LATROBE (KDKA) — It takes 21 merit badges for a Scout to attain the rank of “Eagle.” It’s a rare achievement. But a Boy Scout from Latrobe has gone far beyond that.
Cole Frederick, 13, led dozens of volunteers in the planting of 1,600 trees in Forbes State Forest. It’s one of many projects that led to 132 merit badges. That’s all there are.
A woman in the local Scouting office widened his sash and sewed on badges front and back. Cole’s quest grew out of a promise he made before he joined the Scouts.
“I met a guy named Mr. Kemerer. He was the scoutmaster back then. And he showed me a poster that had all the merit badges on it. And I made a promise to him that I’ll get them all.”
His favorites are the “theater” and “American business” badges.
“I guess I’m very, very interested in stocks,” he explains. “And theater and I really want to be an actor in my life.”
Cole’s dad, Joseph Frederick, joined him on a five-day, 38-mile hike for his final “backpacking” badge.
He says the family supports his son, all the way.
“My wife organized, I drove, and he did the work. So we spent a lot of time together.”
The current leader of Troop 304 is Cole’s uncle, Kelly Frederick. His nephew has all the badges. Now what?
“Well,” he says, “we’ve had scouts on Everest, we’ve had scouts on the moon. So who knows where it could be next?”
Cole admits there were days when he wondered what he got himself into.
“But then I just remember Mr. Kemerer, and I look at my family, and I say ‘It’s time to get up and let’s do it.'”