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STEM Supernova Mentor Training
The BSA’s Supernova awards honor Scouts for exceptional STEM achievement (Nova awards, meanwhile, reward introductory exploration of STEM disciplines.) There are seven Supernova awards: one for Cub Scouts, one for Webelos Scouts, two for Scouts in Scouts BSA, and three for Venturers.
A Supernova mentor is a key player in the Supernova awards program, serving in a role similar to that of a merit badge counselor. Whatever your area of expertise or interest—whether it is a special hobby (amateur radio, geocaching), a profession (veterinary medicine, aviation, engineering), or perhaps a life skill (cooking, personal management, communication)—as a Supernova mentor, you play a vital role in stirring a young person’s curiosity about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
The mentor will help the youth to decide upon research topics, help them to develop a project from the selected topic, help to identify and recruit the appropriate subject matter experts (if different from you as the mentor) to assist the youth in their project, and determine the difficulty and complexity of the project. Additionally, as the youth’s mentor, you will be the person to encourage them to complete all of the Supernova awards and to help them to work through the inevitable setbacks that will occur.
By serving as a mentor, you offer your time, knowledge, and other resources so Scouts broaden their horizons and set and achieve goals. Your mission is to combine fun with learning. You are both teacher and mentor to the Scout as he or she learns by doing. By presenting opportunities for growth via engaging activities like developing simulations to predict performance, discovering how to design aircraft for maximum flight, or learning what it’s like to be an astronaut, you may pique a young person’s interest in STEM and inspire a Scout to develop a lifelong hobby, prepare for a particular career, or become a responsible, informed citizen.
Any council-approved mentor who is a registered Scouter can serve as a counselor for these awards. Parents who have expertise in a STEM subject and undergo the council-approval process may counsel their own children only in a group setting.
You can be a mentor if you are:
● At least 21 years of age
● Of good character
● Able and willing to work with Scout-age youth
● Be recognized as having the skills and education in the award topics covered and hold any required qualifications and training
● A registered BSA adult (complete the BSA adult membership form; there is no fee if you’re going to be a Nova counselor)
● Current in Youth Protection Training
When and where can I take the course?
Training is offered in a classroom format at our council’s University of Scouting training event in January at the ACC Eastview campus, Building 8000, 3401 Webberville Road, Austin, TX, 78702. It may also be offered additional times as a standalone class.
There is a $10 fee to take the course as part of our council’s University of Scouting training event in January (this fee also allows you to sit in on any other course during the event).
The next University of Scouting takes place on January 22, 2022. Dates for the next available standalone course have not yet been announced.