By Ken Cluff
Feb 26, 2015

Beyond the Eagle— Varsity Scout Awards

VS letter

Varsity Scout Letter, Letter Bars, Activity pins and Denali Award

Varsity Scouting has awards that distinguish it from other BSA programs. Pictured below are some of these Varsity Scout Awards that are only available to Varsity Scouts and their leaders.

The Varsity Scout letter is awarded to team members who participate in an “ultimate adventure.” Ultimate adventures are based on high-adventure or sports program features and are preceded by training or practice sessions. High- adventure/sports activities occur every three to six months, but teams participate in a ultimate big event for that particular Program Feature activity.

The “V” emblem may be placed on the bottom-front of a Merit Badge sash, or on a blaze (orange) Varsity Scout jacket.

Gold bard

Each gold bar represents each additional letter you have earned

Because some high- adventure/sports activities planned by the Program Manager may not have corresponding Varsity Scout activity pins, it is possible for a letter emblem with more letter bars than activity pins.

Youth requirements for the Letter

  • Be a registered Varsity Scout team member.
  • While a team member, actively participate in or accomplish at least one high-adventure/sports program to the satisfaction of the Varsity Scout Coach.
  • Have an attendance record at team meetings and activities of at least 75 percent for three consecutive months.
  • Satisfy the Varsity Scout Coach that you know and live by the Scout Oath and Law.

Adult Requirements for the Letter

  • Complete Varsity Scout Leader Basic Training which includes:
    –  Youth Protection Training
    –  Orientation Training “This is Scouting”
    –  Fast Start Training
  • Varsity Leader Specific Training or Varsity Vision
  • Outdoor Leader Skills Training
  • Attend at least six Varsity Huddles (Roundtables).
  • Complete a minimum of six months as a registered Varsity Scout leader.

Activity Pins

Varsity_Scout_Activity_PinsVarsity Scouts and their leaders can earn Activity Pins in several areas of high adventure and sports. Program resources and official pins are available for backpacking, basketball, bowling, canoe camping, caving, cross-country skiing, cycling, discovering America (wild card), fishing, freestyle biking, frontiersman, mechanics, Operation On- Target, orienteering, rock climbing and rappelling, roller hockey, shooting sports, snow camping, soccer, survival, swimming, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, waterskiing, and whitewater canoeing. The requirements for earning an activity pin are determined locally by the team leaders and are usually awarded at the conclusion of each ultimate adventure or sports season.

Varsity Scout Denali Award

180px-Varsity_advancement2The Denali Award is a Varsity Scouting pinnacle, but it’s not a rank.Think of the Denali Award as a recognition on the way to Eagle (or after the Eagle rank is earned).

The Denali Award is available only to a Varsity Scout team’s youth members who have already earned the Varsity Scout letter. Denali is the name American Indians gave Mount McKinley, in central Alaska. The requirements for the award are:

  1. Be a registered Varsity Scout team member.
  2. Advance one rank toward Eagle. If you are already an Eagle Scout, earn a Palm.
  3. Hold leadership positions in a Varsity Scout team for at least six months.
  4. a) While serving as team captain or a program manager, act as primary leader on at least two activities. Program managers should choose activities in their field of emphasis. Team captains may be primary leaders of activities in any of the five fields of emphasis.
    b) While serving as a program manager or team captain, demonstrate shared leadership skills by participating in supportive roles in activities in each of the three remaining fields of emphasis.
  5. Satisfy the team captain that you know and live by the Varsity Scout Pledge. 6.
  6. Complete a board of review (District or council representatives are not involved).


Ken Cluff
Author: Ken Cluff | Editor, The Varsity Vision Newsletter

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