SCOUTS TAKE HOME all sorts of souvenirs from camp-outs, including bug bites, sunburns, and something better: great memories. Now they also can take home awards that recognize their outdoor achievements. The new National Outdoor Badges and National Medal for Outdoor Achievement recognize Scouts who excel in outdoor activities.
What are the National Outdoor Badges? These five awards cover camping, hiking, aquatics, riding (horseback riding or cycling), and adventure.
How is adventure defined? Adventure includes backpacking treks; canoeing, rowing, sailing, and whitewater trips; climbing activities; and participation in national or nationally recognized high-adventure programs.
What are the requirements? They’re posted atscouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/Youth/Awards/NOA.aspx. For each badge, though, a Scout must complete the First Class rank, earn certain merit badges, and participate in activities that add up to a specified number of days, hours, or miles completed under the auspices of the BSA. For example, the camping award requires 25 days and nights of camping.
What are the devices, and how do they relate to the National Outdoor Badges? Much like Eagle Palms, gold and silver devices (small pins) represent additional achievement. For example, a Scout who has earned the Camping badge would receive a gold device for each additional 25 nights of camping and a silver device for each additional 100 nights of camping.
What is the National Medal for Outdoor Achievement? This challenging award recognizes Scouts who go beyond the requirements of the National Outdoor Badges.
What are the requirements for the medal? A Scout must complete three National Outdoor Badges (with specified devices), earn four outdoor merit badges, complete training in Wilderness First Aid, become a Leave No Trace Trainer, plan and lead at least two hiking, backpacking, aquatic, or riding outings, and either plan and lead an adventure activity or serve on camp staff.
Who can earn the National Outdoor Badges and National Medal for Outdoor Achievement? Any Boy Scout or Varsity Scout is eligible. There’s no adult award.
What recognition items do recipients receive? The Scout receives a pentagon-shaped pocket emblem for his first National Outdoor Badge, along with a smaller emblem representing the activity area. Additional emblems represent other activity areas. Devices are worn on these emblems.
Who approves completion of the awards? The Scoutmaster or coach signs the application, which is then submitted to the local Scout council service center for final approval.