Nigel Bailey has been an Eagle Scout since he was 12-years-old. Back then, from the beginning, he set his sights on earning all of the Scouting merit badges. Now, in just two weeks, he’ll receive his 137th badge at a ceremony October 24. Earning so many merit badges means his sash is extra, extra long -- and now, there are no more badges to earn until the Boy Scouts create more.
For Nigel, some badges had more merit than others.
“Definitely scuba diving. Scuba diving was a really great merit badge,” said Bailey, “And I’m now scuba certified. I actually got to shadow a veterinarian and we did a bunch of surgeries. We took a tumor out of a cat.“
5 On Your Side contacted the Boy Scouts to find out if they track scouts who earn every badge, but got no response. The website MeritBadgeKnot.com says it has confirmed that 352 Scouts have that distinction, fewer than 20 scouts a year nationally.
Nigel is the second oldest of seven siblings. When he’s not scouting, he’s a wiz at Rubik’s Cube, and home schooled by his mom, Erika Bailey.
“He set his mind to doing something. He chipped away at it every day, a little bit at a time, one thing for one merit badge every day,” said Erika. “In six years, he was able to get them all. He did exactly his goal and I’m proud of him.”
As for the news that girls may soon be allowed to join the Boy Scouts, Nigel is like many 16-year old boys when it comes to girls: bewildered.
“I could not understand what was happening. I was very confused, but it could have some promise.”
The same could be said for Nigel Bailey; a young man with promise.