We receive frequent inquiries from members of local media who are writing stories of local scouts who have accomplished great things, including completing all of the merit badges. While we are more than happy to speak personally with the media, the following information represents our responses to many of the most frequently asked questions we receive from these great organizations who recognize that these stories make great news.
Question: What percentage of scouts earn all of the merit badges?
Answer: Based on information from Boy Scouts of America for the year ending 2016, there were 822,999 scouts in the Boy Scouts of America that were eligible to earn the rank of Eagle Scout and earn merit badges. In 2016 55,186 scouts were awarded the rank of Eagle Scout (roughly 6.7% of the total). We have received reports for 2016 of 31 scouts completing all of the merit badges, which is 0.0038% of the total scouts or 0.1% of all Eagle Scouts. Considering the previous 10 years, we have received reports of an average of 24 scouts per year who earn all of the merit badges with a high number for 2013 of 34 scouts. Considering that some scouts are not reported to us these numbers may be a bit higher, but probably not much higher.
Question: Understanding that this is a rare accomplishment, what does this really say about the scout?
Answer: Scouts who go above and beyond the 21 merit badges required for Eagle tell those around them that they are involved in the scouting movement not to just earn a badge, but to further learn, provide leadership, and serve their communities. What this says about these scouts is that they do not constrain their activities to minimum expectations to receive an award, but they look ahead to find opportunities to continue to improve themselves, other scouts, and their communities.
Question: What additional direction can you provide in the writing of a media report on a scout who has earned all of the merit badges?
Answer: We receive e-mails from scouts and parents on a frequent basis commenting on the inspirational stories posted to this website. They comment that they enjoy reading about the activities these scouts did which provides them inspiration to continue working toward their own goals. So our best feedback is to focus on the many stories these scouts can tell about their learning adventures. With each having earned merit badges in more than 100 topics, they have at least 100 stories that could be told. Many will include stories about backpacking adventures, learning how to sail a boat, businesses they started and operated, visiting various production facilities or other businesses, the many miles on bicycles, railroads, or hiking trails, participating in theater, and more. For a complete list of currently-offered merit badges click here to be forwarded to the BSA website.
Question: How should meritbadgeknot.com be attributed in our media report?
Answer: Obviously, the story being written is all about the scout, not about our website. The story will end up in scrapbooks of family members and potentially kept for generations. So anything referencing a third-party organization would distract from the focus of the story. With that said, however, some attention to the website would have the effect of encouraging other scouts to read these great stories and evaluate their own goals in scouting. So we welcome a reasonable reference to make this website more accessable to scouts and parents.
Question: How do you go about republishing these stories?
Answer: As much as possible, we produce .pdf images of published stories that retain the name of the news publisher, the writer, and other information to provide proper attribution of the story. Many of these images even include the advertisements when the stories were originally published. We have not been notified of any concerns regarding this practice, and we have specifically received permission from many of the writers of these stories to republish them in this format.
For any additional questions, please e-mail us by clicking here.
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