Hi Reddit! About a year and a half ago I finished my eight year goal of earning every single Boy Scout Merit Badge. Ask me anything!
I started Boy Scouts at about 10 years old after crossing over from cub scouts. Sometime in my second year, I met a scout who, like I would years later, was about to earn every single merit badge. I was inspired by him to attempt the same thing, and after eight years of studying, hiking, biking, meeting interesting people, and doing some really tough, fun, and interesting things around the country (and parts of the world), I finally accomplished the same thing. In total, I earned 138 of the 137 badges offered (one was discontinued and replaced along the way). It is my proudest accomplishment so far.
And for one quick FAQ:
What are merit badges and why is this significant?
Merit badges are awards offered by the Boys Scouts of America for fulfilling various lists of requirements. They are all so diverse and unique that I can't really give a "typical" case of one, as they range from something simple like learning about fingerprints and taking your own, to biking for long distances (hundreds of miles depending on the terrain you select), to learning complicated topics like Nuclear Science, Drafting, etc.
Of course, doing 138 of them adds a much greater level of difficulty. You have to get a qualified and registered counselor to sign off that you satisfied the requirements, such as Astronaut Michael Finke who helped me earn Space Exploration and countless other wonderful people who I could list for quite some time.
As far as the significance, as I said it took a bit less than eight years to achieve. In the 100+ year history of Scouting in America, fewer than 500 people have accomplished this goal. For reference, the extremely prestigious rank of Eagle was earned by over 60,000 people in the year of 2019 alone (I say this not to minimize the award of Eagle Scout, but to provide a frame of reference for how rarely this is achieved).
I'm excited to do my first AMA! Ask away, Reddit.
Edit: thanks for all you comments, but I think I'll be headed off for now. Might still pop in occasionally to answer questions.