Back Country Outdoor Leader Skills


Is your unit is planning a high adventure experience?

Are you looking for a place to learn or refresh the skills needed to provide the adult leadership necessary to a successful trek?

Do you want to understand how to work with older youth and how interpersonal skills, small group dynamics and team building techniques help manage risk and affect the overall quality of the trek?

Do you want to help your youth master trek planning, gear selection, gear requirements; packing, land navigation and terrain awareness, health and hygiene, menu planning, food preparation and clean-up, and field maintenance all within the context of Leave No Trace?

Then Back Country Outdoor Leader Skills (BCOLS) is the course for you!  Through a well-balanced mix of explanation, demonstration, and guided hands-on practice, BCOLS will enable you to become a servant-leader to your youth and prepare them for a memorable and challenging outdoor experience.

The purpose of the course is to provide adults with an understanding of the skills necessary to implement a basic backcountry program.  While this course uses backpacking as the training vehicle, the skills are applicable to treks focused on specialized skills such as rock climbing, caving, white water, mountain biking or winter camping.  The training is conducted in two parts:  one indoor classroom session followed by a weekend outdoor, overnight session.


  1. Must be a registered adult member of the Boy Scouts of America over age 21.
  2. Must have completed Youth Protection, Hazardous Weather, Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills, as well as the appropriate position-specific training prior to attending this course.
  3. Must present a current BSA Annual Health & Medical Record (Parts A & B).
  4. This course is NOT recommended for Cub Scout Leaders.


Upon successful completion of the BCOLS course participants are awarded a certificate of completion and the BCOLS monkey’s fist device, which is warn hanging from the left pocket of the uniform.

Course Size:

The course will consist of at not more than 32 participants.  Preference will be given to leaders actively involved in the BSA older youth programs.  Once the course is filled, participants will be given the option of being placed on a waiting list, in case of cancellations.

Next  BCOLS Offering:

Both Session Must be Attended to get credit for the Course.

Class Room Session: Saturday, March 2, 2024 at TBD, Maryland

Weekend Session : Saturday, April 27 thru Sunday, April 28, 2024 at TBD, Maryland

Register at this link: https://scoutingevent.com/082-79025#

For more information:

Course Coordinator

Dominick Caridi