Jump to content

National Outdoor Awards Program

Recommended Posts

I am a parent volunteer in our boys Troop.  Additionally I am involved  as a MB counselor and participate in Boards of Reviews.    Recently I have been working towards a grater understanding of the National Outdoor Awards Program.  I am planning on rolling this out to our Troop, but have many questions regarding interpretations of requirements.   I am seeking a SME for questions on the program. Does such a resource  exist?   I have  read a smatter of discussions on the award, however there seems to be a collective opportunity to interpret many of the requirements differently.  Here is one example.  

The Riding segment. requirement is

1   Earn First Class.

2   In  this case earn the cycling MB (Rode option) A for  150 miles + an additional 100 miles.  

3  Complete 200 miles of riding of riding activities under the auspices of the BSA.  Including the miles in requirement 2. 

** A Gold devices can be earned for each additional 100 miles of riding set forth in requirement 3.  


Here are the questions.  A  First Class scout earned the cycling MB with 150 miles + the additional 100 miles they met the requirements for 1 & 2.  Is this correct?  Since the scout rode 250 miles they have also earned requirement 3.  Is this correct as well?  Finally I am suggesting that a gold device is earned with each incremental 100 miles above 200 miles as stated in requirement 3.  Does this sound correct?  

So for a Scout to earn the cycling segment they would need to ride 250 miles.  (Road Option)  + to earn 2 additional Gold devices they would need an additional 150 miles   for a total of 400 miles.  


I included the exact requirements in this post for your guidance.  


Thanks in advance




National Outdoor Awards Program 11-3-20.txt

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...


The Scout earned Cycling, so completed 150 miles.  I think you are saying that, in addition to Cycling MB, this Scout also completed another 100 miles above and beyond Cycling MB, so has compiled a total of 250 miles.

1.  This Scout has met the 200 mile riding requirement in requirement three. (Basic award is 200 miles.)

2.  If the Scout wishes to earn a first gold device, the Scout must ride an additional 50 miles over what is already done.  So, the total mileage personally completed at that point would be 300 miles.  200 miles (for basic award), plus 100 additional miles (for gold device) for personal total of 300 miles.

3.  Second gold device would be at 400 miles, as you deduced.


Link to post
Share on other sites

re 2a: "Cycling merit badge or Ranger Cycling/Mountain Biking elective and 100 miles of cycling" I interpret this as the 100 miles includes miles ridden for the MB. If the Scout follows the mountainbike rather than road cycling they would only have to ride 52 miles so would have to ride an additional 48 miles to meet the requirement.


re 3: "Complete 200 miles of riding activities, including cycling, stock riding, skating, motor boating, mountain boarding, snowmobiling, (including ATV or PWC riding at an approved council program), under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America, including the miles in requirement 2" I interpret this as needing an additional 100 miles on top of the 100 in 2a. So, again if they do the Cycling Merit badge via the mountainbike route, they need a total of 148 in addition to the merit badge minimum.

As an aside, much as I love this award, this shows my issue with it. Mountainbike miles are much harder than road miles but count equivalent here, which encourages Scouts to road ride vs mountainbike. Plus mountainbiking isn't about the mileage, a short steep ride can be much more adventurous. But it would be really difficult to "count: rides by anything other than mileage.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ahhh...I see where the confusion lies...

Commas matter!

The requirement, as written in the 2020 Scouts BSA Requirements book (the source document) says for requirement 2a:

"Cycling merit badge or Ranger Cycling/Mountain Biking elective and 100 miles of cycling"

Grammatically speaking, this should be separated into two options,

A.  Cycling merit badge


B.  Ranger Cycling/Mountain Biking elective and 100 miles of cycling

This is exactly the way this is parsed out in Scoutbook, if you can look there and see it under any Scout in their awards section.

If they wanted an additional 100 miles over and above "Cycling merit badge or Ranger Cycling/Mountain Biking elective", then it should be written as 

"Cycling merit badge or Ranger Cycling/Mountain Biking elective, and 100 miles of cycling" with the serial, or Oxford comma.

They could have written it more clearly by capitalizing the conjunctions with the comma,

"Cycling merit badge OR Ranger Cycling/Mountain Biking elective, AND 100 miles of cycling"

Or even more clearly:

"Cycling merit badge AND 100 miles of cycling, OR Ranger Cycling/Mountain Biking elective AND 100 miles of cycling"

Since the mechanical structure of the sentence is ambiguous without the comma, I'd say you may interpret it in favor of the Scout, and therefore with less mileage required.

If you are the "spirit of the requirement" - type person, you could interpret it more stringently.  Here's why...

Just using the road requirement, the Range candidate has to complete 160 miles (8 x 20-mile tours) and another 50 miles (1 x 50 miler), for a total of 210 miles.  This is more than Cycling merit badge candidate, who has to complete 150 miles road riding.  Do you think the award designers wanted the Ranger to tack on an additional 100 (for a total of 310 miles), and not the the Merit Badger (still at total of 150), just for this requirement?

Commas do matter...

"Let's eat Grandma!"  or "Let's eat, Grandma!"

Whichever you choose, just be consistent with all Scouts until the requirements are clarified (in an official source.)

For another set of perspectives, you can see the thread at https://discussions.scouting.org/t/national-outdoor-riding-award/125461





  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...