The Training Spectrum

There is a wide range of training courses offered by the BSA for both scouts and adult leaders. This ranges from well-rounded basic courses up to highly advanced and focused full week courses at the Philmont Training Center in Cimarron, New Mexico.

Youth Leader Training

Basic: Troop Leadership Training

The TLT is the basic core training for youth leaders. It is run by the troop, and generally takes about 3 1/2 hours. Youth leaders are expected to retake the course when they change positions of responsibility with the troop. Troop Leadership Training introduces some of the concepts and skills that are the cornerstones of more advanced courses such as the National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT). Youth leaders who have successfully completed TLT for their current position are entitled to wear the "Trained" emblem.

Supplemental: Advanced Troop Leadership Training and Patrol Leader Development

Training of youth leaders is an ongoing process throughout the program year. Indeed, it is one of the primary tasks of both the Scoutmaster and the Senior Patrol Leader. In addition to this, there are some supplemental specialized immediate level training courses that build on the core course and emphasize various aspects of the youth leader's reponsibilities.

Advanced Troop Leadership Training is Troop 6's intensive year long program of both training and personal advancement / skills development. One scout is selected from each school grade by a consensus of the senior adult leadership for inclusion in this program. Cobra Training is aimed at developing youth leadership to fulfill the long range needs of the patrols and the troop. The group is formed into a training patrol, the Hawks, for program activities.

Patrol Leaders Development is a day long course run by the Westchester-Putnam Council once a year. Aimed at helping Patrol Leaders plan and run successful petrols, the course bridges TLT and the advanced National Youth Leadership Training.

Advanced: National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT)

NYLT is a week long (or two full weekend) advanced leadership course open to First Class scouts between the ages of 13 to 17 that have positions of responsiblity and are recommended by their troop. It is a National level course, but it is run and administered by local councils.

From the Westchester-Putnam Council web site:

"National Youth Leadership Training is an exciting, action-packed program designed for councils to provide youth members with leadership skills and experience they can use in their home troops and in other situations demanding leadership of self and others.

"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 the patrol goes on a Quest for the Meaning of Leadership."

Troop 6 offers to send one or two scouts per year free of charge to NYLT. This is accomplished because of a special donation made to the Troop for that purpose. Former SPL Jonathan Nwaru was the last scout to take and complete the course in 2006.

Highly Advanced: NAYLE

The National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE) is a true national program offered by the Philmont Training Center and based at Philmont's Rocky Mountain Scout Camp. It is available to Boy Scout youth leaders who are aged 13 to 17 and have completed NYLT. NAYLE replaces the National Youth Leader Instructor Camp.

From the NAYLE site:

"This camp is designed to provide you with a Philmont based wilderness encounter that motivates you to follow a life of helping others succeed based on the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Law. The Philmont leadership is committed to making NAYLE a very special experience. You will live in a patrol setting at Rocky Mountain Scout Camp where you will use leadership skills to resolve exciting and challenging backcountry situations.  This week will conclude with a closing challenge for each Scout to build upon the Legacy of Waite Phillips, the benefactor of the Philmont Scout Ranch."

"NAYLE will equip youth leaders to be better Troop Leaders, NYLT staff members and/or superior camp staff.  It will help guide a Scouts’ journey in leadership service to others, able to develop all members of whichever team they lead.  It provides life skills for now and the future."

From the Scouting Magazine article on NAYLE:

"Leadership skills will be honed through ethical decision making and participation in Philmont Ranger backcountry training. Some of the NAYLE components include:

  • Patrol planning and goal setting
  • Project COPE
  • Wilderness first aid
  • Leave No Trace camping
  • GPS land navigation
  • Search and rescue methods
  • Conservation."

Adult Leader Training

Basic Training for Adult Scouters

The primary level of training for adult scouters, completion of which entitles the scouter to wear the "Trained" emblem. Basic training is composed of three core courses (Fast Start: Boy Scouting, Youth Protection Training, and New Leaders Essentials) and specific training according to the position held in the Troop. These courses are given at the District and Council level. Many of them are available on-line at the National Council site.

For a detailed explanation of how to sign up and complete courses on-line, click here.


Supplemental Training for Adults

Supplemental training course are offered at the District, Council, and National level. These course emphasize a particular aspect of the Scouting program and the role of adult leaders in them. Some of the supplemental training courses are required to supervise particular types of activities. Someone with Safe Swim Defense is required for all swims, someone with Safety Afloat for all boating activities, and , as of January 1, someone with Weather Hazards for all outdoor activities. All three of these course are available on-line at the National Council site. Most of these courses are relatively short, taking approxiately one hour. See our National E-Learning page for instructions on how to do courses on-line. There are many other courses available, including Merit Badge Counselor Training, some of which are offered at the University of Scouting.

The University of Scouting

The University of Scouting is a day long program run by the council. There are dozens of courses available, each an hour long, dealing with specific issues in Boy Scouting, Cub Scouting, Service / OA, and the Commissioner's Service. Participants who complete a certain number of courses earn "degrees." The University of Scouting is a good opportunity to take supplemental training in the area of interest for each participant.

See Westchester-Putnam Council's info on the University of Scouting.

Advanced: The Wood Badge

Wood Badge is the advanced training course for all Scouters, regardless of program. It is a national course, administered by the Region and held by a council or group of councils. In recent years, Westchester-Putnam has paired up with the Greater New York Councils of New York City to hold this course.

Originally held at Gilwell Park in England by Baden-Powell himself, the program has expanded from the Scoutmasters course of 1919 to an all inclusive course for all Scouters with the Wood Badge for the 21st Century. For some interesting Wood Badge history, including how the course got its name and the significance of the tartan desigh, check out the Wood Badge page on You can also check out Westchester-Putnam Council's site for news on the next Wood Badge course.

Highly Advanced: Philmont Training Center

The Philmont Training Center offers 50+ week-long conferences each year on highly specialized topics. These conferences are run at National Council's premier facility, the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico. Applicants must be recommended by the National Committee or their local councils. Staffing is by the top scouters nationwide in these fields.

Some of the Boy Scout conferences for 2008 are:

  • Boy Scout Advancement
  • Boy Scout Roundtables
  • Building Strong Scout Troops
  • Climbing and Rappelling
  • Developing Supplemental Training Courses
  • Ethical Leadership - The Oath and Law in Action
  • Geocache and Scouting
  • High-Adventure Trek Planning
  • Philmont Leadership Challenge
  • New Youth Leadership Training Continuum
  • Order of the Arrow Adviser Training
  • Project COPE Director Training
  • Putting more outing in Scouting
  • Recruit, Train and Retain
  • Scouting and Conservation USA
  • Strictly for Scoutmasters
  • Strictly for the Troop Committee
  • Teaching Advanced Outdoor Skills
  • Teaching Basic Outdoor Skills
  • The Trainer's EDGE
  • Troop Operations - The Relation between the Committee, Scoutmaster and Scout
  • Volunteer/Professional Relationship-Delivering the Promise Together
  • Webelos to First Class
  • Wilderness First Aid

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Last Updated: September 18, 2008