The Boy Scouts of America’s NOVA Awards program incorporates learning with cool activities and exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics for Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA members, and Venturers. The hope is that the requirements and activities for earning these awards stimulates interest in STEM-related fields and shows how science, technology, engineering and mathematics apply to everyday living and the world around them. Counselors and mentors help bring this engaging, contemporary, and fun program to life for youth members.
The Nova Awards
There are multiple Nova awards for Cub Scouts, Webelos Scouts, Scouts BSA members, and Venturers. Each award covers one component of STEM—science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.
- Cub Scout Nova awards: Science Everywhere, Down and Dirty, Nova WILD!, Out of This World, Tech Talk, Swing!, 1-2-3 Go!, Uncovering the Past, and Fearful Symmetry
- Scouts BSA Nova awards: Shoot! Let It Grow!, Start Your Engines, Whoosh!, Designed to Crunch and Splash!
- Venturer Scout Nova awards: Launch!, Power Up, Hang On!, Numbers Don’t Lie and Wade!
For their first Nova award, Scouts earn the distinctive Nova award patch. After that, a Scout can earn additional Nova awards, each one recognized with a separate pi (π) pin-on device that attaches to the patch. The patch and the devices represent each of the four STEM topics—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The Supernova Awards
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.
For Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts:
Dr. Louis Alvarez Supernova Award
For Webelos Scouts:
Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award
For Scouts BSA:
Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Bronze Award
Dr. Sally Ride Supernova Bronze Award
For earning the Supernova award, Scouts receive a medal and certificate.
Requirements may be found in the Nova awards guidebooks, available through local Scout shops—one for Cub Scouts, one for Scouts BSA, and one for Venturers. The requirements can be completed with a registered counselor (for the Nova awards) or registered and Council-approved mentor (for the Supernova awards). Each guidebook includes a section for the counselor and mentor.