I understand how Scouts of lower ranks earn merit badges (I was in Scouts but its been a while), but can a scout still earn merit badges AFTER they attain the rank of Eagle Scout?
Yes, they can continue to earn merit badges, Eagle Palms, and other Scouts BSA awards until their 18th birthday.
Here is the reference for you:
184.108.40.206 Scouting Ranks and Advancement Age Requirements
All Scouts BSA awards, merit badges, badges of rank, and Eagle Palms are only for registered Scouts, including Lone 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 Scout or Lone Scout, or Varsity Scout (prior to January 1, 2018). The only exceptions for those older than age 18 are related to Scouts registered beyond the age of eligibility (“Registering Qualified Members Beyond Age of Eligibility,” 10.1.0.0) and those who have been granted time extensions to complete the Eagle Scout rank (“Time Extensions,” 220.127.116.11).
They can, and they should.
Moreover, your Eagles should be encouraged to earn Palms, because, in addition to the badges, they are encouraged to continue leadership development and engage in further adult association with their scoutmaster regarding their personal growth and application of the Oath and Law.
Yep. One of my biggest frustrations is with kids that earn their Eagle at a relatively young age, and then disappear…
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