Beyond the Troop: Embracing Leadership and Adventure in Scouting

By Matt Griffin
Past Octoraro 22 Lodge Chief, Former VP of Program

In the vast expanse of Scouting, the journey within one’s unit is but the beginning of a grand adventure. Scouts have a unique opportunity to extend their horizons, leadership skills, and personal development through several nationally recognized programs. Among these, the Order of the Arrow (OA) within Octoraro Lodge, Camp Staff positions at the Horseshoe Scout Reservation, and National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) stand out as golden opportunities to grow, lead, and serve. Whether you’re a Scout looking for the next challenge or a Scouting family eager to learn more, let’s dive into what these programs offer and how they can shape a Scout’s path.

The Order of the Arrow: More Than Just Work

The OA is Scouting’s National Honor Society, emphasizing brotherhood, cheerfulness, and service. It’s a community of Scouts and Scouters who have been recognized by their peers for their dedication to the ideals of Scouting. Membership in the OA offers a unique blend of leadership development, service to Scouting and the community, and the promotion of camping and outdoor adventures.

Why Join the OA?

Leadership Development: The OA provides extensive opportunities for leadership through lodge officer and committee chair positions, event planning, and leading service projects.

Service Opportunities: Members contribute thousands of hours annually to camp improvements, community service, and conservation efforts, embodying the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives.  Octoraro Lodge provides immeasurable service to Chester County Council both at HSR and the PARC property, ensuring an incredible atmosphere for all who visit!

Fellowship and Adventure: The OA organizes events that combine fun, fellowship, and challenge, including section conclaves, National Order of the Arrow conferences, and high adventure treks specifically for OA members.  This year, Octoraro Lodge will be heading to the University of Colorado Boulder in July for the National Order of the Arrow Conference, where 6500 Scouts and Scouters from across the country will engage in fellowship, training, activities and world class shows!

Camp Staff: A Summer of Growth and Giving Back

Serving on Camp Staff is an extraordinary way to spend your summer. Not only do you become a crucial part of delivering the Scouting program, but you also gain invaluable skills and experiences.  Positions are still available at both Camp Horseshoe and Camp John H. Ware, III.

The Rewards of Camp Staff

Leadership and Teaching Skills: As a counselor or staff member, you’ll lead activities, teach merit badges, and be a role model for younger Scouts.

Personal Growth: Living and working in a camp setting fosters independence, teamwork, problem-solving skills, and adaptability.

Lifelong Friendships: The bonds formed on camp staff often last a lifetime. It’s an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals who share a passion for Scouting and the outdoors.

National Youth Leadership Training: Be Prepared to Lead

NYLT is an intensive, engaging program designed to equip young leaders with confidence and skills necessary for leadership roles within their units and beyond. Through activities, presentations, and games, Scouts learn essential leadership principles applicable both in and out of Scouting.

Why Attend NYLT?

Leadership Skill Development: NYLT focuses on teaching practical leadership skills and theories, helping Scouts understand what it means to lead and serve effectively.

Vision-Setting and Goal Achievement: Participants learn to set achievable goals and develop plans to reach them, skills that are valuable in every aspect of life.

Confidence and Responsibility: NYLT graduates come away with increased confidence in their abilities and a greater sense of responsibility towards their units and communities.


The journey of Scouting is filled with endless possibilities for growth, leadership, and adventure. Through the OA, Camp Staff, and NYLT, Scouts have amazing opportunities to develop skills, form lasting friendships, and make a tangible difference in their communities and beyond. Each program offers a unique set of experiences that prepare young people for their future roles as leaders and active citizens. So, take the leap, embrace the challenge, and discover the extraordinary opportunities that await you beyond your unit.

Remember, these experiences are more than just resume builders; they are life-shaping adventures that embody the spirit of Scouting. Whether you’re lighting the fire of leadership at NYLT, living the values of brotherhood and service in the OA, or inspiring the next generation on Camp Staff, you’re contributing to a legacy of excellence and character development. So, gear up for an adventure of a lifetime and see where Scouting can take you beyond the troop!