Ben Hayes, a 14-year-old from Michigan, is an Eagle Scout who recently earned all 139 merit badges, an achievement that only 0.5% of Scouts reach. Hayes’ first ever badge was hiking, and he reached 99 badges by the time the pandemic hit. Hayes is on the autism spectrum, and his family worried that the pandemic would add to his stress because his usual routine was uprooted. Instead, Hayes latched onto the Eagle Scout community as a form of structure, and used the pandemic as an opportunity to check off the badges he hadn’t yet completed. From emergency preparedness, to reptile study, to movie making, to golfing, Hayes had to learn tons of unique skills in the process.
Image via Rebecca Shannon
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