Description of NYLT
National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) is a youth leadership development training program of the BSAconducted at the council level. It is intended to be in-depth training covering a number of leadership ideas and skills for Scouts
NYLT is a change from the program known as Junior Leader Training Conference (JLTC) and under a variety of local names. Previous versions of the National JLTC as it evolved from 1974 on were known as Troop Leader Training Conference, Brownsea, and Troop Leader Development. The leadership principles taught in the various versions of NYLT and JLTC reflect those taught in the adult leadership course known as Wood Badge.
In 1989 Pine Tree Camp, the Junior Leader Training Conference of the Viking Council in Minneapolis, Minnesota served as the proving grounds for redesign of the Junior Leader Training Conference, a week-long leadership development program sponsored by local Councils for the top youth leaders of Scout troops. (The Viking Council has since been combined with the Indianhead Council in St. Paul, MN, as the Northern Star Council, and their NYLT course is now called Grey Wolf.) Pine Tree's Syllabus was adapted for national use in 1996. But while many councils used this standard JLTC syllabus, supplied by the National Council of the BSA, many used elements from prior programs (Brownsea-22, Troop Leader Development, etc), and there was inconsistency in the program nation-wide.
In 2003, after much research from National, the first NYLT pilot course was run in the Sam Houston Area Council under the name "Gray Wolf". After successful regional pilot courses in 2004 and 2005, NYLT was mandated to be used in place of all JLT's in the nation, effectively creating a standard of training that would be consistent around the country. NYLT's consistency comes from its standards of presentations, which employ the use of slides, videos, projectors, and computers. However, the use of these at camps creates significant problems, as using computers, projectors and screens, and battery hook-ups are difficult to use at camps which have little electric power and don't provide shelter for electronic equipment.
The course was renamed from "Junior Leaders" to "Youth Leaders", according to the NYLT syllabus, based on feedback from the youth themselves, saying that they preferred the term "youth."
The NYLT program is to be conducted in a one week program, but can be split over two weekends. Most NYLT courses are conducted at council-level camps, primarily because these camps are established, have proper facilities for a week long course. Courses range in size from 40 to 180 Scouts, generally forming one to four troops, with six to nine patrols in each. The content learned at any NYLT course is outlined in a national-level syllabus, however each council's NYLT may have small variations in the material taught, and may add in other events or special activities not required in the NYLT outline.
NYLT is run by youth leaders under adult supervision. Adults perform administrative services and ensure guidelines are met including health and safety. The course presentation and instruction is the responsibility of the senior youth leader who acts as the senior patrol leader. Assistant senior patrol leaders are usually directly responsible for staff issues. The quartermaster is responsible for food and equipment. Instructors are responsible for the primary presentation of sessions although the other youth leaders may conduct some presentations.
Participants are organized as a standard Boy Scout troop. They are grouped into patrols of eight or so boys and elect their own patrol leader. A staff member is assigned to each patrol as a troop guide to coach and mentor the patrol leader.
The training, information, and skills taught in the National Youth Leadership Training course are to comply with the NYLT syllabus, where many of the leadership tools and information is found. Training includes subjects like event planning, communication, team development, teaching, leadership styles, setting goals, and problem solving among the many skills covered in the program. The idea is to work as a proper troop would work for an entire month, boiled down to one week. The training itself is often conducted with a lesson in presentation style usually followed with a demonstration or an exercise to allow the participants to practice what they have learned.
The NYLT course isn't only course work and classroom study. Throughout the course, team games and other activities are used to exercise the skills that the participants learn in the lessons. Patrol competitions are also included in the course. Patrol competitions include a lashing game, and a geocache game to name a few from the list of many activities. Even so, the activities, like everything used in the NYLT course is not without reason, they all have leadership skill building in mind. Awards are sometimes given for these activities, and sometimes for other things deserving recognition, such as a Honor Patrol award, a best campsite award, a best spirit award, best troop guide award.
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