Skip to Main Content

Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills (IOLS)

Who should take this training?

New Scouts BSA Scoutmasters (highest-ranking adult volunteer leader working with youth in a Scouts BSA Troop) and Assistant Scoutmasters

Why should I take this training?

Scouting’s outdoor program is a critical part of how the Scouts BSA program develops young leaders. While camping or participating in other outdoor events, your Scouts will challenge themselves to learn skills they’ve never tried before or maybe didn’t think they could do. In doing so, your Scouts will work together as a team to overcome adversity when things don’t go as planned; this is truly the magic of Scouting that no other program does as well.

To safely offer Scouting’s outdoor program, however, you need a certain set of skills and knowledge – and that’s why you’re required to take Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills (also known as “IOLS”) Training. You’ll learn how to build a fire, use an axe, cook outdoors, use a map and compass, responsibly care for the outdoors, and much more. Even if you weren’t a Scout as a kid, you’ll come out of this course looking and acting like a seasoned camper. This course, combined with Youth Protection Training and the Scoutmaster-Specific Training course, will make you an “fully trained” Scouts BSA leader.

Note: since Scoutmaster-Specific Training is only a half-day course (roughly 4 hours), you’ll often see the in-person version of that course combined with the IOLS Training course to make the most of your valuable time.

When is this training available?

The training is generally offered in the fall and spring in different areas of our council (the “council” is made up of all 15 counties we serve in Central Texas; the council is split up into geographic areas called “districts” along school attendance or county boundaries). We try to schedule the course to be available right around the same time as our fall and spring recruiting periods, so that as new adults join Scouting with their children, they can get trained as quickly as possible.

Where is this training offered?

The course will take place at a camp property owned by the Capitol Area Council (that’s us) or a different campground that’s a favorite for Scout units in your area. There is no online version of this course (you’re learning how to camp outside, after all).

What is the cost of this training?

The course will typically include a $20 or similar fee to cover some of your food plus additional program materials you’ll use during the training.

How do I sign up for this training?

You will register online. Visit the event search page on our site, and type in “IOLS” into the box titled “Search for a word.” You will get a list of all current IOLS courses open for registration.