National Youth Leadership Training Academy - Los Angeles 2016
A leadership experience truly unlike any other - the Boy Scouts of America Train the Trainers Program for National Youth Leadership Training. NYLT LA 2016 was all about creating better leaders to run local National Youth Leadership Courses in their respective councils in the Western Region of USA.The NYLT Leadership Academy trains youth staff to be world-class leaders, presenters and evaluators of their council National Youth Leadership Training course. The Leadership Academy’s goal is to develop a staff dedicated to infecting each participant with an enthusiastic force of learning that will instill in them a growth experience that will last a lifetime. This goal will be accomplished through the establishment of a special place where learning and mutual respect are fostered within the ideals of the Scout Oath and Law.
Being a Scout from Trinidad and Tobago, I was tremendously honored to be selected to attend this course thanks to the InterAmerican Leadership Training Council. As soon as the course began, it was a totally fun yet hectic and extremely productive journey that ensured holistic development in all participants. Being one of the 2 international Scouts participating in a Boy Scout of America event, I was intimidated at first but the staff and participants made me feel like one of their own in a few hours.
I was quite surprised that not only was there a youth staff that ran the course but also at the professional, mature yet enthusiastic manner in which they did it. Never in my wildest dreams could I have envisioned the perfect blend of fun and learning that existed at the Academy. Games and songs were everywhere, allowing expression and joy, most memorable at meals during 'mealtime shenanigans'. Yet, we found ourselves engulfed in absorbing knowledge on deeper and complex levels on leadership skills such as the Teaching EDGE and the Leading EDGE methods, Stages of Team Development and the Be, Know, Do Leadership way. Every morning we had to present a 15 minute presentation to our team and one or two members of adult staff on a topic that was presented to us the night before. We had to plan out our presentation on a really helpful Presentation Planning Form and each presentation needed to be unique and personalized. After each presentation, we would evaluate ourselves and then the rest of the team would evaluate us using an evaluation form, providing feedback in the 'Sandwich method' to ensure positive motivation. To be honest, it was quite challenging but definitely worth it in the end as we attempted to perfect our presenting and evaluating skills while learning all the content on the topics we presented on.
I started off the week shaky but eventually I developed my presenting skills and by the end of the week I grew confident in my new ability, what seemed to be my new superpower.
We also had forums with the adult staff everyday and problem solving panels about problems we faced in our councils in our own leadership courses. The participating staff and the course staff grew closer and closer together as one big high-spirited Scouting family. Problem Solving, Conflict Resolution, Servant Leadership and Leading Yourself were amongst some of the topics we went through. We were even taught how to run Emergency First Aid and Geocaching sessions.
One of the most memorable parts of the course was the guest speakers that they brought, all of whom were Scouts. CEO's a mayor and even an astronaut brought a higher feeling of motivation and inspiration to all present. We even had a hike day where I presented to the astronaut Mike Fossum without even knowing who he was. Later that day he led the tour of the Space Exhibit at the California Science Centre telling us about his experience in space as we saw a real life space shuttle. Another unforgettable moment on hike day was walking up some hills going to the observatory in Griffith Park and then noticing the Hollywood sign for the first time not too far away.
The staff made the entire course memorable and enjoyable with their fun events, campfire performances, unique presentations, flag raising and lowering assemblies, and the opening and closing ceremonies. The skills we learnt, the fun we had, the friends we made and the leadership trainers we became are all part of the end results of one of the greatest leadership training programmes in the world. I'm proud to be a part of #NYLTLA2016