In the late 1940s, there was a call for guidance in the planning of council and district training events for junior leaders. In response, a Junior Leader Training Troop was gathered at Philmont Scout Ranch in 1949. Twenty-five well-chosen Junior Leaders from twenty-four councils (sixteen states) participated in a forty day intensive training program in troop and patrol leadership and all Scouting skills. Also, Junior Leader Training Events was published and was listed as one of the outstanding publications in the 1949 national annual report. The following year, “The junior leader’s training course was developed to give intensive training in Scouting skills and techniques to select Explorers. Each is trained with the end in view that he in turn will train other junior leaders. The course has four parts. The first is centered around studying leadership methods, organization, patrol method, Explorer crews, troop meetings, and camping skills. The second part deals with teaching the same skills. The third sees the trainees actually living the patrol method, using the Scouting skills. The fourth part is devoted to a model junior leaders’ conference, and projects in nature lore, special scoutcraft skills, emergency service, and personal and group service.”

In 1952, “councils throughout the country conducted junior leader training events. To aid them in the development of a corps of young men to help in conducting such events, junior leader training camps were conducted at Philmont Scout Ranch for 270 boys and leaders and at Schiff Scout Reservation for 436.”

These courses were called the National Junior Leader Instructor Training Camps. At Schiff participants that year constituted 16 troops, and their program lasted for twelve days. The twelve day format would continue through 1972.

As the program got established, Schiff would have 800 campers a year usually six troops of four patrols with about eight Junior Leaders. Each troop had a staff of three, a Scoutmaster, an Assistant Scoutmaster, and a Senior Patrol Leader. Patrol leadership rotated until everyone had a turn, and then a patrol leader was elected for the remaining days. Each troop site had a screened training pavilion and the cluster of troop sites was called the James E. West Camp and included a lodge which had originally been the 1939 New York World Fair Scout pavilion. This corps of instructors who came together at the national camps provided assistance to the local councils in running their courses. Candidates to NJLITC were chosen by interview and had to have the approval of their Scout Executive.

At Schiff, Instructor Training

In the 1950’s, the Exploring program was an older boy program closely associated with a troop and supplying leadership to the troop; there were a few years when the NJLITC offered special sessions for those who were Explorer Officers.