I’ve posted stories like this before – a young man makes Scouting his priority in his life like some boys take to Baseball or Football. He works hard at having a multitude of experiences and he earns all of the Merit Badges. And he does it because he is in an environment that supports and encourages him to “try everything.”
Let’s face it: Merit Badges are kind of the Brussels Sprouts of Scouting. Now, you might be one of those people who likes Brussels Sprouts, but you only got to that point because at some point, someone probably made you try them. By and large there are far more FUN things to do in Scoutinng – just hanging out with your friends, a game of Risk, fishing to name a few… Maybe Leadership or Rank Advancement is where your heart lies.
One of the great things about Boy Scouts is that it is ALL of these things, like a well-balanced meal: and that includes Merit Badges.
Remember sitting at the table, long after dinner finished, because you had to “eat three bites?” You had to give it a fair try, eat enough to know if you were going to like it. Mushing them up a little and touching your tongue to the edge of the spoon while you made a face just wasn’t going to cut it! THAT is the beauty of the Merit Badge system… You might not be an expert at Plant Science or take up SCUBA as a lifelong hobby; you might only spend a few hours learning about Robotics, or a few weeks trying to Collect Coins – enough to know that this is something that is a lot more fun than you may have originally thought.
Never before have the Boy Scouts had so many Merit Badges! Not everyone agrees that is a good thing, but fortunately the folks setting the direction for the BSA certainly do!
What I really like about this story though is how this young man talks about the support and encouragement he receives through his parents. He speaks of the discipline he learned from his father’s military background, the memories of time spent together learning SCUBA diving together, and his mother’s support and encouragement as she rode mile for mile with him as he worked on his Cycling Merit Badge.
So many kids in our program don’t have strong family support. Their parents drop them off and leave, the kids come from broken homes, or the family situation in general works against a Scout reaching the level they can. We have troops that work against our Scouts discouraging them from earning too many merit badges, making up their own rules to slow boys down and setting priorities based on an adult’s experience without listening to the boy’s goals and desires. It’s no wonder so few kids get this far…
This is what happens when everything works the way that it should. I’m sure some merit badges were easier than others for this young man to earn, but can you imagine the things he has learned as he worked through 132 subject areas?! This young man will have a breadth and depth of knowledge that will carry this Eagle Scout to great heights in his life!
Check out the full story on Fox News: http://video.foxnews.com/v/1704270714001/boy-scout-earns-all-possible-badges