Venturing logo   Sea Scouting logo

Venturing and Sea Scouting Awards


The Venturing program, which, in 1998 replaced the portions of the old Explorer program which were not transferred to the Learning for Life organization, originally created a series of awards for Venturers called the Bronze, Gold, and Silver Awards. In May, 2014, a new set of awards were introduced, to replace the Bronze, Gold, and Silver Awards.  The new awards, are named the Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder, and Summit Awards.  Venturers could continue earning the current (Bronze, Gold, and Silver) awards until  December 31, 2014. Beginning in May 2014, Venturers could also convert to the new awards.  If they did so, existing Venturers had to begin with the Discovery Award, while new Venturers began with the Venturing Award.  All Venturers must now utilize the new awards requirements.

Keep in mind that Venturing Crews are separate units, and should not be confused with what were formerly the similarly named Venture Patrols (now known as Older Scout Patrols) which can exist in Boy Scout Troops. For a brief introduction to the Venturing Program, its advancement program, and how forming a Venturing Crew can supplement to your existing Troop program, check out the PowerPoint slide presentation by Brad Harris, former Associate Director, Venturing Division, BSA, which we have available:

Venturing - The Next Step ...

As mentioned above, the original program consisted of a series of three awards, the Bronze, Gold, and Silver Awards, which could be earned in sequence by all Venturers, no matter their specialty.  The new program has four awards, the Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder, and Summit Awards.  In addition to those awards, Venturers may also earn Specialty Awards, including the Ranger Award, for Outdoor/High Adventure activity, the TRUST Award for Religious Life activities, and the Quest Award, for Fitness and Sports activities.

The recognition item for each level of the awards will be in the form of diamond shaped uniform patch.  In addition, recipients of the Summit award will receive a medal, and there is a square knot patch for adults who earned the Summit Award as a youth member.  The recognition items are shown below:

Venturing Award Designs

In addition, Leadership Awards, can be earned at the Council, Area/Region, and National levels.

Separate from the Venturing Program, the Sea Scouting program has its own Advancement Program, consisting of the Ranks of Apprentice, Ordinary, Able, and Quartermaster. In addition, the Long Cruise and SEAL awards are available in the Sea Scouting program. Sea Scouts are NOT eligible for the Venturing awards, unless they register with a Venturing Crew in addition to their membership in a Sea Scout Ship, but they are eligible for various other awards open to Scouts and Venturers, such as the various aquatics and hiking awards, .

Any male Venturer or Sea Scout who has achieved the First Class rank as a Boy Scout in a troop or Varsity Scout in a team may continue advancement toward Star, Life and Eagle Scout ranks, and Eagle Palms, up to his 18th birthday.

  • He must meet the requirements as prescribed in the official Boy Scout Handbook and the current Boy Scout Requirements book.
  • As the Venturer meets requirements for the Star and Life ranks, a board of review will be conducted by the crew or ship committee.
  • The Eagle board of review should follow the procedures established by the local council.

Here is some general information and key points about the new awards program:

The Venturing awards and recognitions programs are designed to help Venturers grow in the areas of adventure, leadership, personal development, and service. Awards serve as benchmarks that give Venturers a structure for developing their own personal vision into manageable goals that lead to recognition by their peers, mentors, and the larger community.

The Venturing awards program has four levels:

  • All Venturers should earn the Venturing award soon after formally joining the program.
  • Venturers then proceed by earning the Discovery and Pathfinder awards.
  • Finally, Venturers earn the Summit Award, in which a young person formally serves as a mentor to other Venturers in his or her crew.

Venturing is a flexible program, and the awards program is designed to help all Venturers, no matter what their crew specialty, to grow and develop.

The four levels of awards are:

  1. VENTURING AWARD
    The first step in any journey is the courage to begin. At this level, the new crew member makes a commitment to join and move forward into the experience of Venturing.
    • Award Focus: Joining
      • Commitment to a new experience
      • BSA training on personal safety
  2. DISCOVERY AWARD
    The adventure of participating with the crew unfolds, and each Venturer begins to discover his or her interests and talents. As the Discovery Award recipients develop new skills and competencies, their eyes are opened, and the world expands for them.
    • Award Focus: Participation
      • Small-group management skills training
      • Earn first-aid and CPR certifications
      • Goal-setting training
      • Time-management training
      • Minimum of 24 hours of service
      • Establish and achieve at least one personal goal, including peer and advisor review
  3. PATHFINDER AWARD
    The Venturer’s capabilities and skills expand, and with them come increased responsibility for defining their own way forward in life, service to others, and formal planning and leadership of the crew toward its goals.
    • Award Focus: Leadership
      •  Project management training
      • Plan and lead at least one crew activity of one day or longer
      • Serve in elected leadership position for six months or more
      • Experiential training in conflict resolution, communications, group dynamics, cooperation, and ethical controversies
      • Plan and lead activity to enhance crew sustainability
      • Plan and participate in service of 36 hours or more
      • Establish and achieve two personal goals
  4. SUMMIT AWARD
    The highest award of Venturing, the Summit Award, goes to those Venturers who have matured in their personal direction, skills, and life competencies, and who have accepted the responsibility to mentor others and serve their communities in a lasting way.
    • Award Focus: Mentoring
      • Mentoring and coaching skills training
      • Mentor a crew member in planning and leadership of crew activity
      • Serve in elected leadership position for six months
      • Lead the delivery of small-group management skills and training
      • Complete advanced leadership training
      • Plan, develop, and give leadership to community service project
      • Complete goal development and planning for all realms of personal growth
      • Create personal code of conduct for review by peers and adult advisors
      • Lead and guide ethical controversy and conflict resolution discussion with crew
Current Venturing
Award Program
Original Venturing
Award Program
(1998-2014)
(Discontinued)
Sea Scouting Ranks

Venturing Award
Discovery Award
Pathfinder Award
Summit Award

Bronze Award
Gold Award
Silver Award

Apprentice
Ordinary
Able
Quartermaster

Other Awards & Special Opportunities

Ranger Award
TRUST Award
Quest Award

Leadership Awards

World Conservation Award

Comparison Chart


Advancement Transfers for Foreign Scouts

Questions arise occasionally on whether a youth moving to the USA from another country can use the advancements he or she had earned in that country toward advancement in a BSA unit. For the answer, click here.


Page updated on: July 09, 2015



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