Raymond Adrian DeLeon Jr. is an Eagle Scout, founder and president of Venture Crew 1209, and recently graduated high school senior. He also has earned all 121 merit badges in the Boy Scout program. On June 1, 2007 I talked with Adrian about his experience.
ERIK: How has your life changed since you earned all the merit badges and they ran the article about you in the local paper?
ADRIAN: A lot of people think Iím a Super Scout now.
ERIK: Thatís pretty cool. I sort of think you are too.
ERIK: Tell me a little about what you are doing now- with the troop or school so I can find out a little about you.
ADRIAN: OK. Iím still involved a lot with Cub Scouts- recruiting, teaching, advancing Cub Scouts in rank. As you probably heard or read from the previous article that I started my own Venture crew and Iím still involved in that. We are planning to go to Philmont next year and weíre getting ready for that.
ERIK: That was two questions that I was going to ask further down the road. I think Venture crews are great. Up here in our in Fort Worth our Council Executive doesnít do much to support that program. I think that is a great program for young men and women but it also gives you a whole other path to travel- sort of new vertical markets to investigate for advancement. Which activities are you focusing on?
ADRIAN: In Venture?
ADRIAN: We actually bought our own archery range kits which was three targets, six bows and a bunch of arrows. We have an open field next to our school and we can just set it up. I guess Iím just the outdoors, hiking and backpacking type.
ERIK: Great. Thatís terrific. How did you get interested in Scouting?
ADRIAN: In third grade someone dressed in a Scouting uniform came to my third grade class and just started talking about camping and shooting sports and all that stuff. I just seemed interested.
ERIK: That sounds great, Somewhere along the way you decided that you were going to earn all of the merit badges. Thatís a fairly substantial decision. How did you reach that conclusion?
ADRIAN: Earning all the merit badges?
ADRIAN: I just started earning. My first summer camp was awesome. I earned five merit badges. I just wanted to keep going at summer camp. I would sign up for about five merit badges at each summer camp but I some time would end up with about eight merit badges because I would take extra classes.
ERIK: Let me ask you a question. With summer camp, merit badge colleges and troop merit badge camps, there are a lot of times that Scouts donít even have to go see a counselor or call a counselor. Do you have any thoughts on that?
ADRIAN: The most beneficial ones are merit badges at camp and merit badge university at UT. I also did a lot of winter camp. And there are also different merit badge universities throughout the state. Thatís basically what I did.
ERIK: Do you think there is a problem with Scouts never having to contact a merit badge counselor on the phone? Iím sure with some of these merit badges you had to get that you couldnít go to a merit badge college to earn them, so you would have to call a counselor. Do you think there is any additional value in calling a counselor rather than going to a college?
ADRIAN: Itís very beneficial and exciting to know that there is a counselor that is willing to help you. For many of these merit badges I had no clue- like water skiing, I had no resource for that. And like for snow sports, where I thought you needed snow, but actually just need to know the basic requirements and skills.
ERIK: Iím going to ask you a couple of questions probably every body asks you. Of all the merit badges you have earned which was the easiest and which was the hardest and why?
ADRIAN: My first merit badge was archery. I earned it at my first summer camp. I was named the camp outstanding archer. And my hardest merit badge I would say is Citizenship in the Nation because I had to take it about five times.
ERIK: Sounds like thatís the one with more writing in it, right?
ERIK: Of the merit badges you have taken, which one has helped you most? Maybe itís archery because it took you on to your Venture crew. Other than archery is there another merit badge that has helped you more in your regular daily life or in Scouting?
ADRIAN: My Drafting, Architecture and Landscape Architecture really helped me make my Eagle Scout project. I was able to draw my landscape and blueprints and then I was able to become an Eagle Scout.
ERIK: Well thatís terrific. How many palms does 121 merit badges get you?
ADRIAN: I want to say that it is a little more than fifteen.
ERIK: Thatís a lot of work. If you were in charge of doing Eagle requirements and they said to you when you set up the new requirements that you either had to delete on of the existing required merit badges or combine two into one badge to add an additional Eagle required merit badge, how would you reduce the current list and which one would you add?
ADRIAN: Is that something thatís happened before?
ERIK: No, I always ask this on an Eagle Board of Review to find out where you are thinking and how you would change things.
ADRIAN: Iíve always been shy around people and have things come to me, but I soon grew out of my shell and started talking a lot.
ERIK: Let me ask it this way, if you were going to add a merit badge to the Eagle required list, which one would you add to the required list of Eagle merit badges?
ADRIAN: I guess Safety.
ERIK: Thatís interesting. You would want to put Safety back in the list because it was one of the required merit badges before.
ADRIAN: Yes, it was before.
ERIK: What do you think you are going to be doing now? Where are you in school?
ADRIAN: I graduated this past Tuesday.
ERIK: So youíre still celebrating.
ADRIAN: Yeah. I plan to go to St. Edwards University and major in Engineering or Accounting or some type of Business Administration.
ERIK: Thatís a pretty broad spectrum. I hope you do well in it. I think having accomplished what you already have- not only earning your Eagle but also completing all of the merit badges is a terrific accomplishment. I appreciate you taking time to talk with me. Iím confident you will do well. Iíll send you a link to the site when I post the article.
ERIK: Thank you for your time. Have a good weekend.