Scouts prepare to host week-long leadership training

Written by Meredith Foss

Local scouts are hard at work preparing for National Youth Leadership Training, a training course for young leaders that will be held at D-Bar-A Scout Ranch in Metamora on July 10-15.

National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) is an advanced 6-day leadership course that teaches scouts what it takes to be a leader, how leaders should react to challenges, and other essential knowledge leaders must know. As with many Scouting programs, the course is administered by experienced scouts serving as “youth staff.” 

“NYLT is leadership training for youth taught by youth,” Jennifer Sanker, vice president of operations for Michigan Scouting, said. “The course is structured like a Scout BSA unit. As both girls and boys will participate, the structure resembles the concept of a linked troop between a male and female troop.”  

The program is open to scouts who have completed eighth grade, earned their First-Class rank, and been approved by their scoutmaster to attend. 

NYLT was built on the platform of Junior Leader Training: a continuation of the basic BSA leadership training. In the early 2000s a large group of scouts and leadership experts created a new and more demanding course which would become NYLT. They made sure that this new corse included the most recent leadership ideas with vital and meaningful training for the modern scout. 

When scouts first arrive at NYLT, they are immediately grouped into patrols. Throughout the week, these patrols will take on many challenges and must work as a team to solve them. Each patrol’s goal is to find the true meaning of leadership. 

“I think one of my favorite parts of NYLT was when I was a participant,” Teodoro Gammons, a youth staff member, said. “I was put into a group of other scouts that I had never met before. It put me outside of my comfort zone. But, with the training provided through the week, you bond with the group. It was an amazing experience.” 

Every day of NYLT introduces scouts to a new interconnecting concept or lesson. Scouts are taught through a wide array of hands-on presentations, games, quests and discussions. Each adventure that participants undertake during NYLT is as a patrol, teaching the scouts that as a group they can be much stronger. According to Sanker, each patrol has a troop guide to help them acclimate to the course and stay with them until the patrol begins performing as a team.

Many past staff members have described their experience as “exciting and eye-opening,” as they were able to see scouts’ skill levels increase throughout the week. 

Those interested in learning more about National Youth Leadership Training or Scouting in general should visit or call the local district office at (947) 886-5736.