Youth Leader Training

Training Today’s Leaders

A successful Troop, Crew, or Ship only comes from engaged, high-quality youth leaders. While adults provide support, it is the youth leaders who lead the charge in making the program great. Youth leaders are more prepared to perform when they are well trained – learn about the opportunities below.


Basic Leadership Training

Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops, Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crewsand Introduction to Leadership Skills for Ships are the basic training courses for troop youth leaders, crew and ship officers, and other youth on the path to leadership. These are conducted at the unit level, facilitated by the top adult and youth unit leader (i.e. Scoutmaster and SPL, Crew Advisor and President, or Skipper and Boatswain). These are pre-requisites to more advanced forms of youth leader training. Contact your District training team or Commissioner staff for assistance in facilitating these for your unit if needed.


Advanced Leadership Training
Once a youth has completed their basic training, it is time to move to the next level. Seneca Waterways Council and the BSA officer several advanced experiences to grow youth leadership in extraordinary ways. 

  • National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT)is a six-day is a Leadership and Team Development training course developed by Boy Scouts of America to enable Scouting youth to lead their Scouting organization. NYLT uses the Aims and Methods of Scouting to teach Leadership skills. Seneca Waterways offers the course annually at Camp Cutler. In 2022, one course is being offered, July 31-August 6th.
  • The Kodiak Challenge is an adventure-based leadership development program that pushes the boundaries of every participant. Youth will work on communication, team development, servant leadership skills, and more. Seneca Waterways is currently developing plans for Kodiak in 2023.
  • University of Scouting is a one day supplemental training opportunity that features courses for youth 12 and above covering a wide variety of general, leadership, and outdoor skills.  
  • 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 youth internalize and strengthen these skills. The National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience course is offered by BSA National at at Philmont Scout Ranch and The Summit
  • The Venturing Officers Association (VOA) offers additional training opportunities for Venturers and Sea Scouts. Learn more at
  • Sea Scout Advance Leadership Training (SEAL) is is designed to teach leadership skills while underway. SEAL is designed to “jump start” the junior leaders of new Ships and to fine tune leaders of experienced ships. It is a demanding and remarkably rewarding hands-on leadership experience. New and experienced Sea Scouts will succeed at SEAL so long as they are willing to learn and work hard at preparation. While Seneca Waterways does not currently have a SEAL course offering, many courses are offered around the country. 
  • Less “formal” leadership development opportunities available to older Scouts include Camp Staff/CIT and the Order of the Arrow. The Order of the Arrow is the National Honor Society for the Scouts, BSA program, and offers opportunities to lead outside of the Troop level. Camp Staff is a hands-on experience that provides youth 16 and older teaching, leadership, and skill development training. Counselors-in-Training (CITs) at camp are 14 and 15 year-old youth who receive a multi-week training program in joining the camp staff.


Outdoor Skills and Other Courses
In addition to leadership training, several courses are available for youth to expand their skills and knowledge of the outdoors and other aspects of Scouting.

  • BSA Lifeguard trains adults and older youth on how to safely supervise aquatics activities, and is a Lifeguard certification recognized by the New York State DOH. Currently, one course is offered at Brockport High School on Monday nights January to March. Contact course director Ken Rombaut for more information,
  • OKPIK is a “Classroom Style” training experience designed to make leaders aware of the physiological and psychological aspects of winter camping, as well as the great variety of winter camping equipment that’s available. This training will give you the skills and confidence to lead a winter campout and ensure a safe and fun experience for all. OKPIK is offered annually at Massawepie Scout Camps. The companion course, OKPIK/Attavik, is a hands-on experience offered every three years at Cutler Scout Reservation.
  • Powderhorn is a resource course designed to introduce Scouting’s adults and youth to the
    exciting high-adventure program possibilities for their unit. The course supports the mission
    of strengthening units so they can achieve the mission of the Boy Scouts of America. Seneca Waterways is currently studying opportunities for Powderhorn in the future.
  • Den  Chief Training is position-specific training for Scouts serving in the den chief leadership position. Den Chief Training is offered at the District and Council level – contact your district training team for more information.
  • Additionally, the BSA offers several program safety trainings to expand leader knowledge and preparedness for special activities – these include Safety Afloat, Safe Swim Defense, Climb on Safely, and Trek Safely. These are available through the Volunteer Learn Center at

For questions about Training & Position Specific training requirements, contact the SWC Training Committee at