National Leadership Seminar (NLS)

The National Leadership Seminar (NLS) is a weekend conference that focuses on the skills and attributes of leadership. The program enhances the leadership skills of the Order of the Arrow’s key youth and adult members as they seek to improve their service to the Boy Scouts of America and the greater community. The weekend format complements the National Youth Leadership Training (for youth) and Wood Badge (for adults). Course participants make a promise to themselves to apply the skills learned on projects in their lodge, council, and community. NLS prepares Arrowmen to become better leaders both within and outside the Scouting program. 

This past month we had some people from our section travel down to Atlanta, Georgia to attend NLS, or the National Leadership Seminar  and we were able to get first-hand notes about their experience, here is what they have to say:

There is no feeling like summiting the mountain you have been climbing, whether that be during a literal hike or figuratively during the Everest Challenger Session of the National Leadership Seminar (NLS). NLS (and summiting it’s Everest) is an experience that changed the course of my Scouting career.

In early 2020, just a week before COVID-19 shut down the world, I attended NLS in Atlanta. I was one of Muscogee 221’s several Vice Chiefs at the time, just trying to figure out how I fit into the OA. I had an amazing Crew Guide who empowered me to become a leader of leaders. I took the lessons I learned back to my lodge and became Lodge Chief in October of that year. I continued to use the lessons I learned throughout my term, especially during the merger that created Muscogee 116.

During my time as Chief, I started college, which any freshman will tell you is a hard transition. In a stroke of complete and utter Grace-ness, I decided that I wanted to add something else to my plate. In late 2022, I applied to be on the NLS staff, and I attended the national program Train the Trainer in January of 2023. I have since had the privilege to serve on the NLS staff twice, both of which have been some of the best scouting events of my life. NLS reminds me why I Love Scouting. Since I started school, I have not been able to find a troop to meet with on a weekly basis. I was missing the most vital part of Scouts: providing guidance and supporting younger scouts on their journeys. I plan to continue serving as a Crew Guide (and session facilitator) until I age out. For those of you who have not attended NLS yet, I hope to see you in Columbia in January.

– Grace Franklin, Muscogee #116

For me, NLS was an amazing experience full of leadership training, meeting new people, and good food!  I learned not only how my style of leadership works, but how to utilize everyone’s different leadership styles to build an effective team that can accomplish great things! 

– Caleb Muhlholland 2024 Eswau Huppeday 560 Lodge Chief 

NLS is the best training for future Lodge or section leaders. I have been to all sorts of leadership training and I have to say NLS  is the best one I have attended. I have met so many people and have made new connections to better my lodge and the section. 

– Sean Green Muscogee 116 VC of AIA

At NLS, we learned how to interact with others in our lodge and think about issues with the most efficient mindset. That’s something that you aren’t going to learn from a job description or the OA Handbook. NLS also allowed us to surround ourselves with leaders from across the Eastern Region and share ideas on how to improve our lodges back home.

–Preston Kunkle 2024 Muscogee 116 Lodge Chief 

With that being said, we hope to see you all at the next NLS that will be held in Columbia in January!