The Challenger Award Print

The Challenger Award is the highest achievement in our Scout Programs
It can be likened to a Walkabout
It is comprehensive and intensive

We offer our Scouts the opportunity to participate in our Personal Achievement Programs and to earn the recognition that comes with significant achievement

The Challenger Award is the highest achievement in the Scout Programs of Adventure Scouts USA for Scouts, and is also the highest Personal Achievement Award Level in the North Star Scout Program.  It represents successful completion of the Challenger Project and recognizes that our Scouts are ready to face the ongoing challenges they will meet in their life.  Receipt of this award is the culmination of many years of progress, accumulation of skills, and development of character and determination.  It is the greatest adventure in our Scout Programs.


girl outdoors with notebook

The Challenger Award is a true test of achievement.  Earning the Challenger Award requires dedication, skill, and perseverance.  We want our Scouts to know the victory that comes with earning the Challenger Award.  Earning this award is not easy.  Our Scouts must sacrifice and develop the skills of patience and stick-to-itiveness. 

The purpose of this award is recognition of the most extraordinary achievement.  It takes our Scouts their entire Scout experience to develop the skills and achievements necessary to earn the Challenger Award.  Earning this award means our Scouts have met prior Challenges, are able to meet significant Challenges today, and are ready to meet them in the future.

In the United States graduation is one of the few opportunities to demonstrate culmination of a significant accomplishment. 

Similarly, one's 18th birthday represents in our society, a measurement of adulthood.  Neither of these necessarily represents an individual's ability to successfully survive the adult world.

Whereas earning the Challenger Award demonstrates our Scouts are able to face the ongoing challenges they will meet in their life.  Earning this award is to achieve the pinnacle of a journey in which our Scouts have improved themselves, have helped others, and have discovered the wonder and awe of something greater than themselves.  After our Scouts have reached the summit of this journey, they are stronger people - people capable of jumping hurdles, taking on significant Challenges, and going to battle with the sword of their own will and determination by their sides.  Earning the Challenger Award is similar to a Walkabout.

Walkabout is an Australian Aboriginal term.  When a young person comes of age in Aboriginal societies, they go out in the wilderness alone for several months, surviving on their own.  When they return, they are considered an adult.  The Walkabout is also a journey of discovery and spiritual significance.  The process of earning the Challenger Award is also a journey of significance as our Scouts develop confidence and say, "I can do this."  Our Scouts have met challenges, completed them, and are ready to confront challenges in the future.

The Astronauts of NASA Space Shuttle Challenger Flight 51-L

The Challenger Award is designed to honor the crew of Challenger Space Shuttle Flight 51-L.  The Challenger crew, a group of diverse individuals, gave their best for all of us.  They continue to honor us by the manner in which they lived their lives.  Their sacrifice is honored every time our Scouts give their best as they stride to become voyagers today and tomorrow into the frontiers of Space, the Oceans and exploration.  President Ronald Reagan reflected on the sacrifice of the Crew of the Challenger flight in his speech after the tragedy.  Below is a small section.

"..... Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, "Give me a challenge, and I'll meet it with joy."  They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths.  They wished to serve, and they did.  They served all of us."

By honoring the Crew of Challenger Flight 51-L, our Scouts and Scout Programs commemorate the way they lived their lives.  The Challenger Crew were dedicated to life long learning, and their dedication to exploration continues to inspire our Scouts today to their best.

The Challenger Project

Completing the Challenger Project is necessary to earn the Challenger Award.  two youth working togetherSoon after joining our Scout Programs, our Scouts begin planning their Challenger Project.  We understand youth grow and change and their Challenger Project may change as well.  However, because the project is so comprehensive, we encourage our Scouts to begin as soon as possible.  Scouts work on the project over their entire Scout experience.  Although they can be thinking about the project as Rising Star Scouts, we encourage them to more comprehensively undertake the journey toward the Challenger Award soon after joining the North Star Scout Program.  This journey will lead them to new places, new friends, and new ideas.  They complete the journey as people ready to responsibly and courageously live their lives.

The Challenger Projects are designed to comprehensively develop the skills of planning, organizing, leading and evaluating which they develop through learning by doing and undertaking smaller projects initially which lead to larger ones, and working with many others.  The projects are comprehensive in nature, significant in accomplishment, and when complete are so significant, they have a measurable effect on the community. 

The Challenger Project is a project which is self-sustaining.  Our Scouts may have chosen to create a new nonprofit, a parade, or a film festival.  Whatever they have created, it is designed to be a project which can continue to improve the lives of those in their community.  The greater community participates with our Scouts.  Though the project is self-sustaining, people are needed to continue to lead and organize the project or event.  That is where our older Scouts come in.  Our older Scouts (14+) keep the project going.

Make a Video

One of the projects our Scouts are encouraged to participate in is the Make a Video Project.  Our Scouts make videos about their experiences in our Scout Programs and we put them on out site.  Subjects include but are not limited to:

* What I Like Most About Scouts
* My Community Service Project
* My Crew
* Did and Do Challenges
* Preparing for the Challenger Award

The Make a Video Project helps develop our Scouts' skills with a camera because our Scouts use video equipment.

Scouts can submit a video either individually or with others such as a Crew or team.  Scouts can participate in other Scout's video, as they will need people to direct the action, help with lighting, makeup and wardrobe.  Everyone participates and takes part in the FUN. 

Scouts are responsible for making a FUN, compelling presentation to get others interested in the community service project of their choice.

Videos are not to contain any copyrighted material.

Scouts will need:

* A video camera (Scouts can use their family's camera, borrow a camera)
* Video tape or digital memory
* A location
* Lighting
* Wardrobe
* Other Scouts!

Note to Scouts:  If someone you are taping is not a Scout, get their permission before video taping them.

* When submitting the video for uploading to our website, the name, address, telephone number, email address, and parent or guardian's name, address, and telephone number if under 18 are required for all actors and actresses.  We will se nd them thank you's for their participation in the video and provide them and members of their family a link to view the video on our website.

* All videos uploaded to our website are subject to our video policy.

Our Scouts gets the chance to document their preparation for the Challenger Award as well the process and results of their Challenger Project.  We upload the videos to our website so everyone gets a chance to see our Scouts' efforts!

The Benefits of the Challenger Project

Though earning the Challenger Award is an undertaking that requires significant time and attention, things worth doing often require significant effort.  Scouts develop determination, motivation, creative and critical thinking skills, leadership skills, and learn how to plan, organize, lead and evaluate their own work and the efforts of others.  Those Scouts who earn the Challenger Award demonstrate they have the right stuff for any future endeavor.  They are ready for what will come next in life such as attending college, traveling, working, and being the best parent possible in the future.  We do not make it easy for our Scouts to earn this award.  Struggle is nature's way of fine-tuning us to be strong enough to survive.  That is what we want for our Scouts - the strength to do what they want to do and the strength to change the world into the better place they envision.  Our Scout Programs publish the rules and guidelines of the competition, called Challenger Policies.