The pair, Sean and Eric Grapin, have each earned all 135 of the merit badges sanctioned by the Boy Scouts of America.
“What the Grapin brothers have accomplished is outstanding,” Les Baron, CEO and Scout Executive of the National Capital Area Council of BSA, which oversees the brothers’ troop, told ABC News. “They set a great example, not just for Scouts, but for young people everywhere about how to work towards your vision.”
The brothers, both members of Troop 345 in Vienna, Va., were inspired to complete the Herculean task after seeing a poster in a local Boy Scout shop, according to their dad, Mark Grapin, a volunteer adult leader with the Boy Scouts.
“The boys made a beeline to the back of the store where there was a poster named ‘Merits of Scouting’ that had all the merits and badges,” Grapin told ABC News. “The boys kind of fell in love with the poster and both said, ‘I want to accomplish them all.’”
“The store owner saw them ogling and gifted it to the boys and it was hung up over Eric’s bed and the boys would spend hours just scheming over the post,” Grapin said.
Sean bridged over to Boy Scouts on his 10th birthday and began immediately working on his merit badges to catch up with his big brother, Eric, who already had 40 badges under his belt.
“Three days after Sean’s bridge ceremony we were up in Wheeling, West Virginia, earning their railroad badge,” Grapin said. “We figured Sean would be 14 or 15 before he caught up with Eric but with his energy and enthusiasm, in his first year as a Boy Scout, he earned 104 merit badges, an average of two per week.”
One year, eight months and 22 days after Sean’s bridge ceremony to Boy Scouts, the pre-teen had earned all 135 badges, accomplishing tasks ranging from backpacking to chores to sportsmanship, his favorite.
The feat is so rare that the Boy Scouts of America does not keep a formal record of the number of boys who have earned all 135 badges.
A privately-run website, MeritBadgeKnot.com, that tracks Boy Scouts who have earned all their merit badges has determined that Sean is the youngest Boy Scout by at least two years to ever earn all 135 badges.
“Most boys that accomplish this are 17 and are just about to phase about of Boy Scouting,” Garpin said. “With Eric and Sean, it became the primary goal in Boy Scouting.” Eric, who was not available to speak to ABC News today, has already gone on to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, sitting down for his review just hours after completing his last badge, according to his dad.
Sean, who was also not available for comment, is currently working on his Eagle Scout service project, building a boardwalk over a muddy area in a nearby nature preserve.
The task of earning all the badges and being exposed to so many different things led both Sean and Eric to already focus in on their career paths, according to their dad.
“Eric liked the robotics badge and he wants to be a robotics engineer when he grows up,” Grapin said. “Sean wants to be a zoologist.”