What is the Nova Awards Program?

Created by Dawn Niece, Modified on Thu, 17 Aug 2023 at 11:58 AM by Dawn Niece

About the Nova Awards Program

The Boy Scouts of America’s STEM Nova Awards program incorporates learning with cool activities and exposure to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for Cub Scouts, Webelos Scouts, Scouts BSA, Sea Scouts, and Venturers. These activities and associated awards stimulate interest in STEM-related fields and show how these subjects appear in everyday life and the world around us. Nova counselors and Supernova mentors help bring this engaging, contemporary, and fun program to life for youth members. 

There are awards designed for youth in the Cub Scout, Scouts BSA, and Sea Scouting/Venturing programs, and are optional in each program. Requirements must be completed while registered in the BSA in the appropriate program and subject to standard age limitations.

The Nova Awards

There are multiple Nova awards for each level: Cub Scouts, Webelos Scouts, Scouts BSA, and Sea Scouts and Venturers. Each award covers one specific subfield of a STEM subject area. Upon earning their first Nova award, Scouts receive the distinctive Scouts BSA Nova Award patch. For each Nova earned after that, a Scout earns a separate pi (π) pin-on device that attaches to the patch.

As of January 1, 2020, there are eleven Nova awards for Cub Scouts (Wolf and Bear levels) and Webelos Scouts, ten for members of Scouts BSA, and nine for Venturers and Sea Scouts. Originally, there were four Nova awards for each program area, each covering one component of STEM - science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Additional awards have been added as they were approved. Note that there are three different versions of the Up and Away Nova Award requirements which are designed for youth who are Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, and Venturers or Sea Scouts

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 the Supernova awards, a registered and council-approved mentor, who serves much like a merit badge counselor, is required.

Supernova awards were designed to motivate Scouts and recognize more advanced achievement in STEM-related activities, and thus have more rigorous and in-depth requirements than Nova awards. There is one Supernova award for Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts, and one for Webelos Scouts, two Supernova awards are available to Scouts who have earned First Class rank, and three Supernova awards are available to Venturers and Sea Scouts.

Scouts can earn the Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Bronze Award and then the Thomas Edison Supernova Silver Award. These two Supernova awards are available to all Scouts who have earned First Class rank. The Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Bronze Award requires the Scout to have earned three Scouts BSA Nova awards, in addition to other requirements. The Thomas Edison Supernova Silver Award requires completion of a fourth Scouts BSA Nova award, in addition to the Harris Supernova Award and other requirements.

Find More Details Here:  NOVA Awards FAQ | Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America (nycscouting.org) 

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