Profile : Justin Zilberstein

Justin Zilberstein earns all 137 Boy Scout Merit badges.


Photo Courtesy of Justin Zilberstein.

Justin Zilberstein wearing his full Eagle Scout uniform.

Senior and Eagle Scout Justin Zilberstein recently earned all 137 Boy Scout merit badges –– a feat only 367 other people have accomplished in 100 years of Boy Scout history.

“Becoming an Eagle Scout is the accumulation of years of experience, gaining leadership and communication skills, as well as helping your community,” Zilberstein wrote to the Talon. “To become an Eagle Scout, you need 21 merit badges, but I decided as an 11 year old to get all 137.”

Accomplishing this took Zilberstein nearly seven years; in the process, he underwent a multitude of experiences and earned badges in diverse areas.

“[The most] challenging [were] nuclear science, search and rescue and hiking. I had to do a 20-mile day hike which was pretty tough, [and] leading a rescue team, although fun, can be quite difficult,” Zilberstein wrote.

However, Zilberstein said that he could not have done this alone. Some of the badges required lengthy car trips to places like Las Vegas and Arizona.

“I was helped along by my parents (mainly my dad), the leaders in the troop, Troop 127, and the other scouts in my patrol,” Zilberstein wrote.

Zilberstein has always been a hard worker, according to senior and fellow scout Nick Ullman.

“I knew he was going to get all the merit badges and I saw him [do it]. The last couple were super hard but he ended up doing it,” Ullman wrote to the Talon.

Ullman said that the two share many memories in the organization.

“My fondest memory I had with Justin at Boy Scouts was when he and I had our Eagle Court of Honor and I was able to see the benefit Scouts has had for both of us,” Ullman wrote.

Along the way, Zilberstein said that he has had a variety of unforgettable experiences.

“One of my favorite memories has to be scuba diving at Catalina Island. I went for a weekend and it is one of the best scuba diving sites in the world, hands down. The things you experience under the water are unlike anything else,” Zilberstein wrote.

This season, Zilberstein will co-captain the tennis team with Adam Kessler. He said that participating in the Boy Scouts has helped him manage his time.

“As more activities fall onto your plate, you really just adapt and maximize your schedule. I’m very excited to be co-captain of the tennis team,” Zilberstein.

Zilberstein offers advice for those who may be working towards a similar goal.

“Stick with it because the lessons you learn are invaluable and it is something that stays with you for the rest of your life,” Zilberstein wrote.