Youth Leadership Training

Leadership is a vital part of Scouting, and as Scouts progress through the ranks, they assume greater leadership responsibilities within their troops and other units. Scouts in positions of leadership take care of the many tasks necessary for meetings and activities to run smoothly. By accepting the responsibilities of troop leadership, Scouts are preparing themselves to be leaders throughout their lives.

Opportunities to develop leadership skills are every bit as important as recognition or advancement. Scouting offers young people a rich and varied arena in which to learn and use leadership skills, along with a series of training programs to help them develop those skills.

Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops/Crews

The purpose of the ILST course is to teach Scouts with leadership positions about their new roles and how to most effectively reach success in that role. It is intended to help Scouts in leadership positions within their troop understand their responsibilities and to equip them with organizational and leadership skills to fulfill those responsibilities. Completion of ILST is a prerequisite for Scouts to participate in the more advanced leadership courses National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) and the National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE). It is also required to participate in a Kodiak Challenge Trek.

ILST training is conducted at the unit level. Scouts wishing to take the course should talk to their unit leaders.

National Youth Leadership Training

NYLT is an action-packed, six-day program that provides youth members with leadership skills and experience they can use in their home troops and in other situations demanding leadership of self and others. Through a wide range of activities, games, and adventures, participants work and play together, gaining the skill and confidence to lead well as they put into action the best Scouting has to offer.

The Great Smoky Mountain Council offers NYLT annually at Camp Buck Toms. 2024 Course will be held July 14-19.

National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience

NAYLE is an exciting program that enhances leadership skills and expands upon the team-building and ethical decision-making skills learned in NYLT. NAYLE emphasizes leadership, teamwork, and selfless service, and uses the core elements of NYLT to help internalize and strengthen these skills. The NAYLE course is now available at all national high-adventure bases.

For additional information, dates, and registration materials, visit >


The Kodiak Challenge is designed to be an adventure that pushes the boundaries of every participant — one that will encourage you to try new things that may be out of your comfort zone. It is an experience — but one that has its underpinnings in the application of the leadership skills you learned in the Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops or Crews, NYLT, and/or NAYLE. It is, as is all of Scouting, an adventure with a purpose.

Powder Horn

Open to both registered adults and youth who are at least 13 and have completed the 8th grade, Powder Horn is a hands-on resource management course designed to give you the contacts and tools necessary to conduct an awesome high-adventure program in your unit.

The Powder Horn course is typically available every other year.  Additional details are coming soon.