Gilbert teen Marcus Behling earns every Boy Scout merit badge

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Marcus Behling earned his Eagle Scout rank when he was 13. That same year, he won the Arizona State Spelling Bee and tied for 11th place at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. He just graduated from Perry High School ranked No. 1 in his class.

Now, Behling has also earned every single Boy Scout merit badge possible, 138 in all.

Marcus finished his final badge, for bugling, June 13 and will be awarded it at a Court of Honor on July 20.

More than 110 million Americans have participated in the Boy Scouts of America program since its inception in 1910, according to its website. Behling is one of only 427 scouts confirmed by the Merit Badge Knot website to ever earn every merit badge.

“I’m glad it’s over,” Marcus said.

Marcus said his one of his favorite badges to earn was the leatherwork badge. He worked with leather, stitching and dying it to make a few different projects, one being a knife sheath. He was quick to answer what his least favorite badge was: scuba diving.

More than just the practical skills learned through earning the badges, Marcus said he has learned valuable life lessons as well.

“More than anything, getting through things when it’s not fun. I can look back on these with so many unpleasant memories. I had to just get through it at some points,” he said.

Family affair

Boy Scouts runs in the Behling family. Behling’s mother and father are merit badge counselors. His brother, Mitchell, was also an Eagle Scout and went to the National Spelling Bee.

Behling’s mother, Sheryl, said he was following in his brother’s footsteps at first but quickly blazed his own trail.

“At first, it was, ‘I’ll do it; Mitchell did it.’ Then it was, ‘Yeah, I’m going to do that and a lot more,’” Sheryl said.

Sheryl said when Behling first started as a Boy Scout, he had an unpleasant experience at a campout that left a bad taste in his mouth. However, he persevered through that, as well as physical challenges, to reach this achievement.

“He’s faced a lot of challenges, [but]he’s always up for a challenge,” she said. “To see him finally done, it’s awesome. I knew he would finally do it. It just took a while, but he never gave up.”

Sheryl said she was there every step of the way helping Behling achieve a goal only few have accomplished.

“I was just there as support, or motivation or [to be]annoying,” she said with a chuckle.

Mom-son time

Behling said his mom played a much larger role in helping him earn every merit badge than she would admit.

“I think she’s underestimating her role a bit,” he said. “There were a lot of them, especially towards the end, that I just didn’t feel like doing, but she pushed me to keep going.”

Even though she is proud of her son’s accomplishments, Sheryl said she thinks it is best that it is over now. However, she said she will miss the time she spent with him and will always reflect on the many funny and weird times they had together.

Behling described one such story that occurred while earning his American labor badge. He said to earn the badge, he could either watch a 2 1/2-hour movie, or do a task he said probably would have taken five minutes. For some reason, he said he choose the movie.

“It was a movie about labor unions, so that tells you how good it was,” he said.

Now that Behling has graduated from high school, he said he will be attending Brigham Young University and, for the moment, plans on studying mechanical engineering.

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