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Merit Badge: Profile of a Next Generation Leader

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With determination and hard work, one New York teen sets a record-breaking example

From archaeology to archery, wilderness survival to wood carving, one New York teenager has mastered them all with a matching badge to prove it.  On Saturday, Sept. 5, 15-year-old Hunter Procter of Jamestown, N.Y., earned his Boy Scout merit badge for scuba diving, the final badge to add to his sash.

Proctor is one of just 125 scouts known to have earned all available badges of merit in the Boy Scouts of America's 100-year history, a legacy that has included over 50 million scouts.

"It's a great feeling," Proctor told the Post-Journal. "I'm very honored to be one."

Proctor is currently a student at Youngsville High School and competes in cross country, wrestling and track.  "I have a tight schedule," he told the Post-Journal, "but it works."

Proctor joined the Scouts at age 11 and earned his first badge - weather - on Feb. 18, 2006.   Less than five years later, he has earned an outstanding 127 additional badges.  "I'm glad he reached his goal," said Hunter's father, John, who is Troop 8 assistant scoutmaster. "I'm proud of him."

Most Scouts don't come close to earning the number of badges Proctor has.  The Post-Journal reports:

At a week of scout camp, many scouts earn a handful, according to John Proctor. The average scout earns between 30 and 40 badges before he turns 18.

Even Eagle Scouts, the Boy Scouts' highest honor, only have to accumulate 21 badges: any nine in addition to 12 required badges. They must also complete a community service project.

Proctor, who became an Eagle Scout almost two years ago shortly after his 14th birthday, easily had the required badges. For his project, he constructed new dugouts for a girls' softball field in Youngsville.

In addition to being an inspiration for others in his community, the Post-Journal reports that Proctor is impacting the country's oldest Boy Scout Council.

"He's changed the council with what he's done," Hunter's dad says.  This year, Hunter is helping usher in 26 candidates for Order of the Arrow, the organization's honor society, of which he serves as lodge chief.

"I can already see that more kids are coming," his dad said.

With no more badges to earn (for now), Proctor says he plans to remain active in the Scouts, helping others meet their goals.  And as the Boy Scouts unveil new badges in the future, Proctor says he will work until he's 18 to keep his perfect record intact.

Next year, the Scouts plan to roll out a badge for robotics, and Hunter Proctor is already looking forward to the new challenge.  "If they come out with more, I look forward to it," he said. "Any one that they throw at me."

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