National Youth Leadership Training

 National Youth Leadership Training is an exciting, action-packed program designed for councils to provide youth members with leadership skills and experience they can use in their home troops and in other situations demanding leadership of self and others.

For many years, junior leader training (JLT) was an important part of the leadership training continuum of BSA local councils throughout America. In 2003 and 2004, a task force of leadership experts and hundreds of Scouts in pilot courses across the nation reviewed and tested every aspect of the new NYLT syllabus, which incorporates the latest leadership ideas and presents fresh, vital and meaningful training for today’s Scouts.

The NYLT course centers around the concepts of what a leader must BE, what he must KNOW, and what he must DO. The key elements are then taught with a clear focus on HOW TO. The skills come alive during the week as the patrol goes on a Quest for the Meaning of Leadership.

NYLT is a six-day course. Content is delivered in a troop and patrol outdoor setting with an emphasis on immediate application of learning in a fun environment. Interconnecting concepts and work processes are introduced early, built upon, and aided by the use of memory aids, which allows participants to understand and employ the leadership skills much faster.

Built on the legacy of past JLT successes, the new NYLT integrates the best of modern leadership theory with the traditional strengths of the Scouting experience. Through activities, presentations, challenges, discussions, and audio-visual support, NYLT participants will be engaged in a unified approach to leadership that will give them the skill and confidence to lead well. Through a wide range of activities, games, and adventures, participants will work and play together as they put into action the best Scouting has to offer.

Youth Leadership Training Continuum Courses

The youth leadership training continuum is divided into three courses: The first course is Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (ILST), which is designed to be run frequently in a troop setting. The Scoutmaster and senior patrol leader will conduct this three-hour training whenever there are new Scouts or there has been a shift in leadership positions within the patrol or the troop.

The second course is the council-level, week long National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) and is often held at a council camp. This course is an in-depth training covering a wide variety of leadership ideas and skills. It simulates a month in the life of a troop and uses fun and hands-on learning sessions to teach the concepts in the toolbox of leadership skills. The Scouts hone their understanding of service-based leadership as they undertake a patrol quest for the meaning of leadership.

The National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE) is an exciting new program that helps young men enhance their leadership skills in the Philmont backcountry. Scouts will expand upon the team building and ethical decision making skills learned in NYLT. NAYLE uses elements of Philmont Ranger training as well as advanced search-and-rescue skills to teach leadership, teamwork, and the lessons of selfless service. NAYLE offers Scouts an unforgettable backcountry wilderness experience where they live leadership and teamwork, using the core elements of NYLT to make their leadership skills intuitive.

The youth leadership training continuum provides the ultimate in leadership training for our boys, on a par with materials presented to corporate board members. Through each stage of their Scouting experience, the youth learn and build upon skills that will make them the best possible leaders for their unit as well as further instill in them the values of the Scouting program.

Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (ILST)

The purpose of the ILST course is to teach Scouts with leadership positions about their new roles and how to most effectively reach success in that role. It is intended to help Boy Scouts in leadership positions within their troop understand their responsibilities and to equip them with organizational and leadership skills to fulfill those responsibilities. Completion of ILST conducted by the Troop Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster entitles the scouts to wear the “Trained” leader emblem on their Class “A” uniform. ILST is the first course in the series of leadership training offered to Boy Scouts and is a replacement for Troop Leadership Training. Completion of ILST is a prerequisite for Boy Scouts to participate in the more advanced leadership courses National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) and the National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE). It is also required to participate in a Kodiak Challenge Trek.

This leadership training is given primarily by the Scoutmaster and the senior patrol leader to all the youth leaders in their troop. ALL Boy Scout troops should conduct the ILST course with every leadership shift—whether it is when the youth get a new troop position or a patrol leadership role, or even when they welcome a new patrol member.

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PLC Training: Patrol Meeting Agenda

A written patrol meeting agenda can help you plan the meeting and can guide you during the meeting.  Be sure to distribute the agenda to your patrol members in advance so they can arrive prepared to share in the responsibilities.  The agenda you prepare will include these key items:


This can be a call to order or a simple ceremony.  A patrol member can be assigned to research a ceremony to lead that the patrol can later use for a troop meeting ceremony.

  • Scribe takes roll
  • Scribe reads the log of the last meeting.
  • Patrol Leader announces the purpose of the current meeting and discusses the weekly plan and program.
  • Assistant Patrol Leader reviews advancement by patrol members


Items of business may include one or more of the following:

    • Plan for upcoming activities and make assignments
    • Plan menu and duty roster
    • Address new business
    • Discuss the Patrol Leader’s report to be given at Patrol Leader’s Council Meeting (once a month).  This should include advancement or skills needs and opportunities that should be passed along at the PLC Meeting.
    • Check and repair patrol camping equipment
    • Vote on issues that need to be decided
    • Build patrol spirit (yell, flag, song, logo)
    • Ask for ideas on what the patrol members want to do at the next meeting or for a special patrol activity

Skill Activity

Practice a Scouting skill that will be needed in the future or continue to work on skills learned earlier in the troop meeting during the time of skills instructions.


Play a Scouting game related to the skills learned.


Use a brief closing thought by the Patrol Leader or other member of the patrol to end the meeting and remind scouts of the importance of what they are doing.

PLC Training: Program Feature Ideas #1

A good place to start with planning your weekly program features is the Troop Programming Planning Guide.  Once  comfortable in using these, you may have the  option of adding flexibility to the program. But be careful. (Too much departure from the suggested troop meeting activities could result in less exciting meetings and/or poor advancement.)


Volume I

Each program feature provides detailed information on four weekly meetings, a monthly highlight activity, advancement requirements that can be satisfied, and some good skills suggestions.

Activities incorporating all basic and intermediate skills your Scouts need for the monthly program are woven into each weekly meeting. Detailed use of program features will ensure regular advancement of your Scouts and provide troop meetings that are fun and
exciting, not dull and boring.

PLC Training: Opening Ceremony Ideas #1

While the Troop meeting opening ceremony might be usually be as simple as a recitation of the Scout Law and the Pledge of Allegiance, the scouts might enjoy incorporating some variation into the opening ceremony.  Here are some ideas that can be combined or mixed and matched:


Scout Law Openings

1. The Scout Law can be used as 12 separate ceremonies. One ceremony could be devoted to the first point, with a reading of the explanation, as in the following example:

Troop: A Scout is trustworthy.

Senior Patrol Leader: A Scout tells the truth. He keeps his promises. . . .

Eleven meetings later, the subject of the ceremony would be “A Scout is reverent.”

2. The Scout Law is recited by all new Scouts.

3. The newest Scout and the oldest Scout lead the troop in reciting the Scout Law.

4. One point of the Scout Law is assigned to each of 12 boys. Each boy, in turn, takes a step forward, salutes, recites his point of the Law, and steps back in line.


Scout Oath Openings

1. Call the troop to attention. All Scouts give the Scout sign and recite together the Scout Oath and Law.

2. After saying the Scout Oath, read the points of the Scout Law with the Scouts repeating each point, as below:

Scoutmaster/Senior Patrol Leader: A Scout is trustworthy.

Scouts: A Scout is trustworthy.

Continue through all 12 points of the Scout Law.


Troop Flag Openings

1. Salute the troop flag. Give the troop yell or sing the special troop song.

2. The Scouts salute the troop flag and repeat after the senior patrol leader the troop’s special pledge, such as: “As a member of Troop (No.) , I pledge that I shall always strive to be a good member of my patrol. I will take part in all troop activities, advance in Scoutcraft, and act as a Scout at all times.”

3. Form the patrols as spokes of a wheel, with the troop flag in the center. The patrol leaders hold onto the flagpole with the left hand. Behind them, their Scouts place their hands on the shoulder of the boy in front of them. The troop sings an appropriate Scout song, such as “Hail, Hail Scouting Spirit” or “Trail the Eagle.”

PLC Training: Pre-opening Ideas #1

The following pre-opening activities should be set up well in advance of the meeting time so that early arrivals will have some constructive, challenging and fun activities to do while the remainder of the Scouts arrive prior to the start of the meeting. These types of activities can be done no matter what time the Scouts arrive. The activities should cease as soon the meeting is ready to be started.

  1. Guess That Merit Badge
  • Fill a table with various merit badges and have the scouts try to guess their names. This could be done by obtaining a copy of the poster which has all the merit badges and by cutting out each one, leaving off the name, or covering up the names with masking tape. Have the Scouts number their page from 1 to 120 and see how many merit badges they can name. (Give a prize at the end of the meeting to the Scout who named the most merit badges)
  1. Disaster First Aid
  • Have some adults or older Scouts arrive early to the meeting and with makeup, create injuries on each person showing various first aid needs. As the Scouts arrive, let them react to the injuries as best they can with the materials that are at hand. Provide bandages, splints, and other first aid items for the Scouts to use. (Give points to the Scouts who make the correct diagnosis and points for the correct treatment. Give an award at the conclusion of the meeting for the Scout with the most points. Include such things as hypothermia, heatstroke, heat exhaustion, frostbite, dehydration, sunburn, insect stings, tick bites, snakebite, blisters, and hyperventilation, various kinds of Fractures) (Backpacking merit badge requirement, # 1; First Aid requirement, # 3 e & f: & 4 & 5; Camping merit badge requirement # 1; Canoeing merit badge requirement # 1; Cycling requirement # 1; Hiking merit badge requirement # 1; Rowing merit badge requirement # 1; Sports merit badge requirement # 1: Swimming merit badge # 1; Water-sports merit badge # 1; Whitewater merit badge # 1; Wilderness Survival merit badge # 1)
  1. Bowline Races
  • Have rope available and have the boys see who can tie the bowline the fastest. Make sure they learn how to tie the bowline from around their waist as though they were being rescued. At the end of the meeting, give an award to the Scout who can tie the bowline the fastest.  To add a degree of difficulty, have the Scouts tie the Bowline one-handed as if they were holding on to a floating log or a cliff face.
  1. Expert Demonstration
  • Arrange to have an “expert” demonstrate an important scouting skill or tradition to the scouts as they arrive. Try to have some “hands on” involvement during the demonstration.
  1. Is it Edible or Not?
  • Have a table filled with various edible plants. Let the Scouts taste them if they want to. Make sure each plant has a name plate with it. Show pictures of poisonous plants with names.
  1. Tie that Knot
  • Give each Scout a piece of rope when he arrives and have up to twenty different knots for him to tie. The Scout who can tie the most knots without referencing a book will win a prize at the end of the meeting. (Requirement 3 of the Pioneering merit badge)
  1. Find the Article
  • Fill a table with newspaper clippings of auto accidents, crimes, and other accidents. Let the Scouts take the ones they like to be included in their notebooks. (Safety merit badge requirement # 1a and b: Crime Prevention requirement # 2)
  1. Draw that Map
  • Have available several copies of the map of your community. Have the Scouts draw a map of your community marking the points of historical interest. (This fulfills requirement # 1a of the American Heritage merit badge)
  1. Tell a Story with a Picture
  • Have the Scouts tell a story by drawing a picture or pictures. Or have the Scouts draw a picture that promotes a product or an idea. (This fulfills requirements #1 and/or #2 of the Art merit badge)
  1. Sketch the Moon
  • Have available a large picture of the full moon. Have the Scouts draw the face of the moon indicating on it the locations of at least five seas and five craters. (This fulfills requirement #6a of the Astronomy merit badge)