Talk about peer pressure. Not only was 14-year-old Andrew Olsen in a Boy Scout troop led by his brother Mike, 29, but all eight of his older brothers had attained the coveted status of Eagle Scout—an honor achieved by just 2 percent of Boy Scouts nationwide, and only after they fill a khaki sash with a rainbow of merit badges.
So it was with pride and some relief that Andrew—who went on his first 50-mile scout hike at age 6—accepted his silver Eagle Scout pendant in an April ceremony at the Olsens’ Irving, Texas, Mormon church. “I didn’t realize until that night just how special it would be to have all my brothers there,” says Andrew, an honor student and pole vaulter at Irving’s Crockett Middle School, of partying with brothers Mike, Bradley, 30, twins Mathew and Mark, 27, Aaron, 24, twins Phillip and Paul, 21, and David, 16—not to mention sisters Alisa, 23, Christina, 19, and Amanda, 11, who have participated in the Personal Progress program for girls.
In all, it was a joyous event for the family, particularly for father Mel, 54, an American Airlines executive and former scoutmaster, and mother Nancy, a homemaker who estimates she has stitched some 200 merit badges onto her flock’s uniforms since Bradley became a Scout in 1975. “The first merit badge a Boy Scout earns should be in sewing,” she says, proudly but wearily. “So he knows how to do it himself.”