The National Outdoor Awards are for those scouts and scouters who really love camping, hiking, riding, boating/aquatics and trekking. Although BSA has tried to promote the award, I have found relatively few scouts and troops pursuing the program.
It’s hard to imagine why — it flows right out of the normal advancement curriculum, but only requires a little more work to keep track of time spend on scouting activities.
From BSA’s own web site:
Now when a Scout excels in outdoor participation, there are new awards to show for it! This program, conceived by the National Camping Task Force of the BSA®, includes a series of five badges designed to recognize a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout who has exemplary knowledge and experience in performing high-level outdoor activities.
The award consists of five emblem segments positioned around the perimeter of a beautiful center emblem. All are embroidered in full color. The segments represent five areas of emphasis: Riding, Hiking, Camping, Aquatics, and Adventure, with rigorous requirements to earn each segment. The center emblem features an outdoor scene with fleur-de-lis and the words “National Outdoor Awards.”
The requirements are straightforward and are covered in detail at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/Youth/Awards/NOA.aspx
To provide a sample of the requirements, here are those for camping:
Camping. A Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may earn the National Outdoor Badge for Camping upon successfully completing the following requirements:
- Earn the First Class rank.
- Earn the Camping merit badge.
- Earn two of the following three merit badges: Cooking, First Aid, Pioneering.
- Complete 25 days and nights of camping—including six consecutive days (five nights) of resident camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America—including nights camped as part of requirements 1 through 3 above.
A gold device may be earned for each additional 25 nights of camping. A silver device is earned for each additional 100 nights of camping. The Scout may wear any combination of devices totaling his current number of nights camping.
The outdoor awards are a great complement to your scouting experience, plus the award can be a motivator to younger scouts to push themselves to get outside more frequently!