All about the Triple Crown and Grand Slam awards

highadventureawardsMemories are the best souvenirs from any high-adventure trip, but photos, T-shirts and patches are nice, too. Scouts and Scouters who visit most or all of the BSA’s four national high-adventure bases can earn two special patches: the Triple Crown of National High Adventure and the Grand Slam of National High Adventure. Created by the Charles L. Sommers Alumni Association in conjunction with the BSA, these are among the rarest patches in Scouting.

WHAT IS THE SOMMERS ALUMNI ASSOCIATION?

It’s the alumni group for Northern Tier High Adventure Bases. Northern Tier was known as the Charles L. Sommers National High Adventure Base before the program expanded to include bases in Ontario and Manitoba, Canada.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AWARDS?

The Triple Crown goes to a Scout or Scouter who completes qualifying programs at any three of the BSA’s four national high-adventure bases: Northern Tier, Philmont Scout Ranch, Florida National High Adventure Sea Base and the Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Scouts and Scouters who complete qualifying programs at all four bases can receive the Grand Slam.

WHAT IS A QUALIFYING PROGRAM?

Each base’s core high-adventure programs, such as Northern Tier’s paddling voyages and Sea Base’s sailing adventures, qualify. Individual programs like Philmont’s Rayado program also count, as do Order of the Arrow-sponsored programs like Summit Trail Corps. Programs that don’t count include training conferences, Wood Badge courses, weekend activities or programs run by local councils and commercial outfitters. A complete list for each base is available at nationalhighadventureawards.org.

DOES THE NATIONAL JAMBOREE COUNT?

No. National and world jamborees aren’t qualifying events, nor are programs at SBR’s James C. Justice National Scout Camp.

WHAT RECOGNITION ITEMS ARE AVAILABLE?

Award recipients get a 3-inch patch and may download a certificate. For the Triple Crown, the patch depicts the three bases the recipient attended. Also available are nonrestricted 6-inch patches suitable for use on a backpack or patch blanket.

CAN A PERSON EARN BOTH THE TRIPLE CROWN AND THE GRAND SLAM?

Yes. However, each award may be earned only once.

CAN A PERSON COMBINE BOTH YOUTH AND ADULT PARTICIPATION FOR THE AWARDS?

Yes. Few Scouts or Venturers make it to three or four high-adventure bases as a youth.

WHAT INFORMATION IS REQUIRED WHEN APPLYING?

For each program, you will need the name of the program, the crew or expedition number, the arrival date and (optionally) the name of the crew’s key staff member, such as its Philmont ranger or Northern Tier interpreter.

HOW CAN I APPLY FOR AN AWARD?

Apply online (starting at $9) at nationalhighadventureawards.org.  Allow six to eight weeks for processing.

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