Boy Scout earns all merit badges, every Cub Scout belt loop, pin

Boy Scout earns all merit badges, every Cub Scout belt loop, pin

(Melany Gardner)

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CEDAR HILLS, Utah County — A 17-year-old Boy Scout has earned all 141 merit badges and all the Cub Scout belt loops and pins he is aware of.

Joseph Chou began his Scouting endeavors at 11 years old and became an Eagle Scout, which requires 21 merit badges, at 13.

It was his mother, Petra, who initially said it would be a great accomplishment to earn all the badges, and Joseph bumped his merit badge count to 120 the summer she suggested it. Over the last couple of years, he's worked on the remaining badges, he said.

"This last year what really got me to finally just finish it was they said (his parents) I could go get a job after I finished it," Joseph said. "And I need a job because I need to save money for my mission when I turn 18."

The teen's accomplishment also earned him congratulatory letters from Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Sen. Orrin Hatch and Sen. Mike Lee and Cedar Hills Mayor Gary Gygi. Mayor Gygi is presenting Joseph with the Cedar Hills Champion award Tuesday, Joseph's father, Felipe Chou, said.

Melany Gardner, district executive with the Boy Scouts of America Utah National Parks Council, said only 6 percent of all Boy Scouts become Eagle Scouts.

According to ABC News, the Boy Scouts of America does not keep a formal record of all the Boy Scouts who have earned every merit badge because it's so rare to accomplish.

According to Merit Badge Knot, which is unaffiliated with the BSA, there are only 266 cases recorded of those who have earned all the merit badges.

Joseph Chou earns his kayaking merit badge. (Photo: Felipe Chou)
Joseph Chou earns his kayaking merit badge. (Photo: Felipe Chou)

Gardner said she has personally never heard of someone earning all the Cub Scout belt loops and pins in addition to all the merit badges.

"I expect to see really great things coming from him in the future," Gardner said.

The son of two immigrants, Joseph is the first Scout in his family, and he is helping his younger brother who is working on his merit badges.

"It's good for me because I can look back, I guess he kinda like represents my younger self when I was thinking 'should I do this?'" Joseph said. "But I can look back now and be like, 'I've made a good accomplishment,' and I really like that."

Joseph said earning the badges involving water were particularly challenging because he's not a natural swimmer. He added that his dad helped him as he earned his scuba diving merit badge.

Earning all these merit badges helped Joseph decide on future career options, he said.

The last merit badge Joseph earned was animation, and he said that is one option he would like to pursue. He is also interested in pursuing music and perhaps engineering.

But I can look back now and be like, 'I've made a good accomplishment,' and I really like that.

–Joseph Chou

Joseph said Scouting has taught him to work with others and to work hard.

"Another important lesson was to realize what I'm working for and to figure out … be able to look back and be like 'this is what it feels like to set a goal and actually accomplish it,'" Joseph said.

A court of honor for Joseph will take place Aug. 29 where his friends and parents' friends will see him receive the last few badges he's earned. Mayor Gygi will present the award and all the letters there.

Petra Chou said her son is a very hard-worker and a good example to his family.

Joseph is very involved in his community and plays with the Best in State youth orchestra, Lyceum Philharmonic Orchestra.

He will graduate high school with an associate's degree through Utah County Academy of Sciences. He then plans to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


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Megan Marsden Christensen


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