Sam S., an Eagle Scout from Troop 357 out of Tonganoxie, joins the ranks of a rare group of Scouts who have completed every single merit badge available to them. 137 merit badges, total, in Sam’s case.
Sam earned his Eagle Scout in September 2016. At the time he had completed 30 merit badges. His goal of becoming an Eagle Scout had been accomplished, so he set another goal: Earn every single merit badge.
Four years, countless hours of worksheets, a global pandemic, and 107 merit badges later, Sam fulfilled his goal on July 17 this year. Inventing, Small Boat Sailing, Horsemanship, Robotics, and Nuclear Science are just a few of the merit badges that provided not only a challenge, but an opportunity to learn something new.
“I was introduced to areas that I was not familiar with and may not have pursued on my own,” Sam said.
Time management became a skill that Sam had to learn when taking on this goal. Balancing school, extra-curricular activities, and scouting responsibilities would prove to be difficult, and that was before the Coronavirus.
“There were issues associated with COVID-19,” Sam said.
COVID-19 forced Sam to adapt during the last leg of his goal. Many of the camps and merit badge colleges that he was planning to attend were either delayed or cancelled entirely. He worked with Scout leaders to ensure that he was still on track to complete his goal despite the shutdown. Most of the merit badges that he earned since March were completed virtually. With the help of his mother and encouragement from Scout leaders he was able to overcome the odds.
“When I earned my last merit badge, at the moment it didn't seem to be different from the others but when I thought about it many of my other merit badges came to mind and I felt a sense of accomplishment,” Sam said.
“Now I look back on it and think of the journey I went through to get all of the merit badges,”
A challenging journey, no doubt, but one that has paid off.
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.