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STEM Nova Awards
Nova and Supernova Awards
There are some special optional STEM awards you can earn in Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Sea Scouting called Nova Awards. These have two levels: the Nova and the Supernova.
The Nova Award is an age-appropriate introduction in detail to STEM topics; you can earn these by working with a Nova Counselor (parents or leaders can easily become one by taking Youth Protection Training and completing a Boy Scouts of America adult membership application; fill in “58” for the position code).
The first time a Scout earns a Nova Award, they receive the award patch (as pictured here). If the Scout earns an additional Nova Award, they will receive a triangular metal pin with the “Pi” symbol engraved in it; that pin is worn by attaching it to the Nova Award patch.
There are Nova Awards for each Scouting program.
Here’s some basic information about Nova Awards:
- You can usually complete most requirements within 2 to 6 hours
- Nova Awards are designed be taught in a group setting
- Nova Awards are typically completed and always awarded at the unit level
- Here are requirements for Cub Scout Nova Awards, Scouts BSA Nova Awards, and Venturing or Sea Scouting Nova Awards
- Scout units may purchase Nova Award patches and pins at the Steve Matthews Scout Shop; you’ll need to submit a unit advancement report indicating which Scouts earned the award(s)
The Supernova Award requires that you work with a registered adult Supernova Mentor who has specialized, professional knowledge in certain STEM areas.
These awards require more of a time commitment, usually two to six months. But there is no time limit for a Scout to finish the requirements, except that the Scout has to finish while still registered as a youth member of Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA, Venturing, or Sea Scouting. Scouts who earn a Supernova Award will receive a medal (like the one pictured here).
There are different versions of the Supernova for each BSA program.
Here’s some basic information about Supernova Awards:
- Scouts work on Supernova Awards with an adult Supernova Mentor in an individual or small group setting (while always following Youth Protection policies avoiding a one-on-one situation)
- All adult Supernova Mentors are typically subject-matter experts in a scientific field and must be certified by our council leadership; there’s an application and Mentors need to complete Supernova Mentor Training
- Here are requirements for Cub Scout Supernova Awards, Scouts BSA Supernova Awards, and Venturing or Sea Scouting Supernova Awards
- Scout units may purchase Supernova Award medals at the Steve Matthews Scout Shop after approval from our council’s STEM Committee
Requirements for these awards are set by the national Boy Scouts of America. You can find more information about the awards and what you have to do to earn them by visiting www.scouting.org/stem-nova-awards.
Can These Awards Help Scouts Advance?
These awards aren’t connected to Cub Scout or Scouts BSA rank advancement (Cub Scout advancement awards are Lion, Bobcat, Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and Scouts BSA advancement awards are Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle). But, several of the Adventures (belt loop awards) that Cub Scouts earn to advance in rank can also count towards earning a Nova Award. Similarly, some merit badges (special awards demonstrating proficiency or knowledge in different subject areas) that Scouts in Scouts BSA Troops earn to advance in rank can also count towards earning a Nova Award.