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.