National Youth Leadership Training
|National Youth Leadership Training|
|Owner||Boy Scouts of America|
National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) is the current incarnation of youth leadership development training offered by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The program is conducted at the council level over a week or over two weekends. It is intended to provide standardized, in-depth training covering a number of leadership ideas and skills for Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts and Venturers. This training is an element of the overall leadership training program.
In 2010, the National Council merged training for Venturing and Boy Scouting youth leaders. The revised program is open to both boys and girls.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Leadership Skills
- 3 Program summary
- 4 Merged with Venturing training
- 5 Program controversy
- 6 See also
- 7 External links
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
NYLT is run by youth leaders under adult supervision. The Youth Course Director runs course meetings and events, chairs meetings of the team leaders' meeting, delegates duties to other youth staff, assists the Course Director, models the learning and leadership skills, and recruits participants. Assistant Youth Course Directors assist the YCD, oversee audiovisual support, guide the service team, inspect campsites, and prepare a model campsite. Team Guides coach each day's team leaders and present selected sessions and activities. Adults perform administrative services and ensure guidelines are met including health and safety.
Participants are organized as a generic scouting unit. They are grouped into teams of no more than eight. A staff member, designated as a Team Guide, is assigned to each team to coach and mentor the team leader.
The NYLT program is conducted in a one week program, or it can be split over two weekends. NYLT courses are conducted at local council resident camps which provide the necessary facilities for a week-long course. Courses can range in size from 20 to 180 Scouts, generally forming one to four courses, with two to six teams in each. The content learned at any NYLT course is outlined in the national syllabus. It stipulates that, "Each of the core sessions outlined in the syllabus must be presented, with no additional content sessions" and that "The core sessions must be taught in the order that is laid out in the syllabus and with in the six-day time frame." Some councils nonetheless implement small variations in the material taught and may add in other events or special activities not required in the NYLT outline.
NYLT is the most current incarnation of junior leader training program offered by the Boy Scouts of America. Its origins as a program that teaches leadership skills originated on the Presidio of Monterey at the Army Language School in California. Until the early 1960s, junior leader training focused primarily on Scoutcraft skills and teaching the Patrol Method. Béla H. Bánáthy, a veteran of World War II and a Hungarian refugee, had been national director for youth leadership development for the Hungarian Boy Scout Association. In 1958 he was Training Chairman of the Monterey Bay Area Council and a Hungarian language instructor at the Army Language School on the Monterey Peninsula. That summer he organized an experimental patrol to teach boys leadership skills at the Monterey Bay Area Council's Camp Pico Blanco. A group of volunteer Scouters formally christened it as the White Stag program in 1959, and through the early 1960s it gradually evolved into a three-phase, multi-year program. After many years of studying and modeling the White Stag program, the Boy Scouts of America in 1974 published the Troop Leadership Development Staff Guide. It was the first junior leadership program to focus on leadership skills, which continue to be the focus of NYLT.
NYLT is a one-time training experience. Youth must meet standards set for the specific course - generally age, rank, and leadership requirements. Some councils have additional requirements. The syllabus strongly discourages allowing younger youth to attend the program because their physical and emotional immaturity would lessen the value they would receive from attending the program.
The program is designed to mirror the activities of a typical unit over one month, but compressed into a single week. Leadership skills covered include Communicating Well, Finding Your Vision, Developing Your Team, and teaching skills described as "EDGE: Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, Enable." The youth staff is trained in presenting, coaching, and mentoring, enabling them to conduct the program. The NYLT program as designed by the Boy Scouts includes video and other training content available on a DVD. Participants are given handouts containing the information presented on the DVD. The presentations do not rely on the expertise or competence of the youth staff, helping to standardize what is taught in every program. They content allows participants to practice their skills. For example, during the Communicating Well I session, the boys practice reciting the alphabet using the skills they just learned.
The syllabus uses a sequence for learning that the Boy Scouts previously defined as Effective Teaching: learning objectives, discovery, teaching / learning, application and evaluation. Effective Teaching, which was adapted from the White Stag program, was taught in prior versions of the course Despite its importance to the course, Effective Teaching is not presented to the participants as a skill.
The training sequence for each leadership skill utilizes the EDGE process. Each skill is Explained and Demonstrated, then the learner is Guided through its application, finally the learner is Enabled through repeated use of the skills in challenging activities.
- Give youth the confidence and knowledge to conduct a youth-run program thus learning life skills
- Train youth in all aspects of effective leadership, ranging from teaching skills to motivating an organization
- Guide the youth through the stages of team development
- Give youth the opportunity to share ideas and experiences with youth from other units.
- Enhancement of the relationship between the youth and adults.
- Create an environment of Scouting fellowship and fun guided by the Scout Oath and Law
- Experience Scouting at its best.
NYLT is a six-day course during which participants live and work together in an outdoor setting, taking the part of a patrol within a Boy Scout troop or team or within a Venturing crew. The program is usually presented by individual Scout councils in a week-long program, although it can be split over two weekends. Courses contain from 40 to 180 Scouts, forming from one to four troops, with six to nine patrols in each. The program is presented by youth leaders under adult supervision. The senior youth leader (or Course Leader) is responsible for supervising program instruction. Youth staff are designated as instructors. They have direct responsibility for the sessions although other youth leaders may conduct some presentations. The participants are grouped into small teams of 6–8 and elect their team leaders. A youth staff member is assigned to each team as a guide or coach to the team leader.
Simulates troop or crew operation
During the course, participants simulate a month in the life of a troop, team or crew, including troop, team or crew meetings, leadership meetings, and other typical events. They use the patrol method during the course and rotate leadership positions between individuals. They are provided structured experiences that allow them to apply what they learned.
Key course concepts
Many of the key course concepts are represented as mnemonics, or easy-to-remember phrases. These include:
- Vision—Goals—Planning: Creating a positive future success
- SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely
- Planning and Problem-solving Tool: What, How, When, Who
- SSC Assessment Tool: Start, Stop, Continue
- Teaching EDGE: Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, Enable
- Stages of Team Development: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing
- Leading EDGE: Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, Enable
- Conflict Resolution Tool: EAR – Express, Address, Resolve
- Making Ethical Decisions: Right vs. Wrong, Right vs. Right, Trivial
- Communication: MaSeR – Message, Sender, Receiver
- Valuing People: ROPE – Reach out, Organize, Practice, Experience
The program content is usually presented using a computer projector and PowerPoint slides, although some councils choose to use flip charts instead. The syllabus contains the entire presentation, suggested additional content, discussion points, and questions and answers. The course provides activities that give participants a chance to practice what they learned. For example, on the third day, there is a series of round-robin games and events that encourage team work, planning, and problem-solving.
During the program the participants are taught event planning, communication, team development, teaching, leadership styles, setting goals, problem solving and other leadership skills. The program includes team games and other activities that give participants a chance to apply their new skills. Teams compete against each other, including a lashing competition and a geocache game. They learn how to create a vision of success, set goals and make plans, listen and solve problems, and teach and lead. They learn about why it is important to put others' needs first if you want to be an effective leader. They are given opportunities to apply the Scout Oath and Law to make hard decisions and how to remain true to Scouting's values.
The youth staff must have previously attended NYLT before serving on staff. To keep the program fresh, the Boy Scouts require that half the youth staff should be new to the youth staff. The youth staff are expected to attend three planning and training weekends. The objectives for staff development include setting the tone of the course, prepare the staff to conduct the course, give them an "understanding of team and personal development," practice modeling the key concepts, and fun.
The new syllabus emphasizes that it is national program and strongly discourages any variation from the minute-by-minute agenda. The program achieves consistency primarily by presenting content through using slides, videos, projectors, and computers. Local councils are instructed to be sure that the training, information, and skills taught in their local presentation of the National Youth Leadership Training course comply with the NYLT syllabus. While they are permitted to use a local name for the course, as has been the tradition in many councils, they must be sure that the full name National Youth Leadership Training is also used within the course name. Councils are also permitted to add local traditions, but may not alter either the content of the presentations nor the order in which they are presented. In 2009, local councils were forbidden to continue using local, traditional names like "Pine Tree" or "Golden Acorn" for the program in conjunction with the NYLT name. A number of councils do not adhere to this requirement. The Northern Star Council still calls their program "Grey Wolf", the Mecklenburg County Council named their course "Top Gun National Youth Leadership Training", the Transatlantic Council's course is named "Golden Falcon NYLT", the Utah National Parks Council's program is called "Timberline NYLT", and the San Francisco Bay Area Council still informally refers to their program as "Brownsea NYLT". This is the latest in a long line of name changes for the junior leadership training program. Councils are still permitted to add local traditions, but may not alter either the content of the presentations nor the order in which they are presented.
Merged with Venturing training
In 2010, the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America merged Boy Scout-focused youth training with Venturing youth training. Language in the NYLT program was modified to reflect participation of both male and female participants.
The stated goal was to align "leadership terms, skills, models, and toolboxes" between all of the programs. A new introductory-level course, Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops, replaces Troop Leadership Training for the Boy Scouts. In Venturing, Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews was added for the same purpose within Venturing crews. The two programs are intended to help youth in leadership positions within their units to learn about their responsibilities and to "equip them with organizational and leadership skills". ILST is the new prerequisite for Boy Scouts who want to attend National Youth Leadership Training and National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience.
Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting and Venturing youth leaders begin training within their unit to "understand their responsibilities and to equip them with organizational and leadership skills to fulfill those responsibilities." The unit-level training is a prerequisite to taking part in either NYLT, National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience, or Kodiak.
Some Scouts and Scout leaders have found the requirement to use of computers, DVD players, and video projectors and screens, and sometimes generator-based power sources or battery power, within a Scout camp environment to create significant problems. Most Scout camps only have power available in a few central locations, and campsite settings do not provide appropriate shelter for complex electronic equipment. Councils are sometimes forced to present the program indoors. The electronic equipment sometimes also requires the presentations to be made to the entire course, unless duplicate equipment is available, contravening the use of the Patrol Method intrinsic to Scouting. The change from teaching specific competencies of leadership to leadership concepts from industry has also lessened some Scout leaders interest in the program, while some have expressed concern video presentations are not a good way to keep participants engaged. While the NYLT program was changed to more closely align with the current Wood Badge program, some feel that the adult leaders and the youth have different needs and the youth may not be able to relate to the more abstract concepts of the newer NYLT program. In contrast, the White Stag Leadership Development Program, the model on which the Boy Scouts of America's junior leader training program was based in the 1970s, has continued to teach specific competencies of leadership in a hands-on environment fully utilizing the Patrol Method.
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