For Gregory Beagan, a senior at Bishop Feehan High School, learning chess wasn’t simply a game. It was the final step for him to earn all 138 Boy Scout merit badges, which he finally did on Saturday.
Beagan, 17, is a member of Attleboro Troop 25 and one of only a few hundred individuals in the history of Boy Scouts, founded in 1910, to achieve this recognition. For context, only 21 merit badges are required to earn Eagle Scout status.
Metro Minute spoke to Beagan and his father, Kevin, about the seven-year-long journey that led to this moment.
When and why did you join Boy Scouts? Why did you stick with the commitment for so long?
I was 11, in fifth grade, when I crossed over into Boy Scouts. I originally went into Boy Scouts because both of my brothers were already in it.
Were you expecting to get all your merit badges even from that age?
Oh, yes, as soon as I started. I knew that I didn’t have all the time in the world. If I wanted to achieve my goal, I had to start on it as soon as I could.
What does a merit badge mean? What kind of work goes into it?
For every merit badge, there is a certain list of requirements you need to fulfill. For the backpacking merit badge, we needed to do three 15-mile hikes and one 30-mile hike.
Were there any merit badges that were particularly difficult to achieve? Any moments where you thought to yourself “I’m not going to be able to do this”?
The hardest moment was during the scuba diving merit badge. I was taking a weeklong course at a summer camp. About halfway through the week, we were underwater and my regulator broke. I panicked, of course, and came back to the surface. I had a period of time where I was like “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do this.”
It took me a year and a half [to achieve the badge], but I went through an outside instructor from one of the summer camps. That was definitely the longest one.
What’s your favorite or most rewarding merit badge you’ve received?
The animation and graphic arts merit badges. I tried taking them in school. I really liked it, so I’m trying to major in that in college next year.
(His father added: A funny moment was when he had gotten 135 merit badges and needed three more. Greg said to me “Dad, one of the last badges is dog care.” So, we got a dog. We adopted a 10-year-old Chihuahua mix, named Cappuccino, that we’ve had for four months now.)
You’ve reached your goal. What’s in store for the future?
I still want to remain active in Scouts. As an official Scout, I have until I am 18, but that doesn’t mean I necessarily have to stop being in a troop. This summer, I’m going to be working as a camp counselor at the Boy Scout summer camp. I still have a long way to go.
Ysabelle Kempe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.