NISSWA — The Boy Scouts of America’s Central Minnesota Council offered a youth leadership program last week to 37 young people at Parker Scout Camp in Nisswa.
“At its heart the Boy Scouts of America is a leadership program,” program organizers said in a news release. “By living out its mission of preparing young people to make moral and ethical choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.”
One way the Boy Scouts exemplifies this, the organization reports, is through the leadership courses it offers to youth members. According to the Boy Scouts, 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 course ran for six days and each day Scouts were introduced to a new topic, leadership style and team building step. They learned the forming, storming, norming and performing stages of team development. They learn the Scouts EDGE teaching method, which stands for Educate, Demonstrate, Guide, Enable.
The Scouts who are able to come to leadership training are First Class rank and at least 14 years old, stated Kenneth Toole, adviser for the course.
“These young people are the future leaders of their troops and we are preparing them to take on the roles,” Toole stated in a news release.
The young people come to camp and are placed in patrols with other young people they have never met before. This begins the process of team building for them and they continue this process throughout the week. They attend classes taught by other Scouts and participate in patrol activities, which challenges them to put into play the lessons they learned in their classes.
“The whole week is designed to build on itself and push the participants through the team building stages and prepare them to take what they learned and experienced back to their troops,” said Adam Burton, 19, Sauk Rapids, and a senior patrol leader for the course. “What they learn here can truly make or break them as leaders in their troop.”
“It is our hope that the Scouts see that each and every aspect of the course is designed to make them better leaders,” Holly Carlson, who served as the Scoutmaster for the course, stated in the release. “Every part of the course from camping with new people and the classroom materials is prepared by the national organization and studied before it is put in use throughout the BSA.”
This year’s course added a new twist as extra precautions had to be taken to mitigate the possible spread of COVID-19.
“We are requiring our Scouts to wear a mask at all times, we have a sanitization patrol wiping down high touch surfaces throughout the day, we have the Scouts wash their dishes in our dining hall commercial dishwasher rather than in their campsites, we are checking temps on the Scouts, and we are being mindful of their inside time and allowing them to get outside in the fresh air as much as possible,” stated Carlson.
This is also the second year Central Minnesota Council has had female Scouts BSA members take part in the course.
“Last year, I was able to go through the course and now this year I am back helping teach the course to my fellow Scouts,” stated Kylissa O’Connor, 13, a member of Troop 43 for girls, Trinity Lutheran Church of Brainerd. “This year, I got to serve on the staff of the course and share the knowledge I learned last year. I feel really lucky to be able to help educate the future leaders of our girl troops.”
National Youth Leadership Training is offered every year by Central Minnesota Council at Parker Scout Camp.