Does the National Jamboree count toward a National Outdoor Award?

The National Outdoor Awards, which debuted in 2010, are how the BSA recognizes Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Sea Scouts or Venturers who demonstrate knowledge and experience in high-level outdoor activities.

Young people can earn badges in one or more of these six areas: Camping, Aquatics, Conservation, Hiking, Riding and Adventure.

Once earned, the patch and segments can be worn in the temporary patch position — on the right pocket.

Go here for the full list of requirements for each of the six National Outdoor Awards.

Now that you’re up to speed on the basics, let’s discuss one very specific detail.

Question from a Scouter

A Scouter named Tony emailed me with this question:

Hi Bryan,

Thank you very much for running your column. It is my go-to place to begin looking for a Scouting-related question.

Also, I hope that the Jamboree was as fun for you as it looked to me as an offsite observer.

Anyway, the question that I anticipate will be: Does attendance and participation at the 2017 National Jamboree meet requirement 3G of the National Outdoor Award for Adventure? That requirement says: “Attend any national high-adventure base or any nationally recognized local high-adventure or specialty-adventure program.”

Yours in Scouting,


Thanks for the question, Tony. For the answer, I went to Rob Kolb, outdoor programs specialist at the BSA’s National Service Center.

Does the National Jamboree count toward the National Outdoor Award?

Yes, attendance at the Jamboree can count toward requirement 3G of the National Outdoor Award for Adventure. The requirement states that Scouts or Venturers must “attend any national high-adventure base or any nationally recognized local high-adventure or specialty-adventure program.” The Jamboree qualifies.

Bottom line: The Adventure segment of the National Outdoor Awards asks Scouts or Venturers to complete 10 adventure activities. The Jamboree can count as one of those 10.

If a Scout or Venturer is lucky enough to attend two or more Jamborees — perhaps the 2017 National Jamboree and 2019 World Scout Jamboree — he or she may count both toward the 10. That’s confirmed by this sentence in the Adventure award requirements: “Items 3a–g may be repeated as desired.”

BSA photo by Al Drago.


  1. Bryan, how about the new Whitewater Award that was supposed to be announced at Jamboree? Did participants in whitewater rafting at Jamboree qualify for that award?

    • There are performance requirements for the award that must be completed. It is unlikely that just participating in a rafting trip covers all the requirements.

      • That is true, but that is not how it was promoted, from Bryan’s earlier blog post on it:

        “Scouts and Venturers who participate in whitewater rafting at the 2017 National Jamboree later this month will be among the first who are eligible to earn this award.”

  2. The requirements state First Class but do not state the one must be First Class prior to starting the requirements. I take this to mean that a scout can complete the ancillary requirements, such as the required nights camping or the miles hiked prior to earning their First Class?

  3. I’ve never really looked at this before, but wouldn’t “any nationally recognized local high-adventure or specialty-adventure program” technically mean “any nationally accredited camp”, i.e. every BSA camp with any “high adventure or specialty program”?
    And given that the National Camp Standards have as an optional requirement (one of the easiest optional requirements to meet) that a camp has to have a high adventure or specialty program , and that to meet that most camps just nominate their COPE/Climbing program as that program (or bike riding or whatever), wouldn’t this mean that basically every accredited council-run BSA summer camp meets that requirement?

    • I don’t speak for BSA, but I think it is supposed to be beyond the “normal” camp experience. Having a COPE/Climbing activity would not qualify the camp for it. Some possible options that might count would be “Swamp Base” in Louisiana (that would also qualify as a 50-miler patch, another option for the NOA under adventure), Rocky Mountain High Adventure Base, there is also one at Kia Kima but can’t recall what it is call right now, or others that have the Scout leave their troop for a week in the back country.

      The same trip could be double counted for the Adventure Award such as Philmont that would count as a trip to a national high-adventure program, a 50-miler (all treks are at least 50), and if they made a stop at one of the climbing locations, climbing on open rock.

    • That is a good question. The summer camp we attended this year had an ‘outpost’ program for older scouts. Unfortunately, not all of their program offerings were what I would consider ‘high adventure’ – one day they want off-site to a ropes course, but another day they played Frisbee golf (although Summit has skateboarding I suppose), but I would think if a summer camp offered an adventure program, that would count.

      I would not mind seeing this requirement further refined to allow troop-designed high adventure programs. In Wisconsin, there are a number of troops that visit the Boundary Waters, but not through Northern Tier. Last year, our scouts cobbled together a week-long trip to Mammoth Cave National Park as part of the 100th anniversary of the NPS. We participated in a wild cave tour, kayaked through the park on the Green River, and visited the Perryville civil war battlefield among other activities.

  4. This is one of few awards that should be opened up to adults, to incentivize outdoor leadership. It would be similar to the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, in that regard.

  5. Yes parcipation counts for Adventure, the nights of camping count for Camping, the hike to Garden Grounds counts for Hiking, day of service may count for Conservation, ATV and all cycling activities count for Riding, whitewater rafting and standup paddleboarding count for Aquatics.

  6. But wait, I thought Jamboree doesn’t count for the Triple Crown and Grand Slam awards? Why does not count for them, but does for this?

  7. The Triple Crown of National High Adventure and Grand Slam of National High Adventure was created by the Charles L. Sommers Alumni Association to specifically promote high adventure programs at the Boy Scouts of America’s National High Adventure Bases.

    Programs such as the BSA National Jamboree may be a “specialty-adventure program” but do not qualify, as it is not a high adventure program. It is also not operated by a national high adventure base (it is not operated by Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base, which is physically located at SBR). The Jamboree offers a unique but different program than that of a high adventure program. As part of the Jamboree, you’ll earn a distinct patch you cannot get by participating in a high adventure program at Philmont, Northern Tier, Florida Sea Base, or Paul R. Christen.

    We hope to see you at Paul R. Christen in 2018 or 2019 on either a New River Trek or Mountain Bike Trek! Information on high adventure programs available through Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base can be found on its website at

  8. If a Scout attended Jambo and did a rock climbing activity would that count as a second Adventure requirement? I think the main question here being does a man made rock wall count towards “3D” or does it need to be a natural rock wall.

    • Somewhere I found a “worksheet” that basically has a checklist. Just looking again I can’t find it.

      However, the requirements are in the Boy Scout Requirements book. It’s really handy to have a copy of that book around as it has all the ranks and merit badges, along with some of the other awards. I wish they threw in NOVA and SuperNOVA. But they might have wanted to limit pages.

      You can find a spreadsheet on the web that someone made that will track a whole Troop. I don’t like it as it is a bit clumsy in putting together all the info.
      I’ve made a spreadsheet that will keep track of an individual Scout’s progress. If you are keeping track of 15 Scouts it would be a pain. Anyway, I will try to email you through this site to give you a copy.

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