Be Prepared to Lead the Way

National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT @ Big Horn) is an exciting, action-packed program designed to provide youth members with the opportunity to learn leadership skills and gain experience they can use in their home units and in other situations that would benefit from a leadership role.

The NYLT @ Big Horn course is leadership training experience sponsored by the DAC and normally held annually at Tahosa High Adventure Base near Ward, Colorado. Training is conducted by highly qualified youth staff under the supervision of adult advisors.

For 2020, due to COVID-19 concerns, NYLT will be conducted at Camp Cortlandt Dietler on Peaceful Valley Scout Ranch.

The course models a month in the life of a unit. The training consists of six days of Scouting activities culminating in an overnight outpost camp.


A constant refrain of NYLT is, “If you can see it, you can be it.” The course centers around the concepts of what a leader must BE, what a leader must KNOW and what a leader must DO. The key elements are then taught with a clear focus on HOW TO. The skills come alive during the week as the team goes on a Quest for the Meaning of Leadership.

NYLT @ Big Horn is a six-day course, patterned after a month in the life of a unit. The course integrates the best of modern leadership theory with the traditional strengths of the Scouting experience. Through activities, presentations, challenges, discussions and audio-visual support, NYLT participants will be engaged in a unified approach to leadership that will give them the skills and confidence to lead well. During an NYLT course, team members find themselves going through the stages of team development. Their challenges heighten the team development process, enabling them to use their awareness of the stages to build a highly effective team that can reach its full potential.

Denver Area Council will run five sessions of NYLT @ Big Horn at Camp Dietler in 2020 – four in June and one in July. Each session will feature two NYLT Troops with five patrols each, for 60 participants maximum.


Week 1: Sunday, June 7 – Saturday, June 13, 2020

Course Director: Curtis Letson

1a Scoutmaster: Felicia Fernandez; SPL: Riley Ventimiglia

1b Scoutmaster: Pattie Nortman; SPL: Gabe Benton

Registrar - Melaine Heesacker

Week 2: Sunday, June 14 – Saturday, June 20, 2020

Course Director: Jim Auslen

2a Scoutmaster: Randy Bruns; SPL: Brennan Said

2b Scoutmaster: Mike Duncan; SPL: Aidan Plaehn

Registrar - Colette Kinnard - 303.570.9372

Week 3: Sunday, June 21 – Saturday, June 27, 2020

Course Director: Russ Larson

3a Scoutmaster: Mike Hartig; SPL: David Burnham

3b Scoutmaster: Ed Tugya; SPL: Carissa Sigler

Registrar - Eric Smith -303.588.1616

Week 4: Sunday, June 28 – Saturday, July 4, 2020

Course Director: Mark Field

4a Scoutmaster: Sarah Ford; SPL: Channing Han

4b Scoutmaster: Duncan Shields; SPL: Brian Rooney

Greg Holt - 303.513.6317

Week 5: Sunday, July 5 – Saturday, July 11, 2020

Course Director: Steve Yexley

5a Scoutmaster: Heather Graf; SPL: Ethan Montgomery

5b Scoutmaster: Dean Stephens; SPL: Hannah Rudin

Jan Stephens - 303.667.1284

Register for NYLT


Scouts BSA and Venturers who currently hold a key leadership role in their home unit or the unit leader feels has the potential to hold a key leadership position in the future. In order to attend an NYLT @ Big Horn course, a youth must have the following qualifications by the beginning of the course, per National Council guidelines:

  • Must be a registered member of a Scouting unit – Troop, Crew, or Ship.
  • Scouts BSA Participants must be at least 13 years old at the start date of their selected Course
  • Scouts BSA Participants should have completed Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (ILST)
  • Venture Scout Participants must be at least 14 (or 13 and have completed eighth grade) at the start date of their selected Course
  • Venture Scout Participants should have completed Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews (ILSC)
  • Sea Scout Participants must be at least 14 (or 13 and have completed eighth grade) at the start date of their selected Course
  • Sea Scout Participants should have completed Introduction to Leadership Skills for Ships (ISLS)
  • Venture Scout Participants and Sea Scout Participants are recommended to have had at least one year of camping experience. While NYLT is not an outdoor skills course, it is important that each participant have basic camping and outdoor cooking experience.
  • All participants must have a unit leader recommendation.
  • All participants must provide a current BSA Health and Medical Record form parts A, B, and C.

All Participants

  • He or she must agree to spend the entire scheduled week participating in the National Youth Leadership Training Course.
  • He or she should have held a leadership position in his or her unit, if possible, or be considering a position in the near future.
  • The Scout or Venturer should be an experienced camper with good camping, hiking, and outdoor cooking skills.

What is the Involvement of the Unit Leader? NYLT is intended to strengthen the relationship between the youth leader and unit leader. The unit leader is highly encouraged to have a pre-course and post-course conference with the participant to discuss their vision and goals for future success of their home unit. Code of Ethics Every course operates according to the principles of the Scout Oath and Law. Each participant and staff member is welcomed, appreciated and valued. There is no room for hazing or for any activities that do not add to a positive learning experience for everyone.