Guide to the Grand Slam and Triple Crown of National High Adventure

Attending one of the BSA’s national high-adventure bases — Northern Tier, Philmont, Sea Base or the Summit Bechtel Reserve — will change your life.

Attending three or four? Why, an accomplishment like that deserves an award.

Scouts, Venturers and adult leaders who participate in a qualifying high-adventure program at three of the BSA’s national high-adventure bases may receive the Triple Crown of National High Adventure award.

Those who participate in a qualifying high-adventure program at all four may receive the new Grand Slam of National High Adventure award.

The awards are administered by the Charles L. Sommers Alumni Association, and applications are now accepted online at the association’s slick new website.

Here’s everything you should know about these awards — including, of course, a look at the patches.

Triple Crown of National High Adventure award

What is it? Created in 1996, the Triple Crown of National High Adventure award recognizes those who have participated in at least one qualifying high-adventure program at any three of the BSA’s four national high-adventure Bases. That’s Northern Tier High Adventure Bases (Northern Tier), Philmont Scout Ranch (Philmont), Florida National High Adventure Sea Base (Florida Sea Base), and Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base at The Summit (Paul R. Christen).

The 10,000th Triple Crown was awarded this summer.

Which programs count? To put it broadly, you can count the programs for which these high-adventure bases are known. That means Philmont treks, weeks at the Paul R. Christen base, Sea Base adventures and Northern Tier voyages. Activities that don’t count include training conferences, the national jamboree and family programs.

The complete list of qualifying programs is available in this PDF.

What do you get? Recipients of the award receive a 3-inch Triple Crown award patch reflecting the three national high-adventure bases where they participated in a high-adventure program. An optional large (6-inch) Triple Crown of National High Adventure award patch is available for purchase. There is no limit on the variations and quantities that may be ordered of the large patch.

The patch will show a combination of animals that represents the three bases attended: a loon for Northern Tier, a bull for Philmont, a dolphin for Florida Sea Base and a black bear for Paul R. Christen.

Philmont, Florida Sea Base, Northern Tier

Triple-Crown-PH-SB-NT-Large-PatchPhilmont, Florida Sea Base, Paul R. Christen


Philmont, Paul R. Christen, Northern Tier


Paul R. Christen, Florida Sea Base, Northern Tier



How do you apply? Online only. You do so at this site.

Note: The paper application used for the original Triple Crown (Northern Tier, Philmont and Florida Sea Base) has been discontinued and will no longer be accepted if received after Oct. 31, 2015. Those who have already submitted a paper application should not resubmit online, as doing so will result in further delays in processing their awards. The association says it currently takes about eight weeks to process paper applications from mid-summer to fall because of the large numbers of award applications received during this time.

Applying costs $9, which covers the cost of the patch. You can buy 6-inch versions of the patches separately for $10 apiece.

How do you keep track of participation? To help, use the printable fact sheet and worksheet, available on the “About the Awards” page here.

What if I have other questions? There’s a helpful FAQs here.

Grand Slam of National High Adventure award

What is it? The new Grand Slam of National High Adventure award recognizes those who have participated in at least one qualifying high-adventure program at all four of the BSA’s national high-adventure bases.

Which programs count? Same list included with the Triple Crown. See which programs qualify in this PDF.

What do you get? Recipients of the award receive one 3-inch Grand Slam patch. An optional large (6-inch) version is available for purchase.


How do you apply? Same as with the Triple Crown, you can only apply online. Do so at this site.

How do you keep track of participation? Use the printable fact sheet and worksheet, available on the “About the Awards” page here.

What if I have other questions? There’s a helpful FAQs here.


  1. given that many never make it to one High Adventure base, let alone several, I really think attending a National Jamboree at the Summit or a National Training Center at one of the bases should count toward this, if a scout has also participated in high adventure programs at other National High Adventure Bases.

    • It seems hard to understand why the patch isn’t available for every base program.

      One of the advantages of recognizing only youth who’ve actually done an “adventure programs” at each base is so that they can be a resource for troops and crews who are trying to make up their minds which base they will commit to training for.

      Four people might come back separate bases saying “It was really hard.” But can they really help you compare Northern Tier, or Philmont, or Seabase, or BSR? I think someone with “boots-on-the-ground” experience with more than one adventure can really help a unit determine what they’re up against.

      So, if you have those kind of boys, and you’re at a camporee, and you see this patch, invite the wearer to your campfire. It might be worth it for the stories alone!

  2. How come adventures at the closed National High Adventure bases no longer count? (Wisconsin, Maine, etc.) They used to qualify for the triple crown.

  3. Great job with the extension — the new patches look great!

    If I read this (and the FAQ) correctly — a single person can only ever receive one of the 3-inch varieties of the Triple Crown award patch — no matter what, no replacements and no trade-ins (say if hypothetically, I just wanted one of the new ones with a BEAR on it … a good old bear, too!) …

    Is that correct? Assuming so, any chance of changing anyone’s mind on that?

    • John, you are correct that you can only choose from one design. If someone really feels strongly that they want a different design, we certainly will consider it..

      However, we do want you to wear your award patch. Should your patch become damaged or soiled, please contact us so we can arrange to exchange it with a new patch.

      • Awesome, and Thank you!

        I -do- wear my patch, in rotation with others — My 50-Year Philmont Arrowhead and my program patches from NT and FSB, along with my NLS patch/pin, and a handful of others … and I haven’t been for High adventure at our newest high adventure base yet, but for a patch with a BEAR on it … (Hey, it was Wood Badge last weekend …)

    • I thought about just a thumbs down, but decided better of it. You have a point that is likely a point of confusion for a good many well-meaning Scouters, and it deserves an explanation. Bryan could do a better job and there’s probably enough meat to merit a whole new blog entry (since we’re far off the triple crown and grand slam awards), and there are far more well-qualified people to speak on the topic, but I’m going to take a swing at this anyway!

      Why so many names, you ask?

      The volunteer-led Boy Scouts of America has an incredibly far-reaching vision for the Summit, and there are many very generous philanthropists who bring that vision to life. In our present-day society, one of the ways we raise hundreds of millions of dollars is to provide recognition including naming rights to folks who, through their generosity, make things happen for countless thousands of youth.

      The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve (SBR) Is a property named in honor of a $50 Million donation by the Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. Did I mention that Stephen Bechtel is an Eagle Scout?

      This property serves serves many purposes:
      1> a permanent home for the National Jamboree
      2> a 4th National High Adventure Base
      3> a National Training Center
      4> a Summer Camp
      5> … and more and more and more!

      The Paul R. Christsen High Adventure Base is named in honor of a very large (the amount seems to have been taken down from every place online, but the number had 8 digits to the left of the decimal) donation by Paul and Muffy Christsen specifically for the creation of a new national high adventure base to be run on SBR. Did I mention that Paul Christen is an Eagle Scout? And if you haven’t heard Paul’s story in his own words of how Scouting quite literally saved his life — it’s worth researching online!

      Scouting Changes lives — and what a great way to memorialize this generation’s leaders, following in the footsteps of our founders — Ernest Thomas Seton, James E. West, Colin H. Livingstone, Daniel Carter Beard, Mortimer Schiff, and William D. Boyce.

      But wait, there’s more!

      The James C. Justice National Scout Camp is named in honor of Jim Justice’s $25 Million donation for the creation of a model summer camp intended not to compete with local councils, but to use the adventure capabilities of the Walter Scott Summit Center together with New River Gorge to provide advancement opportunities to older Boy Scouts and Venturers.

      The Walter Scott Summit Center, along with Scott Scouting Valley, are named in recognition of a $25 Million donation by the Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation.

      Goodrich Lake is named in honor of another large (undisclosed amount) gift from Mike and Gillian Goodrich

      And the list goes on …
      John D. Tickle National Training and Leadership Center
      J.W. & Hazel Ruby West Virginia Welcome Center
      Ed & Jeanne Arnold Transportation and Logistics Center
      Dunn Family Staff Base Camp
      Jared Harvey Bike Trails system

      and companies have sponsored features and received naming rights as well
      AT&T Summit Stadium
      CONSOL Energy Bridge

      If something as simple as putting a donor’s name on something as a permanent recognition of extraordinary generosity, makes the difference in creating a life experience for thousands of youth, then name it we shall, and we will call it by it’s full name to make sure the example of so many great philanthropists is never forgotten! If I told you that remembering one more name in 2015 meant another multi-million dollar donation for the future of our youth, how many more names would you be willing to remember?

      For my part, I deeply appreciate the generosity of each of these benefactors, and I treasure the opportunity to shake some of their hands and to personally say “thank you”. I myself was not able to donate nearly as much — all they named after me was a latrine …

      Yours in Scouting,

      • The name Paul R. Christsen is not just significant because of his generous donation, but for his contributions to Scouting and high adventure. He served as Council President of the Pheasant Council, and followed in the footsteps of the inaugural Chairman of Region Ten, Charles L. Sommers, as the final Chairman of Region Ten where one of his most significant accomplishments was to solidify the future of the Charles L. Sommers Wilderness Canoe Base as it transitioned to a National High Adventure Base in 1971.

        • Absolutely, I certainly didn’t mean to diminish the legacies of any of the individuals or corporations which in all cases extend well beyond their financial generosity … (and thanks for the linkage to Charles L. Sommers — I didn’t know that!)

    • “Philmont” is an excellent example of incorporating a generous family’s name (Phillips) but still giving the camp an everyday usable name. More donors should take this approach.

      • It’s not the donors who make that call, but the receiving nonprofit who ask to honor the donors. That said, it is a lasting legacy and investment on behalf of these philanthropists and I’m pleased to see their names. I’ve had the good fortune to meet some of them and thank them in person. They have countless ways to use their wealth and I’m so thankful they have invested in scouting.

  4. Why is Philmont’s Autumn Adventure a non-qualifying program? I had a wonderful time trekking from Beaubien to Fish Camp to Abreu with my Scouting buddies back in October 1994.

  5. When our crew attended Philmont Winter Adventure in 2013, it counted towards the award. In fact we had one scout attend the Winter Adventure for the sole purpose of of qualifying for the Triple Crown in 2013. In fact he was awarded the triple crown in 2013. Recently the application process is online only, and they do not list the Philmont Winter Adventure as a qualifying program. It really should still be… why is it not listed?

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