The North Star Award & other thoughts

Following up on the last post, I’ve done some chatting with some fellow Rovers and would like to share what I have so far. I’m not going to reiterate what was posted there, only what was audibly discussed off-line.


  • Whatever the final product is, it should be treated like a Masters. You go before a board of distinguished senior Rovers (and Advisor) and present your work. Now this work won’t be all new to the board, since a proposal was made to them some time before in order to check that the work would clear the standards. The senior Rovers are not adversarial, but are looking out for the best interests of the applicant. The board’s job is to push the applicant beyond their current abilities. The award should be judged at the council level, ideally by the Rover Roundtable.
  • A National archive of what Rovers have done to complete the award would be amazing. Pride for the individual, as each Rover’s work is celebrated. Exposure for the movement, as we showcase our finest to outsiders. Inspiration for younger members and Rovers, looking to one day complete the award themselves. A general ability to keep standards high across the country, due to transparency. Imagine talking to the media, and having a large reservoir of mind blowing stories of what our organization does at our senior section.
    • eg. This year alone we had 20 young adults travel to Mexico to help their counterparts re-forest 200 hectares of land, a group hiked the trans-Canada trail giving workshops along the way, a third spearheaded the planning and building of a new park in Manitoba, an international youth conference for over 600 participants was planned and executed, and another group put on a successful theatre production that sold out their entire two week run. All of these examples and more can be found online at our site …..

  • The theme of Knighthood has been a tradition in Rovering since the beginning, and should continue. Perhaps those who hold the award are inducted into an Order. (As a note, someone did mention there is the strong possibility that there are issues of calling anything an Order without royal assent. Since this is the brainstorming stage, no ideas are tossed out)
  • A coach/mentor/sponsor should be assigned or proposed for each Rover in order to maximize the learning experience. These could be senior/crispy Rovers and local advisors, though ideally prior award recipients would be chosen. It won’t be possible to have recipients mentor the first couple of years since we have none, but in due time.

The North Star

A few months ago, a small team of Rovers decided to design a Rover award scheme for our local council. We decided on the name of The North Star, since it is truly Canadian, one can always set your direction from it even in the darkest of hours, and stars are something to aspire to be.

The award had four badges to obtain before the final North Star award.

  • Putting In (Service & Leadership)
  • Out There (Physical Challenge)
  • Be Aware (Community & Spiritual awareness)
  • Going up (Personal Development)

Never claimed the names were catchy. Those four are to be administered at the crew level, and we encouraged crews to personalize the names as they saw fit.

Putting In (Service & Leadership)

  • A 3-6 month service activity where Rovers are expected to develop their leadership roles and take an active role in running of the program
  • Can be internal to Scouting and also external
  • Leadership roles is by no means limited to being a leader for a younger section. Leadership roles are where a Rover is an indispensable individual to the success of activity, is making decisions, and has other people working with them.

Out There (Physical Challenge)

  • A 3-6 month physical development challenge or program with set targets and goals
  • or

  • An extended journey that would challenge the organizer in the preparation & the execution, targeting a minimum of 4 days

Be Aware (Community & Spiritual awareness)

  • Can be practical or theoretical
  • Through active exploration of community issues or spiritual awareness and either engaging in a practical fashion or written knowledge based fashion.

Going up (Personal Development)

  • A rover is to under take a project of their choice to develop their skills and abilities in a field or discipline of their choice.
  • The minimum time to complete the project should be 6 months

The North Star

The fifth and final portion of the award is only successfully earned after all four others have been, and an interview to explore if they have lived a “Scouting Life” is passed.

Together they form to create the final product.

This was designed as a non-uniform badge (fire blanket for example) because anything we produce would not have been a sanctioned uniform badge. This allowed us greater freedom in the size of the patch.

Requirement Design Notes:
The requirements were deliberately left open. Rovers are of an age where the individual has to create their own identity. Further work would have been to flesh out examples of what kinds of activities would be acceptable (setting the bar), but a laundry list of requirements is not order. We aren’t Scouts anymore. No need for “Do X many jumping jacks, tie Y many knots, talk for 5 minutes about a topic.”

Of the six elements that the QVA works on, only vocational was not touched upon directly. That’s not to say that one of the four sub-badges could lead to vocational exploration or improvement. We didn’t think it would be as worthwhile to set out a requirement that a Rover should explore different vocations. Typical Rovers are either in a career, working towards one, or have an idea of what they’d like.

Tonight is a conference call for the team working on the top Rover award. I’ll be sure to share the thoughts and suggestions brought to me (thank you all!) and will report back shortly what we talked about.

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