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Issue 92 – Whatever Happened to NJLIC?

Maybe you’re already familiar with the BSA’s National Junior Leader Instructor Camp (NJLIC) at Philmont Scout Ranch. Heck, you may have been a participant or staffer there yourself! Maybe you already know that this premiere training course builds Scout leaders, builds top-flight home council course staffers, and BUILDS MEN.

“It dropped off the ole radar screen! What happened?”maybe you’ve asked.

Well, it’s not gone. It’s simply in its latest evolutionary phase, as the premiere region-based youth leadership-and-teaching training course now called Youth Staff Development Course (“YSDC”).

Remember the famous red-white-and-blue “shield” Scouts wear? Well here’s the new one:


“Hey, what’s that Northeast Region stuff? I thought this was a national course!”you’re now saying.

Well, guess what… It still is! But, instead of being offered only to those Scouts able to afford getting to Cimarron, New Mexico and back, it’s going to be more available to Scouts by being offered in each of the four BSA regions. The Northeast Region is the first, to ultimately be followed by its Central, Southern, and Western brothers. One of the key benefits springing from this is that ultimately more Scouts will be able to take advantage of this course, for less travel money!

YSDC has been specifically designed for council NYLT (National Youth Leadership Training) youth staffers. It teaches Scouts how to be outstanding presenters and teaching-learning evaluators. YSDC also teaches in-depth understanding of key NYLT leadership models.

Councils’ NYLT youth staffers usually attend YSDC very early in their staffing tenure. In fact, some councils send their Scouts before they actually staff a course, so that they’re 100% up to speed on Day One (many councils make it a prerequisite to staffing an NYLT course)! Other councils send Scouts after they’ve successfully staffed NYLT.

OK, enough about councils. What do Scouts who’ve gone through YSDC have to say about it? Well, here’s what three Scouts, from the 2006 courses, had to say…

“To me this camp (YSDC) is more than just a training course for staff of NYLT courses. I feel this has been a life-altering course. A week ago, I would have trembled at the thought of making a presentation. Now, I believe I can make them with confidence. I want to take this back to not only my council’s NYLT, but to my own troop, too!”

Michael, Chester County Council, 2006 Graduate

“This course helped me realize how much better my home NYLT could be. I’m going to be Senior Patrol Leader next year, and I believe the YSDC nightly Problem Solving Panels have been a great help in understanding the NYLT further. The Northeast Region has put on an excellent program for NYLT staffers.”

Tom, Cradle of Liberty Council, 2006 Graduate

“YSDC has been an experience I’ll never forget. I came knowing nobody, and by the end of the week a lot of Scouts felt like life-long friends. It’s taught me many skills in presenting and the ability to take the presentations and skills back to my council and troop. It’s a feeling unsurpassed in my Scouting experience!”

Chris, Minsi Trails Council, 2006 Graduate

Turned on yet? If you’re a Scout, Scouter, or parent, and you want more information about the SUMMER 2007 YSDC courses coming up, here’s who to contact:

Doug Fullman, Northeast Region Program Director

Northeast Region-Boy Scouts of America

P.O. Box 268, Jamesburg, NJ 08831-0268

[609] 655-9600 ext. 222 or

We’re waiting for YOU! Sign up NOW!

NRYSDC Group Photo

Oh, I should tell you this… YSDC will be held in the summer of 2007 in two consecutive session-weeks – July 8-14 and July 15-21– and you can sign up for either one! The venue is a Scout camp in North-Central New Jersey.

Want more? Here’s a brief history…

NJLIC, the National Junior Leader Instructor Camp at Philmont Scout Ranch, has historically been the most important “trainer of trainers” for your local council JLT courses. NJLIC was one of the evolutionary stop-off points springing from the original National Junior Leader Training Camp (National JLTC) that operated at both Schiff Scout Reservation, in Mendham, NJ, and Philmont Scout Ranch, in Cimarron, NM, beginning in the very early 50’s. Beginning in the 60’s and continuing through the 70’s and 80’s and beyond, this seminal 12-day training course originally created for troops’ junior leaders (i.e., Patrol Leaders and Senior Patrol Leaders) became, first, NJLITC (National Junior Leader Instructor Training Camp – Boy, that’s a mouthful!), and then, ultimately, NJLIC.

NJLIC’s purpose was entirely different from the original NJLTC (National Junior Leader Training Camp). Its mission: “To develop the knowledge, skills, motivation and confidence of selected junior leaders to enable them to give superior leadership and guidance to their local councils’ Junior Leader Training Conference.” Where NJLTC was a 12-day course with typically four training troops at each venue, NJLIC became a six-day course, organized into two training troops. Another significant change occurred in staffing. The original NJLTC had just two troop-dedicated/troop-specific staffers—the Scoutmaster and the Senior Patrol Leader—and the balance of the staff comprised experts in Scoutcraft, troop operations, and leadership skills. They provided training content to all participants across all training troops. With the advent of NJLIC, each training troop had a staff of up to ten, including Scoutmaster and ASM, Senior Patrol Leader and ASPL, and as many as six Troop Guides (for Wood Badge folks, that’s “Patrol Counselors”). Another change was in staff age. Whereas the “old” NJLTC courses had adult Scoutmasters, youth Senior Patrol Leaders and usually adult general/specialist staffers, the NJLIC courses were virtually entirely youth-led. Of course, the biggest change was in course content itself. Scoutcraft skills became prerequisites, as did patrol and troop leadership experience and local council JLT (Junior Leader Training) course and/or staff experience. The course content no longer focused on how to run a successful patrol and/or troop, but how to run a successful and meaningful council JLT course. One thing, however, didn’t change: The Patrol Method has been a part of every “NJ” course starting with “Day One”!

NJLITC ran successfully at both Schiff and Philmont for a bunch of years, and between the two venues trained upwards of 750 to 1,000 Scouts each summer. But following the sale of the Schiff property in 1979, the program was subsequently operated at Philmont only, now training between 400 and 500 Scouts each summer.

At NJLIC, Scouts learn methods for effective teaching, how to evaluate learning, preparation methods, and presentation skills. NJLIC strived to develop participants’ knowledge and understanding of specific skills relating to the council-level JLT program, the skills of leadership, plus the “safe haven” and “reflection” processes. Not totally abandoning Scoutcraft skills, these are now used as “teaching tools” designed to create interest and spark imagination that NJLIC-trained Scouts can carry home to their local councils, and to their troops, too.

Then, around 2005-06, both “NJLIC” and “JLT” seemed to evaporate. But they didn’t, really. NJLIC reappeared almost instantly as YSDC, and JLT became NYLT. (A plan had been afoot for years to drop the term, “junior,” and replace it with “youth,” so as not to imply any diminutive or lesser status to the roles of Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, and other Scout leadership positions. Although it didn’t take an “Act of Congress” to finally make this happen, it did take a lot of working in and around longstanding BSA “language.”)

For council-based Scouts, National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) is an exciting, action-packed program in which councils provide Scouts with leadership skills and experience they can use in their home troops and in other situations demanding leadership of self and others.

For many years, Junior Leader Training (JLT) was an important part of the leadership training continuum of BSA local councils throughout America. In 2003 and 2004, a task force of leadership experts and hundreds of Scouts in pilot courses across the nation reviewed and tested every aspect of a new syllabus that incorporated the most current leadership concepts, presenting them in fresh, vital, and meaningful training modules for today’s Scouts. Out of this grew the new NYLT. The NYLT course centers around the concepts of what a leader must BE, what he must KNOW, and what he must DO. The key elements are then taught with a clear focus on HOW TO. The skills come alive during the week as each patrol and each Scout in it goes on a Quest for the Meaning of Leadership.

Built on the legacy of past JLT successes, the new NYLT integrates the best of modern leadership theory with the traditional strengths of the Scouting experience. Through activities, presentations, challenges, discussions, and audio-visual support, NYLT participants will be engaged in a unified approach to leadership that will give them the skill and confidence to lead well. Through a wide range of activities, games, and adventures, participants will work and play together as they put into action the best Scouting has to offer.

NYLT is a six-day course conducted by BSA councils across America. Content is delivered in a troop and patrol outdoor setting with an emphasis on immediate application of learning in a fun environment. Interconnecting concepts and work processes are introduced early, built upon and augmented by memory aids, thereby allowing the Scouts to understand and employ new leadership skills much faster.

Meanwhile, NJLIC moved out of Philmont while “NAYLE” (National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience) moved in. NAYLE is new in both concept and method, different from the historical continuum of troop-council-national. NAYLE is aimed at providing unique outdoor leadership challenges to advanced Scouts who are brought together in provisional patrols for a week-long experience, headquartered at the Philmont Rocky Mountain Scout Camp. NAYLE focuses on the concepts of servant-leader, ethical decision-making, and leaving a legacy, for individual Scouts to embrace in their daily lives.

That’s why YSDC remains so vital – It’s a national-level course that tracks right back to the local council and home troop!

So SIGN UP NOW! This is a CALL TO ACTION – It’s time to check out YSDC and get on board!

Happy Scouting!


Got a question? Have an idea? Found something that works? Send it to me
(Please include your Council name or your town & state)

(Special – January 2007 – Copyright © 2007 Andy McCommish)


About AskAndy

Andy is a Board Member of the U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.

Andy has just received notification by his council Scout Executive that he is to be recognized as a National Distinguished Eagle Scout. He is currently serving as a Unit Commissioner and his council's International Representative. He has previously served in a number of other Scouting roles including Assistant Council Commissioner, Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Den Leader, and--as a Scout--Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. His awards include: Kashafa Iraqi Scouting Service Award, Distinguished Commissioner, Doctor of Commissioner Science, International Scouter Award, District Award of Merit (2), Scoutmaster Award of Merit, Scouter's Key (3), Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award, Cliff Dochterman Rotarian Scouter Award, James E. West Fellow (2), Wood Badge & Sea Badge, and Eagle Scout & Explorer Silver Award.

Read Andy's full biography

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