Orange County

Breaking barriers: Local 15-year-old girl becomes first to earn all 137 Scouts BSA merit badges

ORLANDO, Fla. — For the first time in the 110-year history of the Boy Scouts of America, a girl has earned all of the merit badges the program has to offer.

The feat has only been accomplished by boys until now.

Hannah Holmes, who lives in Central Florida, is breaking barriers in the scouts. She hopes she’ll blaze the trail for other girls like her who have big dreams.

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When Scouts BSA, formerly known as Boy Scouts of America, opened up the organization to girls last year, Hannah was all in.

She will be in the first class of girl Eagle Scouts this year, which is an achievement on its own.

To become an Eagle Scout, kids have to get 21 badges. To earn a badge, you have to spend hours, sometimes weeks, on workbooks, classes and hands-on activities.

But Hannah went well beyond an Eagle Scout title.

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She earned all 137 merit badges available, something fewer than 500 boys have done in the organization’s 110-year history.

She’s the only girl in Florida and one of only two girls in the country to pull this off since girls were allowed to join the organization.

“It really takes a very driven, focused, high-performing individual to achieve that level of excellence,” said Eric Magendantz, CEO of Scouts BSA. “To achieve this at age 15 is really quite something.”

It was 24/7 working around the clock," Hannah said. “Any car trip, I’d be working on pamphlets and merit badge workbooks and then I was in a tent, I’d be reading pamphlets at night or taking merit badge classes online.”

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Whether it was hiking almost 100 miles or learning about beekeeping, Hannah’s younger siblings were along for the ride and their mom helped them keep to a tight schedule.

And we almost forgot to mention; Hannah’s dad is Eyewitness News This Morning anchor Jamie Holmes.

“I’m honored honestly,” Hannah said. “I’m very happy that I would be able to be one of the first to lead girls on that path and I hope there’s more to follow.”

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And Hannah’s message to other girls about their potential? “I would say, you’ve got this, girl. You can totally take them on and triumph.”

Deneige Broom

Deneige Broom,

Deneige Broom is back at Channel 9 for her second tour of duty. You may remember when the Seminole County native hit the streets as a reporter for Eyewitness News from 2013-2017. Now, she's back helping drivers navigate those streets as Traffic Anchor every morning.

Katlyn Brieskorn,

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.

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