How Do I Develop Youth Leadership?

Youth leadership is the key to a successful troop, crew, or ship

The Boy Scouts of America is the premier leadership development organization for youth in the United States. We offer the tools for youth to become outstanding leaders.

University of Scouting "Youth Leadership College"

The University of Scouting Youth Leadership College (YLC) offers a variety of classes to improve youth leadership skills. The YLC is open to all Scouts BSA members, Sea Scouts, and Venturers. Scouts choose up to six sessions in areas they're interested in from a list of over 20 offerings. We also offer a half-day academy for new patrol leaders and senior patrol leaders. The University of Scouting Youth Leadership College is offered on a Saturday in April and October.

Den Chief Training

Den Chief Training is an introductory level leadership course that teaches Scouts BSA members basic skills of working with younger kids, preparing them to assist the den leader in a Cub Scout Pack. Scouts who want to become den chiefs will take this online course as part of their training. They'll learn den chief responsibilities and tasks, and better understand the den chief's relationship and responsibilities to the den. After finishing the training, den chief candidates will work in a local den.

The Youth Leadership Continuum

The youth leadership training continuum represents the scope and sequence of leadership training courses available to youth members. Courses are available to youth for ages 11 through 20 and delivered in a range of engaging methods using case studies, games, discussions, and experiential education models.

Youth Leadership Continuum Courses

Introduction to Leadership Skills (ILS)

ILS gives an introduction to leadership skills for youth in Boy Scout troops (ILST), Sea Scout ships (ILSS), and Venturing crews (ILSC). The course is delivered by older and more experienced youth as soon as a young person has been selected by his or her peers for a leadership position. The syllabus is available from the BSA through the youth training link on the BSA Training page.

"Grey Wolf" National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT)

The National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) conference is a leadership training course delivered by the local council to help youth develop their capacity as leaders. The leadership skills introduced in ILS are developed in greater detail during the week-long training course. Modeling a month in the life of a Scouting unit is one skill example delivered by NYLT. Troop or crew youth leaders will benefit greatly from the experiences in this course.

The Kodiak Challenge

The Kodiak Challenge is an adventure that pushes the boundaries of every participant and encourages a young person to try new things beyond their comfort zone. The experience is grounded in growing leadership skills learned in ILS, NYLT, and/or NAYLE. It's adventure with a purpose. Participants design an adventure of their choosing and, through the assistance of a Kodiak guide, explore the leadership skills in that adventure. Participants must be at least 14 years of age or 13 (and have completed the 8th grade) to participate. In either case, participants must be approved by their unit leader to join Kodiak. Youth must complete ILS before attending Kodiak.

Wood Badge

Open to adults and Venturers ages 18 through 20, Wood Badge is an internationally recognized leadership development course. Wood Badge serves as the advanced leadership training program for all branches of Scouting, including Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA, Sea Scouting, and Venturing. Wood Badge allows an in-depth exploration and supervised implementation of leadership skills through a multi-part delivery plan called a "ticket." The Wood Badge leadership development program is offered through a local council or on a cluster-council basis.

National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience

The National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE) started as an exclusive program of the Philmont Training Center in Cimarron, New Mexico. Young men and women enhance their leadership skills in the Philmont backcountry by expanding the team-building and decision-making skills learned in National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT). NAYLE uses elements of the Philmont ranger training as well as advanced search-and-rescue skills to teach leadership, teamwork, and the lessons of selfless service. Participants must be at least 14 years old or be 13 (and have completed the 8th grade) to participate. In either case, participants must be approved by their unit leader and complete NYLT to attend NAYLE. NAYLE is also offered at Nothern Tier, Sea Base, and Bechtel Summit themed around those specific high adventure bases.