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National Outdoor Award for Riding Clarification

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Is it me, or are the requirements for the National Outdoor Awards Program some of the worst written in the entire program?

So, I am trying to interpret what the requirements for riding actually mean.  In my case, we are looking at Cycling and we are in the Boy Scout Program.  So, this is how I am interpreting things.  Does this look right to everyone?

Requirement 2 says earn Cycling merit badge and 100 miles of cycling.  So, if we do the road bike option on the merit badge that is 150 miles, then the extra mileage is a total of 250 miles for this requirements.  Since the cycling merit badge only specifies using the buddy system and the extra 100 has no stipulation on it, I assume this means the scout can ride this mileage without it being a formal part of the program.  Does this sound reasonable?

Requirement 3 says complete 200 miles of riding.  Of course, these have to be under the auspices of the BSA, which means they have to be official events for the patrol, troop, etc.  But, this requirements counts the 200 miles done for requirement 2.  Which, since my scouts have 250 miles for requirement 2 means they are done with requirement 3, correct?

Finally, the extra devices.  A gold device is earned for every 100 additional miles as stated in requirement 3.  So, this means these miles have to be ridden as part of a scouting event since requirement 3 requires the riding to be done under the auspices of the BSA.  Correct?

So, the extra 50 miles we did on the merit badge and requirement 2 will only count toward the gold device if those miles were done as part of an official patrol/troop event.  Once again, does this sound right?

If you interpret this differently, I would appreciate it if you would explain to me your interpretation.

Finally, does anyone have any idea why they made this so complicated?  The record keeping for this is going to be a significant pain in the neck.


Thanks in advance,

Rob Hix


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For clarification, "under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America" includes activites done as part of a merit badge even if those activities are not done as part of a unit's program.  For example, backpacking trips, bike rides and hikes that my son and I have done outside of scouting were credited toward merit badges and therefore were "under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America" and thefore count toward the National Outdoor Award.


For requirement #2, the additional 100 miles of riding doesn't need to be under "the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America" because the requirement doesn't have that condition.  So I agree with your reading.


For requirement #3, the miles done for requirement #2 explicity count, so you have more than 200 miles and the scout has met requirement #3.


As for the devices, I've read those requirements to be additional nights, miles, etc. done after the base award was earned.  So, I wouldn't count the additional 50 miles done for Requirement #2 toward a device even if it was done under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America.  For our Troop, we have "Troop bike rides" where the boys earning the cycling merit badge are joined by others in the Troop.  Those rides are "under the auscpices, so they count."  Accompaning a couple of other scouts on a 50 miler gets the gold device quickly.


As for record keeping, have the boys keep track of their accomplishments.  It makes your life easier.

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