WARSAW — A Warsaw teenager, having achieved the arduous accomplishment of Eagle Scout, is continuing to defy the odds by earning about four times as many merit badges as his peers.
Jeffrey Naundorf-Miller, 15, has a scout uniform that is rapidly running out of room, with 101 badges to date.
The Warsaw Community High School junior, who turns 16 next month, is the son of Mindy and Stephanie Miller. Most of the members of Naundorf-Miller’s troop average between 25 and 30 badges.
“Each merit badge usually requires a decent amount of paperwork, along with some physical projects,” Naundorf-Miller said. “For the most part, a merit badge counselor is looking for understanding of the topic and completion of each of the requirements outlined in the merit badges pamphlet.”
Naundorf-Miller belongs to Troop 715.
Earning more than 100 merit badges was not Naundorf-Miller’s first grand accomplishment in the scouts.
The Boy Scouts of America began in 1911 and since that time, the rank of Eagle Scout has been earned by 2.5 million scouts, accounting for only four percent of all those belonging to the storied organization. In order to be given the rank of Eagle Scout, Naundorf-Miller had to earn merit badges for camping, citizenship in the community, citizenship in the nation, citizenship in the world, communications, environmental science, family life, first-aid, personal fitness, personal management, emergency preparedness or lifesaving one of the following: cycling, hiking or swimming. To be named an Eagle Scout, a candidate must have earned a total of 21 merit badges, which should include the required badges.
The scout must also:
- Be active in his troop for at least six months as a life scout, and be in a position of responsibility for at least six months as a life scout.
- Fill out an Eagle Scout Application, including the names of individuals who would recommend you for the position.
- Do a public service project.
- Participate in a scoutmaster conference.
- Successfully complete an Eagle Scout Board of Review.
“My hardest merit badge to earn would be entrepreneurship, as I had to track every action of my yard-mowing business for three months,” Naundorf-Miller said, adding that his hiking badge was no walk in the park as well.
“We did many warm-up hikes to prepare for the final of hiking the Grand Canyon,” he said. “The easiest (badge) would be scholarship, because I only had to get a letter from my counselor stating that I was a good student with good grades. The merit badge I had the most fun doing would be camping because camping is just fun.”
Naundorf-Miller said he is not done earning badges.
“I am currently working on the backpacking merit badge, which consists of three separate outings of 15-mile hikes with a full pack,” he said. “It will be completed when I go with the troop to Southern Indiana and hike 30 miles over a period of five days. Even though I have achieved the rank of Eagle, I will continue with scouting until I’m 18. I enjoy the camaraderie, and assisting the younger scouts to advance in their rank.”
Naundorf-Miller passed off some of the credit for his success to those closest to him.
“I honestly could not have achieved all of this without my parents, who pushed me to get the packets completed, and assisted in the projects,” he said. “We have a lot of fun doing them.”
He also thanked his merit badge mentor, Bill Bibler. “He is always there to guide me through each one, and never flinched when I handed him a stack of completed packets,” Naundorf-Miller said.