unfair to scouts under 18 that have earned their Eagle Rank before Aug 1st 2018. So we have decided to make a statement and apply the same rules for ALL Eagle Scouts under 18 and award all palms earned to that point. We will then follow the same rules required for future palms. We hope you correct this rule and apply the rule retroactively to ALL Eagles under 18.

    In case you do not aware what scouters around the nation are saying here is a link to the over whelming responses

    • Randy –

      I agree with the need to change the rule so that it is retroactive for currently registered Boy Scout youth.

      My sentiments towards making it retroactive all the way back to the first Eagle Scout: If you are no longer a registered Boy Scout, if you are an adult – I’m sorry, if you are truly crushed that you didn’t get another pin to go on your uniform, but let’s be adults and move on. We should not have to go back through the records for the over 2 million Eagle Scouts – to make things fair.

      I do disagree with the sentiment of ignoring the advancement rules set forth by National and setting your own rules. This is not the way to go about effecting change.

      How are we as leaders supposed to set the example of living by the Scout Oath and Law for our Scouts if we blatantly disregard the rules that have been set by our own organization?

      A Scout is Obedient – A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them.

      Your Troop, District, or Council does not have the authority to pick and choose which rules they wish to follow.

      • Nobody’s talking about going back and re-setting the palm-count for EVERY Eagle. (Although, that might provide crazy cool entertainment for archivists and historians.) But, if an old-timer shows up at the scout-shop 40 blue cards asking for a palm based on the current requirements, why would we want to deny him. Maybe it’s not him who wants it, maybe his grandson is feeling bad that his insignia won’t tell the same story that Gramps’ does?

        How is Gramps any different from the scout who has his BoR tonight asking to have regalia that matches his buddy who gets his BoR next week?

        Those “registered boy scouts” will be youth with palms for only a fraction of the time they will be adults with palms. What’s the difference between next year’s 18 year old, today’s 18 year old, today’s 21 year old, and today’s 70 year old?

  157. This new rule should include all active Eagle Scouts instead of only rewarding only the new ones. If a scout Eagled 6 months ago with 64 merit badges he is only eligible for 2 palms now but if a scout becomes Eagle Scout on August 1st with 64 merit badges he can receive 8 palms. It does not sound like there was very much thought given to this change. Why would a scout want to become an Eagle Scout early he should wait until one month before his 18th birthday and receive all palms at one time.

  158. Do not waste your time sending an email to the Advancement Team with your concern about the change, their answer is ( sorry ). That is the answer I received.

  159. If a scout gets a bronze and silver then he gets his eagle, what does he give with his next palm? A bronze or a gold? If I understand correctly a scout should not wear more than 2 palms at a time depending

    • He would get a Bronze for 5 merit badges past the 21 for Eagle, a Gold for 10 past the 21 for Eagle and then a Silver for 15 merit badges past the 21 for Eagle. There is a chart in the article above

  160. IS there any paperwork that needs to be filled out to award the scout the palms that he instantly earns? Or are the just recorded into the system by the troop advancement chair?

    • There is no paperwork required for any Palms. The Palm application is no longer. Put them into the scouts record in IA and head to your scout shop to buy them.

  161. The policy is in effect, this just shows the National Council and the Advancement Team have turned their back on the voices of the adult scouters in the nation. Scouting is not about fairness and equality any longer it is about rewarding a small group instantly not everyone that has achieved the same goal.

  162. The policy is in effect, this shows that the National Council and the Advancement Team have turned their back on the voices of the adult scouters in the nation. Scouting should be about fairness and equality not about rewarding a small group instantly but about rewarding everyone that accomplishes the same goal equally.

  163. National has gotten ridiculous with these nonsense changes. They made Eagle ridiculously easy to obtain that it cheapens the rank. This change with the psalms makes those achievements meaningless. National needs to stop making these stupid changes.

    • Looking at all that is needed for Eagle. From the new Scout Rank through all the ranks, and the merit badges, including the new much harder Cooking MB; I need to disagree with you Ronald, the Eagle Rank is definitely not easier to earn now. I think we can objectively say that it is as hard or in many cases, much harder to obtain now than any time in the history of Scouting.

      • An interesting academic exercise. I can point to 5 Eagle badges that had more difficult requirements than today. Camping 50 to 20 nights; Lifesaving does not require swimming MB; Swimming does not require pants inflation; Cit in Comm requires 20% less service hours and Personal Fitness does not require swimming 100 yards ; be proficient in individual and team sports, physical tests by age and no pull ups.

        Additional POR that require no leadership or attendance

        EP which most have made it more than it needs to be.

        The availability of MB opportunities and no need to seek out counselors.

        Two of my favorites from the 1930…the 14 mile hike and final exam campout which had to be done as the last requirement.

        There are many more including Palms requiring 6 months between them and no counting previously earned MBs.

        I have lots of other examples if you want to see, you can pm me.

        Have a good evening. Our lights did not dim last night.

  164. No, this is not fair. My grandson received eagle in 2010, at the age of 14. He does have 3 sets of palms, because he stayed in until 18. But he is eligible for 2 more sets of palms, but he wasn’t able to gt them because our old troop died, and the new troop just never seemed to have time when he could be there…..becasue he ha a JOB! And even with a job he worked hard to achieve more badges. He has 80 something.

    There was a scout at an MBU this weekend that had 109 and plans on getting them all. My grandson wouldn’t have done that, lol. Too many of those badges are boring if you have no interest in the topic.

    it was all about the board of review. Coiuldn’t find enough uniformed people available a the times he could make it.

    So, no, this should be retroacive! NOT FAIR! They worked hard for these palms, and just because scheduling caused issues he didn’t get them.

    National needs to take this back to the table and add that it’s retroactive.

  165. New device(s) needed for the participation palms for pre-EBOR MBs earned. Period.

    Bronze, Gold, Silver palms for participation requirements and post EBOR MBs earned. Period.

    Then you can distinguish those that stayed with the program post EBOR and age 18, and those who cashed in.

  166. I am told the National Sub-committee on advancement is reviewing this all this week and will announce something soon if they decide to change anything

    • Ahh, would that it were true. Numerous prior rumors of consideration of comments and reconsideration of this rules change by BSA, Committees, etc. have come to nothing and I strongly suspect that this one will meet the same fate. Since this rumor only seems to promise an announcement if a change is made, those interested in the issue will in all likelihood languish in perpetual darkness.

      The nearly 450 comments here are nearly universally negative, but the specific criticisms are all over the board. A favorite, though stated in various terms, boils down to that the requirements for Eagle Palms (and all ranks too) should NEVER be changed whatsoever. The Guide to Advancement 2017 (and prior versions) expressly recognize that “Advancement requirements change from time to time.” Accordingly, those expecting that if some change is made it will be the repudiation altogether of this new Palm requirement are destined to be, I believe, disappointed–and rightly so. (In light of this statement in the Guide and just generally, the mere statement of this “never change” position illustrates its absurdity. (E.g., The only constant in life is that it is ever changing. Etc.))

      I have no objection to the substance of the “free Palm,” one-time-per-Eagle-Scout change although I do not believe that it “bring[s] Eagle Palm requirements in line with the needs of older Scouts” as this Blog claims its does. Instead it favors Scouts who earn their Eagle after August 1, 2017–by as little as 1 day after–with no reason given, rational or otherwise, and, most importantly, because the BSA published procedure for change of advancement requirements was not followed, again with no reason given, rational or otherwise. See Guide to Advancement 2017,, at 17.

      The only change that should be made is the effective date and application of the “free Palms” provision. Typically under this Guide procedure, “new or revised rank or Eagle Palm requirement is first introduced in a reprinting of the Boy Scout Handbook” or the Boy Scout Requirements book, and Scouts have substantial lead time and an option as to which version of the rule to follow. Sometimes a different procedure, with a date stated for cessation of use of the old requirement may be established. But those procedures should be a) “especially for more significant changes,” and b) made by “the Boy Scout Handbook, the Boy Scout Requirements book, or official communications from the National Council.” Moreover, all such changes should be reasonable and fair to all.

      With all due respect to this Blog, the only place I can find the new Palm requirements were announced, is it “official?” It certainly is NOT the Handbook or Requirements book. And it certainly does not purport to be nor constitute “official communications from the National Council.” The blog provides that “This week, the BSA has announced” the Palm requirement changes. In other words, BSA (not “National Council”) made the announcement somewhere other than this blog. But Where? Was that official?

      Even more egregiously, however, is the timing of the announcement. This blog is dated July 10, 2017–at most, 21 days before the changes took effect. If, as the blog says, the announcement was made “this week,” was it made Sunday, July 9 or Monday, July 10. At any rate, this change was made with a few DAYS forewarning rather than months, as is usual. And as with virtually all the changes, no explanation was given as to this unreasonable timing. One result of this timing was that Scouts who had Eagle BORs scheduled for late in July could–and did–reschedule until August to get the benefit of the “free Palm” provision. Those who had their Eagle BOR on July 8 instead of July 10 did not have that option. They had no opportunity for “free Palms” because proper notice of the change was not given–and for no reasonable or rational reason. That is the very definition of unfairness and injustice.

      Someone–one would hope the actual proper authority–must do something to correct this injustice. The simple solution is to allow all Eagle Scouts who on August 1, 2017 were a) Eagle-eligible–under the age of 18 years, b) were properly registered in BSA, c) had sufficient merit badges to make them entitled to a Palm or Palms and d) have not yet received those Palms, should have all such Palms awarded to them at that time pursuant to the “free Palm” provision of the new requirement (that is without meeting any other requirements). Just as the requirement as currently constituted is a one-time opportunity, so it would be for Eagles who preexisted August 1. If no change is to be made to correct this travesty, BSA should at least explain why this timing was necessary, why more notice couldn’t be or wasn’t given, why the “announcement” was not made in accordance with the Guide requirements (discussed above), why the “free Palms” as allowed now are fair and just, etc., etc,. etc, In the absence of at least a cogent, rational explanation of this inexplicable discrimination, this “free Palm” grant only to those who have their Eagle BOR after August1 appears to be the product, at best, of incompetence and, at worst, of naked corruption.

      If Eagle Palms are to be, as some claim, cheapened by these changes. let them at least be cheapened fairly in this modest respect. Indeed, they are hardly further cheapened by a measure to make the timing fair. To that small minority that suggest that those who comment negatively about this injustice should stop complaining and just accept whatever is dished out, one could (and should) ask: Why? They should recall: “A Scout is . . . Brave.” “[B]bravery means not only the courage to face danger, but also the determination to STAND UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT.” Quoting “Eagle Scout Challenge” (Emphasis added)

  167. This may be an “official BSA blog” but why is this information not found anywhere else? This has got to take the cake as far as recent poorly constructed decisions from national. There is very little I can add to what KLM has said so eloquently. I guess the most disheartening thing is that we have spent nearly a month now expressing how unfair this is, how wrong headed the decision is, and how some arbitrary date apparently decided by a dart throw at a calendar across some office, and national seems to not care. Their silence is deafening. I believe anyone in their right mind can see the wrongness of this decision. For it to be fair, it needs to be retracted entirely, or make it retroactive. It’s pretty simple really, and creates no issue or cost to national, so why the silence, and why the stubbornness to not respond and stick with this decision. It’s wrong, plain and simple. Fix it. Not listening to your volunteers is another reason that numbers continue to dwindle nationwide. Be responsive to the opinions of the people that donate hours and hours to you and ask so little in return. Please.

      • It feels arbitrary when we had several boys have their Eagle boards of review in May so they could have Eagle Scout rank before working camp staff and other summer activities, then on July 1, we see this sudden change taking place August 1. The boys are now upset they didn’t wait, and they don’t understand why their adult leaders didn’t know this was happening and could advise them. There are real people affected by these decisions, so to some they may not see them as arbitrary, but it sure does when a decision comes out of the blue and you are trying to explain it to scouts and parents, and really can’t because there isn’t any logic to it.

  168. The change is not good, it does not keep boys in Scouting after they earn their Eagle.
    We should just give everyone a participation trophy at this point and give them all their Eagle also.

  169. I have a question I think may have been answered previously, but doublechecking. If a scout has the badges to the equivalent of a bronze palm, had his 18th birthday in July, but is having his BOR for Eagle after August 1st, will he be eligible for the bronze. He, of course, earned the badges before 18, turnec 18 before August 1st, but has hos BOR after August 1st. Does he qualify for the bronze palm? Thank you in advance!

    • This might help, I reached out to National and here are the answers to a couple of scenarios:

      Q: Does this Scout get a Palm, and if so, what date should be recorded for the Palm?
      Scout earns 26 merit badges by 8/10
      Scout completes all requirements for Eagle 8/11
      Scout becomes 18 on 8/13
      Scout has Eagle Board of Review 8/30
      National approves Eagle on 9/1

      Does he get a Palm? If so what date for the Palm?

      A: Yes he gets a Palm and the date should be that of the Board of Review (purchase it using Internet Advancement report to Scout Shop after you know national has approved the Eagle.)

      The next one is similar but the Scout is under 18 throughout:
      Q: What date should be recorded for the Palm?
      Scout earns 26 merit badges by 8/10
      Scout completes all requirements for Eagle 8/11
      Scout has Eagle Board of Review 8/30
      National approves Eagle on 9/1

      What date for the Palm?

      A: The date should be that of the Board of Review (purchase it using Internet Advancement report to Scout Shop after you know national has approved the Eagle.)

      • Mr. Nelson, You seem very knowledgeable. To whom or what at “National” did you reach out for the answers to your questions? I’m unclear on and cannot find anywhere who actually came up with this new Eagle Palm rule? Is there a “National Boy Scouting Committee?” I can’t find any reference to it. Thanks in advance for your help.

  170. He is supposed to go to his BOR tomorrow. I am the parent. Would I ask them regarding it after the BOR? A leader thinks he will not qualify since he turned 18, July 25th. He has 26 merit badges.

      • Just to be clear, the effective date is the date of his Eagle BOR. So even if he became 18 prior to Aug 1, as long as his Eagle BOR is after Aug 1 he can get all the badges he has earned up to his birth date. The Effective date of the Eagle Rank and the Palms would be the date of the Eagle BOR, even though it is after his 18th birth date.

  171. yeah but what about all of the active Eagles whom had their BOR before Aug. 1st. Still not fair, or equitable. BSA we are anxiously waiting for some reply saying that you have reviewed this one more time. Please make it retroactive for Active Scouts. There is no downside

    • There’s always a downside. Limiting it to active scouts mocks the mantra “Once an Eagle, always an Eagle.” If it’s good enough for junior, it should be good enough for grandpa. They are all brothers of the same rank.

      There’s also downside to stripping any date line from the new requirements. Many Eagles will not know that they can add a palm or two to their count. So, there will be a lot of conversations like “Did you update your bling, or are you staying old school?” But, I think that’s better than conversations like “Were you one of the lucky ones who were allowed to inflate your count?”

      In the grand scheme of things, I think the least downside would still be to rescind the new requirements. If the Eagles whose BoRs were held between now and the date BSA returns back to traditional requirements got to keep their “lazy Palms”, I’d be okay with that. It would be a neat little quirk in history.

      • I agree with Poster Marty that there is little or no downside to BSA correcting the unjust and unreasonable application of the new Eagle Palm requirements. If there are downsides, however, they are not what Poster Q describes. The “Once an Eagle, . . .” mantra is simply that, a mantra, motto or honorific and in no way establishes or implicates BSA advancement rules. It is tantamount to “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” a motto all Marines hold near and dear and, whether they serve for four years or 20, they maintain the title ‘Marine’ for the rest of their lives. But they certainly do not get paid, wear the uniform, etc. Likewise, Eagle Scouts maintain the title for life but not all the benefits, rights, and privileges appertaining thereto. Eligibility for Eagle Palms is governed not by a mantra but by the advancement rules, specifically that to be eligible the Scout must be a) properly and currently registered with BSA and b) MUST BE UNDER THE AGE OF 18 YEARS.
        Likewise, there is no reasonable downside to eliminating the arbitrary and improperly imposed August 1 application date. The possibility that Scouts may not know to seek Palms for merit badges in excess of those required to attain Eagle is an argument ONLY that a) BSA must properly and timely notify Scouts and Scouters of the rule—in accordance with “Guide to Advancement 2017” at 17, for instance—and b) Scouts must BE PREPARED, that is to know and follow the current rules and requirements.
        Poster Q, having presented no rational support for his opinion that no change should be made whatsoever, the reader is left to divine his own explanation. And the most well-grounded explanation is neither a kind nor creditable one. It is much more discouraging, though, that providing “a neat little quirk in history” is thought to be a more desirable and worthy end than to bravely “stand up for what is right,” and correct the egregious injustice in the APPLICATION of the new Palm requirement. Marty, Martin, Scout Mom and Leader, gilsonh, I and others have previously addressed the injustice.
        A number of recent extraneous comments are irrelevant to and just detract from the main points of the posts of those writers. My aim (I will not undertake to speak for the others, who I do not know) was to point out the gross unfairness of the new Palm requirement (hereinafter “NPR”), particularly the application, and the breathtaking gall and arrogance of the person, body, entity—whatever—that promulgated the NPR (hereinafter “Promulgator”).
        Despite what Scout Mom and Leader was told, I have every confidence that neither the Promulgator nor any person, body, entity—whatever—who has authority to review the NPR “review[ed] this all [or any of last] week,” ever had any intention to conduct such review, or will “will announce something soon” or ever. BSA is confident that the dissent will soon dissipate and vanish, as it just about has done, and will, therefore, do nothing. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to clarify or point out additional irregularities that further demonstrate the utter illegitimacy of the NPR.
        1. BAD TIMING TO NOTIFY; GOOD TO HIDE. Let’s revisit the very heart of the unfairness, injustice and illegitimacy of the NPR. The NPR effective date was, at most, 21 days after the one and only discussion of it. To put this in context it is important to know that this change was being considered for MORE THAN two and one-half years before the July 10, 2017 announcement was made. “In December 2014 the National Advancement Committee surveyed volunteers about the Eagle Palm program.” “Advancement News,” at 12 (March-April 2015)(reporting results of survey). The 2016 Requirement changes and implementation are also instructive. With those changes a “Transitioning” advisory, dated July 28, 2014, was issued. That advisory noted that the new requirements would be “released” in May 2015 “to allow unit leaders adequate time to plan their Scouts’ transition.” ( Transitioning_New_Requirements_2016.pdf) In the Fall of 2015, the new requirements information and interpretation would be shared via Advancement News, roundtables, etc. In January, 2016 the 2016 Boy Scout Requirements book and the 2016 Boy Scout Handbook with the requirements would be released. Some scouts would have until 2017 to switch to those new requirements. In other words, for those changes, more than 18 months’ notice was given to allow for planning for the changes. By comparison, the 21 days for the NPR seems shamefully paltry and utterly inadequate. BSA rules require and tradition demands reasonable notice of a significant change such as this. Since the change was being considered for more than 2 ½ years, clearly there was no exigency or any circumstance whatsoever that reasonably required the virtually no notice that was given here.

        2. BAD PLACE TO NOTIFY; GOOD TO HIDE. Poster gilsonh asked an excellent question that goes to the heart of the objections to the application of the NPR: Why were the NPR not announced in the PROGRAM UPDATE section of the BSA website. There was a comprehensive exegesis of all the 2016 changes in the Program Update; for 2017, not a word. From the homepage of the BSA website, the Program Update page is two clicks away to everyone. In contrast, this blog—“for BSA’s Adult Leaders” and which has 11,038 email subscribers—takes considerably more than two clicks to find. Yet the NPR has been discussed on this “Bryan on Scouting” blog AND NO WHERE ELSE. The 2016 Requirement changes information and interpretation were published, among other places in “Advancement News,” “the official e-letter of the Boy Scouts of America National Advancement Program Team. . . , [whose] intent is to provide and clarify procedures found in the Guide to Advancement, [and] announce various changes and updates in advancement . . . .” Both PROGRAM UPDATES and “Advancement News” seem far more suitable publications in which to announce significant advancement changes such as the NPR, if fairness and justice in the notification was desired.

        3. BAD WAY TO NOTIFY; GOOD TO HIDE. Whether “Bryan on Scouting” is “an official BSA blog” or not is irrelevant; the question is does discussing the NPR on it constitute “official communications from the National Council” which is required to announce requirement changes PROPERLY AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH BSA RULES. See Guide to Advancement 2017,, at 17. Plainly the “Bryan” blog post concerning the NPR was neither such a proper “official communication” nor “from the National Council.” This blog post notes that “BSA has announced” the NPR. In other words, the blog post does not even purport to be the announcement of the NPR and certainly not the official communication of it; it is just a blog article about the announcement. BSA announced the NPR “[t]his week” but we have no idea when, or how, or in what source. BSA, being a corporation, cannot ride a bicycle and it cannot speak officially, except through a proper written document. Where, how, and when was that document officially communicated?

        4. WOULD THE PROMULGATORS PLEASE STEP FORWARD? Who the heck are they, it, whatever. This blog says that “BSA has announced” the NPR, and “The National Boy Scouting Subcommittee” made two specified changes and provided the questions and answers set out in this blog. No other information on who promulgated the NPR is given. I cannot find in the BSA Charter and Bylaws, the Rules and Regulations, or on the website, “The National Boy Scouting Subcommittee” by that exact or any similar name. Of course, to some extent this shortcoming is related to the others. Again, if all of this is legitimate, above-board, and proper, why are these fundamental questions so unclear and so difficult to discern?

        5. THE APPLICATION OF THE NPR DOESN’T MEET THE PROMULGATORS STATED OBJECTIVES; THE CHANGE WOULD. Finally, in questions and answers regarding the NPR, allegedly provided by the National Boy Scouting Subcommittee, (emphasis added) we find these first two Qs and As:
        “Q: Why were these changes made at this time?
        A: The BSA has a longstanding policy and tradition of QUICKLY RECOGNIZING Scouts for their achievements. In the case of Eagle Palms, MANY SCOUTS WERE NOT RECEIVING ANY RECOGNITION FOR THE EXTRA WORK THEY WERE DOING BY EARNING ADDITIONAL MERIT BADGES.
        Q: Why are these requirement changes being implemented immediately instead of waiting until the Boy Scout Requirements book is published in 2018?
        The aims of the NPR were to “quickly recognize” the “extra work [Scouts] were doing by earning merit badges,” and to allow that to occur by use of the NPR “as soon as possible so more Scouts can take advantage of them.” Note that the Promulgators say nothing about allowing only 17 year old Scouts who have procrastinated to use the NPR, as “Bryan on Scouting” claims to be a reason for the NPR and, of course, that is not part of the NPR. All Scouts who had or will have in the future merit badges in excess of those required to earn their Eagle except those who had their Eagle BOR before—as little as one day before—August 1, 2017, irrespective of their age, will benefit from the free Palm provision. For those Eagle Scouts who on August 1, 2017, had 1) had their BOR before that date, 2) five or more merit badges in addition to those required to earn his Eagle at the time of his BOR, 3) have not been awarded the Palm or Palms referable to those merit badges, 4) are age-eligible—under 18 years of age, and 5) are a properly registered Scout, should be awarded Palms, effective either his Eagle BOR date or August 1, 2017. The number of Eagle Scouts who had their Eagle BOR before August 1 and who would get “free Palms” under this proposal is self-limiting, not that the Promulgators cared about excessive eligibility. To the contrary, the Promulgators expressly provided that the intent was to maximize the availability of “free Palms” under the NPR. Indeed, this proposal for broadening the application of the NPR meets each of the stated objectives for the NPR better than the arbitrary denial of “free palms” to those who had their Eagle BOR before August 1.


        Given these numerous and profound anomalies, it is beyond peradventure that the Promulgator failed and refused to follow the rules and requirements of BSA itself in promulgating the NPR and, thus the NPR was promulgated illegitimately and is illegitimate and unjust. In the absence of some reasonable, rational, credible, nonpretextual explanation for these anomalies, a perfectly fair inference from these facts is that BSA wanted to make the NPR announcement as obscure and opaque as possible because it knew the NPR was outrageously illegitimate and unjust. BSA has the opportunity to correct this injustice. It must do so and do it now or, at the very least, explain the irregularities that delegitimize both the NPR and, in a very real sense, BSA itself.

        • KLM, I admire your verbosity. But I take issue with minimizing the importance of once-always. You don’t have to be registered to wear your Eagle medal. We strongly strongly encourage our adults (scouters, parents, friends) to wear theirs, especially at courts of honor and other formal occasions where medals are worn. So, the phrase has real practical meaning.

          If the essential meaning changes, it changes. And the scouter who once upon a time racked up several palms before Eagle … is medal should speak the same language as the scout who does the same thing this month.

          But, if the requirements are rescinded, Asking every scout who got an extra palm feel bad about his acquisition is futile. It merely represents a momentary liberalizing of requirements. Thirty years from now, he could be at some meeting and bring up how a couple of his palms were “snuck in”. Or, he could stash the extra palms to match his fellows. His choice. Not his fault that BSA opened the door. At some level, awards have to be fun, and we should reserve the right to laugh at ourselves.

        • you sound like a lawyer do you think we have grounds for a class action suit or some sort of collective action?

    • There is absolutely no downside, and I read this blog every day hoping for it to be changed as nearly 100% of us agree it should be. It is so discouraging to see an organization that we all obviously are invested in and care about give absolutely no hoot whatsoever to how we feel. It truly breaks my heart, and as time goes on with still no word, I and many people I know are getting quite angry about it. There’s no reason to treat our opinion with so little regard. I really am starting to think it was all done to help some kid from whatever group decided this, and they don’t care about anyone else. Poor move, very poor move.

      • Marty,

        “It is so discouraging to see an organization that we all obviously are invested in and care about give absolutely no hoot whatsoever to how we feel. It truly breaks my heart, and as time goes on with still no word, I and many people I know are getting quite angry about it. There’s no reason to treat our opinion with so little regard.”

        Couldn’t agree more with you. None of my emails have garnered a response and it has been several weeks. I asked a couple of simple questions as to the reason for the policy etc.. Received nothing but silence for several weeks now. Not getting angry over the situation, but it truly is a lack of respect when your emails are ignored. Kinda flies in the face of a “values” based program when your inquiries, time and opinion apparently don’t mean much…not even enough for the courtesy of a response.

      • I keep hoping it will change too. But I have confirmation that it won’t. It wold be so easy to make it retroactive for active eagles. heartbreaking that they wont

  172. Since we have no say so in getting the Eagle Palm decision corrected, I personally plan to end my Friends of Scouting contributions. This seems to be the loudest voice I have left.

    • FYI the Friends of Scouting contribution goes to the local council, not national who created this asinine rule. So you a will be hurting the local council that provides programs, camps, etc, and not national.

      • Well, after writing to both Mr. LoVecchio and Chief Scout Executive Surbaugh again, and requesting the “courtesy” of a reply, (after weeks of no reply) it appears that none shall be forthcoming from the Chief Executive as Mr. LoVecchio advised Surbaugh referred my email to him for reply. Mr. Lovecchio, in turn, failed to answer any of my questions but ironically referred me back to this site for answers to all my questions. Unfortunately, it appears that any further expenditure of time on this matter will be fruitless, as it appears that nothing will be done about the policy, or current Eagles who do not get the benefit of the new rule. I suppose that is National’s intention, to ignore or stonewall until this issue goes away. I am disheartened as a volunteer and was planning to increase my involvement with scouting, but it looks like I will be returning my new and unaltered uniform and spend a lot more time fishing on the weekends than camping. I will stay involved as long as my kids want, but I will not be giving scouting the preference it enjoyed in the past. In my opinion, this new rule will have a negative effect on scouting, but the lack of respect and courtesy shown, to me as a volunteer, to answer a simple email, speaks volumes as to the program as presently run. No surprise here as to why involvement with the scouts is shrinking.

  173. I too am disheartened as I spoke to an official source in BSA today that informed me definitively that the policy stands as it was published and a statement is forthcoming confirming that no changes will be made. I am saddened, and crushed to the lack of sensitivity

  174. He does not reply to emails you can try calling him directly at 972-310-3557 but I think that sadly we will not be able to change his mind

  175. It would be nice if the reason for the non-retroactivity was provided as I can’t see any reason to do so. Few if any actually support non-retroactivity as seen from above

  176. “A Scout is Obedient – ..If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them.”

    Going directly to the top sending emails to the National Advancement Committee or the Chief Scout Executive doesn’t appear to be working. To me, this is unsatisfactory. They are simply able to ignore the emails and be unresponsive. The National Advancement Committee and Chief Scout Executive need to remember who they are supposed to be serving. Additionally plans to withhold any FOS donations are a bit misguided and will only hurt your local Councils and Districts.

    I believe this change caught many Councils unaware. This blog was posted on July 10th. A message came out from my Area Advancement Chair on July 12th to my Council Advancement Chair. Then on July 13th I received an email from my Council Advancement Chair stating that this would be a good topic to discuss at our next Advancement Committee Meeting – scheduled for August 23rd. So much for being proactive…

    I believe that it is time that we work to change things in an orderly manner.

    If we really want to effect change, I would propose that each District Advancement Chair needs to poll each and every Troop within their District. I believe that it is time for every unit leader to officially express their opinion on the decision. I would propose that there be three basic options:
    1. Like the Change: Keep it the same
    2. Dislike the Change: Need to make it retroactive for all registered youth Eagle Scouts
    3. Dislike the Change: Need to make it retroactive f