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Helmut Schmidt, Published April 04 2013

Scout's honors: Local Eagle Scout earns eye-popping 105 merit badges

HORACE, N.D. – If you want to be the type of Eagle Scout who can soar with Travis Bruse, strap on a jet pack.

The 17-year-old has gathered 105 Boy Scout merit badges and is gunning for five more before he turns 18 in June.

That’s five times more than you need to become an Eagle Scout and one of the biggest hauls ever seen in the Northern Lights Council that includes all of North Dakota and parts of Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana.

His chock-full sash, which includes four badges that are no longer available, is missing only 30 of the 131 current merit badges a Boy Scout can earn.

It’s a rare accomplishment that calls for a major commitment. Requirements vary for each of the subject-based badges, but they can be time-consuming.

Warren Wenner, assistant director of field services for the Northern Lights Council, said Bruse leads in badges among the council’s current flock of Eagles.

“I wouldn’t know if it was the highest in history, but it certainly is one of the highest” totals for the Northern Lights Council, Wenner said.

“I had 38 (badges) as an Eagle Scout, and I thought that was a lot; 110 is huge,” Wenner said. “I can only imagine what a feat this is to try and do that. That’s pretty incredible.”

The number of badges available has varied over the years, and the Boy Scouts of America doesn’t track the scouts who have collected all the badges in their eras.

However, a website called MeritBadgeKnot.com is trying. It lists 191 Scouts who have gathered all the badges.

It takes 21 badges to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Scouting.

Bruse, a tall, slender, soft-spoken youth, was drawn to Cub Scouts in fifth grade, then jumped to Boy Scouts a year later. He likes scouting for the leadership experience and community service.

“Whatever you’re going into, it (leadership) is an important thing,” Bruse said.

Since becoming an Eagle Scout, Bruse has collected 11 Eagle Palms. Each palm requires earning five more badges. Most people settle for earning three palms (bronze, gold and silver), said his mother, Connie Bruse.

“He has been such a good role model,” accumulating more than 200 hours of community service, she said. “He’s just a really nice kid that likes to help a lot.”

Travis has been accepted to North Dakota State University and plans to major in architecture.

Like many local Scouts, some of the first badges Travis earned came at Camp Wilderness, north of Park Rapids, Minn.

The most enjoyable merit badges to earn were for climbing, rifle and shotgun shooting, and fishing, he said.

He’s also proud to have earned the badges for tracking, signaling, carpentry and pathfinding that briefly were reintroduced for Scouting’s 100th anniversary in 2010.

Now he’s seeking badges in law, journalism, metalwork, composite materials and space exploration.

“He just goes above and beyond in trying to learn more. He just continues to push the envelope. It’s been a pleasure to work with him,” said Steve Fischer, scoutmaster for Horace’s Troop 274.

“He’s always there, and he isn’t afraid to help out,” Fischer said.

Last week, the North Dakota American Legion named Travis its Eagle Scout of the year for 2013. He’s now in the running for that group’s national award, Connie Bruse said.

Travis said that if he decides to continue with Scouting after he turns 18, it would be as an assistant scoutmaster. But he said he’ll probably take a break.

“I think I’ll just go with college and stop by my troop every once in a while,” he said.

List of badges

West Fargo High School senior Travis Bruse has collected 105 badges as an Eagle Scout, including four heritage badges that were briefly reintroduced in 2010 for the Boy Scouts of America’s 100th anniversary.

Here is a list of the badges he has earned, the five he’s still seeking and the 25 still remaining:

Badges he’s earned:

American heritage

American cultures

Animal science

Archery

Architecture

Art

Astronomy

Athletics

Automotive maintenance

Aviation

Backpacking

Basketry

Bird study

Camping

Canoeing

Chemistry

Chess

Citizenship in the community

Citizenship in the nation

Citizenship in the world

Climbing

Coin collecting

Collections

Communication

Computers

Cooking

Crime prevention

Cycling

Dentistry

Dog care

Drafting

Electricity

Electronics

Emergency preparedness

Engineering

Environmental science

Family life

Farm mechanics

Fingerprinting

Fire safety

First aid

Fish and wildlife management

Fishing

Fly fishing

Forestry

Gardening

Genealogy

Geocaching

Geology

Golf

Graphic arts

Hiking

Home repairs

Horsemanship

Indian lore

Insect study

Landscape architecture

Leatherwork

Lifesaving

Mammal studies

Medicine

Motorboating

Music

Nature

Orienteering

Painting

Personal fitness

Personal management

Pets

Photography

Pioneering

Plant science

Plumbing

Public speaking

Pulp and paper

Radio

Railroading

Reading

Reptile and amphibian study

Rifle shooting

Safety

Salesmanship

Scholarship

Scouting heritage

Sculpture

Shotgun shooting

Snow sports

Soil and water conservation

Sports

Stamp collecting

Surveying

Swimming

Textile

Traffic safety

Veterinary medicine

Water sports

Weather

Welding

Wilderness survival

Wood carving

Woodwork

Heritage badges earned:

Tracking

Signaling

Carpentry

Pathfinding

Badges he’s working on:

Composite materials

Journalism

Law

Metalwork

Space exploration

Badges he didn’t get:

American business

American labor

Bugling

Cinematography

Disabilities awareness

Energy

Entrepreneurship

Game design

Inventing

Kayaking

Model design and building

Nuclear science

Oceanography

Pottery

Public health

Robotics

Rowing

Scuba diving

Search and rescue

Skating

Small-boat sailing

Theater

Truck transportation

Whitewater


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Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583