25 July 2019

The Corps of Discovery Service Society Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Updated Guidebook, Website, & Flaps

For the 20th anniversary (1999-2019) of the Corps of Discovery (nee Venturing Corps of Discovery) Servant Leadership and Service Society, Dr. Craig Murray and Nik Stanosheck have created a new updated 3rd edition guidebook, refreshed the extant website, and created new limited edition flap badges (flaps)  in 2 different styles (A traditional Venturing and Scouts style flaps and  for the first time ever, a hexagonal Sea Scout and BSA Red Jac-Shirt style flaps) for new and existing members of the Corps of Discovery.

The purpose of the Corps of Discovery (CoD) is to promote a stand alone servant leadership and service program within our home communities and religious institutions that use youth groups, especially Venturing Crews, Sea Scouts Ships, Exploring Posts, and Scout Troops, to enhance their program and dedication to service regardless of the endorsement of any national organization. The mission is to provide servant leadership to youth and adult members of youth groups through leadership training, program development, and service projects.

The CoD is not an honor society so much as it is a unit, district, council, region, and national based co-educational Service Society. To be a member, one must simply be a servant leader willing to commit to doing service, and ask to join the Corps of Discovery. The CoD takes its name and symbolism from Lewis and Clark's historic Voyage of Discovery.

21 July 2019


Previously I posted about Wood Badge and Seabadge, the high-level leadership and management courses for BSA leaders. Now I am going to post about the high-level leadership and management courses for youth, specifically NYLT, NAYLE, KODIAK, and SEAL. NYLT, NAYLE, and KODIAK should be taken is successive order. Before Scouts, Sea Scouts, or Venturers can participate in NYLT, NAYLE, KODIAK, or SEAL, they must first have completed ILST, ILSC, or ILSS.

The purpose of the Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (ILST) course is to teach Scouts with leadership positions about their new roles and how to reach success in that role most effectively. It is intended to help Scouts in leadership positions within their troop understand their responsibilities and to equip them with organizational and leadership skills to fulfill those responsibilities.

The Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews (ILSC) course's purpose is to teach Venturing Crew members with leadership positions about their new roles and how to reach success most effectively in that role. It is intended to help Venturers in leadership positions within their crew understand their responsibilities and to equip them with organizational and leadership skills to fulfill those responsibilities. Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews is the first course in the series of leadership training offered to Venturers and is a replacement for the Venturing Leadership Skills Course (VLSC).

Introduction to Leadership Skills for Ships (ILSS) was introduced in 2012 and is intended to help Sea Scouts in leadership positions within their ship understand their responsibilities and to equip them with organizational and leadership skills to fulfill those responsibilities most effectively. ILSS replaces the Crew Officers Orientation (COO) and the Venturing Leadership Skills Course (VLSC).

National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) is an exciting, action-packed program designed for councils to provide youth members with leadership skills and experience they can use in their home troops, crews, and ships and in other situations demanding leadership of self and others. Completing this course also allows youth to wear the NYLT-trained patch under a position of responsibility patch, instead of the Trained patch, while serving in a non-adult position of responsibility.

National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE) is an exciting training program that enhances leadership skills and expands upon the team-building and ethical decision-making skills learned in National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT). NAYLE emphasizes leadership, teamwork, and selfless service, using the core elements of NYLT to help youth strengthen these skills. The NAYLE course is offered at all four national high-adventure bases. The material presented is basically the same at all four venues but is specific to the unique environment of each site. To qualify for participation in NAYLE, Scouts, Venturers, and Sea Scouts must be 14 but not yet 20 years old, hold a unit leadership position, and have completed NYLT.

NAYLE a special experience. Youth will live in a patrol setting and use their leadership skills to resolve exciting and challenging situations.

NAYLE equips youth leaders to be better unit leaders, NYLT staff members, and/or superior camp staff members. It will help guide their journey to become true servant leaders, able to develop the members of any team they lead. NAYLE provides life skills for now and the future.

Kodiak is a week-long (5 days minimum) leadership trek designed to be an adventure that pushes the boundaries of every participant—one that encourages youth to try new things that may be out of their comfort zone. It is an experience—but one that has its underpinnings in the application of the leadership skills they learned in the Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (ILST), Crews (ILSC), or Ships (ILSS), National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT), and National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE). It is, as is all of Scouting, an adventure with a purpose.

The Kodiak Challenge can be done on a unit, district, or council level. Approval is needed by the council training chair or his or her designee. Multiple councils can get together to conduct an area course (the area training director’s approval is required). Kodiak is not classroom delivery of leadership skills. Instead, it is conducted as part of a trek.

A Kodiak Trek is an expedition, a road trip, an adventure, a visit to another country, a whitewater rafting trip, a cross-state bicycle adventure, running a sports week for special-needs youth—anything that helps push the participants out of their personal comfort zone for the sake of adventure and learning.

A trek is an adventure that pushes boundaries. Not all Troops, Ships or Crews go on high-adventure outings, and Kodiak need not be a high adventure to be a great experience. A natural setting is always a plus, but the key is adventure. For some units, it may be more challenging to do a week-long city tour than a backpacking trip similar to other trips in the past. Do what works for your unit, but do something that is truly a challenge to each participant.

Kodiak is not about the trek; it is about leadership skills. During the Kodiak trek, BSA leadership skills are the framework to help the participants live out their adventure—and grow from this. Each day there is an activity to showcase one or more of the BSA leadership skills previously taught in the unit Introduction to Leadership Skills course and at NYLT and NAYLE. In addition, each trek will have numerous times where leadership skills are essential for success. For example, all treks begin with planning, and all groups must communicate effectively about expectations and shared tasks.

Taking part in a Kodiak adventure gives participants an opportunity to practice the following leadership skills on their trek:
  • Creating a Shared Vision of Success
  • Planning
  • Communication
  • The Stages of Team Development
  • Inclusiveness
  • Values & Ethical Decision Making
  • Servant Leadership & Leadership Styles
Many Scouts, Venturers, and Sea Scouts have decided to join the Corps of Discovery after completing their Kodiak Trek and understanding the importance of Servant Leadership.

Sea Scout Experience Advanced Leadership (SEAL) Training is a Sea Scout youth leadership training course offered by the Sea Scout Support Committee. It is an intensive, week-long leadership course conducted aboard ship at sea. Successful completion of SEAL Training allows the graduate to wear the SEAL Training Award, a silver pin (or patch) with twin dolphins, on their uniform above the left pocket. Staff wear a gold version of the same pin (or patch).

SEAL Training is intended to be a leadership course. While it is conducted on board an active sailing vessel, it is not intended that seamanship be taught. Students should have a thorough understanding of basic seamanship prior to the course.
  • Skills taught
  • Evaluation
  • Team Building
  • Leadership
  • Training
  • Communicating
  • Goal Setting
  • Planning & Preparing
  • Motivating
  • Managing, Supervising, & Commanding
  • Counseling
  • Implementing & Re-Implementing
  • Problem Solving

17 July 2019

The First Scout Martyr: Saint Alexis the Passion-Bearer

The Most August Scout, Holy Passion-Bearer Tsarevich-Martyr Alexis. Killed by the Bolsheviks in 1918.
If we need an example of a life following the Scout Law, then we do not need to look farther than the vita of our Brother-in-Scouting, the Holy Passion-bearer Alexis (Alexei), Heir to the Russian Throne.  Saint Alexis was a Scout of the Tsarskoe Selo chapter. He became the first martyr within Scouting.

From the first day of his birth on July 30, 1904, Saint Alexis was thrown into suffering: he had developed hemophilia. This genetic disease, which St. Alexis received through his mother, the Holy Empress Alexandra, from her grandmother, the English Queen Victoria, causes incoägulability of the blood, owing to which a small scrape or any wrong move could entail death. Moreover, attacks of the disease are connected to great pains.

It would be understandable if, on the basis of such sufferings, St Alexis turned into a withdrawn, antisocial, and angry teenager. However, this did not happen. Instead, in the words of witnesses and peers, St Alexis was lively and happy, smart and noble, kind and attentive, and direct with his sympathies and emotions. Moreover, the disease seemed to teach him thoughtfulness and humility, and created within him a strong faith in the Lord, a very strong will, and empathy for the sufferings of the people. It was also seen that he loved his homeland and was a fierce patriot.

By order of the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, the book of the founder of the World Scouting Movement, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, "Scouting For Boys," was translated into the Russian language. The Sovereign not only acquiesced to the idea and symbols of scouting (the motto and emblem), but called to make every effort in order for Russian society to become interested in the Scouting Movement.

In July of 1914 the First World War began, which proved to be quite tragic for Russia. Russia mobilized, and together with others to the Front, went the founder of Russian Scouting, Oleg I. Pantuckoff [Pantyukhov]. However, at that time, a Scouting chapter has already developed in Tsarskoe Selo. St Alexis took great interest in Scouting, especially because his friend and relative, Grand Duke Georgy, being an active Scout, told him about the meets and hikes. St. Alexis quickly entered the ranks of the Tsarskoe Selo chapter of Scouts, becoming the second member of the Imperial Family after Georgy, of which he remained proud until the end of his life.

It is known to us exactly how actively St Alexis was able to take part in scout life, seeing as, speaking not of his disease, he had serious obligations: not only in preparation of becoming the ruler, but also in fulfilling his duty as the Heir to the Throne and taking part in public initiatives. Thus, as the heir, he was the chief of an entire series of regiments and was obligated to visit them with the goal of raising morale. His father often took him with him to the Front, and St Alexis loved his, as he took interest in military matters. However, we know that St Alexis remembered out motto "Be Prepared!" for his whole life, and tried to follow it always and everywhere.

Action on the Front did not turn in Russia's favor. Russia could not allow a prolonged war for herself. Defeat and great losses, a lack of manpower at the read, the interruption of production, hardships with provisions for the army, problems with supplies in the cities - all of this aggravated unhappiness in the populace and opened to door for the demagogues, and eventually, led to a crisis in leadership. The Emperor had to abdicate from the Throne on behalf of himself and his son, and the Provisional Government came to power, which in turn was quickly overthrown by the Bolsheviks.

The Provisional Government had already arrested the Imperial Family. The Bolsheviks, then, sent the family into exile in Ekaterinburg, intensified the prison régime and, finally, decided to completely destroy the family. On the horrifying night of July 16-17, 1918, the Bolshevik wardens ordered that the family get dressed and descend into the semi-basement of the house with the supposed purpose of evacuation. St Alexis, who was afflicted by his disease, was carried in his father's arms. Then, into the basement entered a death squad of mostly Hungarians (Russians were not trusted), the death sentence was read, the ringleader of the squad thereupon shot St Nicholas in the head, and this served as the signal for the other guns to fire at close range. The wounded Saint Alexis was finished off with bayonets and rifle butts. He was only 13 years of age upon his death.

At the end of the 20th century, the remains of the martyrs were found and identified. For his blameless death, for meekness, humility, and godliness during the most difficult of circumstances, for bravery in the face of suffering, for the very considerable moral dimensions to which he rose, for his unwavering faith, the Orthodox Church added Saint Alexis into the synaxis of passion-bearers.

SOURCE: SGPA Scoutmaster periodical "Expertise" #166. July 2018, pp 8-9. Compiled by Scoutmaster Alexander Taurke from publicly-accessible documents for the upcoming book "The Faithful"Translated by Michael Kazmierczak of the Saint George Pathfinders a.k.a. Russian Youth Scout Association Abroad (in Exile).

15 July 2019

The Corps of Discovery's 20th Anniversary Flap Patches Now Available for Sea Scouts, Venturers, Scouts, Explorers, and Scouters!

CoD Flap Patch on the Official Sea Scout Uniform (TOSSU)
The very limited edition 20th Anniversary Corps of Discovery flap patch, which was previously available for pre-order, is now made and available for order from the official Corps of Discovery web site at https://www.thecorpsofdiscovery.org/recognition.html. The theme of the 20 year flap is that everyone was entitled to vote. On November 24, 1805, the Corps of Discovery, led by Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, votes to spend the winter on the south bank of the Columbia River. All members of the expedition are allowed to participate. This is the first election by Americans in the West, and the first election to include a woman, a Native American Indian, and an African American slave.

Corps of Discovery Flap Patch on the Red BSA Jac-Shirt
This is the first ever Corps of Discovery flap that is available in standard Venturing/Scouting flap as well as a Sea Scouting or red BSA Jac-Shirt flap patch. While the new design does not have the logo of the Corps of Discovery on it, the CoD pin still fits on the new flaps and looks good. (In the past the COD pin was worn above the program strip, translator strip, and nameplate, but it is currently worn on the Corps of Discovery flap patch or an OA flap patch [if said person is a member of both the CoD and the OA] instead).

CoD pin (with permanent party disk) on the new 20th Anniversary Flap
Included in this blog post are pictured of the new Sea Scout/Jac-Shirt patch both with and without the CoD pin, so you can see how good it looks on both, before you order one for your Sea Scout uniform, red BSA Jac-Shirt, and your personal Scouting badge collection. Please forgive the poor quality of the photos taken by my mobile phone. Currently only 12 more of the Sea Scout/Jac Shirt version are left and a few more of the standard Scout/Venturing flaps remain. If you wish to order some, I suggest you order quickly.

The Orthodox Scouter Allows Sharing Only with Attribution