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This book is dedicated to the visionaries who founded the White Stag Leadership Development Program, who helped me become a man.
I attended my first White Stag summer camp thirty years ago. I feel a great deal of gratitude towards a man I did not meet until I was in my twenties: Béla Bánáthy. His conceptualization and implementation of the White Stag "leadership development by design" program had a vast impact on my life, greater than any other until age 36 when I developed a personal relationship with God and Jesus Christ. Béla's work with White Stag and others has helped youth not just in his proverbial back yard, but in the entire county, state, country, and beyond.
The person who had the greatest impact on my during my early participation in White Stag, who offered me a challenge I strived for years to fulfill, is Fran Petersen. I have not known the man nearly as well as I would like to, but saw that it was his drive, commitment, and interest that sustained the White Stag program after Béla had released the reins.
I will always remember how Fran never seemed to sleep, how he seemed at times like a ghost in the sunlight among the trees of Pico Blanco. Wherever you were, if you turned around at just the right moment, you might catch a glimpse of him in his red Scout coat in the shadow of a giant redwood, watching, observing. He always knew exactly what was going on long before anyone else.
I remember Joe St.Clair as the individual who, when Béla and Fran were no longer directly involved in the program, Joe was always present, helping individuals, steering the program, listening and teaching in subtle ways so you almost didn't notice. Joe steered the program selflessly for many years, serving more than once as Program Director, sustaining the program, guiding and inspiring new groups of youth and adults.
And then there's "Uncle Paul" Sujan. When I was a candidate at age 13, Uncle Paul was Quartermaster. When I was program Director 13 years later, he was still Quartermaster, and he continued in that role for many more years. His caring for the program went far beyond the equipment he ruled over. Some people could not see that beyond his surface brusqueness and irascible manner he was deeply committed to making sure the White Stag spirit lived on. It was Uncle Paul who, chomping on his always present, unlit, half-chewed cigar, could produce the very flag that your candidate patrol created when you came to Patrol Member Development. He, perhaps more than any other, has carried in his heart the White Stag spirit, the desire to serve others and provide a program second to none.
When I first attended the White Stag summer camp in 1969 as a Patrol Leader Development candidate, I unknowingly began collecting material for this book. I would like to acknowledge the direct contributions of Béla Bánáthy, Fran Petersen, Alan Miyamoto, Bill Roberts, and Joe St. Clair to this book.
I studied closely what Béla has written about leadership, both during and after his direct association with the program. Fran left a legacy of written program resources that was a strong foundation to build on. Alan similarly left a bequest of work he had done in spirit and traditions.
Bill was indirectly responsible for getting me started on this; I came into possession of the White Stag Rationale he had written. Based on his early work, I saw a need to assemble the several boxes of source material I had collected into a useful, accessible document. I relied on the Rationale in part for some of the organization and theory, if not the substance, of portions of the book.
Joe St.Clair, the unofficial historian and archivist for White Stag, contributed many old camp programs and written materials which I eagerly digested and distilled. He also contributed a major portion of the history of the program which forms Chapter 7 - "Sixty-five Years of History".
Judy Anderson, Lori Madajian, and Mildred Voelker also contributed selected writings and editorial expertise. John Larson, National Director of Training, Boy Scouts of America, helped with information for the survey of Scoutmasters documented in Chapter 9 - "Junior Leader Training Needs Assessment".
I cannot personally acknowledge but also wish to thank the many, many others whose names are unknown to me, but who contributed to this book as I distilled the written programs and leadership competency sessions of many years into portions of this work. Their contribution is evidenced by the many entries in the Bibliography under the authorship of "White Stag."
What is contained within these pages has been written by nearly everyone who is or was a member, for they were the patrols, the teams, that make up White Stag. Like everything done in the program, this book is in reality a group effort.
I also thank the hundreds if not thousands of volunteers, youth and adult, who have freely given of their time, money, and talents to sustain and carry forward the White Stag program. Their selfless service has made a vital difference in not only my life and in the lives of their children, but in the lives of many thousands of others.
Seventeen years have passed since I completed the first edition of this book. Then, in 1981, White Stag had been out of Pico Blanco Scout Reservation for only two years, where the program began, its original partnership with the Monterey Bay Area Council at an end.
Since then, the program has continued to grow and evolve, as does its members and leaders. During the summer of 1994, two summer camps were held in two locations, and one of those camps hosted two complete troops for Patrol Member Development (PMD).
The first camp was due to the hard work of Phil Smith, who led his experienced staff to Camp Marin Sierra. It was he who energetically promoted the program, making it possible for two complete PMD troops to be trained. The second camp came about when the Monterey Bay Area Council Training Chairman invited White Stag alumni to provide the council's official Troop Leader Training program. Credit goes to Steve Cardinalli for organizing and training a dedicated staff at Camp Pico Blanco.
The leadership competencies we teach are a vehicle for acquiring truly human skills that make a difference in other people's lives. It is these human aspects--the symbol, traditions, and spirit of White Stag--that help make for a remarkable program.
The White Stag program is at a juncture. It can remain small, isolated, restricted to Northern California. Or it can grow and spread its philosophy of leadership development by design to the corners of the world. Given today's mass communication technologies, it is entirely possible to sponsor White Stag programs for youth across the world.
How will the White Stag program grow in the future? Who owns the program, the concepts, the spirit and traditions embodied in this program? Do we just give the program away and hope for the best? Who ensures that the qualities and standards achieved in the past will be met in the future? Or do we trademark the emblem, copyright the materials, license the program, and audit the results? The answer probably lies somewhere between the two extremes. Only future leaders can answer these questions. Will you be one of them?
I welcome your comments. Please contact me.