CRESTVIEW — Brandon Woods may have earned Boy Scouts of America's highest rank, but that doesn't mean he's leaving scouting.
"We have been through a lot together," he said. "I wouldn't feel right just leaving them."
The Crestview resident, a Troop 773 member who's earned more than 60 Boy Scout merit badges, is working on earning Eagle Palms.
That requires remaining active in the troop after earning the Eagle honor, living the Scout Oath and Scout Law, demonstrating leadership, earning five more merit badges, participating in a Scoutmaster conference and completing a board of review, according to the BSA website.
Troop leaders say Woods, 23, can achieve those requirements and has the potential to do more.
"As far as the future goes, I would like to see him stay on with the troop and become assistant scoutmaster," Scoutmaster Daniel Behr said. "I have no doubt he can do it."
Pensacola's BSA office recently accepted Woods' Eagle Scout project — a prehistoric replica display viewable at the Northwest Florida State College Robert L.F. Sikes Education Center — and allowed the Crestview troop to give him the honor.
"Everybody in this troop has been waiting for this day to come," Behr said during the April 19 Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony at the Knights of Columbus building in Crestview. "(Brandon) doesn't realize it but a lot of the boys in the troop look up to him."
And Woods has learned a lot during his 11 years of scouting, according to Donna Campbell, his mother.
"He is more confident, more outgoing, he joins in with others and helps others out," she said.
Throughout learning first aid, outdoor survival and camping skills, among others, Woods said teamwork is at the center of scouting.
"(It's) being a team member," he said. "It's us making sure we all do our jobs and try to be the best scouts we can be.
"... If it hadn't been for everyone helping me and supporting me along the way...I wouldn't have (earned) this award."