Eagle Scout Shane J. Jones from New Jersey Troop 156 in Flanders, NJ has earned 139 Merit Badges, all 137 currently offered by the Boy Scouts of America plus two badges that have been “retired” by the organization. Although a scout only needs 21 merit badges for the rank of Eagle, Shane wanted to accept the challenge of earning all the merit badges. Since 1912, more than million scouts have reached the rank of Eagle, but only 344 have earned all the merit badges.
Shane started as a Cub Scout eleven years ago and has advanced through all levels. He completed his Eagle Scout Project at age 14 by building four outdoor cat houses for his local Trap, Neuter and Release organization for feral cats.
“Throughout my time in Scouting, I did pick up many skills,” said Jones. “I learned how to make the ‘perfect cup of coffee’ and how to somewhat tie knots. The best, however, was finding my love of leadership and having the opportunity to lead some very important committees.”
“My first Merit Badge was Fingerprinting that was conducted at the New Jersey State Police/National Guard Camporee in 2011. And, my last Merit Badge was Signs, Signals and Codes which I completed at the recent 2017 National Jamboree.”
Shane said, “Throughout all 139 merit badges the most fun one, hands down, is the photography Merit Badge since that is what I want to become my career. And, the hardest would have to be the scuba diving merit badge because I had to get over the mental barriers of trusting a tank of air to keep me breathing at the bottom of a murky lake. The average time to earn a merit badge was about a week but could range to a month or more.”
One problem that he encountered was that there is not enough space on the merit badge sash to attached 139 badges. He appealed to his grandmother to add an extension to the sash which she was able to do so that all fit neatly.
At the National Jamboree held this past summer in West Virgina, Shane served on the VIP Coordination Team, specifically on ScoutChat where he interviewed different Summit VIPs with the help of other scouts.
Shane has served in numerous positions in the Scouting program, including Senior Patrol Leader, Order of the Arrow Northeast Region Photography Lead, Order of the Arrow National Communications Team Member, Patriot’s Path Council Youth Executive Committee President, Kodiak Course Director, Patriot’s Path Council Intern, and an Order of the Arrow Vice-Chief.
Shane plans on continuing his photography endeavors and eventually would like to serve in the Boy Scouts of America National Office.
“I can proudly say I am the 344th Scout since 1912 to earn all of the Merit Badges and am the first in Patriot’s Path Council under the current Scout Executive, Dennis Kohl. In his 39 years as a Council Executive, I am the first to accomplish this feat,” Shane noted.
Archer Jones, Scoutmaster of Troop 156 and Shane’s father said, “I have had the privilege of being Shane’s Den Leader, Cubmaster and Scoutmaster over the years. Shane has always been driven to learn and experience new things which is why he earned all the merit badges. He enjoyed having the new life lessons he picked up while learning a new skill or about a different career.”