ROY -- Ruth Ann LoBaido said her 11-year-old son Nicholas has always been a determined kid, so she wasn't surprised when he told her he wanted to earn all 53 sports and academics belt loops offered by the Cub Scouts.
"When he first told me he wanted to earn them all, I said, 'OK, sure,' and I didn't think much more about it," she said. "But he kept reminding me that he needed to work on them. He constantly talked about it, so we got busy, and he started earning them, one by one."
Nicholas has now earned them all, a feat few Cub Scouts in the country have accomplished. When Nicholas received his Arrow of Light in December, a representative of the Trapper Trails Boy Scout Council attended the meeting to present him with a certificate. He told Nicholas that in his 20-plus years as a Scout leader he had never known another Scout to receive all the belt loops.
"I love it," Nicholas said. "I get to do things with my friends and family and my den leaders and my mom and dad and brother. Everyone in my family was a Scout, so I want to be one too. It teaches you respect and hard work."
Nicholas, who is a member of Troop 579, is the son of Ogden police officer John LoBaido and his wife. A fifth-grade student at West Haven Elementary, he said some of the belt loops were easier to earn than others. Among his favorites were the fishing, horseback riding and water loops.
"For the water one, I had to swim for a certain amount of time," he said. "And for the fishing one I went up to the pond by my house. I had to learn how to bait and tie a knot. Then, for the horseback riding, we went to a dude ranch and I learned all about horses and rode one up the mountain and back down again."
There are 28 sports activity belt loops and 25 academic belt loops that a Boy Scout can earn. They include archery, hiking, volleyball, swimming, math, music, nutrition, pet care and photography.
"It really teaches them a lot of great things," Ruth Ann LoBaido said. "For the nutrition belt loop, he had to make a poster of foods that are good for you and explain the difference between a fruit and vegetable. Then he had to taste each one and prepare a healthy meal."
LoBaido said earning some of the belt loops required the family to travel together.
"It was a lot of fun, because Nicholas helped plan the vacation and kept track of the mileage," she said.
Nicholas hopes to follow in his father's footsteps and complete the entire Scouting program.
My husband loved Scouting," LoBaido said. "He's from New Jersey, and he has been going back there every October for the past 30 years to a Scout reunion."
Nicholas said he admires his father and others who were Scouts, because they set good examples for him.
"I want to set a good example for others, too," he said.
Nicholas was recently a guest speaker at the annual business executive board meeting for the Trapper Trails Council, where he spoke on the importance of setting goals at a young age and how to accomplish those goals.