A Path Forward for Grey Wolf
The National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) program, or “Grey Wolf” as we call it in Northern Star, continues to face ongoing challenges as it works to plan for its renowned program in a world turned upside down. As units throughout the country struggle to figure out how to put on programs that keep scouts and their families safe, and meet ever-changing guidance, Grey Wolf volunteers are working hard to find the opportunities that are available to Grey Wolf this year.
Luckily, this program trains leaders, and that is what we need now. Brad Peterson, Grey Wolf Coordinator, assures us that, in spite of the hurdles, the Grey Wolf leaders will “Be Prepared” and will ensure that this year’s program will provide the same elite youth scout training program that has helped shape hundreds of our community’s youth.
In December, when senior youth staff met at the Grey Wolf Academy to map out the upcoming year, everything was awesome. The largest youth staff the program has had in a while would prepare for camp January through June. In January, the entire staff kicked-off preparations, and February held the first breakout weekends where each group of youth leaders would strengthen their own leadership and presentation skills and, maybe more importantly, bond as a team.
But March 2020 was not so awesome. When weekend camping retreats were cancelled, Grey Wolf staff improvised with virtual sessions. Peterson knows that these Saturday sessions could not replace the retreats, but is confident that this year’s staff will use technology, and Scouting persistence, to overcome and to Be Prepared for the summer.
Dave Arola, NSC Training & Advancement Director, notes the planning is taking two parallel paths. One is led by the Council’s Camping Department which is designing all camps to be as safe as possible for staff, participants, and their families. For Grey Wolf at Fred C. Anderson Scout Camp, changes to food preparation and delivery, using smaller patrols and less group activities, and following increased screening and sanitation protocols meet (and usually exceed) the most stringent standards of local health guidance. But, even more important, Arola wants to focus on the efforts that Peterson and the senior staff are taking to ensure the Grey Wolf staff will be ready to put on a great program.
Building on their months of training earlier in the year, Grey Wolf is planning two staff development retreats in July that will help staff bond as a team and finalize preparations for a revised program that will compress the normal four June and July sessions into two August sessions. Although limited to fewer participants, the program will be as close to the regular Grey Wolf program as possible.
What is clear is that Peterson, Arola, and other volunteers and camp staff, are committed to putting on a program that lives up to the Grey Wolf standards. Thankfully, we know that our Scouts, especially our Grey Wolf Scouts, can meet that challenge. Because, as Peterson likes to say, we live with one foot raised - ready for anything. Ready to take the next path, forward.