Turning Teens into Teams
White Stag helps teens bond and find purpose. We excel at helping teens become part of a team.
What Youth Need
Educators report that successfully programs utilized "positive and sustained relations with a caring adult, mentoring in life skills and opportunities to use newly learned skills."1 A number of researchers have identified needs of youth for specific kinds of formative experiences. In a well-regarded study,2 Ferber, Pittman, and Marshall described five developmental priorities for youth. These were ''learning'' (developing positive basic and applied academic attitudes, skills, and behaviors), ''thriving'' (developing physically healthy attitudes, skills, and behaviors), ''connecting'' (developing positive social attitudes, skills, and behaviors), ''working'' (developing positive vocational attitudes, skills, and behaviors), and ''leading'' (developing positive civic attitudes, skills, and behaviors).
Other studies3 have identified areas that help youth acquire the attitudes, skills, and knowledge required to be effective in society. These areas are strong relationships with adults; training in mediation, conflict resolution, team dynamics, and project management; new roles and responsibilities based on experiences and resources that provide opportunity for growth, teamwork and peer networking; and opportunities to practice communication, negotiation, and refusal skills.
What White Stag Offers
The White Stag Leadership Development Program's aims and principles address all of these areas. Based in the outdoors, it requires youth to learn and study specific skills of leadership. The youth, led and mentored by adults, work together with other youth they have never met, forming new relationships and learning to connect and cooperate.
They learn basic group membership skills required in work life, like communication and planning, and plan and implement their leadership skills in their home community. They learn and practice problem-solving and counseling skills, how groups form and grow, and planning skills. They learn and rehearse various kinds of communications skills, how to represent their group—both with and without the group's input—and how to work effectively with others.
The following aims and principles are the foundation for all of the methods and activities we use to teach leadership. These are the foundation against which all potential methods, activities, and content must be evaluated to learn if they are true to the program’s ideals. These aims and principles have changed only slightly since the program's founding in 1958.