January 01, 2010
"If you have 121 merit badges, you are the greatest Scout in the history of the organization"
Posted by Gordon Smith

That was the announcer for the Tournament of Roses Parade this morning when the Boy Scout float passed. As I have noted on this site (here and here), my twin sons (age 13) have been pursuing all 121 merit badges -- an achievement some call the Merit Badge Knot -- and they reached their goal this week when we completed a five-day backpacking trip on Catalina Island. Their goal was to complete all 121 merit badges before the end of the year ... and they did it! Way to go, Christian and Conrad!

But there are two twists. First, the Boy Scouts of America has approved several new merit badges, including GPS/GIS, Robotics, Scouting Heritage, and Scuba Diving. We have also heard rumors of an Inventing merit badge. So far, only the Scuba Diving merit badge has an official requirements list. This one will not be easy, but the boys are determined to get all of the new merit badges.

Second, the Boy Scouts of America apparently is going to bring back four (?) original merit badges as part of the 100th anniversary celebration for Scouting. I don't have anything official on this front, but we are told that these heritage merit badges will have a distinctive gold border and will be available only this year. Here is a nice proposal for a more ambitious program for heritage merit badges.

If all of the rumors pan out and my boys stick to their resolve, they will earn a total of 130 merit badges. Having been mostly an observer to this process, which was initiated by a Scout leader and coordinated by my wife, I confess that I am very impressed.

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