Wednesday, January 14, 2015

NYLT Day 6

Today was the final day of the course. (Also the first day of a new year.) We packed up our tents and gear, began the day with an assembly at the flagpole, then ate breakfast and got to work on cleaning up camp. Soon, parents began to arrive, and we all ate lunch. Then each patrol gave presentations or performed skits teaching about leadership, before a final ceremony. Then we all went home.
Overall, the course was definitely a challenge for me - in communicating, and in getting along with other people. I feel like there were some times when I stepped up and took the lead, and others when I did not feel invested in my patrol, and did not really care how well we did. Overall, I think the experience was a good one to have, and I hope I have learned something from it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

NYLT Day 5

Today, New Year's Eve, is the last full day of the course. Tomorrow, we will be preparing to meet our families and go home. Most of today we spend preparing for tonight's outpost camp out, although we also did a few more presentations in the morning. The outpost camp out utilized many of the skills that we had been taught over the previous week.
We still need to work on our skit for tomorrow, but it's difficult to get everyone to focus enough to have a legitimate practice. The course is nearly over, and it has not been easy, but I'm glad I came.

Monday, January 12, 2015

NYLT Day 4

Today, we learned about the EDGE method for teaching, which was pretty familiar for most of us. Our guides demonstrated using the method to teach us how to use a GPS device for geocaching, which we practiced. We also learned about conflict resolution, which was probably the most interesting subject so far.
In the model troop meeting portion of the day, we learned about packing a backpack (for backpacking, not for school. Even Scouting cannot save us from the weight of textbooks). There was also a geocaching challenge. Our patrol was the slowest, but we did not give up and finished the course. The Making Ethical Decisions presentation was the last session for the day, and then the individual patrols had campfires to themselves.
I do wonder what type of Scout this course is designed for - I know it could be good for any Scout, but I think it would be particularly good for crew leaders of high adventure activities, the top three officers in Venturing crews, and patrol leaders in troops. I would be curious to know the age and rank of the Scouts going through the course in councils where the course has been established and successful for a period of time.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

NYLT Day 3

Today, we did sessions on problem-solving and the four phases of team development (forming, storming, norming, and performing). We also did a Round Robin of some different games that reminded me of COPE activities. Unfortunately, we only had a few minutes at each one, and we didn't get to even begin all of them - I wish we had a lot more time for this section of the course.
My patrol set up a tent blindfolded the fastest, and then set up the most of the tent again when we only had five minutes blindfolded to do it. The afternoon consisted of more model meetings, although those did included different patrol games and races. I don't think we won any of those, but it's difficult to keep track sometimes.
We also did sessions about how to apply the leading EDGE to the four phases of team development. I personally feel like this is one of the most useful sessions, especially for a high adventure trip crew leader, but I'm not sure how it could have been used to improve our Philmont experience, even though I know that we definitely could have used some sort of help then.
The last teaching session of the night was servant leadership, led by the scoutmaster, and without even a PowerPoint or a video. It was one of the best-taught sessions of the course. The last part of the day was the Lego challenge. I do wonder if my patrol leader had never seen Legos before, based off how much trouble we had completing the challenge. However, I didn't have to do his job, so I don't know how difficult it may actually be to do the patrol leader's job for this particular challenge.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

NYLT Day 2

On my 2nd day, I got up at 6:30am to be ready for assembly at 7am. We filed in as a patrol for a flag ceremony, and the presentation of a historic flag. Also, the new patrol leaders and assistant patrol leaders for each day were sworn in, and program and service patrols for the day were assigned.
After breakfast, there was a chapel service. This was also an instructional event, as we went over parts to include in a chapel service, the place religion holds in Scouting, and how to make sure that a service was open to all faiths.
The course has a lot of weird time in between sessions - 30 or 45 minutes after each session where nothing is scheduled to happen, and it's pretty boring. I would prefer to go through all our sessions through the day and have a larger block of time at the end of the day to do something fun or relax a bit more, but the timing is set by the national syllabus.
Most of the people taking this course are high school freshmen. There are a few sophomores I think, and I'm the only high school senior (except the ones in the senior staff). I never would have expected just a few years' age difference to make such a distinct difference, but I do feel like it is harder for me to blend in or relate to the rest of the group.
We  did some sessions on goal-setting and planning today, as well as came up with a patrol name. We also held a model leaders' council and model troop meeting. We built pioneering projects. Our patrol won (the first event we have won) with an extremely sturdy, tall, and straight flagpole.
The shower facilities at this camp are pretty terrible. I've never been so thankful for Binachi's bathhouses before; I was taking them for granted.
The last thing we did was watch a movie, before heading back to campsites for bed. Of course, the movie was chosen to go along with the course themes of leadership and teamwork, but it was actually a pretty decent movie as well.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

NYLT Day 1

On the 27th of December, we woke up early. My brother, one of the other boys from my crew, and myself all had to get to Florida by 12pm to begin our first day of National Youth Leadership Training, offered by the Gulf Coast Council at Camp Euchee.
National Youth Leadership Training is sometimes considered "Wood Badge for youth", although it doesn't seem to be quite as intense. It is a prerequisite course for those Scouts who want to take NAYLE (National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience) at Philmont Scout Ranch (or maybe Northern Tier or Florida Sea Base). The course is nationally regulated and has a very specific format and syllabus. In order to take the course, Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops or Crews is required. Our crew seems to have the only Scouts in the council who have had the prerequisite training, so it was only the three of us from our area.
We were not allowed to have phones or technology for the week, so I do not have any pictures. Once we checked in, we met our patrols. This particular course had four patrols of seven or eight people each. Participants are placed in patrols separate from other members of their unit. My patrol had the one other female participant in it, and our troop guide was also female.
The first activity was an orientation, showing us around camp and allowing us to set up our campsites. Then the sessions began. I believe there was one on communicating effectively, and one on formulating a vision - both a team vision and a personal vision. I don't understand how so many high school freshmen know what they're doing with their futures with such certainty, while I'm about to go to college, and still don't know. Personally, I wasn't able to get very much out of the first night, due to a migraine headache.
There was an instructional campfire that night to open the course before heading to bed. By instructional, I mean that it was an actual campfire, but at the same time we were taught about the components of a good campfire, and how to make a campfire a memorable one.