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STEM Nova Awards

Nova and Supernova Awards

There are some special 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 meant to be 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 Supernova Award requires that you work with a registered adult Supernova Mentor who has specialized, professional knowledge in certain STEM areas.

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 at the Cub Scout Pack level, or youth-led group in a Scouts BSA Troop, Venturing Crew, or Sea Scouts Ship
  • Nova Awards are typically completed and always awarded at the unit level
  • 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)

Here’s some basic information about Supernova Awards:

  • A Scout often needs 2 to 6 months to finish the requirements; there is no time limit to finish other than the Scout still needs to be registered as a Cub Scout, Scout, Venturer, or Sea Scout
  • 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 must be certified by our council leadership; there’s an application and Mentors need to complete Supernova Mentor Training
  • 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


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.

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