To earn the rank of Eagle Scout a young man must earn 21 Merit Badges. Some of these badges, such as Camping and First Aid, are required. Others, such as Photography and Leatherwork, are electives. Scouts who earn more than the 21 necessary Badges who serve additional time in Scouting earn Palms for their service to the organization.
Michael Gustafson has five gold palms and has earned 141 Merit Badges. This makes him the first Scout in Cherokee County and the eighth in the history of Georgia to earn every possible Merit Badge during his time as a Scout.
Michael’s original goal was to earn more than the 50 Badges his father earned as a Scout. He started with Swimming, a traditional first Merit Badge, and worked his way up.
When he reached 100 Merit Badges he decided to try for 140 (including the four historical Badges available only in 2010). In the process the Computers merit badge, which he had already earned, changed and became Digital Technologies. He re-earned it and continued along the trail.
This past month, Michael Gustafson earned his final Merit Badge: Scuba Diving. At his Troop’s Spring Court of Honor Michael’s first Merit Badge Counselor, Judge Frank Mills, and his last, John Flaspohler, joined him on-stage to award him his final Merit Badge.
Michael plans to stay active in his Troop until he goes to college and encourages other Scouts who earn the Eagle Rank early to stay engaged as well.
Michael Gustafson is an Eagle Scout from Troop 241 in Canton, GA. In the Fall, Michael will be attending Georgia Tech to begin a degree in Chemical Engineering. He credits the Chemistry merit badge for sparking his interest in this career path.