After two days of recovering from the conclusion of the four month journey as staff for this year's NYLT course, I wanted to pass on a few comments about the experience. I have experienced and staffed Wood Badge courses in the past. This was my first NYLT. While the programs are similar, there is a huge difference between training adult leaders and training youth to be great adult leaders.
The course itself was amazing. The weather was perfect. The staff was well prepared or at least we faked it pretty well. The participants, well, I never imagined that I would see such a change and growth in some of the youth over just two weekends.
Our troop sent three boys to this year. Staffing the course, I had the unique knowledge of the leadership abilities of Christian, Travis, and Mario beforehand. At least I thought I knew. My role was Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop Guides. During the course I mentored the youth guides on staff and monitored the interactions of each youth patrol with their guide and each other. This gave me the opportunity to see firsthand what our scouts were capable of in a completely different way than I have had the ability to do in the past.
Just like the different stages of team development, I experienced different stages while observing our scouts. Namely they were amusement, shock, and pride. All three displayed great leadership skills throughout the course. This ability was not overlooked by the rest of the staff. In my 17 years as a scout leader, I have never experienced a level of pride as I did while observing from a distance.
Now that the course has ended, I challenge Christian, Travis, and Mario and all scouts to continue to grow. Use what you know and what you have learned to better yourself and your troop. Share that knowledge and be the great leaders that you are while passing that knowledge down to the next generation.
I will end with a section of a book read to the participants in the closing of the course.
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.”
-Dr. Seuss from Oh, the Places You’ll Go!