Baron Ryan, a member of Troop 200 in Nixa, Missouri, with the Boy Scouts of America’s Ozark Trails Council in Springfield, has earned every merit badge currently offered by the BSA.
Ryan joined Scouting in 2009, and over the past five years has completed the requirements for each merit badge. What is his favorite merit badge? “American Business,” replied Ryan. “I started a coupon business where I sold coupon ad spaces to businesses in the Boston area, and it was successful,” he said.
“We have a need to grow in ourselves, and in our community, and I don’t think it’s all to myself, all that I’ve done here. I like to think that I’ve inspired some boys or that I’ve set a standard,” Ryan said.
For his Eagle Scout project, Ryan produced a book that incorporated the efforts of family members, friends, and members of his troop. Ryan will present the book—which is set in 1910, Scouting’s first year, and tells about Indians, the wilderness, and the West—to libraries and schools. “I wanted to incorporate stories my dad used to tell me about his own years as a boy who loved the wilderness,” said Ryan.
In order to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank a Scout can earn, a Scout must earn 21 merit badges, 13 of which are required. A Scout can earn more merit badges to receive Eagle Palms—Bronze, Gold, and Silver. However, Palms are not considered ranks, so a Scout’s decision to earn beyond the number required for the Eagle Scout rank is his choice. Earning all merit badges, though commendable, is not a requirement.
The aims of Scouting are character development, citizenship training, and mental and physical fitness. These are fulfilled when Scouts complete requirements for each of the ranks in Boy Scouting.
According to Scott Rhodes, Scoutmaster of Troop 200, Scouting “is all about setting individual goals, small goals, and achieving those. He’s quite an inspiration to the younger boys, too.”
Ryan has big goals for his future. He plans to join his two siblings at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, next fall to study behavioral economics. “I hope I just live the ideals of Scouting, all that I’ve learned with these merit badges, with my troop,” said Ryan.