At age 18, Nick Davis has a background in dentistry, bugling and scuba diving, along with more than 100 other skills ranging from the useful to the obscure.
The Forsyth County Eagle Scout has earned all 129 Boy Scout merit badges available to him, one of only a handful of young men to achieve the feat.
Davis, a senior at Forsyth Central High School, estimated he spent more than 1,000 hours working toward the criteria for the badges.
“It was definitely worth it. I enjoyed every moment,” he said. “I got to do a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t normally get to do.”
After obtaining all the activity pins as a Cub Scout, Davis set his sights on the Boy Scout badges during his first day in the new troop.
His Scoutmaster at the time chuckled thinking of how much work it would involve, said Davis’ father, Fred, who added the leader “didn’t know Nick that well then.”
Davis started at age 12 with his radio badge and finished by earning the inventing badge about two weeks before his 18th birthday, when he would no longer be eligible for badges.
For his final badge, he invented a mat for the bathroom floor that lights up when stepped on. He designed the item for his grandfather.
Finishing all the badges puts Davis in a select group of Scouts.
While no official count has been taken, the number is a “mere fraction” of the estimated 5 percent of Scouts who earn the top rank of Eagle, said Troy Pugh, who operates a Web site highlighting those who have all the badges.
The site, www.MeritBadgeKnot.com, has confirmed 131 scouts have accomplished it to date. Another 17 are awaiting confirmation.
While only 21 badges are required as part of achieving the Eagle Scout rank, Pugh said most Eagles probably finish scouting with a number in the high 20s or low 30s.
“Nick, in his achievement, definitely did a lot more than the average Scout,” Pugh said. “He probably throughout his life will be rewarded for it ... in terms of being able to be more independent.”
Along with each of those badges earned and skills learned, Pugh said, comes a lot of good stories.
Davis has at least 129.
Some of the most difficult for him included skating, which Davis said is one of the least popular badges; bugling, which involved mastering 11 songs; and radio, his first badge.
The radio badge required him to take a ham radio class, which involved eight continuous hours of information in a classroom filled mostly with adults interested in the process.
At 12, Davis wasn’t too enthusiastic, but he walked away with not only the badge but ham radio certification.
“This one was fantastic,” he said on a recent afternoon, pointing to his scuba diving badge. “We got to go up to Lake Jocassee [in South Carolina]. I was 90 feet below the surface like four days after we started learning.”
Davis and a friend traveled to South Carolina for a camp to take the first scouting scuba class offered in the Southeast.
The merit badge was one of the nine added to the original 120 in total when Davis became a Boy Scout.
He also went the extra mile — or miles — for several badges, including traveling to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico to earn the hiking and backpacking badge on a special trek.
Each year, Davis went to about two camps, which is where he said he earned the majority of his badges.
He also received many by taking individual weekend classes, like those offered at North Forsyth High School.
All the while, Davis kept busy by staying at the top of his classes in school and playing sousaphone in Central’s marching band.
He plans to attend college and study something math-related, though he hasn’t made any final decisions.
If his achievement in Scouts is any indication, Davis will have a wealth of experience to draw from.