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The Youth Leadership Training Continuum

What is the Youth Leadership Training Continuum?
  • TLT—Troop Leadership Training (conducted at the troop level)
  • NYLT—National Youth Leadership Training (conducted at the council level)
  • NAYLE—National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (conducted at the national level)

For a chart summarizing the highlights of these courses, click here [PDF]. This chart lists frequently asked questions and provides a brief overview of each course. It allows the reader to compare and contrast the basic ideas among the three trainings. It is beneficial to read this module to understand the interrelated nature of all three courses and to more fully absorb the explanation of the leadership skills contained within each course. Better yet—read each course syllabus.

The vision of the Boy Scouts of America is to be the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.

We strive to fulfill the following objectives:

  • Offer young people responsible fun and adventure.
  • Instill in young people lifetime values and develop in them ethical character as expressed in the Scout Oath and Law.
  • Train young people in citizenship, service, and leadership.
  • Serve America's communities and families through a quality, values-based program.

The youth leadership training continuum (YLTC) plays a vital role in accomplishing this vision. It is designed to be the premier youth training currently available to our nation's youth. The YLTC course material is drawn from the best of the best of leadership courses offered in a wide variety of settings, including those taught to corporate executives. The youth who master the leadership skills offered in the BSA courses will have a great advantage that will give them a lifelong ability for success in Scouting, in their careers, in their churches, and in their personal and family lives.

The youth leader training courses are built around the slogan Be-Know-Do, which serves as the building blocks for all three courses.

"Be" encompasses many of the values of Scouting. The course modules focus on ethical decision making as well as how a Scout can and must put the team's needs before his own needs. The courses are designed to motivate the Scouts to follow a life of helping others succeed based on the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Law. Youth members are taught to strive to be servant leaders—a term that encompasses the concept of others-first leadership. The youths learn to care about others and to help them succeed.

"Know" describes the information that the Scout needs to successfully fill his leadership position. This includes not only the nuts and bolts of the position and its expectations, but what he needs to know about his team and himself in addition to the skills of teaching and leading. The Know skills include such topics as learning about others so that he knows the needs of his team members. A patrol leader who seeks to serve knows his patrol members well enough to help them succeed.

"Do" provides the youths with a vast set of skills to be effective in his position by employing the skills in the leadership skills toolbox. These how-to skills include communication, problem solving, planning, and resolving conflict. How do they create a vision, goals, and plans to effectively get a task done well? How can they use the Start, Stop, Continue method for assessing progress and delivering feedback in a nonthreatening and highly effective manner? How do they determine the stage of their team's development so as to most properly use the Leading EDGE(TM) to guide their progress? How do they resolve conflict and communicate effectively? These are the skills that are taught in the youth leadership training continuum.

The youths are encouraged to practice their new skills after their training. Reminders of what they were taught are well-captured in the memory tips card, which lists the toolbox of leadership skills.


The memory tips card is a great resource for adults as well, for use in both their Scouting roles and at home or work. Adults should get feedback from the youths who attend the training about their experience and have the youths explain how they can best use their new skills, including an explanation of the leadership tools. This reinforces the lessons for the youths and allows them to share their new knowledge with their parents and adult leaders. Adults need to encourage the youths to use their skills in the troop environment and in their day-to-day lives so that they will improve and eventually master the skills that they learned.

Summary of the Youth Leadership Training Continuum Courses

The youth leadership training continuum is divided into three courses: The first course is Troop Leadership Training (TLT), which is designed to be run frequently in a troop setting. The Scoutmaster and senior patrol leader will conduct this three-hour training whenever there are new Scouts or there has been a shift in leadership positions within the patrol or the troop.

The second course is the council-level, weeklong National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) and is often held at a council camp. This course is an in-depth training covering a wide variety of leadership ideas and skills. It simulates a month in the life of a troop and uses fun and hands-on learning sessions to teach the concepts in the toolbox of leadership skills. The Scouts hone their understanding of service-based leadership as they undertake a patrol quest for the meaning of leadership.

The National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE) is an exciting new program that helps young men enhance their leadership skills in the Philmont backcountry. Scouts will expand upon the team building and ethical decision making skills learned in NYLT. NAYLE uses elements of Philmont Ranger training as well as advanced search-and-rescue skills to teach leadership, teamwork, and the lessons of selfless service. NAYLE offers Scouts an unforgettable backcountry wilderness experience where they live leadership and teamwork, using the core elements of NYLT to make their leadership skills intuitive.

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