Hopkins Senior Earns All Merit Badges
Eagle Scout Conrad Gausmann, a senior at Hopkins High School, earned 138 Merit Badges. That’s 137 merit badges that Scouts BSA currently offers, plus one more that was retired.
Gausmann, a member of Troop 430, chartered by Ridgewood Church in Minnetonka, earned his first merit badge, Coin Collecting, just weeks after transitioning to Boy Scouts from Cub Scouts, in March 2013. By the end of December he’d earned nine merit badges.
While he was well on his way toward earning the 21 Eagle-required merit badges, an extraordinary chance encounter at a merit badge class in December dramatically changed the trajectory of Conrad’s life and involvement in Scouting.
On a snowy Thursday evening, Conrad and his dad made it late to a Personal Fitness Merit Badge class at the North Star Museum of Boy and Girl Scouting in North St. Paul. As they walked in and stomped off their shoes, the merit badge counselor rose to meet us and asked Conrad’s name. “Gausmann,” he said.” Conrad took his place with the other boys, who had already begun the class. A minute later, a woman’s voice came from behind Conrad’s dad, “Excuse me, what did you say your name was?” “Gausmann,” he said. “That’s my maiden name!” she said. It turns Conrad and his dad had met their distant cousins.
That night, Conrad and his Cousin promised to each other that they were going to each earn every merit badge. Over the years, Conrad and his cousin became fast friends, and shared many weekends at Scoutmaster Bucky and various district merit badge events. His cousin earned his last badge in October, 2019, and Conrad just a few months later, on January 1, 2020, just twelve days shy of his eighteenth birthday.
Hard Work Pays Off
“I feel proud of my accomplishment, and I also feel that a lot of these merit badges have given me a glimpse into various professions, such as welding, programming, textile engineering, and the medical fields. I’ve also developed skills in many, many activities, such as kayaking, canoeing, swimming, skiing, mountain biking, shotgun and rifle shooting, and backpacking.”
For his Eagle Project, Conrad assembled and painted four honey bee hives for the Bee Lab at the University of Minnesota.
Conrad’s involvement in Scouting included many weekend campouts and week-long summer campouts at Many Point. He worked at Many Point as a CIT after ninth grade, was on staff at Camp Kiwanis the next summer, and was on the Many Point Family Camp staff after his junior year. He will return to Family Camp this summer. In the fall, Conrad will pursue his studies in environmental science at a university or college to be determined.
Gardening Merit Badge, harvesting honey
Favorite Merit Badge: “Coin Collecting. It was my first, and it left a lasting impression on me. It set a high standard for the remaining 137.”
Hardest Merit Badge: “Dog Care. What was hard about it was that we don’t have a dog! We fostered two different dogs with a local organization. Our cats weren’t pleased at all.”
Memorable Badges: “Scuba Diving. It was a new experience to me, and living in Minnesota, I never thought SCUBA diving was a viable activity. The time and effort I put into earning this badge really paid off. As I think about travelling the world, I’ll count SCUBA as something I can do.”
“I completed the Motor Boating Merit Badge on Lake Michigan in Milwaukee. My dad and I drove 5 ½ hours and stayed overnight. On the Saturday morning, I completed the skills in about an hour. And then we drove the 5 ½ hours home.”
“Completing the 20-mile hike for the Hiking Merit Badge on the Cascade Canyon - Paintbrush Divide loop in Grand Teton National Park with my Dad and my brother. We did about 4000 feet of elevation gain, and it is one of the favorite hikes I’ve done.”
“For my Backpacking Merit Badge, I did two different stretches of the Superior Hiking Trail. I’ll never forget my early morning swim in the frigid Temperence River after a beautiful weekend on the trail.”
“Another badge I travelled a ways for was Horsemanship, when I travelled with my grandpa, cousin, and dad to Washington, Iowa.
Thank you to Conrad's father, Peter, for letting us know about his achievement and submitting this article!