The Webelos Scout Supernova Award: A can’t-miss guide

webelos-supernova-awardYou don’t have to reformat your entire meeting plan to help your boys earn the Webelos Scout Supernova Award.

If you follow these guidelines, you’ll see the award is a natural partner to your existing plans. To earn the Webelos Scout Supernova Award (aka the Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award), Webelos Scouts must be active with a den.

With their parent’s and unit leader’s help, they must select a council-approved mentor who is a registered Scouter. Webelos Scouts cannot choose their parent or unit leader (unless the mentor is working with more than one youth).

For more explanation, let’s go to Richard Stone, the education and training leader of the STEM/Nova Committee who has contributed to other STEM posts on my blog. Dr. Stone offers this post:

Webelos earning Supernova: So easy!

By Dr. Richard Stone

This month, I interview a Nova counselor and Supernova mentor successful in delivering the Nova Awards program to Cub Scouts and Webelos. Dr. David Luthin is active in his pack and troop putting the “outing” in Scouting and adding STEM to the mix.

When not doing Scouting, his day job is a scientist and college professor at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., where he teaches pathophysiology and pharmacology.

Mentor Dave says the Webelos Supernova is a natural partner to the Webelos program and fits right into the monthly meeting plan. Here is his strategy:

  • Plan den meetings to integrate Supernova requirements into the natural flow of the program. The Webelos worked on their activity badges the first year, earning most of the badges required for the Supernova. In the spring of their Webelos I year, the Supernova Award was introduced to the boys, who realized that they had already done a lot of the work. The Webelos then spent a meeting earning the Scholar badge to finish the advancement requirements. Then they need to work on the projects.
  • Enlist the school to support the Supernova Award. The teachers supported doing the inventions and projects at school and provided evidence of success for the mentor’s review. Several of the Webelos were in the same class, so they worked together with their teacher. The Webelos also worked on experiments during several den meetings.
  • Measure success. Of the Webelos who tried, all successfully earned their Supernova Award. Many of them expressed interest in STEM-related careers. Several of the parents described their STEM-related careers: computer programmer; nurse practitioner; engineer; radiation safety officer; drug discovery scientist; teacher.

Mentor Dave says, “I think that the timing of this program was perfect, not too far into the Webelos program.

“We find that many ‘burn out’ in the second year of the program and are less interested in extra achievements like this one.  …  All who started the program, really put in the effort to finish it.”

Becoming one of the few who have earned this award helps motivate Webelos Scouts, too, adds Dave.

About the Nova and Supernova awards

For requirements and more information, click here.

Photo from Flickr: All rights reserved by

About Bryan Wendell 3270 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.