Training & Development

Leadership Development Program

The Boy Scouts of America encourages boys to learn and practice leadership, scoutcraft, and other skills for life. Troop 195 puts emphasis on training and practice in each of these areas of development. Every scout has the opportunity to participate in both shared and total leadership situations. Understanding the concepts of leadership helps a boy accept the leadership role of others and guides him toward the citizenship aim of Scouting. Scouts learn to lead themselves.

In Scouting, adults are not there to lead the youth. They are there to guide the youth through the process of leading themselves. As the Scout’s experience grows, his opportunities for leadership increase. The Troop 195 Leadership Development Program was founded by Troop 195 Alumni Peter Benchimol (1987-93) and current Scoutmaster Scott Rudegeair (1985-91) – both of whom are Eagle Scouts and former Senior Patrol Leaders during their time as scouts in Troop 195. This means that these current adult leaders are well-qualified to teach the concepts of a boy-led troop and progressing through all levels of scout leadership of the troop, having lived the experience themselves. The involvement of Troop 195 Alumni – e.g. Scott Hoefling (1992-1998) has been instrumental in the development of the program – provides former scouts the opportunity to “give back” their lessons learned.

The connective tissue across our training & development programs are elements of the “Patrol Method” – which is foundational to Scouting, to the development of a boy-led troop, and to skills beneficial throughout life. We believe that the development of leadership, camping, and life skills are linked – providing parallel and interwoven growth paths that begin with the scout learning to be a contributing member of his patrol, developing into a capable and confident camper, and being given increasing responsibilities and leadership roles in his patrol and the troop.

Leadership Development Program Objectives & Goals

For Participants …

  • To learn skills by doing them, and later teaching them
  • To develop leadership skills and style
  • To be exposed to activities that are impractical for a large group
  • To develop camaraderie and collaboration skills
  • To be rewarded for taking on troop responsibilities
  • To gain confidence to tackle future challenges
    For the Troop …

  • Establish a base of leadership at the scout level to sustain 195 with minimal adult effort
  • Empower boy leaders to take control over scheduling, programming, planning, logistics
  • Retain more older boys through high school (and beyond)
  • Develop alumni to help with programming later down the road
    As boys take on increasing levels of responsibility in the troop, the typical trajectory is from patrol member to Assistant Patrol Leader to Patrol Leader to Instructor Corp to Leadership Corp to Assistant Senior Patrol Leader and ultimately to Senior Patrol Leader (who is elected by his fellow scouts and is responsible for leading the entire troop).

    Troop 195’s Leadership Development Program has three levels targeted at scouts readying themselves for specific levels of leadership responsibility – Patrol Leaders, Instructor and Leadership Corp, Senior Patrol Leader (SPL, ASPL) and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster (JASM). Each of these levels of leadership development takes place within the setting of 3 distinct high adventure style camping trips intended to demonstrate the demands of, and develop the skills needed for, leading a group of boys at each level of leadership. These campouts differ in format from the regular troop-wide monthly camping trips in that the groups are smaller, activities will be more intense, bars will be set slightly higher, and scouts will take on a more involved role in the planning and execution of trip logistics.

    Patrol Leader Development Instructor Corp and Leadership Corp DevelopmentSenior Patrol Leader, Assistant SPL, Junior Assistant Scoutmaster Development

    The Patrol Leader Development camping trip involving backpacking and overland (off trail) navigation. This level of the program is for Patrol Leaders and Assistant Patrol Leaders. This late Spring, early Summer trip is for scouts who are new or soon to be Patrol Leaders, providing them with an opportunity to develop and apply their camping skills at a level that would be impractical for a large troop outing.  Emphasis is placed on responsibility, teamwork, problem solving, motivation, and environmental stewardship. Navigation and other camping-related skills are taught, practiced, and tested. Discussions take place during the trip about the role and responsibilities of a Patrol Leader. A key objective of this level of the program is to create a bond between Patrol Leaders and their Assistant Patrol Leaders, as their teaming is key to the success of the patrol and and a natural succession to the next level of leadership.

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    What follows are excerpts from previously published articles about Patrol Leader Development camping trips in the recent past, and some photographs from these trips….

    Seven young and not so young men headed north from Glen Head to the southern region of the Catskill Mountains for three days of backpacking and leadership development.  The program run by Troop 195 is designed to sharpen outdoor skills and decision-making abilities, and to promote teaming and leadership qualities. These scouts are scheduled to hold leadership positions in the middle ranks of a local Troop that has been in existence since the 1950s.

    The Patrol Leader trip is designed to expand the Scouts’ own notions of their capabilities and prepare them for their future leadership roles within the troop, and later in life. This excursion is part of a tiered program created by Troop 195 alumni and Eagle Scout Peter Benchimol (’93) and designed and administered with the aid of 195 Alumni and Eagle Scouts Scott Hoefling (’98) and Scott Rudegeair (‘91).  Despite the disparity in age among the group, the common bond of Scouting and camping experiences allowed them to work together with ease in accomplishing the goals of the mission with a high level of success and enjoyment.



    On an earlier Patrol Leader trip, the fearless foursome pictured below (with the three old guys there for support and supervision) accomplished the following over the course of the long weekend:  14.5 miles total distance traveled on foot with full gear with approximately 5 miles of bushwhacking (no trail, minimal visibility, relying on compass and map reading), multiple stream crossings, over 5000 feet of elevation change (up and down) and two 3500′ high peaks climbed,  Cornell 3860’, with headlamps and starlight the group summited this mountain Sunday night during a break in the weather; and Slide 4120’, the highest in the Catskills, climbed on Monday morning on the seven mile trek back to the cars.


    Instructor Corp and Leadership Corp camping trips are targeted at experienced scouts (scouts with at least 3 years in the troop), most of who, have already been Patrol Leaders and therefore have experienced life as both a member of a patrol and as a leader of a patrol. These trips take place in the Fall and Winter, and are physically demanding and targeted at building a belief in these scouts that they are capable of breaking down barriers and that they can succeed when they do. Leadership roles are rotated throughout the group during the trip, with all participants having the experience of leading a team of experienced scouts. The focus of these trips is on teamwork, systems, navigation, and problem solving.

    The experience of these trips positions the Instructor and Leadership Corps to perform and lead some of the most demanding activities on camping trips, and to pass these skills along to scouts at all levels as instructors in our Scoutcraft Training Program. Experience in the Instructor Corp and Leadership Corp program also prepares these experienced scouts to mentor new Patrol Leaders, Assistant Patrol Leaders, and the troop as a whole.

    What follows is excerpted from a previously published article about a recent Instructor Corp camping trip…

    During Columbus Day weekend, five local scouts and three adult scout leaders from Glen Head-Glenwood Landing’s Boy Scout Troop 195 completed a strenuous canoe traverse in the Adirondacks of upstate New York. The weather was near perfect for mid-autumn. The group was blessed with two days of golden sunshine, changing leaves and mild temperatures. Rain dampened the final day of paddling, but didn’t dampen the spirits of the participants.

    The scouts led every step of the way, from the trip preparation phase of contacting outfitters, pricing equipment rentals, developing a menu and shopping list to trip execution, navigating on land and water, selecting and managing campsites, preparing group meals and other camping chores.

    During the three days and two nights, the scouts traveled over 15 miles in total, with 10 of those miles being paddled and the remaining 5 miles requiring the boats and gear to be carried.

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    The “Nine Carries” route in the St. Regis Canoe Area has the reputation of being remote, demanding and beautiful.  As the name of the route implies, there are 9 instances where the canoes must be carried over land to neighboring bodies of water.  Some of the carries are short hops, while others are a mile in distance or longer.  The group added a few more ponds to the traditional trip, resulting in an agenda of 11 carries in total.

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    Each scout was assigned to lead their team through a variety of camping and canoeing tasks, with the adults leaders present solely to ensure safety and advise them if needed.  Navigation on the larger ponds and portaging their 200lbs of canoes, food and team gear in a timely manner proved to be the most difficult tasks for the young men.  The largest ponds are more than a mile across, so finding the correct landing on the other side required some skill with a map and compass, keen eyes and in some cases a little luck.

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    As for the challenges presented by the carries, or portages, though tough, the scouts were able motivate each other, accept their situation and met the challenges with enthusiasm. By the time they reached the longest carry of just over a mile and a half, they were able to complete it without much trouble.  And the final carries were executed almost effortlessly, a testament to the lessons the scouts learned, and their willingness to cooperate to achieve a common goal

    The Instructor Corp adventure is aimed at building teaming skills, challenging the young men to solve problems on their own, and build confidence. The format of these adventures are designed to bolster the Scout’s notion of what they are capable of, and to show them that when they work together, they are capable of much more than they thought possible.

    These three leadership roles are the most experienced scout leaders in the troop – the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL), the Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders (ASPL), and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster (JASM). The JASM role is for scouts who have already been SPL and are continuing in the troop.

    Leadership, management, and organizational skills at this level of scout leadership represent a very different set of requirements than at any other level in Scouting – which are very transferable to “the real world” of adult life, business, and the management of any large organization in whatever walk of life one pursues. This level of the program is critical for the effective operation of the troop, and for the SPL in particular, who must learn and develop skills to rise above, train, and lead those who can lead others. A late Summer, early Fall trip, this level of the program involves the SPL, his ASPLs, JASMs, and eligible Leadership Corp members.

    Objectives for this highest level of the Leadership Development Program include the following:

    • Practice internal and external planning and coordination
    • Develop delegation skills
    • Practice risk / crisis management scenarios
    • Get psyched for upcoming troop year

    Scoutcraft Training Program

    At each level of Scouting, there are new Scoutcraft skills to be learned – but none are more important than those that are foundational to quickly becoming a productive contributor to (and thereby feel a part of) your patrol as a new scout in the troop. The Scoutcraft training that a young scout receives as a new patrol member is foundational for both their own development and to set them on a path to becoming an Assistant Patrol Leader and Patrol Leader –roles where they will then teach these skills to their own patrol member after a few years in the troop.

    Scoutcraft skills are integral to taking on increasing levels of leadership responsibility within a Patrol and within the Troop. This Is why training and progression in the development of camping skills is also key to Leadership Development, given the importance of the Patrols to the operation of the Troop overall. Patrols become more self sufficient as patrol members and Patrol Leaders become more skilled, more collaborative, and operate more effectively as a team. In this way, skills training and the Patrol Method are wholly intertwined.

    Scoutcraft Training is targeted at three levels – New / Inexperienced Scouts, Patrol Leaders and Assistant Patrol Leaders, and the Instructor Corp. Scouts in the Instructor Corp are maintaining and expanding their Scoutcraft skills, as their primary responsibility is to train and mentor the up and coming scouts at the other levels. Instructor Corp must continue to expand their scope and level of Scoutcraft mastery by receiving their own training from Leadership Corp, Alumni, and other sources. In this way, Instructor Corp becomes better instructors and trainers of others. With this approach, the overall level of Scoutcraft competency in the troop should increase over time, elevating the entire troop.

    The following sample of Scoutcraft skills – excerpted from the Boy Scout Handbook – are linked to three different scout levels (New / Inexperienced Scouts, Patrol Leaders / Assistant Patrol Leaders, Instructor Corp):  Camp Cooking, Camp Health, Camp Preparation, Cleanup, Edible Wild Plants, Finding Directions, Fire Building, First Aid, Hiking, Knowing Trees and Shrubs, Lashings, Map Reading, Map Sketching, Gathering and Preparing Firewood, Selecting a Campsite, Signaling, Swimming, Tent Pitching, Use of a Compass, Using an Axe, and Wildlife.