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SuperNova Awards/Einstein Restriction

I have a star scout who is over-achieving. He has already completed the requirements for the Bernard Harris Supernova Award and is well on his way to being done with the Thomas Edison Supernova Award. My problem is the future and the Albert Einstein. The problem I see coming is that there isn’t a Venture Troop in the area for him to join in order to be eligible to earn it. The closest Venture troop is 45 miles away. I really don’t understand why a Boy Scout wouldn’t be allowed to earn the Einstein Supernova award if he has otherwise met all the requirements. What is the thinking here? There doesn’t seem to be any logical thought process put into this restriction.

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I’m going to have this issue too and not sure who to ask to get answers.

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Have him join the crew that’s far away and have a local leader join that crew as well. Then get to work.

It would be best to form a new crew (or ship) but if it’s just the one, then join an existing crew or ship and get busy.


Why should that be a necessity (or cost)?

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There is no additional cost (at the national level) for a Scout to join a Venturing crew or Sea Scout ship.

The Supernova application says to send an e-mail if you have questions to:


You can ask them if they would open it up to Scouts in troops, and that you have a Scout who is interested in earning it.


There are several awards that are not available to Scouts unless they join a Venture Crew. For example, a Scout must be in a Crew to earn the Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder, Summit, and Ranger awards, plus others. I view the Einstein award as just another Venturing award.


Except that it is the Gold SuperNova award. The Harris is bronze and Einstein is Silver.

Although I guess technically you can dual register as a Venturer or Sea Scout and still work with the same SuperNova Counselor.

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And in Scouting, gold color indicates the middle level. Look at the Eagle palms. A Scout earns a bronze palm for 5 additional MBs, gold for 10 and silver for 15.

The colors of the Supernova awards do not indicate a level but designate the program the award is part of.

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For the Supernova awards, gold is not the middle level.

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This is the kind of response was looking besides the discussion of the topic. My main question does remain though, why is this even a venture only award? I can’t for the life of me see any reason for it. I will create a venture troop in my town if I have to, but those same kids will be in my regular scout troop. All this does is add layers of unnecessary bureaucracy and red-tape to a goal.

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@edavignon - while it is usually true that silver outpaces gold in the BSA, this is not always the case. Journey to Excellence is the first example that comes to mind.

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I encourage you to create a Venturing crew in your town! Or a Sea Scout Ship!

You don’t “have” to create a new crew, if you have only one you could join a crew in another town or pursue a Lone Scout crew position.

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@PaulMcDonald Is Lone Scout an option for Venturing or Sea Scouts? I thought it was only for Cub Scouts or Scouts BSA.

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This is wrong. You have to earn the Bronze before moving to the Silver and then the Silver before moving to the Gold. Gold is the highest in SuperNova.

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I think so… Here’s their page and it doesn’t mention it… but I’ve also heard that they can.

If not, we’re forming a new crew and would be happy to have your scout with us through distance scouting.

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The best and most complete answer needs to come from the original authors of the award, but there is a former member of the National STEM Committee on my Council’s STEM Committee. My understanding is that there was a basic assumption the projects for the Albert Einstein Gold Medal would require access to more advanced research facilities and a mentor that would be associated with those facilities. These projects need to be of a significantly higher caliber and more involved than those done for either the Bernard Harris or the Thomas Edison. (The projects now require a proposal that goes before the National STEM Committee prior to the work beginning.) With that in mind, my guess is the thinking was that very few Scouts BSA (Boy Scouts at the time) would have the maturity and background knowledge to complete this award and that it was more appropriate for Venturers, as they can be college students.

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That is exactly the answer I was suspecting and looking for to help my understanding. I can see the logic behind it to a degree, but with a venture scout aged 14 being able to do this and a boy scout aged 14 cannot kind of defeats the rationale behind it. This kid has already spent significant time in astrophysics labs, a neurology lab, and a cancer research lab. He is supposed to be working his two week spring break in the cancer research lab but the university shuttered for the covid-19 scare. He is going to get it, I was just trying to find a way to cut my red-tape to the goal. Thank you!

Very very few have earned the Einstein SN. We have one young woman in our Council who is in college and is almost done with it.
If your scout earns it at 14 or 15 he will quite likely be either the youngest or very close to it, I would guess.
You might also suggest he work on the Hornaday awards. They are STEM related, but will get him outdoors. It would be a very rare bird who would have the top Hornaday and top SN.

I doubt you would have any problem just creating a Venturing group as an aside to your Troop. As someone else said, there is no fee to double up on Scout/Venture.


I’ll admit to not having a lot of knowledge where the Hornaday awards are. I am learning everything thru on-the-job training at the moment. The “Scoutmaster” title unfortunately did not come with an infusion of institutional knowledge.

No problem.
The Hornaday is for conservation. Think of it as a conservation science fair project. There are some who use the project part of it for their Eagle project. Scouts can double up on the project part.
However, for a Hornaday the scout has to do prior research, then the conservation project, and then follow up research. If the scout does a project and then wants to use it for a Hornaday they are a bit out of luck. That prior stuff has to be done prior.
You probably have a Hornaday Committee in your Council. It might be small. But they would be happy to talk to your scouts.

The information is at

If you have scouts who are interested in the outdoors another award worth knowing about is the National Outdoor Activity Award

There will be no Council Committee for this.

A bit off from the original STEM related SN awards. Back to them. You might have a Council STEM Committee, or the SN awards might be handled by the Advancement Committee. If you have a Council STEM Committee, or a subset of the Adv Comm, they would be a good resource.

As a new SM one of your best resources will be going to Roundtable and asking the other SM a lot of questions. After, of course, we have them again.
No SM knows everything. Just keep at it.
And in a Troop meeting tell any scout who asks you anything to just go ask his SPL. That’s so much fun.