The National Leadership Seminar (NLS) is renowned as one of the Order of the Arrow’s – and Scouting’s – premier leadership development programs. Over the course of multiple decades, NLS has always proven to be an intensive and engaging learning experience for its participants. This year, the OA’s national training subcommittee identified the opportunity to further improve the way that NLS delivers on that expectation, and as a result, a new National Leadership Seminar course is being rolled out across the country in 2018.

In 2017, a NLS task force was assembled and given the challenge of maximizing the relevance of NLS’s takeaways for today’s participants and improving the overall experience. Under the direction of youth lead Jeff Sedlacek and adult adviser Jason Riley, the task force spent the year developing an updated course. This updated program will provide learners, previously “participants,” with the skills and tools necessary to better lead themselves, their teams, and our organization. The core concepts and values of leadership in NLS are unchanged – this updated course builds on the things that have made it so successful over the years. The update utilizes new and more interactive and engaging sessions, focuses on the adaptive leadership model, and integrates technology to shed light on these core concepts in an innovative way. Additionally, the course teaches the importance of ethical leadership and incorporating values into decision making.

Sending youth and adult members to NLS is an excellent way for lodges to develop their leaders. Attendees will learn skills that are directly applicable to the situations they face locally and return home with a renewed passion for the OA program. While NLS is designed to be a fun, engaging experience, it is also mentally challenging. Youth learners should be at least 15 years of age or a chapter or lodge officer. All learners should come prepared to engage in a strenuous and invigorating weekend. Individuals who have already attended NLS will still find value in the updated course, but in order to ensure that new Arrowmen have the opportunity to attend, repeat attendance is only recommended if it has been several years since having taken the course.

One key change for lodge leadership to be aware of involves participant contracts. Previously, participants came home from NLS with a contract consisting of three goals to complete before receiving their NLS patch and officially completing the course. In the updated course, learners will still get to work closely with the staff to develop a detailed roadmap for accomplishing their goals back home. However, there is no longer a contract to complete, and learners receive their patch at NLS and leave the weekend enabled to make their goals a reality.

Arrowmen can start experiencing this course as early as February 2018. In January, all four regions will send their premier trainers to a NLS Train the Trainer course where they’ll receive the tools needed to bring the new NLS back to your region. For more information on NLS course dates, visit the national website here. To register, look for more information on your respective region’s website. Now is the time to start considering who your lodge will enable to become a better leader by ensuring they attend NLS in 2018.