The third step in the Manager of Learning (see) process. Having received instruction and having had proper practice, the leader-in-training engages again in an actual leadership performance, during which he will have a chance to compare his performance exhibited before and after the instruction and evaluate his own development.

The application is a practical test and performance of the new principles, concepts, skills or techniques. Situations for application are devised that simulate or parallel as closely as possible situations the learner may encounter in the home environment. The laboratory, experience-based nature of the program is essential to the outcomes achieved.

Campcraft Skills

In White Stag, the outdoor program is the situational context in which leadership competencies are learned. We do not propose to teach outdoor (or "Scoutcraft") skills. We assume, indeed, require candidate and staff participants to have a minimum level of outdoor skills and knowledge prior to their attending the summer camp. The exception is Patrol Member Development, Phase I, when many candidates are somewhat new to the outdoors. In this Phase we teach outdoor skills as a means to help participants gain an understanding of group membership skills.


The fourth step in the Manager of Learning (see) process. The leader-in-training is required to evaluate the learning process, including the stated objectives and the process for attaining the objectives. In this manner they learn about evaluation itself.

We believe evaluation is a continual process, either informal or formal, of judging a situation against a standard. Evaluation is, in essence, two things:

We strive to maintain a constant evaluation attitude, a "predisposition to continually examine and analyze the competencies we attain."[1]


One or more general statement(s) identifying a long-term purpose, usually as a result of the accomplishment of several objectives.

Guided Discovery

The first step in the Manager of Learning (see) process. The leader-in-training is confronted with a pre-planned leadership situation, or Guided Discovery, in which use of a new attitudes, skill, or knowledge is required. The experience not only exposes what the learner does not know, but

The Guided Discovery helps the learner:

The learner realizes a need to acquire new or improve his current knowledge of principles, concepts, skills and techniques.

Just as importantly, the Manager of Learning develops an accurate assessment of the learner's current knowledge level from which to proceed with additional learning.

Hurdle Method

The primary method for helping leaders-in-training to discover the need for--and to practice applying--specific abilities, skills, and knowledge. A hurdle is an unexpected, challenging, experiential learning activity, presented to a leader and his group. The leader has not specifically prepared for the hurdle which requires him to apply leadership competencies and sometimes outdoor skills.


The Indaba--an Indian word for "gathering of the tribes"--is an annual "eighth day" of summer camp held two to three months after the summer camp program is complete. Summer camp graduates and staff are invited to a day-long event where the candidates are helped to evaluate their application to date of the leadership competencies. Staff interviews are begun and the first meeting of the new program year is held.

Infinity Principle

This concept relates to the idea that every individual is in a state of continuous growth. Leadership development is a never-ending process, continuing as long we live. This is embodied in the White Stag program by the legend, in which participants are encouraged to always pursue the White Stag "ever onward and upward."

Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude (ASK)

By learning, we mean the gaining of knowledge, the improvement of skills, or the development of attitudes in a certain area. Sometimes this is abbreviated to "KSA." Attitudes are obviously more important than skills or knowledge--after all, what is the barber going to do with that razor?--thus it might be better to turn it around to ASK!

Leaderless Experience

An activity requiring leadership from within the group when they have not yet selected a designated leader. Suppose you want to introduce new learners who are together for the first time to the concept of leadership and leaders. What better way than to require them to act before they have a designated leader?

During the first day of the summer camp program, typically before the group has thought of selecting a leader, the Patrol Counselor accompanies the group. At various moments the PC finds appropriate, the counselor provides learning activities (see Hurdles) that require leadership from within the group. Later, the group is debriefed and instructed about the process they unknowingly participated in, an intentional leaderless experience. Learning has begun.

Leadership Development By Design

Specific leadership behaviors are clearly and objectively defined as specific learnings and are systematically programmed into a long-term developmental process. This direct approach ensures that appropriate and sufficient time is given to developing leadership skills in the individual to bring about the desired change in behavior and to achieve leadership competence.

Leadership Growth Agreement

A learner's contract for applying the leadership competencies in LGA himself, with the aid of a staff member. Our desire is to motivate the learner to use his newly acquired skills, knowledge, and abilities in a helpful, productive way--primarily in his home unit.


Leadership is a combination of three dynamic factors: the group, the environment, and the task. More than one member of the group will perform leadership functions. Several members may contribute to goal achievements, depending on the requirements of the situation and the resources it offers, including the people, time, and material available.

Simply put, leadership is...

...influencing the group to accomplish a mutually agreed-upon task while advancing the group's integrity and morale.

In the language of an eleven-year old, it's "getting the job done and keeping the group together."


A leader possesses the authority, accountability, and responsibility for the group's results.

Leading Questions

Adept Managers of Learning (see) avoid asking questions that can be answered "yes" or "no." A yes/no question does not help the participant to learn how to think and the learner may even guess the right answer. Use leading questions that require a statement in reply.

When you ask a leading question, follow it up with others that will force the learner to reason the problem through. Leading questions help the learner reason from the known to the unknown, enabling them to acquire knowledge more quickly and effectively.

Manager of Learning

In a nutshell, Manager of Learning is a leadership competency describing a system for exposing learners to the need to know and involving them in their own learning. Manager of Learning is also the name for the role youth staff assume during the summer camp.

Along with being one of the eleven competencies taught in the program, it is a method for leadership development which we embrace as essential to participatory, experiential, leadership development. We generalize this participatory approach in all we do, applying it to the entire program design and implementation, describing it as the Project Method.

The phrase manager of learning is carefully chosen. The emphasis is on learning, not on what the instructor teaches.

Manager of Learning Method

The Manager of Learning method, in brief:

  1. Confront the learning group with a situation in which the use of the competence to be learned is required. This helps them realize the need for increased competence and thus creates a desire to learn. We've labeled this a Guided Discovery (see).
  2. Introduce the learning program in a workshop situation where the competency is demonstrated and practiced. Call this Teach/Learn (see).
  3. Apply the learned skill in situations similar to--or identical with--the original "confrontation." (See step 1 above.) The group can readily recognize the "new way of doing things" and their increased competence. This is the Application (see).
  4. Confront the group--unexpectedly--with novel situations in which the competence is to be used; group evaluates the application of the competence. This is the Evaluation (see).
  5. Individuals formulate operational and measurable objectives for the application of the newly-acquired competence in the back-home situation in and out of Scouting. We formalize this as a Leadership Growth Agreement (see).

Patrol Counselor

The Patrol Counselor (PC) is not the same as a Patrol Leader (see). The PC is less involved in the patrol's activities. While the PC controls the patrol's activities, he is not responsible for the results. He may, in a delicate balancing act, retain some authority over the patrol, but this is usually only exercised in critical situations affecting the health and safety of patrol members.

The Patrol Counselor's job is to:

Patrol Leader

The Patrol Leader is the individual, normally elected by the patrol members, who has the official leadership role in the group. During the first few days of the summer camp, the Patrol Counselor (see) may select a Patrol Leader.

Patrol Method

The Patrol Method is a system for organizing individuals into teams of 6-8 members and thus into larger groups, or teams of teams, each led by members of the group, especially the youth themselves.

Lord Robert Baden-Powell intuited the dynamic power of the patrol method long before sociologists could prove it worked in youth or adult groups. He writes, "The formation of boys into patrols of from six to eight and training them as separate units, each under is own responsible leader, is the Key..." [2] This, he felt, was Scouting's most essential contribution to education.


A meaningfully stated objective or goal is one that succeeds in communicating to an unbiased evaluator the manager of learning's instructional intent. What is sought is that group of words and phrases that best communicates to an objective observer the purpose of the learning activity as the man-ager-of-learning understands it.

System Approach

The system approach[3] is used in developing the program. This approach necessitates the following steps:

  1. Identify in exact terms whatever the learner must be able to do at the end of training.
  2. Develop objective criteria by which we can measure whether the learner has attained performance objectives.
  3. State whatever has to be learned so that the learner can behave in the way described. Thus we establish the learning task.
  4. Specify what the training program has to do and by what means or by whom, and when, and where, to assure that the learner will complete the learning task.
  5. Design the program, pretest the design, and implement it.
  6. Evaluate the outcomes achieved, comparing them to the goals and objectives set at the outset. Make recommendations for improvement in the future.


The third step in the Manager of Learning (see) process. Having internalized the need for learning because of the attempted application, or Guided Discovery (see), the leader-in-training enters into a learning period. This period is designed to teach the skills, techniques and knowledge needed to cope with the initial challenge and with similar situations. The learnings are presented if possible in the same sequence as they occur in the context of the actual leadership task.

White Stag

The White Stag is named and the symbol originates in the legend of the White Stag, a deeply rooted myth of the Hungarian people. It was chosen as the official symbol of the Fourth World Jamboree held in Hungary in 1933. It is a myth telling the origins of the Hungarian people, the Huns and Magyars, and their long migration from Turkey to Europe in search of a "promised land." There they hope to find a permanent home, "surrounded by mountains, warmed by the sun, sheltered from the cold, a land rich in game and green pastures, between two great rivers rich in fish..."

The full story is told in an award-wining children's book by Kate Seredy, The White Stag, published in 1937. This book is so well-written that it has continuously remained in print since its initial publication. A version of the myth which we use within the program is found in Follow the White Stag, Chapter 5 - "Managing Spirit and Traditions, White Stag Legend.

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[1] Boyle, Patrick G., and George Aker. "The Evaluation Attitude," Adult Leadership, (March, 1962).

[2] Baden-Powell, Robert. Selections from The Scouter, edited by Lord Somers, Baden-Powell's Outlook. London: C. Arthur Pearson Ltd., 1941.

[3] Bánáthy, Béla. Report on a Leadership Development Experiment. August, 1964. 10pp. Continuous testing and evaluation of the learner and of the program will indicate if we have to introduce changes.

Copyright © 1981— , Brian Phelps. All rights reserved. Short portions may be excerpted for review and quotes. For copyright purposes, only introductory portions of this book are available online. Order the newest edition today.