A regular Camp Fawcett attendee 15 year young Benji Rawald of Troop 280 of Del Rio has achieved a milestone and a rare feat that hasn’t occurred in this council in 94 years. Benji earned all 138 merit badges available to be achieved from BSA!

Webelos Woods 2012
Benji at Webelos Woods 2012

Benjamin received his Eagle Scout award in September 2014 when he was just 13 years old, and has since gone on to receive five Eagle Palms in his pursuit of earning all of the available merit badges. He didn’t even slow down on earning merit badges when he worked on his 373 hour Eagle Project. The year-long Eagle project was a Documentary DVD produced to support the historical preservation of the Laughlin Heritage Museum on Main Street in Del Rio, Texas.

Through his Boy Scout training, Rawald has learned how to rock climb, backpack, sail, run a small business, change the oil of a tractor, communicate in Morse code, perform first-aid, build an electrical circuit, write a one-act play, fly-fish and even weave a basket if absolutely necessary. He’s also learned household skills like plumbing, woodworking, and personal finance. It did not all happen at once, as Rawald has more than 130 nights of camping, has hiked 140 miles and completed 566 service hours since he started scouting in January 2013.

Earning all the badges has been his goal since he joined Boy Scout Troop 280 (which meets at the Laughlin Air Force Base Youth Center), but is sponsored by Del Rio Elks Lodge #837. “My very first merit badge was Archaeology and it was actually one of the hardest ones. My least favorite merit badge was Water sports because it took me several years to find the strength and balance to ski across the boat wake. My most favorite badges were woodcarving and fishing which were taught by then Scoutmaster Gerry Garcia. And of all the badges, I am most proud to earn the Scuba Merit badge because it was unlike anything I had ever done before.”

Currently the Boy Scouts recognize that there are 136 merit badges. “The number of merit badges a Scout can earn varies”, Rawald explained, “because some have been added over time and some removed.” Rawald earned both the Cinematography (now Moviemaking) and Computers (Now Digital Technology) giving him the two additional merit badges.

This goal has been a family effort since the beginning, as his mother has helped him by driving him to 7 summer camps, 2 winter camps and 6 merit badge universities and weekend after weekend of Boy Scout events all over the state and even the country. Over a four-year period, Rawald said on average, he spent around five or six hours a week working on badge requirements. The dedicated Boy Scout also said he did most of the big projects and certifications during the summer when he had more time. He also had the chance to improve his marksmanship with the archery, rifle and shotgun shooting merit badges. He had to try multiple times over several summers to hit 24 out of 50 clay pigeons to close the shotgun badge requirements.

Benjamin is not the only high achiever in BSA Troop 280. He is accompanied by Eagle Scout Jack Townsend of Menard, Texas who has thus far earned 117 Merit Badges. Together these scouts have pushed one other to achieve, and have completed both of the prestigious Boy Scout Supernova STEM Medals, completed a Red Cross Wilderness First Aid Course, became official “Leave No Trace” Trainers, endured a three day whitewater kayak run this summer, and both have completed the revered National Medal for Outdoor Achievement. This rare BSA Award demonstrates that both scouts have exemplary knowledge and experience in performing high-level outdoor activities. Both Boy Scouts will continue on in scouting as they face new challenges in Venture Crew 280. Venture Crews are open to both boys and girls over age 14. “Without Jack - I probably wouldn’t enjoy doing so much extra work, but we just want to just want to finish strong together…and I would do it all again …As long as I don’t have hike with any tall people”

Rawald is an honor student as a Brackett High School Freshman. He is an involved member of the Laughlin Air Force Base Youth Center, the Future Farmers of America, the GT Mathematics program, Academic UIL and BHS Power lifting. Not surprisingly, this remarkable young man isn’t finished yet! Rawald is currently pursuing completion of the BSA Hornaday Award which consists of four in depth Conservation projects, only earned by 1,100 scouts in the last 80+ years.