Belgrade BSA training program draws interest from beyond state borders

BELGRADE –Twenty-three boys and girls from the Scouting BSA program embarked on a week-long leadership training at Camp Bomazeen. Representing four Scouting Councils, as far away as Pennsylvania, they participated in the National Youth Leadership Training, a National Scouting BSA advanced leadership course, which places young men and women into team building games, view presentations about communicating with others, leading their peers and developing life skills for leadership.

Sarah LaVerdiere, New Birth of Freedom Council, Pennsylvania; and Mia Dawbin, Troop 1776 in Sidney. (Submitted photo)
“It’s an opportunity for these Scouts to learn from other Scouts about leadership, how to interact with adults and be true to the Scout Oath and Law,” explained Course Director Jonathan Giles of Troop 648 in Brunswick. “The fact that we were able to get Scouts from four Councils, including one from Pennsylvania, says a lot about our course, our staff and the program itself.”
The course, which follows a national syllabus, relies on youth staff members who have taken the course in previous years to then impart their knowledge of the materials to the participants. Using outdoor skills learned through Scouting, the participants take those skills to a new level and learn better techniques to present, communicate and demonstrate to their peers when they return to their home troops. It also gives them an understanding of setting a vision for something they want to accomplish and the goals needed to accomplish them.
“As an adult leader, to see these Scouts use the skills they learn in real life is amazing. I have seen the timid, and the shy, become extraordinary leaders after this course. I can’t say enough about how this program really works for these young men and women,” states Giles, “and when the adult leaders join in on the fun of camping, with songs and skits, it makes it that much more fun.”
Shelley Connolly, mother of participant Michael Connolly of Skowhegan Troop 485, said, “Such a valuable experience for our Scouts. He’s certainly much more confident. It has helped him transform from a being a member of his troop to a leader in his troop. He says he’s learned how to problem solve conflict and challenges. He feels more capable of speaking in groups, even if that group is of his peers.”
Scouting BSA Councils represented in this course were Pine Tree Council and Katahdin Council of Maine, Spirit of Adventure Council of Massachusetts, and New Birth of Freedom Council of Pennsylvania. With the addition of girls allowed in the Scouting BSA program now, the class included two female participants and one female staff member.

TOP PHOTO: Carl Woodhead, Troop 111, Lewiston; Chase Bradbury, Troop 45 Freeport; Micheal Connolly Troop 485 Skowhegan; and Ben Moore, Troop 310 Saco. (Submitted photo)