Omkar Tamhane of Troop 27, chartered out of Johns Creek Christian Church, achieved Scouting greatness not once, but twice. In the fall of 2019, at the tender age of 15, Omkar earned the rank of Eagle – the ultimate achievement in Scouting and one that only about 6% of all eligible Scouts attain. Omkar’s second accomplishment is an even more impressive feat. Omkar earned every single one of the 137 Merit Badges – something less than 500 Scouts have achieved since Scouting’s inception in 1910. These incredible accomplishments were only made possible through Omkar’s ambition, work ethic, and leadership – traits he further exemplifies through his other community-oriented extracurricular activities and academic studies.
Omkar took the time to discuss with us his journey in Scouting and how it had a positive, life-changing effect on him – one that everyone reading will find both inspiring and motivational.
What motivated you to accomplish such an incredible feat in the first place? Out of the millions of Scouts, less than 500 have ever accomplished what you have. What was the catalyst to accept such a daunting challenge in the first place?
Initially, I never had planned on completing all the merit badges in Scouts. While working on the first few, I couldn’t get enough of the experience. The in-depth knowledge each badge had to offer sparked an interest in me to keep doing more. From there, I went to more merit badge clinics and tried everything I could. Along with meeting new people and visiting different places, each merit badge had something unique to offer in their respective subject field; I was fascinated with the practical exposure they offered. For example, for the Pulp and Paper merit badge, I had the opportunity to make my own piece of paper. It ended up becoming a personal hobby. When I reached 100 merit badges, I knew the target of 137 was well within reach. Looking back, I credit earning all the merit badges to my hunger for more knowledge and different experiences.
Obviously, I am sure there were great challenges along the way in completing all of them. I would love to find out what these challenges were and how you overcame them.
Throughout my journey of completing all the merit badges, there had been a plethora of obstacles that I had to face. There were some physically demanding merit badges, such as Cycling, which required me to bike for more than 50 miles. Water sports, hiking, backpacking, scuba diving, and many more badges were challenging since they took longer periods of time, energy, and physical strength. However, I overcame these challenges through sheer dedication and my unshakeable optimism. Also, my participation in rigorous sports through the merit badge journey came to my rescue; they helped me to build up my stamina and endurance.
I see you became an Eagle Scout when you were 15 years old. How did you manage to juggle doing all these merit badges and still find time to work on your Eagle Scout requirements? Were you involved in other activities outside of Scouts BSA or was your attention solely focused on school and Scouts?
I became an Eagle Scout in the fall of 2019 at the age of 15. I am passionate about Scouts BSA and all that it offers, like personal development, leadership skills, and so much more; these helped contribute to making me a better person. When I started Scouts, I was a shy person who was lost. As I began my journey, I grew as a person, learning how to communicate efficiently, and refining my interpersonal skills. I think the most essential skill I learned was how to be a leader. From Scouts BSA, I was given a sense of purpose and knew that serving the community was vital to me.
I joined organizations that furthered my passion for community, like HOSA – Future Health Professionals, the American Red Cross, volunteering at my local library, and more. I am also actively involved in numerous school organizations like the leadership program at my school, Compass, of which I am an officer, and am team co-captain of the Science Olympiad. Additionally, I am a two-time recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. I also partake in sports like recreational swimming, basketball, running, and ping pong. I was an oboist and a member of the middle school band. Scouts BSA was a spark that ignited a never-ending purpose in me to serve the community, and I hope to continue to do so in the future as a part of the medical field.
Thank you, Omkar for interviewing with the Atlanta Area Council. To watch Omkar’s full interview on Channel 2 – Atlanta, please view: Forsyth County teen earns every Boy Scout merit badge possible – WSB-TV Channel 2 – Atlanta (wsbtv.com).