189th Scout to earn every merit badge
Merit Badge Program
Each merit badge tells a story from touring a nuclear lab to learning how to play the Bugle. Collectively, they establish a knowledge base of 131 fields of study. The experience demonstrated perseverance over eight years and involved coordinating with 94 merit badge counselors. My favorite was Archaeology, which involved sorting pre-historic fish bones with a Ph.D. student at UCSC and partaking in an archeological dig at Santa Clara University. The most difficult was Drafting, which involved dozens of attempts in drawing a floor plan by hand.
The structure to earn a merit badge is straightforward. Once I decided on which to work on, I would go to the local scout shop and purchase a merit badge pamphlet. This contained material on how to complete each requirement. The next step involved creating a folder with tabs for each requirement and establishing a roadmap. After this, I would request a Blue Card from my Scoutmaster.
As I worked on the requirements, I would search for a counselor who was a subject matter expert. As time went on, this became more difficult, as least popular merit badges such as Bugling had no counselors assigned. Once the requirements were complete, I scheduled a meeting to have the material reviewed. A discussion would emerge, occasionally with the advice given on what to rework. Once the counselor was satisfied, the blue card was signed and submitted to my Scoutmaster.