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If you had a magic wand, would you use it to make the Scouting program better and more fun for youth so they stayed in Scouting longer, so it had a larger impact on their lives? What if the same magic wand made leadership roles easier, more rewarding, and led to better retention among adult leaders? Would using that magic wand be a top priority?

Well, such a magic wand does exist—in the form of the learning programs for leaders in the Boy Scouts of America.

These courses are all designed to help our members improve leadership skills and deliver a quality program. Many of the courses can be taken online. 

Training for Scouts

Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (ILST)

This course is for every Scout in the troop who holds a leadership position, including all elected positions and any appointed positions at the discretion of the senior patrol leader. In some troops, this might mean that this course is for every Scout!

It is strongly preferred that all Scouts with troop leadership positions participate in this course at the start of each term of office, even if they have participated before, and even if they are filling the same leadership position. It is beneficial for the Scouts to go through this course together, even if only some of them are new leaders. In some cases, it can benefit the troop if youth who are likely to become troop leaders also participate in the course.

This course is typically administered by the Scoutmaster

National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT)

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.

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 the new NYLT syllabus, which incorporates the latest leadership ideas and presents fresh, vital and meaningful training for today’s Scouts.

The NYLT course centers around the concepts of what a leader must BE, what a leader must KNOW, and what a leader 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.

This course is typically administered by the District for its Scouts in scheduled overnight events.

Training for Scouters

Youth Protection Training

This course is required to become a registered leader and must be retaken every two years to maintain registration. 

True youth protection can be achieved only through the focused commitment of everyone in Scouting. It is the mission of Youth Protection volunteers and professionals to work within the Boy Scouts of America to maintain a culture of Youth Protection awareness and safety at the national, territory, area, council, district, and unit levels.

This course is available online

Position Specific Training

These instructor-led courses are designed to help Scouters learn how to effectively carry out their Scouting roles. In most cases, completing the course will make a Scouter “trained” for the role(s) covered in the course. E-learning versions of some courses may be completed as well.

These courses will provide these positions with the basic information and tools they need to lead successful Scout troops:

  • Scoutmaster/Assistant Scoutmaster
  • Merit Badge Counselor
  • Troop Committee
  • Troop Committee Chair

Some of these courses require classroom training. Others are available online.

How to access Scouter Training

To take the online training portions, leaders must go to and establish a account. They may click on My Training. From there, they may select YPT Training. There is a link that will also take you to Position Specific Training for your position as well.

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