Above and Beyond
What it takes to earn the Palms.
Eagle Palms recognize Eagle Scouts who remain active in Scouting and earn merit badges beyond the 21 required for Scouting’s highest rank. After the number of new Eagle Scouts began to exceed 3,000 each year, BSA officials saw the need for awards beyond Eagle Scout. So the Palms were introduced in 1927.
What are the requirements for earning an Eagle Palm? For each Palm, the Scout must be active in his troop, team, or crew for three months, demonstrate Scout spirit, develop and demonstrate leadership ability, earn five merit badges, take part in a Scoutmaster conference, and complete a board of review.
What do the Palm colors signify? The Bronze Palm represents five merit badges, the Gold Palm 10 merit badges, and the Silver Palm 15 merit badges. Scouts must earn Palms in that order.
Can a Scout earn more than three Palms? Yes. Conceivably, he could earn up to 20 palms—depending on how many merit badges he completes and how much time he has remaining before his 18th birthday.
Do merit badges for a Palm have to be earned after a Scout has become an Eagle Scout? No. Any merit badges he has earned since joining Scouting may be used, except those applied for his Eagle rank.
What is the cutoff date for earning Palms? Scouts may not earn Palms beyond their 18th birthday.
Can Venturers earn Palms? Any male Venturer who has achieved the First Class rank as a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may continue advancement toward Star, Life, and Eagle Scout ranks and Eagle Palms up to his 18th birthday.
Where do Scouts wear Palms? Palms are worn on the ribbon of the Eagle medal or, for adult Scouters, on the Eagle square knot. They are not worn on the pocket emblem. When worn, Palms should represent the number of additional merit badges earned. For example, a Scout who has earned 20 additional merit badges (and completed the other requirements described above) would wear a Silver Palm and a Bronze Palm.
Does a Scout have to hold a position of responsibility such as senior patrol leader to earn a Palm? No. The requirement states “…develop and demonstrate leadership ability.” A Scout could meet this requirement in other ways such as by serving on National Youth Leadership Training staff or completing a Scoutmaster-assigned leadership project.
I recently saw a Scout receive a Bronze Palm at his Eagle court of honor. How is that possible? Scouting counts tenure for the Bronze Palm from the date of the Eagle board of review. If that Scout’s court of honor occurred more than three months after his board of review, he could have earned a Palm by that time.