Throughout 2023, the Order of the Arrow hosted nine amazing National Leadership Seminars (NLS) and Developing Youth Leadership Courses (DYLC). Courses were held nationwide in states including Virginia, Missouri and Texas, ensuring that all Arrowmen had a chance to participate in one of the finest programs aimed at developing leaders. Over three days, Arrowmen had the chance to work together in crews to strengthen aspects of their leadership abilities, pushing beyond what they thought they were capable of as leaders.
During each seminar, Arrowmen accomplished one mission that was introduced to them: become the leaders of tomorrow. The course challenged Scouts to rethink their idea of leadership, view it from new perspectives, and apply the concepts in creative ways. NLS aims to inspire Arrowmen to lead from a place of passion and understanding. Ultimately, it teaches that the best form of leadership comes from within the heart.
Hundreds of Arrowmen had the chance to attend NLS this year, and each attendee brought back what they learned to their lodges, units and communities, hoping to change the way they lead and serve others. By attending NLS, Scouts develop a growth mindset and can rejuvenate their local Scouting programs.
Matt Carlson, the 2023 Eastern Region Chief, shared his thoughts about NLS and the importance of the program:
“NLS has been one of the most powerful events I have ever attended. You learn so many valuable skills and lessons that can be applied in every aspect of your life while being able to witness the power of our movement.”
Furthermore, the course teaches Arrowmen how to utilize their team to discover their potential. Participants were introduced to an old African proverb that states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” These skills culminated on Saturday night as all the crews played a game called “Everest Challenger.” The goal is to be the first to reach the top of the mountain, combating obstacles and managing the in-game resources to ensure your crew's passage up Mount Everest. The Everest Challenger is often cited as the highlight of the event because it teaches Arrowmen to have fun while being a leader.
On the last day of the course, one of the four national officers shared their own story of how they became a leader in the OA to cultivate inspiration. It offers a chance for Arrowmen to hear about a peer’s journey through the program and the success that came with attending NLS. Additionally, the words from a national officer may drive Arrowmen to further their leadership skills outside of the OA. Indeed, not only does the NLS program aim to develop future leaders in the OA, but it also works to propel participants to become leaders in their careers, family, and beyond.
As the new year approaches, the OA has ten NLS courses scheduled for 2024. Locations include Tokyo, Japan; San Sebastian, Puerto Rico; Chicago, IL; Columbia, SC; Seattle, WA; and more. These continued opportunities to learn about leadership and personal growth are crucial to the Scouting program, and by signing up, you will leave as a leader of tomorrow. Keep an eye out for NLS registrations throughout 2024 at https://oa-bsa.org and future emails!