| Recruiting Corner 
Indian Waters Council - Boy Scouts of America - Columbia, South Carolina
IWC STEM front page

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)

S cience,  T echnology,  E ngineering, and   M athematics ( STEM ) are considered by many to be the foundation of an advanced society.  In many forums - including political, governmental, and academic - the strength of the STEM workforce is viewed as an indicator of a nation's ability to sustain itself. 

To engage our youth members in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the Boy Scouts of America has created new program initiatives that emphasizes STEM in the context of the current advancement programs.

The BSA's STEM initiative gives Scouts an opportunity to explore relevant skills and experiences and to be recognized for their achievements. The aim is to expose youth to new opportunities and help them develop the STEM skills critical for the competitive world marketplace. 

Nova and Supernova Awards

To stimulate interest in STEM, the BSA has instituted a series of new awards entitled Nova and Supernova.  The NOVA  Award program consists of individual activity elements in various STEM topics structured for Cub Scouts,  Boy Scouts, & Venturers. These topics, or four NOVA awards for each program level, are designed to encourage participation and to increase interest in STEM by making it relevant and fun. The NOVA award will be a distinctive pocket patch with a separate pin on device awarded for each individual topic completed by the youth. 

The SUPERNOVA Award program is similar to the BSA Hornaday Award Program.  The basic requirements include earning certain Academic Pins for Cub Scouts, Activity Badges for Webelos and Merit Badges for Boy Scouts, plus complete additional, more rigorous STEM related requirements. The Venturing requirements are based on more independent achievement and teaching activities.  SUPERNOVA is designed to encourage and recognize more in-depth achievement in STEM. The SUPERNOVA awards are medals on neck ribbons.

Counselors & Mentors  


  Counselor   is required to help a Scout complete the requirements for a Nova award.  Any registerd Scouter who has completed Youth Protection Training can be a counselor for the NOVA awards with unit approval. 


A   Mentor   is required for the Supernova award (on all program levels), Mentors must be registered Scouters who have completed Youth Protection Training  and  must be approved by the STEM/Nova Committee. A special Supernova Mentor application form is available for this process. Completed applications should be turned into the Scout Service Center for processing. 


Mentors should be experienced in a STEM related field (i.e., Scientists, Engineer, Technologists, Science Teachers, Math Teachers, etc.). Only if a Mentor is willing to work with two or more Scouts on the SUPERNOVA at the same time will the exception of a parent with a STEM background be allowed.  Scouters with a STEM background may work with Scouts in their unit and encouraged as well to work outside of their own unit.  

To take  Youth Protection Training, click HERE .

To download the application to be a  Supernova Mentor, click HERE .
Thanks in advance for helping to mentor our Scouts on the Supernova.

Guidebooks & Awards  

Instructions on how to implement the awards program and all of the requirements for the awards are provided in guidebooks which may either be purchased in the Council Scout Shop or ordered online via   Scoutstuff.org .

Once any of the awards are earned by Scouts, completion of the award is recorded on the standard unit advancement form, which can be filled out and submitted to the Scout Shop.  For those Scouts who have completed a Supernova medals, the  Supernova Award Application   can be downloaded here and turned in with the advancement form.

All Nova awards (patches & pins) and Supernova medals & certificates are available for purchase through the Scout Shop, after completion of the appropriate paperwork.

Council STEM/Nova Committee

The Council STEM Committee is moving forward. We are pleased to announce that the chairman of the Indian Waters Council STEM/Nova Committee is Chris Jordan. Chris is a Professional Engineer and has been employed with the South Carolina Department of Transportation for 22 years. We welcome his leadership to these new efforts.   For any Scouters interested in participating in this committee, or for more information about STEM/Nova, please feel free to contact Chris below.

Chris Jordan - Committee Chairman - (iwc.stem@gmail.com)

Terri Towle - Staff Advisor - (terri.towle@scouting.org)

Updates by: IWC Staff and Volunteers | © Indian Waters Council, BSA 2013