Scout Earns “Badges” of Honor

Boy Scout Patrick Barnsley has achieved a goal that only 202 scouts have ever achieved. He has earned all the merit badges offered by the Boy Scouts. Compared to the more than two million boys who have earned the Eagle rank, this is a rare accomplishment.

In addition, according to, Patrick is one of only six scouts in the nation who have earned 135 merit badges, including four Centennial Anniversary badges brought back temporarily—Signaling, Tracking, Pathfinding, and Carpentry—to celebrate 100 years of Scouting. Scuba, his last badge earned, was the most difficult because open water scuba certification was required. “I’m glad I kept going,” said Patrick. “I learned about a lot of great things and met awesome people right up to the last badge.”

The most valuable lesson he learned was when he was pursuing his Nuclear Science badge. He hadn’t done the work and he hadn’t memorized the terms. When he met with the counselor, “he kicked my butt about it up and down” but gave Patrick one day to prepare properly. He has been properly prepared ever since.

It was not his plan originally to earn all the badges. “I wanted to earn Eagle so I could work at Mataguay Scout Reservation teaching scout skills. That was my goal. I only had 41 badges when I reached Eagle. Later I discovered that I needed more than 90 merit badges to qualify for the Eagle Palms, so I earned some more. When I turned 17 I realized that I only had 40 left to earn, and that I had already done most of the work for at least half of them. So I decided to go for the rest.”

Patrick started Cub Scouts with Pack 1216 as a Tiger and 1st grader at Miramar Ranch Elementary School. His father, Bill Barnsley, was the cubmaster for five years until Patrick finished Cub Scouts, earning the Arrow of Light Award and all 20 of the activity pins possible for Webelos scouts.

Patrick joined Boy Scout Troop 663 in 2006, earning his Eagle Scout award three years later at the age of 13. In June 2013 he earned his 14th Eagle Palm award. In 2010 he transferred to Troop 648 in Rancho Penasquitos, led by Scoutmaster Ron Lawrence. Patrick served as junior assistant scoutmaster for the last three years.

Patrick was the 27th scout in the nation, and the first in San Diego, to earn the National Outdoor Achievement Medal, the highest recognition a boy scout can attain for exemplary achievement, experience, and skill in multiple areas of outdoor endeavor. To earn this he spent 137 nights camping, hiked 276 miles, spent 178 hours in aquatics, biked 320 miles, organized two conservation outings, swam a mile, took a 16-hour Wilderness Medicine college course and a 16-hour course to become a Leave No Trace trainer.

Patrick also received the Order of the Arrow Brotherhood rank in 2008. In 2011 Patrick received the VFW Scout of the Year Award and completed the Kodiak Leadership Training program. In June of this year he was honored to receive the Pope Pius XII Catholic Scouting Award at St. Joseph’s Cathedral with Bishop Flores and Father Joe Carroll.

Patrick graduated from Scripps Ranch High School in June. Besides Boy Scouts, Patrick has been active in high school in the barbershop vocal group, Pacific Suns, theater, varsity wrestling, and has played jazz saxophone in local college bands.

This summer Patrick is working at Mataguay Scout Reservation as the outdoor program director. His scoutmaster said the kids call Patrick “Mr. Merit Badge Guy. “They love him and want to be like him.”

An unexpected honor came his way in June when the County Board of Supervisors recognized him for his extraordinary achievements. The proclamation designated June 25, 2013, to be “Patrick Barnsley Day” throughout San Diego County.

“Scouting has been an opportunity to work with many outstanding adults and other scouts learning skills and gaining leadership experience. This experience is something that every scout can have if he wants it,” Patrick said. He feels it also will help him in his pursuit of a theater/film career. The leadership skills learned through scouts will help him stand out, as well as the other experiences that may assist him in different roles.

In the fall Patrick, who turned 18 on July 5, will enter Rider College in New Jersey with a major in theater.

Elinor Reiss