Kansas Boy Scout Merits All 132 Badges

PHOTO: Curry McWilliams, center, of Leavenworth, briefed members of Troop 133 on camping procedures prior to a five-day field trip to Camp Nash. McWilliams, an Eagle Scout in 2008, earned all 132 merit badges a Boy Scout can earn.
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What do Gerald Ford, Steven Spielberg, and an 18-year-old in Leavenworth, Kansas, have in common? Each was a member of the all-American, do-good experience that is Boy Scouts.

But the achievement of Curry McWilliams stands on its own.

He is one of the few to finish the Boy Scout program with earning all 132 badges. That is six times more the amount of badges needed to fulfill the program

Only 12 boy scouts, out of the 2.7 million currently enrolled, achieve this honor per year, according to research done by Kansas City Star.

Curry got involved when he was only 5 years old, after he and his father, Army Lt. Col. Rob McWilliams, attended a local meeting informing people about the Boy Scout program.

From then on, he was hooked.

"It was really never we had to push him or cajole him to do it, as parents we just helped him stay on track," said Mr. McWilliams.

Curry grew up in a military family, where moving constantly was a part of life they had to get used to. After the family moved six times in 18 years, Boy Scouts was one of the only things Curry could cling on to.

"Some people think that moving pulls you away from ties, but as I would settle in to the new place the Boy Scout community was always something I could get involved with. It helped me readjust," says Curry.

But it wasn't until the summer of the National Scout Jamboree, where Curry took his passion for Boy Scouts to the next level.

"At that point I was 15 and I had about 60 badges. So I just thought to myself, why don't I just go for all of them?"

Curry knew that this new goal he set for himself would not be easy.

"It did require a lot of time. There were weekends when I wanted to do other things like hang out with my friends," said Curry.

One of the toughest moments was when his father, a constant mentor and supporter, was deployed to Iraq.

"Scouting for me kind of both slowed down a little bit. There were moments when I missed him and wished he was there, but I knew he would want me to keep going."

And Curry did just that. Upon his father's return, he achieved his Eagle Scout status along with the 132nd badge.

Curry looks back on his experience with a humbled amazement, saying that moments like the early-morning car rides with his dad or the hours spent helping mentally challenge children will be cherished for the rest of his life.

"It was huge. I was very proud to see how much it meant to him and how much work he put in to get there," said McWilliams.

Now, Curry is focusing on going to college, along with playing a huge role in giving back to his community and everyone that helped him achieve his goal.

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