How your Varsity Scouts can earn the Denali Award

BECAUSE VARSITY SCOUTING uses so much sports terminology—Varsity Scouts join teams, elect captains, and earn letters—many Scouters think the program focuses strictly on sports. The Denali Award, introduced in 2001, disproves that notion and shows just how closely Varsity Scouting is tied to its cousin, Boy Scouting. It also gives Varsity Scouts another mountain to climb on the trail to Eagle.

WHAT DOES THE NAME MEAN?
Denali is the name American Indians gave to Alaska’s Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America.

WHO CAN EARN THE DENALI AWARD?
Any Varsity Scout who has already earned the Varsity Scout letter.

CAN DENALI AWARD RECIPIENTS STILL EARN VARSITY LETTER BARS?
Yes.

WHAT ARE THE DENALI AWARD REQUIREMENTS?
Find them in the “Guide to Advancement” (No. 3308, section 4.2.2.2) and in the Varsity Scout Guidebook (No. 34827), but here’s a quick summary:
1) Be a registered Varsity Scout.
2) Advance one rank toward Eagle.
3) Serve in Varsity Scout leadership positions for six months.
4) Act as the primary leader of at least two activities and demonstrate shared leadership by serving in a supporting role for other activities.
5) Satisfy the team captain that you know and live by the Varsity Scout Pledge.
6) Complete a progress review.

REQUIREMENT NO. 2 SAYS THE SCOUT MUST ADVANCE ONE RANK TOWARD EAGLE. WHAT IF HE ALREADY IS AN EAGLE?
He can earn an Eagle Palm.

WHO SITS ON THE DENALI AWARD BOARD OF REVIEW?
The advancement program manager, who is under the direction of the adult program adviser, and other team committee members lead the board of review. District and/or council representatives are not involved.

WHAT RECOGNITION ITEMS ARE AVAILABLE?
The Denali Award medal (No. 4199) consists of a pewter medallion suspended from a brown and red cloth ribbon. It’s worn above the left pocket.

IS THERE A POCKET PATCH OR SQUARE KNOT?
No.

WHAT’S THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE FIVE STARS ON THE MEDALLION?
They represent Varsity Scouting’s five fields of emphasis: advancement, high adventure/sports, personal development, service, and special programs and events.

IS THE DENALI AWARD THE HIGHEST RANK IN VARSITY SCOUTING?
No. Varsity Scouting uses the Boy Scout ranks, so Eagle Scout is the highest rank. Think of the Denali Award as a recognition on the way to Eagle (or after the Eagle rank is earned).

WHEN AND WHERE SHOULD THE AWARD BE PRESENTED?
The Varsity Scout should receive his award as soon as possible after his board of review, perhaps in a simple ceremony at the end of a team meeting or on an outing. He should then be recognized more formally at the next court of honor.

6 thoughts on “How your Varsity Scouts can earn the Denali Award

  1. There is a knot for Arrow of Light, Eagle Scout, and Venture Silver. When you include the Religious Knot into the potential awards progression the glaring oversight is magnified. The missing knot is Denali. While I am certain there is a reason that this knot has not been endorsed and approved there is an obvious gap in the recognition progression. While it would be unfair to say Varsity Scouting is the stepchild to Boy Scouts and Venture Scouting the appearance of status at least on its face is pretty glaring. Just an observation.

  2. Why does the Denali Scorecard still specify that a District or Council rep need to be involved with the Board of Review for the Denali Award?

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