Cypress Boy Scout earns 139 merit badges

Matthew Westfall, an Eagle Scout with the BSA Sam Houston Area Council Troop 533 in Cypress, Texas, has joined the ranks of a rare group of Scouts who have completed every merit badge available to them. Westfall has completed 139. To become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank a Scout can earn, a Scout must earn 21 merit badges, 13 of which are required, and perform an Eagle Scout project. A Scout’s decision to earn badges beyond the number required for the Eagle Scout rank is his choice. Less than one half of one percent of all Scouts earn all the merit badges.

Sixteen-year-old Westfall joined Scouting when he was seven as a member of the Coles Crossing Pack 1179. Matthew made a goal in the 5th grade to earn all the merit badges offered. Some badges took only a day to complete, some took days, some took weeks, and some took years. Some of the badges he completed more than once. He has traveled across the country and worked with approximately 100 different Merit Badge Counselors to achieve his goal. He learned much about himself and how to work with many personality types. He says of the 139 merit badges; Scuba Diving was his favorite, and Bugling was the most difficult as he had to learn to read music and play an instrument proficiently.

Along his path to earning all of the merit badges, he also earned the prestigious BSA National Medal for Outdoor Achievement Medal Award. It recognizes superior experience and skill in multiple areas of outdoor endeavors. He has distinguished himself as one of the most proficient outdoorsmen in Scouting. Westfall’s Scouting journey has allowed him to complete a seven-day sailing trip at the National High Adventure Sea Base in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, a six-day canoeing trip to the Boundary Waters at Northern Tier at the Charles L. Sommers High Adventure Canoe Base in Moose Lake Ely, MN, and both a snowshoe Winter Adventure trek and a 12-day summer backpacking trip at Philmont Scout Ranch, the BSA’s premier high-adventure base in northern New Mexico. He took a 16-hour Wilderness First Aid course and became a Leave No Trace Trainer. Over his 5 years working on his goal, Westfall camped more than 130 nights, hiked and backpacked over 225 miles, paddled over 140 miles, and served over 200 hours in community service.

For his Eagle Scout project, Matthew wanted to use his passion for landscape design to benefit his community. Westfall organized a team of volunteers to landscape the property at Reach Unlimited. This nonprofit organization provides support to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The adults at Reach Unlimited participate in an Enterprise program that provides in-house opportunities for clients to earn a paycheck. These clients create landscape art to sell. Westfall highlighted and included these works of art in his landscape design.

Westfall has served as Senior Patrol Leader for Troop 533, leading 115 scouts. He is a Brotherhood member of the Colonneh Lodge Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s National Honor Society. A distinguished honor roll student, Matthew is a Junior at Cypress Woods High School in Cypress, where he is a member of the Varsity Cross Country and Track teams and is a member of the Student Athlete Leadership Team. He serves as Treasurer of the Cy Woods FFA, for which he raises hogs and participates on both the Landscape Nursery Career and Leadership Development Team.

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