It's an accomplishment that less than one-half of one-percent of Scouts achieve. Now, 17-year-old Alex Wright, an Eagle Scout from Troop 394 in Lenexa, Kansas, has joined a rare group of Scouts to earn every merit badge possible - all 139 of them in fact.
"Scouts is such an amazing program. The merit badges offered me opportunities that I would not get anywhere else, everything from welding to horseback riding to a multitude of other adventures. Who wouldn’t want to do that?” said Alex.
Remembering his first merit badge is just as important to him as the last. Alex also continues to serve as a mentor to the younger Scouts in his troop. “I didn’t do it for myself. I wanted to serve as an example to the younger Scouts. To show them that it is possible to accomplish whatever they put their minds to and be happy along the way.”
But earning every merit badge and becoming an Eagle Scout was just the beginning. Alex is also the recipient of the BSA's Distinguished Conservation Service Award (previously William T. Hornaday Award). This extremely rare honor is the highest service award a youth Scout can earn. But how rare is it? According to the BSA, the award has only been presented an estimated 1,200 times in the past 100-years.
Alex has also earned the prestigious National Medal for Outdoor Achievement. The medal was established in 2010 and only about 300 Scouts across the country have ever completed this achievement. It is described as the “highest recognition a Scout can earn for exemplary achievement, experience and skill in multiple areas of outdoor endeavor."
Alex also achieved 8 STEM Nova Awards, earned the Scouting Jimmy Stewart Good Citizenship Award - an award presented to Scouts who have exemplified the characteristics necessary to live the life of a good citizen. As an International Messenger of Peace, Alex is also part of a global initiative where he can connect with other Scouting communities all over the world to share his own projects and learn how other Scouts are serving their communities and promoting peace. The initiative is inspired by the World Scout Committee, administered by the World Scout Bureau, and driven by youth volunteers worldwide.
Tim Pfeifer, Troop 394 Scoutmaster, marveled at Alex's achievements “To put Alex’s accomplishments into perspective, a Scout must earn 21 merit badges as part of the requirement to obtain the organization’s highest rank, Eagle Scout. Alex earned over six times that requirement. Now consider this rare feat is only one of his elite Scouting accomplishments and you begin to realize the scope of his success. National Conservation Award, National Outdoor Achievement, Stewardship, STEM, and 4 faith-based awards are each exemplary achievements; for an individual to earn all is a phenomenal effort."
"These rare accomplishments not only show the determination of one extraordinary young man, but the scope of opportunities offered by the BSA," said Matt Armstrong, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Boy Scouts of America, Heart of America Council. "Scouting prepares youth to be caring and responsible adults and today's Scouts will no doubt become tomorrow's leaders."
Scouts are required to earn 21 merit badges in order to earn their Eagle Scout. While many Scouts in the Heart of America Council do earn more, less than one-half of one-percent of Scouts earn all the merit badges available. And when you add in Alex's impressive array of other Scouting accomplishments, his resume is beyond incredible.
"I wish there was a good way to research if this has ever been done. It would not surprise me if Alex was the sole Scout to ever earn this many high-level awards. I certainly know of no other,” said Pfeifer.