Eagle Scout Nathan Searcy, of Troop 462 sponsored by V.F.W. Post 2661 in Washington, could remember when his brother, Evan Searcy, earned all his merit badges. The sense of accomplishment and pride he saw in his brother was something he desired. That’s when Nathan decided to earn every merit badge as well.
“I wanted to be like my brother, and I also wanted to learn and grow as a person,” said Searcy, who is currently 17 and a senior at Washington High School.
Recently, Searcy earned his last merit badge, completing his goal. He is the second Scout in the Franklin County area to do so. His brother is the only other Scout.
Searcy started this long journey after becoming an Eagle Scout when he was 13. He still had five years left to complete the Eagle rank requirements, so he decided it was time to fulfill his goal.
“I wasn’t done yet. I still believed I had so much more to do as an Eagle Scout,” said Searcy.
He earned the official 137 merit badges, along with an extra one.
The number of badges changes often because some are discontinued and others are added due to interest, Searcy explained.
Earning these badges takes a lot of time and patience.
An individual badge represents anywhere from four hours’ to several weeks’ worth of work.
The small, round badges are sewn in a neat and orderly pattern on the front and back of two uniform sashes. Each is vivid and colorful with an image that represents the skill that was learned.
The Process of
Earning Merit Badges
Boys are around 10 or 12 years old when they reach the rank of Life Scout and can begin working on merit badges. A Scout must complete a list of requirements within an area of study and then demonstrate to an approved counselor that he has completed all work involved for the requirements to earn a merit badge.
Scouts get to choose the counselor, or person knowledgeable about the skill, on their own. There is a list of names available to help them get started, but it is the Scout’s responsibility to contact the counselor and make the necessary arrangements.
A big aspect of the merit badge program is about teaching boys how to be leaders and take charge, Nathan Searcy claimed.
“The process of earning merit badges teaches (the Scouts) a skill or the steps needed to achieve mastery level of a task, but the overall purpose is to teach leadership and communication,” he said. “It’s the Scout’s responsibility to earn the badges and take initiative.”
as a Scout
As an Eagle Scout, you must complete an Eagle Scout Service Project. This gives a Scout the opportunity to demonstrate leadership skills while also performing a project for the benefit of his community.
Searcy built three benches around Union for the American Legion.
“They were hosting a barbecue and needed some benches, so I thought this would be the perfect project,” said Searcy.
Searcy also attended many summer camps, where you can earn up to six merit badges. Additionally, he attended the University of Scouting, where Scouts can earn one or two merit badges.
“There are a lot of opportunities to earn badges. It’s really about how much determination and effort someone is willing to put into actually earning them,” noted Searcy.
Furthermore, the last merit badge Searcy earned was bugling. It required him to learn how to play the bugle and serve as a bugler for two or three months at Scouts camps and such. But this badge held a bigger meaning to Nathan.
His grandfather, the late Ed Searcy, was a member of the Washington VFW and played the bugle at military funerals.
“It ended my long journey on a positive note, knowing that my grandfather was still with me,” said Searcy.
A Leader Is Born
Searcy has devoted eight years to being a Scout and feels a sense of satisfaction for completing such an immense goal.
“I’m proud of everything I accomplished. I only had two months left to complete this goal of mine and the clock was ticking,” mentioned Searcy.
With all the experience and training, Searcy has gained more knowledge and confidence in himself as a leader and a person.
“It will always stick with me and help me prepare for my future with the various fields that are incorporated in earning merit badges,” said Searcy.
Nathan will continue to be a leader and role model for his younger Scouts and hopes that one day they can accomplish even more than himself.
“I’m in a special group of people who can excel and reach the highest level. I hope other Scouts notice this elite group of people. I am truly honored to be a part of it.”