Powder Horn (Boy Scouts of America)

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Powder Horn
Powder Horn (Boy Scouts of America).png
Powder Horn Medal
OwnerBoy Scouts of America
CountryUnited States
 Scouting portal

Powder Horn is a skills resource course for Venturing and Boy Scouting leaders and youth (age 14 and up) of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Powder Horn is also described as a "hands-on resource management course" designed to give Scouting leaders "the contacts and tools necessary to conduct an awesome high-adventure program" in their Scouting unit.[1] The goals of Powder Horn are to help Scout leaders safely conduct outdoor activities of a fun and challenging nature, provide an introduction to the resources necessary to successfully lead youth through a program of high adventure, and familiarize participants with the skills involved in different high adventure disciplines. The Powder Horn course will also introduce Venturing leaders to the Ranger youth award program, so adults may better help Venturers in meeting the Ranger award requirements. Powder Horn presents a wide variety of hands-on high adventure skills experiences, and thus is not designed to provide specific skills certifications. The course is meant to be held over a one-week period or two three-day weekends. Youth attendees will get first-hand experience and information as well as resources so they can better act as Event Chairs for their units.


There is not currently an official Powder Horn website. Since at least 2003, an unofficial website has been maintained by Powder Horn volunteers.[2] Interested Scouters should contact their local council service center for official information about upcoming Powder Horn courses, and an unofficial list of many current courses can be found at:



Texas Branded Mug

The official Powder Horn course logo is an old-fashioned pioneer's powder horn suspended from the BSA universal emblem.

State-specific logos[edit]

Some states may choose to create a custom Powder Horn logo, such as a Texas star suspending a powder horn.[citation needed]


"Created in Texas 1998 and introduced at Philmont Scout Ranch fall 1999 for Ranger - High Adventure program development."

The Powder Horn course was initially created in the state of Texas in 1998, and subsequently presented at the Philmont Scout Ranch in the fall of 1999. The course was then rolled out to be run at region and area levels, and can now be offered by local councils. There is now a Powder Horn Course Director Conference, usually held in each region at least once a year. Attendance at such a course is no longer mandatory for those who wish to conduct a Powder Horn course as a course director.


The Powder Horn staff specifically promote a custom-tailored Venturing-like Scouting leadership culture.

Crew method[edit]

Course participants are organized into numbered Crews, playing the role of Venturing youth. Each Crew is assigned a Crew Guide, an operational course staff member playing the role of an older Venturing youth. The Powder Horn course director is assigned to be the Venturing Advisor, and assistant course directors are assigned to be Associate Advisors, playing the roles of Venturing adult leaders.

Daily theme[edit]

Powder Horn course staff may choose to provide dress and activity themes on a day-by-day basis. Staff members and participants are encouraged to wear clothing or costumes matching each day's theme, and additional theme-related activities or food may be available. Possible themes include wild west cowboys, area 51 aliens, and pirates.


An emphasis is placed on providing a relatively relaxed atmosphere, focused on fun and enjoyment of the many hands-on experiences presented.


Miscellaneous gear

Like many other Scouting experiences, course participants have the opportunity to acquire[clarification needed] multiple pieces of Powder Horn paraphernalia and documentation.


A Powder Horn recognition certificate, along with both the hanging medal and pin medal awards.

Upon successful completion of the course, Powder Horn participants may be formally recognized with a certificate and medal. The certificate is suitable for framing.


The original Powder Horn medal consisted of the Powder Horn logo suspended from a button catch and hung from the button on the left breast pocket of a Scouting field uniform shirt.

The new Powder Horn medal consists of a smaller Powder Horn logo mounted on a pin with a butterfly military clutch as backing. The pin medal is worn on the left breast pocket flap in the same approximate location as the original hanging medal, near or above the pocket's button. Scouters may optionally choose to wear their pin medal as a device or hat pin, per applicable Scouting uniform regulations.


Powder Horn participants may be provided a custom nameplate, suitable for wear on any Scouting uniform shirt.


Powder Horn participants may be given the opportunity to purchase a variety of custom Powder Horn belt-buckles, suitable for wear on any Scouting uniform belt.

Activity uniforms[edit]

Powder Horn participants may be provided one or more custom Scouting shirts, and additional shirts may be available for purchase.


Each Powder Horn course provides an introduction to a variety of high adventure skills, limited only by what is available in the region where the course is being held.

Possible high adventure skills include:



  1. ^ "Adult Training". Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved September 11, 2013.
  2. ^ "Unofficial Site". Powder Horn Volunteers. Retrieved September 11, 2013.