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Minn. brothers share rare distinction of earning every Boy Scout badge

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Brothers Zachary (left), Garrett and Jordon Carlson of Motley share a laugh together on Wednesday, May 16, at Motley City Hall. They have earned every Boy Scouts of America merit badge and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest scouting award. Frank Lee / Forum News Service2 / 3
Brothers Zachary, Jordon and Garrett Carlson of Motley have earned every Boy Scout badge. Frank Lee / Forum News Service3 / 3

MOTLEY, Minn.—Brothers Zachary, Garrett and Jordon Carlson earned more merit badges than most Boy Scouts will receive in a lifetime, including Eagle Scout, the highest award possible in scouting.

Zachary, the eldest, earned 142 merit badges while siblings Garrett and Jordon were both awarded 138—including some that were discontinued after they received the merit badges.

"I'm proud of them," said their mother Holly Carlson, who works for the Boy Scouts of America Central Minnesota Council. "It's something that they wanted to do, so we helped them out."

Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America and the designation was founded more than a century ago.

Only 4 percent of Boy Scouts are granted this rank "after a lengthy review process," according to Michael S. Malone, a reporter and writer who earned the Eagle Scout rank like the Carlsons.

"People, like, say, 'Hey, are you in the Boy Scouts?' ... And they just ask things like, 'How is it? What was one of your favorite moments?'" Garrett said of the trio's newfound fame.

The Carlsons earned all the merit badges available—an achievement just 367 Scouts accomplished. To achieve the Eagle Scout rank, at least 21 merit badges, including a required 13, must be earned.

Zachary became a Boy Scout when he was 10 years old and was the first among his brothers to join the Boy Scouts of America. Garrett and Jordon soon followed suit.

"I had some friends who were doing it, and I came home one day and told my parents, 'I want to join,'" Zachary recalled.

"Before, when a Boy Scout earned all their merit badges, they could meet the president of the United States and tour the White House, so that's one thing that I've always wanted to do—earn all the merit badges."

In the Central Minnesota Council Order of the Arrow, 18-year-old senior Zachary is in charge of monthly meetings, while 17-year-old junior Jordon is secretary and 16-year-old sophomore Garrett is vice chief of Native American affairs.

"I think we all kind of pushed each other to do the same merit badges at the same time, so that we could earn them all together," Garrett said.

It is the first time that a Scout from the Sartell-based Boy Scouts of America Central Minnesota Council has earned every merit badge, which distinguishes them from other Scouts.

"You might get the occasional tease from your friend, but they don't really mean it," Zachary said of one of the largest Scouting organizations in the nation and one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with more than 2.4 million youths.

More than 40 astronauts earned the rank as a youth, and 10 Eagle Scouts have been awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest and most prestigious personal military decoration that may be awarded to recognize military service members who distinguished themselves by acts of valor.

"All these merit badges teach you different skills and abilities that you will use," Jordon said.

The requirements to achieve Eagle Scout rank takes years to fulfill. Since 1912, more than 2.25 million Boy Scouts have earned the Eagle Scout rank.

"I think Garrett is a good Boy Scout because he's enthusiastic to go out and camp, and hang out with all these new boys, teach them that Boy Scouts can be fun," Jordon said.