Nature of Leadership (2001- )

In 2001, "Nature of Leadership" started off as the next level leadership course for Venturers, done in a high adventure environment.  In Spring 2004, the term "Nature of Leadership" will come to be the umbrella term for ALL the Venturer Leadership training program.  Nature of Leadership will consist of three courses.  All three courses will be covered on this page at this point.  The courses are:

I: Venturing Leadership Skills Course
II: Kodiak (the original Nature of Leadership Trek renamed)
III: Kodiak X

VLSC patchNOL I: Venturing Leadership Skills Course

Venturing Leadership Skills Course was the initial leadership training for Venturers rolled out with the program.  Itís a weekend course intended to be run by the Crews for ALL the Venturers, not just the officers.  Because many Crews are small, in some councils this course has been taught by the council, initially by adults, but hopefully by the Venturers as more experienced ones come along.

VLSC is a weekend course meant to be run in a retreat format by the crew leadership for all members of the crew.  It consists of a series of scenarios teaching Vision, Communication, Organization, and Synergism, and is different in presentation style then used in NYLT or Wood Badge.

In 2001, a new VLSC strip was released.  Similar in size to the Trained strip, its worn in the same location: below the office patch on the left sleeve.  Intended to be worn by the Venturers only, even if the adults do complete the course.  See above for a scan of one of the patches.

Four releases of the VLSC course manual have been put out.  The second one adds a scenario and has some minor editing, the third minor editing to reference Kodiak/Kodiak-X, the fourth a CD and presentations to tie in Kodiak/Kodiak-X.

Venturing Leadership Skills Course (#34340)

    1998 Printing
     2000 Printing, #34340A

†††2003 Printing, #34340B, 64pgs
†††† 2005 Printing, #34340C, 72pgs


VLSC manual


Kodiak Logo  NOL II: Kodiak

Kodiak is the new name (as of 2004) for the course that originally started as the sole "Nature of Leadership Trek".  Starting in 2001, a new advanced leadership development program was created for Venturers called "Nature of Leadership".  With the rollout, two courses were run in the summer of 2001, one at Philmont (a second one was cancelled) and one on the Yukon river.  Since the first run, plans for more NoL treks came in the summer of 2002 and 2003, several of which where run by local councils.  In the scheme of Venturer leadership development programs, Kodiak can be thought of as loosely equivalent to Council JLTC courses.   The course is intended to be run in the setting of a week-long or 2 weekends  high adventure trek or retreat. 

This is a formalization of the special Venturing treks run at Philmont in 2000, which included the first trial run of Nature of Leadership.

More information may be found at the National Website here.  There is a NoL Trek Fact Sheet.  There are no more plans for "National" treks any more, as itís hoped that council/crews will run their own.

Fact Sheet: HTML or PDF
2003 NoL Trek Brochure: Word
2002 NoL Trek Brochure: Word

A recent issue of Scouting magazine (May/June 2002) devotes a cover article to the Nature of Leadership Trek.

There is now a website devoted to Kodiak & Kodiak-X, with more info on the program, and listing of upcoming

In spring of 2004, the course was renamed "Kodiak".  The course has been rewritten to allow for running the course over 2 weekends, in addition to the option of a single week-long trip, and the intent is to make it widely available, such that crews could run it as part of a high adventure trip.  In 2004, there was Kodiak/Kodiak X Course Director Conference offered at PTC. Starting the spring of 2005, they were also held at the Florida Sea Base Conference Center.The last of the FSBCC courses was held in Spring of 2007, and the last of the PTC courses in the Summer of 2007.In 2006, they rolled out a weekend version of the Kodiak/Kodiak X Course Director Conference, offered at the Region level, with the hope of eventually making this available at the Area level.While it is preferred that a CD have gone thru a CDC, at this point itís not a requirement for Kodiak. A Staff Development weekend training was also developed, but only one pilot courses has been done.

A ďKodiak/Kodiak X SummitĒ was held in the Spring of 2007 by the National and Regional Kodiak leadership.It's unclear what changes came out of this, other then standardizing the CDCs and setting standards for area Kodiak leadership.

Kodiak combines leadership development and service into a week-long high adventure trek.  The current syllabus does now allow for a 2-weekend version of the course.  The Venturers must be at least 16 years old and physically capable for the trek (14 if the course is less strenuous).  During the trek, 5 leadership skills, called Commissions, will be taught.  The intent is to teach thru experience, instead of classroom lectures.

The Commissions are: Effective Teams, Values/Vision, Communication, Decision-Making, and Planning.

Despite its name, the course is not based on the Stephen Covey book of the same name.  It is a combination of leadership skills that can be found in many leadership development courses.

National NOLT:
2001 NoL Treks: Philmont, Alaska (Yukon River)   Brochure With Images and Without. (both Word Docs)
2002 NoL Treks: High Desert Whitewater Trek (Oregon), Savannah Sea Kayaking, Alaska Wilderness Trek, Grand Teton Mountain Trek
2003 NoL Treks: Chisholm Trail (Texas), Adirondacks Canoe Trek, Linville Gorge Wilderness Area Trek (NC), Alaska Wilderness Trek

No other National NOLTs are planned, as it's hoped that crews and local councils will organize their own Kodiak treks, with appropriate leadership.

During the course, participants are given 5 wooden bear claws to represent the five commissions.  These they wear on a leather thong (either on a necklace or on their leadership bag) as a reminder of the leadership skills they learn during the course.  They also are given a leather leadership bag (available in mid-2006) to put various small reminder items given during the course.On completion of the course, they get a nice pocket medal (similar to the Powder Horn medal) to wear which hangs from the left pocket flap.  This was introduced late 2004.  A patch is also available.  A staff item (a patch) is available for those staff members who have themselves gone thru or taught all 5 commissions.  A certificate and leadership bag tag are also available.

The Kodiak Medal is a youth recognition item, and thus really only to be worn by youth. Adults may earn it, and are allowed to wear it during a course or before a course they are staffing to help promote it. The patch ideally should be worn on the left pocket, but some feel it a good alternative to wearing it on the left pocket. Wearing it above the right pocket, or on the sleeves of the Venturing shirt would be inappropriate.

Kodiak Medal (design)

Kodiak Medal

Kodiak patch

Kodiak Staff patch



No literature apart from the course syllabus/staff guide exists.  This course syllabus is available from the Venturing Division to councils and crews wanting to run the course.  First draft edition was written by Dr. Dick Miller, chairman of the Venturing Outdoor Committee and piloted at Philmont in summer 2000.  In April 2001, a national taskforce revised Dr. Miller's first syllabus into the second draft edition used for the formal courses in 2001 & 2002.  Further work in September 2002 lead to the next edition, which was further revised in March 2003, again in 2004 and 2006.A final revision appeared 2007 as a small, spiral bound booklet.

First (Draft) Edition: Venturing Nature of Leadership Philmont Trek Syllabus, 2000
Second (Draft) Edition: Venturing Nature of Leadership Trek 2001 Course Syllabus, April 2001
Third Edition: Venturing Nature of Leadership Trek 2003 Course Syllabus, September 2002
Fourth Edition:  Venturing Nature of Leadership Trek 2003 Course Syllabus, March 2003
Fifth Edition: Venturing Kodiak Course Syllabus, n.d. (Spring 2004)

Venturing Kodiak Syllabus (#34193)

2007, 152pg

spiral bound



NOL III: Kodiak X

This course was developed as the next step beyond Kodiak.  The "X" can stand for eXtreme.

This is a weekend course.  It can be done in scout camp environment to build on Kodiak.  There will be two additional commissions beyond what is taught in Kodiak: Evaluating Performance and Mentoring.  This is a course to be presented at the council level, and only by course directors who have completed a Kodiak/Kodiak X Course Director Conference.

Insignia was finally rolled out in early 2007, consisting of a medal, patch and staff patch.

Kodiak X Medal

Kodiak X Patch

Kodiak X Staff Patch


A course syllabus was developed.   It was finally released in Fall, 2007.

First (Draft) Edition: Venturing Kodiak X Syllabus, Philmont classes, August 2004.

Venturing Kodiak X Syllabus (#34106)

2007, 94pg



updated: 10/30/2009mrb