(This story originally appeared in the May-June 2016 issue of Scouting magazine.)
Inside the John D. Tickle Sr. National Training and Leadership Center in the words of four who have been.Tyler Forsberg, 17-year-old Eagle Scout from Tennessee
It didn’t take Tyler long to know he made the right choice by going to the Summit Bechtel Reserve.
The “aha” moment came on Day One when he met the six guys and girls who were about to become his closest friends for the next week and beyond.
Each member of the crew announced his or her home state — West Virginia, Ohio, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Tennessee — and Tyler realized why SBR’s John D. Tickle, Sr. National Training and Leadership Center is the perfect home for National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience.
“It’s a great experience to have people from all over the country, as opposed to people who just live a half-hour away from you,” Tyler says. That taught him “how to look at every individual and maybe not judge them as quickly as I normally would.”
Carly Watson, 17-year-old Venturer from Virginia
You could say SBR is the reason Carly joined Scouting. Carly’s family is really into Scouting, but she was a holdout.
“It’s for boys,” she remembers thinking.
Then she learned about SBR when her dad and older brother attended the 2013 National Jamboree. She saw the pictures and had to see this place for herself.
Carly signed up for Venturing, took the council-level National Youth Leadership Training and was officially hooked.
Then she learned that NTLC would offer a NAYLE course. It’s a youth leader’s next step after NYLT.
The ultimate leadership course at the place she’d wanted to visit for the past two years? That would be worth saving up for. So she did. Carly saved every penny she earned by babysitting and teaching piano lessons.
Carly liked how the training course got out of the classroom to give participants a hands-on feel. And she liked how she could use her new skills right away in her crew.
“Now I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, how have we been functioning?’” she says.
Some units believe so much in improving their leaders that they subsidize a portion of the cost for courses like NAYLE and the Summit Leadership Challenge.
It’s an investment — like a manager sending employees to get trained.
“They will see returns on that,” Moravec says. “It’s obvious when a youth has been to NAYLE that comes back to the unit. The energy they bring to the program is amazing.”
That’s why Moravec spent her own money to travel from Houston to help run training courses at the Tickle NTLC. But to hear Moravec tell it, “training” isn’t the right word.
Deborah Huff, Scouter from Alabama
Huff knows just how magnetic SBR can be.
She attended the 2012 Summit Shakedown (a trial run before the Jamboree) and the 2013 National Jamboree. In 2015, she was back, this time to participate in the Summit Leadership Challenge.
Think of the Summit Leadership Challenge as NAYLE for grown-ups. Any Scouter who has finished the practical portion of Wood Badge (the in-person part) can attend.
A Silver Beaver Award recipient, Huff has stayed involved in Scouting even though she no longer has any children in the program. That’s because she knows she’s making a difference in an underserved community.
“There’s a big need, particularly in the African-American community, to provide people who are willing to work with the youth,” she says.