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Junior Leader Training -- White Stag Leadership Development
Note Newly published! Learn about the basic eleven leadership competencies every teen needs. Order the book Team Leadership Skills for Teens.

The Historical Background
of the Eleven Leadership Skills

Bánáthy had director of the youth leadership development program of the Hungarian Boy Scout Association during World War II. In the 1950's, he emigrated to the United States and became an instructor at the Army Language School, later the Defense Language Institute, in Monterey, California.

In 1957, Béla was Chairman of the Leadership Training Committee of the Monterey Bay Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. He organized an experimental troop consisting of two patrols for the purpose of trying out a leadership development program conceived by him. The initial experiment took place at the Pico Blanco Boy Scout Reservation, in summer 1958. Béla, who attended the 1933 World Jamboree, chose the historic "White Stag" as the symbol of the program.

The eleven leadership skills were additions to the White Stag program in the early 1960s. Having started up the program with two patrols in 1958, he recruited Eagle Scout John Chiorini to serve as Senior Patrol Leader. There wasn't much discussion of leadership competencies to start. Bánáthy seemed to have an internal sense of direction which not everyone understood. Chiorini said, "White Stag was all about creating an environment in which youth led youth. At the time, Scouting was not necessarily a boy-led program. I remember it was very clear in Béla’s mind what a boy-led Scouting program looked like. There was no question about who was in charge in White Stag. The boys were."

During the same year, Bánáthy continued his research on leadership and learned that the U.S. Army's Human Resources Research Office (HumRRO) at the Presidio of Monterey was conducting research into the leadership characteristics of non-commissioned officers. Bánáthy contacted research psychologist Paul Hood, Task Leader of Task NCO (Non-commissioned Officer), and began a fruitful collaboration. A HumRRO publication titled, A Guide for the Infantry Squad Leader--What the Beginning Squad Leader Should Know About Human Relations articulated a core set of leadership competencies.[1] Bánáthy found Hood's research enumerated characteristics of leadership that strongly validated his vision and direction. With Hood's active encouragement, he decided to incorporate these leadership skills into White Stag.

The Monterey Bay Area Council, encouraged by the success of Béla's experiment and because of the lack of adequate official intensive and long-range junior leader training program, decided to use Bánáthy's design as a council-wide program. The first full-scale program took place in the summer of 1959 with Béla as Scoutmaster.

Béla pursued his interest in leadership development in his master's degree program at San Jose State University. During his research, he learned of an interest in leadership development by the U.S. Army's Human Resources Research Office (HumRRO). Bánáthy contacted Dr. Paul Hood, a research psychologist and Task Leader of Task NCO at HumRRO.

A research team which Hood chaired published A Guide for the Infantry Squad LeaderWhat the Beginning Squad Leader Should Know About Human Relations (1959). This publication contributed greatly to elaboration of the leadership tasks, and Bánáthy adapted and borrowed liberally from the curriculum of Paul Hood’s project.

National Council Forms Advisory Board

In 1962, an advisory board of educators, psychologists, management specialists, and members of the Scout professional staff was formed, chaired by Dr. R. Maurice Tripp. Dr. Tripp was a research scientist and member of the National Council, BSA. The Monterey Bay Area Council published A Design for Leadership Development in Scouting, an expanded version of Béla's master's thesis. Dr. Tripp presented a paper entitled, "Development of Leadership in Boy Leaders of Boys" at the Fifty-Third Annual Meeting of the National Council, BSA. He advocates leadership development by design in Scouting, based on the leadership competencies of White Stag.

A patrol of Scouts from the San Mateo County Council and a few boys from the Circle Ten Council in Dallas attended White Stag summer camp. The boys from Dallas were part of an experimental pilot program to take the White Stag program nationwide. In January of 1964 a number of key individuals assembled at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, California. The purpose was to acquaint the national council with the new design and plan for effective teaching of the skills of leadership within the design of Scouting, in a manner "similar to the way we teach Scoutcraft skills."

(In attendance from the National Council were Ken Wells; Walt Whidden (Region 12 Executive); Bill Lawrence (National Director of Volunteer Training); Marshall Monroe (Assistant National Scout Executive); Harold Hunt (Vice President of the National Council and Professor of Education at Harvard); Ellsworth Augustus (National Council President); Jack Rhey (National Director of Professional Training); and Bob Perin (National Training Representative).)

Redesigned Wood Badge is Tested

The redesigned Wood Badge program was laboratory tested in June of 1967 at the Schiff Scout Reservation in New Jersey and at the Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico. In 1968, the National Leadership Development Project was formally established to continue experimentation and develop a program suitable for nation-wide application. The revised program was field tested in five councils. The National Council established the goal of infusing the principles inherent in White Stag, including that of "leadership development by design," into the national training program.

An experimental Wood Badge course (#25-2, Fort Ord, California, January and February, 1968) was conducted by the Monterey Bay Area Council. It is one of five councils that were selected by the national council for field testing of the revised Wood Badge program.

In 1969, the Boy Scout World Bureau (Geneva, Switzerland) published a paper by Béla under the title, "Leadership Development," Scout Reference Paper #1. This paper (reproduced in "World Scouting Reference Paper No. 1— Leadership Development") was instrumental in spreading the philosophy of leadership development by design to Scout organizations outside the United States. Bánáthy presented a talk, "Leadership Development by Design", at the Helsinki, Finland conference of the worldwide Scout movement.

JLT Tested at Philmont

Then, in 1971, more than 800 young men ages 13-17 experienced the "leadership development by design" program at Philmont. The National Council committed to a national program. Finally, in 1974, the leadership development by design program was published in the new Troop Leader Development Staff Guide. (It gives a brief history of its White Stag origins on pages 91-92.)

Since then, the National Council, which is constantly striving to make the Boy Scouting program more fresh and innovative--some might say they can't leave well enough alone--has continued to modify the leadership program and the eleven leadership competencies. They have simplified how the competencies are presented and standardized on a set program.

More Recently

The eleven leadership skills are now taught each year to tens of thousands of Scouters at all Wood Badge courses and to Scouts in all Junior Leader Training across the United States. The competencies are also taught in at least one major university to all participants in its leadership classes. There are of course some variations in the content. For example, some people want to know why the leadership competency "Manager of Learning" is sometimes called by that name and not "Effective Teaching", which is the term used in JLT and Wood Badge.

Effective Teaching is a term coined the National Boy Scouts of America. The phrase Manager of Learning was defined by Béla Bánáthy. We believe a Manager of Learning is not simply a teacher. Teaching connotes activities too typically requiring a lecture hall and a large number of desks. The phrase Manager of Learning is carefully chosen. The emphasis is on learning, not on what the instructor teaches. Your job, as a manager of learning, is to help the participants to become more effective leaders.

The eleven competencies are presented in considerable detail in the book, Resources for Leadership.

Note Newly published in 2016. Learn about the basic eleven leadership competencies every teen needs. Order the book Team Leadership Skills for Teens. Buy it now—only $9.99. Copyright 2008 Brian Phelps. All Rights Reserved. Brief passages may be quoted for reviews or commentary.

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^ 1 Paul D. Hood (1963). Leadership Climate for Trainee Leaders: The Army AIT Platoon. Human Resources Research Office, George Washington University, Alexandria, Virginia.