STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) is part of an initiative the Boy Scouts of America has taken on to encourage the natural curiosity of youth members and their sense of wonder about these fields through existing programs. From archery to welding, Scouts can’t help but enjoy the wide range of STEM-related activities. To support this initiative, the BSA developed the Nova Awards program so that youth members have fun and receive recognition for their efforts.
The Boy Scouts of America developed the Nova Awards program to excite and expand a sense of wonder in our Scouts. By working with an adult counselor or mentor, the various modules allow them to explore the basic principles of STEM and discover how fun and fascinating STEM can be.
The Supernova awards are offered for those who enjoy a super challenge.
There are four Nova Awards for Venturers. Each award covers one component of STEM—science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.
- Power Up
- Hang On!
- Numbers Don’t Lie
For their first Nova Award, Venturers earn the distinctive Nova Award patch. After that, a Scout can earn three more Nova Awards, each one recognized with a separate pi (π) pin-on device that attaches to the patch.
The Supernova Awards have more rigorous requirements than the Nova Awards. The requirements and activities were designed to motivate youth and recognize more in-depth, advanced achievement in STEM-related activities. There are multiple recognition levels:
- Dr. Sally Ride Supernova Bronze Award
- Wright Brothers Supernova Silver Award
- Dr. Albert Einstein Supernova Gold Award
All requirements may be found in the Nova awards guidebooks, available through local Scout shops. The requirements can be completed with a parent or an adult leader as the counselor (for the Nova Awards) or mentor (for the Supernova Awards). Each guidebook includes a section for the counselor and mentor.