Troop Leadership Training (TLT)
TLT is the leadership training given primarily by the Scoutmaster and the senior patrol leader to all the youth leaders in their troop. ALL Boy Scout troops should conduct the TLT course with every leadership shift—whether it is when the youth get a new troop position or a patrol leadership role, or even when they welcome a new patrol member. The course has three one-hour modules that can be presented as individual one-hour sessions or as a combined three-hour block. These sessions are as follows:
1 - Introduction to Troop Leadership—This is conducted within a week of a Scout assuming a new leadership role and focuses on what a new leader must know. The Scoutmaster conducts this session for the senior patrol leader and new Scouts. He may then choose other Scouts or adults to help train the other troop leaders.
Part one of the training has the following flow:
- The Scoutmaster begins by discussing the principles of the youth-led troop.
- The senior patrol leader then follows with an explanation of the power of a youth-led patrol.
- The Scoutmaster will then go though the troop organization chart so that the youths see where they fit in the structure of their specific troop. Examples of these organizational charts are found in the Scoutmaster Handbook.
- The Scoutmaster and the senior patrol leader go over each of the positions in detail and introduce the position description cards.
- The senior patrol leader concludes with a description of the National Honor Patrol Award requirements.
2 - How to Fulfill Your Position—The second TLT module focuses on how to fulfill the responsibility of the position and is presented by the Scoutmaster and the senior patrol leader. They may be assisted by assistant Scoutmasters or NYLT-trained Scouts.
This module begins to use leadership tools such as Creating a Vision of Success, the Teaching EDGE(TM) model, and the Start, Stop, Continue method of assessing progress.
The Scoutmaster and senior patrol leader begin by describing their own vision of success, which they have written before the training session to ensure that the two visions are aligned and that each paints a vivid picture of future success for the troop.
The Scoutmaster, senior patrol leader, and the troop then work to ensure that all members share in this vision, so that they are excited about making it come to life. Creating Future Success will encompass:
- VISION—What success looks like—a picture
- GOALS—What needs to be done to reach what the group calls success
- PLANNING—How the group will execute its goals
The Scoutmaster, an assistant Scoutmaster, or a youth who has experience with NYLT will then lead the discussion on Teaching EDGE(TM). This is a simple four-step process used for teaching any skill.
- Explain—The trainer explains how something is done.
- Demonstrate—The trainer demonstrates while explaining again.
- Guide—The learner tries the skill while the trainer guides him through it.
- Enable—The learner works on his own under the eye of the trainer.
After the Teaching EDGE(TM) discussion, the senior patrol leader or an assistant Scoutmaster will ask the troop how they are doing. They will use the process called Start, Stop, Continue:
- What should we start doing that we are not currently doing?
- What do we stop doing that is not working?
- What should we continue doing that is working well and helps us succeed?
Lastly, the Scouts are assigned to get to know the team they are responsible for leading. During this session, the Scoutmaster is getting to know more about his troop leaders and should take this assignment to heart as well. This concludes the second module of the training.
3 - What Is Expected of Me—The third module is the do—what the youth must do to be effective in his position. It is led primarily by the Scoutmaster.
At the beginning of this module, each Scout is given a card with the responsibilities of his new position. The Scoutmaster reviews each of the responsibilities with him.
The Scoutmaster then leads a discussion of how to be an effective leader who helps each member of his team succeed, explaining that their role is not to simply tell people what to do, but to care about their team and help them succeed. This leads into a discussion of servant leadership, or others-first leadership, with the group.
The Scouts learn to create a vision of success for the troop as well as to define goals for how to get there. They define this vision for themselves for their new leadership position and write it on the leadership position card.
The Scoutmaster ends the training with personal coaching of each new leader, helping the new leaders set the goals to achieve their vision of success.
What will the Scouts learn?
At the end of Troop Leadership Training, all of the troop leaders will understand what is expected from them in their new leadership position. They will better understand the roles of each member of the leadership team (at the patrol and troop levels) and will learn to work toward a common vision of future success. They will learn that putting others first as a leadership style builds a strong and effective team.
How can we use this training to support our unit's program in a troop setting?
TLT training is the cornerstone of a youth's leadership experience. He will learn what is expected of him and how he can contribute to the success of both his patrol and the troop, while at the same time strengthening his own abilities to lead effectively. It will lead the troop to a true youth-led capability.
How can I help the Scout become the best leader he can be?
Encourage your Scouts to attend the troop's TLT whenever it is offered. As a troop leader, continue coaching and mentoring, using the tools of SSC and EDGE(TM) to hone the Scout's leadership abilities. As a parent, it is vital that you understand the role your son plays in running an effective youth-led troop as well as his desire to empower the rest of his team so that they may have a shared success.