Gilqua PLTU

The Gilqua PLTU Course is a comprehensive leadership course run annually for the young leaders in the Scout Movement. The course originated in Natal in the late 1950s, and since then has started up in several other centres around the country. Courses have been held in the Western Cape annually since 1992.

Refer to the Latest Updates page for PLTU notices

Gilqua PLTU history, from the Western Cape Scout Heritage page

PLTU Selection Process


The motivation for starting Gilqua PLTU was based on the recognition that the leaders of tomorrow will all emanate from the youth of today. Whilst the development of other leadership skills can still be effective at later stages, the development of values and attitudes is best achieved in the earlier years.

PLTU Patrol

The course attempts to help individuals overcome any perceived limitations, and stretch these limits far beyond any previous perceived boundaries. In helping individuals discover their true potential, and setting them on the road to achieving this potential, PLTU stimulates a strong sense of self-worth, self-confidence and self-discipline.

The course is only the start of a much longer development process of self-awareness and self-improvement, but it remains the vital part which initiates the momentum to sustain the motivation over an extended period.

Aim and Objectives

The Aim and Objectives of PLTU focus the efforts of the course on character development in each individual, including the development of physical, mental and spiritual qualities. The course participants and staff are selected from the broad spectrum of the community.


Every effort is made to ensure that the composition of each course reflects the composition of Scout Troops in the Area. An important criterion in the selection of candidates, is their potential to be able to take back the training and the values, and pass these on to their fellow Scouts in their home Troops.

The grouping of participants into five Patrols aims to achieve the most diverse representation possible in each Patrol. The intense course programme uses the Patrol System exclusively, providing a unique opportunity for each participant to work with and better understand their fellow South Africans from the broad spectrum of our community. The success of this "bridge-building" on past courses has been applaudable, in going a long way towards breaking down barriers and prejudices.

PLTU Programme

The course is made up of an intensive 9-day programme, which provides training in all aspects of leadership, for 40 Scouts (aged 14 to 17). It is unique from other youth training courses, in its comprehensive content, which includes:

Leadership Theory
using John Adair's model of Functional Leadership, leadership styles, etc
Leadership skills
Planning, Organisation, Communication, Inter-personal skills
Personal skills
Life skills (eg Presentation skills), Technical skills, and a spiritual dimension
Human Relations skills
Bridge-building across all communities, Group dynamics, motivation and teamwork
Meaningful challenge
mental and physical, personal and group
Values and attitudes
a crucial part in the training of leaders
All theory is followed up by practical application and exercises which reinforce the theory. The pace of the course is intense.

The Patrol System

The course is run on the Patrol System throughout, with each Patrol made up of 8 Scouts. Each Patrol is assigned a fulltime adult Tutor, and a Patrol Quartermaster, for the duration of the course. The course staff is made up of adult Scouters, and Scouts who have already completed the course. Scout staff are all under the age of 18 years, and are used in the roles of Troop Leader, Quartermasters and Patrol Quartermasters. The remaining positions are filled by adults. All staff are kept extremely busy throughout the course.

'PLTU has become a vital part of Scouting in the Western Cape. It has earned the reputation of being the best course, both within and outside the Scout Movement, on offer to our Scouts. The success of the past Gilqua PLTU courses has been a great encouragement. The improvement in the individuals, as well as the improvements in their home Troops, have convinced us that the course is worthy of the investment it demands, both financially and in manpower. Feedback from Scouts, parents and Scouters has been unanimously positive.'

Peter Foster
Former Area Commissioner, Cape Western Area