BRENTWOOD -- Life Scout Joey Hoggan is about to become one of only 5 percent of Boy Scouts to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, but his true achievement in Scouts came much earlier.

Struggling through school because of a learning disability, Joey always had to work harder than other kids his age to keep up, which wreaked havoc on his self-confidence, said Janice Hoggan, his mom.

It was the summer of 2009, during a weeklong camping trip at BSA Camp Wolfeboro, when Joey's life transformed after earning not just one but four merit badges -- rock climbing, rifle, shotgun and archery.

"That was the catalyst, he did that when he was 12," said Janice.

Janice said that when Joey signed up for those merit badges, "He was told, 'You can't do that, that is for boys with upper (body) strength.'

"He did it," Janice said. "He proved to everyone that he was strong enough to do it, and ever since then he's been working out and going out for football, cross-country, wrestling and track."

Janice added, "That was the catalyst, and it's because of Scouts."

Joey, 17, agreed, "I was shy; it really made me come forward.

"Scouts has helped me to be more responsible where I work. It got me more socially active," he said. "It taught me about hard work -- what time is fun time and what time is work time."

The Byron resident said that even after earning 29 merit badges, one more than his father earned, he still favors those that changed his life.

"My favorite merit badges (were) rock climbing and rifle shooting," Joey said.

Joey is a member of Troop 793 in Brentwood and just advanced to his senior year at Liberty High School.