Maryland Eagle Scout Earns All 122 Merit Badges
LIANE HANSEN, host:
When James Calderwood climbed Mount Kilimanjaro last summer, he packed hiking boots, sunglasses, rain gear and a trumpet mouthpiece. He didn't want to miss a day of bugle practice because once Calderwood learned how to play the bugle, he could earn his 122nd and final Boy Scout merit badge. James has earned badges in everything from photography and shooting to citizenship and fire prevention. He's 18 years old and from Chevy Chase, Maryland, and he's here in the studio to tell us how he did it. Welcome to the program, James.
Mr. JAMES CALDERWOOD (Eagle Scout): Thank you.
HANSEN: Did you set out to earn them all?
Mr. CALDERWOOD: I never really set out to earn them all. I sort of started earning them and found out that there are merit badges in pretty much every interest I could imagine. The next thing I knew, I had 100 badges and figured I should keep going for it.
HANSEN: Have others done it?
Mr. CALDERWOOD: I've heard that there is approximately 20 or 30 other scouts in the history of scouting that have done it, but there's no official record.
HANSEN: How did bugling become the last badge?
Mr. CALDERWOOD: I've never been very musically inclined. I tried playing the saxophone and the piano when I was younger, and it didn't work out too well, and you know, I had 121, and there was one more to get, so I figured I should pursue it.
HANSEN: Has anything stuck, I mean anything you're learned to earn a badge actually become a passion?
Mr. CALDERWOOD: Oh, definitely, definitely. I mean like I mean photography is a true passion of mine and something I've really been pursuing since 5th grade, and I mean a lot of the stuff I learned in citizenship and the nation and community and world has been really useful with debate and that sort of thing that I do.
HANSEN: Is that most useful one?
Mr. CALDERWOOD: Especially living in D.C., it's definitely a useful thing to have some background in, and I guess the best thing about earning all the merit badges has been having interviews with the various counselors. Being able to sit down with someone who's, you know, the best of the best in their field and just talk to them about what they do has really been great.
HANSEN: Do you think the career path you've chosen, which is medicine...
Mr. CALDERWOOD: Right, medicine in developing world...
HANSEN: Was inspired by any of these - the badge-earning?
Mr. CALDERWOOD: I mean it definitely had a part in it. I mean pursuing first aid and then pursuing like the public health badge and citizenship and the nation and the world and everything, it sort of showed me how much more is out there and how much more I could do. So I think it's really - it's definitely been part of guiding me toward my path.
HANSEN: This has taken up a lot of your time, since you were what, six when you started as a Cub Scout?
Mr. CALDERWOOD: Yeah, I starting scouting when I was, yeah, around six years old.
HANSEN: Do you have another big goal? I mean what's the mountain ahead that you want to climb?
Mr. CALDERWOOD: I guess sort of getting to college right now and then sort of get through college and medical school and hopefully find a career I'm interested in.
HANSEN: Eagle Scout James Calderwood from Chevy Chase, Maryland has earned every badge scouting has to offer. Congratulations. Thanks a lot.
Mr. CALDERWOOD: Thank you very much.
(Soundbite of song, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy")
Unidentified Women (Singers): The company jumps when he plays reveille, he's the boogie-woogie bugle boy of Company B.