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Junior Leader Training -- White Stag Leadership Development

Spirit and Traditions Methods

Ask any candidate what they like about the program and they will reply, almost without exception, "It's fun." That's remarkable considering the participant's time is rigerously scheduled and that they are given virtually no free recreational time. The program is fun because of its spirit and traditions. The spirit and traditions develop individual and group morale, foster an esprit de corp or sense of pride, and honor in and loyalty to the program.

Most of our modern, civilized world is stripped of the shaping moments found in the White Stag program. These include the White Stag legend, the program's rich history dating back to the 1933 Fourth World Jamboree, and the ceremonies, songs, yells, campfires and uniforming that are part of the fabric of the entire year-round program. These activities inject a considerable amount of energy, enthusiasm, and, most importantly, fun into the program. The uniforming helps members to identify themselives as members of a team.

White Stag's legacy infuses the program with a foundation that goes back hundreds of years. The White Stag was the symbol of the Fourth World Jamboree and was cited by Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouting, during his closing remarks. The White Stag legend refers to the much older Hungarian myth. This myth describing the origins of the Hungarian people is a cultural touch stone of eastern European culture. It describes the epic struggle of people overcoming immense obstacles, a tale that touches the hearts of all humans.

Our spirit and traditions, whether around the campfire or deep in the woods, touch on ongoing themes in the lives of youth, like belonging, identity, self-expression, success, independence, and personal values.

These spirit and traditions affect youth participants emotionally, securing in their hearts a desire to become better leaders. When our spirit and traditions invoke myths of long ago, they invisibly echo long-lost rites of passage that our forbearers took part in at times beyond our cultural memory. They remind participants of the great values of love, acceptance, personal growth, spirituality, cooperation, and togetherness which are available to them in the best moments of their lives.

Uniforming in the form of polo shirts, T-shirts, and khaki pants helps to unite team members and continually reminds them of our spirit and legend. It reminds them that they are part of something larger and grander. It instills pride in the person and the program. The uniform helps to promote an egalitarian attitude and lessen class or socio-economic distinctions. It serves as a visual reminder of the commitment all have made to a common set of beliefs and values. The uniform reminds the individual wearing it and those around him of that commitment and of the beliefs and values, and helps sustain and support them.

Adhering to the Scouting motto "Do a good turn daily," we strive to create a environment where everyone experiences and recognizes that service to others is the best example of leadership. We strive to bring out the best in people, to build others up, to encourage, and to help others to be their best. We follow Baden Powell's advice: "Make good turn a habit of conduct." We encourage members to provide service without the expectation of recognition or reward. All members are required to complete Leadership Growth Agreements or personal contracts for giving back to our communities.

We believe that those who serve others gain the most. We recognize that to be the best kind of leader we must strive to serve those we lead. As leaders, we believe in the most fundamental principles of ethics, the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." We guide members and teach each to put this into practice. We furnish the example as leaders. While we do not advocate any particular religion, we support all faiths, and we believe that faith in a higher power helps each person to remain humble and become a better leader. We follow the teachings of Lord Baden Powell, the founder of Scouting, when he said, "Religion ought to be caught—not taught." We instill in members a desire for an ever-deepening spiritual life.

Adhering to the principles of the Boy Scout Oath, Boy Scout Law, Girl Scout Oath, and Venturing Code, we believe that faith in a higher power must be lived rather than talked about. We provide members opportunities to reflect on their individual spiritual beliefs. Our ceremonies include time for personal reflection and members are encouraged to continously strive for self-improvement. All are encouraged to do their the best with the abilities and talents given them by their higher power. By offering the program in the outdoors, we give members an opportunity to experience humility in relationship to the great outdoors.