Origins of the White Stag Program
Since it's founding in 1958, the White Stag program has taught leadership to more than 20,000 youth. Every summer, hundreds of teens congregate at one of our summer camps, excited to get more out of the program. This history is anchored in a long history of contributing to defining leadership development for youth across the United States and Europe.
Beginnings in Hungary
In 1958, Béla Bánáthy, an emigre from post-World War II Hungary, was a instructor at the Army Language School in Monterey, California. He had a passion for the idea of leadership development in boys. As Chairman of the Leadership Training Committee of the Monterey Bay Area Council, he founded the White Stag camp. The first summer two patrols of boys took part.
National programs are based on the White Stag model
With the interest and support of the Monterey Bay Area Council executive staff and board, the program was expanded until the National BSA Council learned of it. In 1962, they sent some observers and participants, who liked what they saw and experienced. The National BSA modified the program, writing their own syllabus, which was pilot-tested in 1971 at Philmont. In 1973, the new TLD Staff Guide was published, emphasizing for the first time teaching leadership skills over scoutcraft skills. The program was later adapted into Wood Badge, where the leadership competencies have remained an integral part of the program.
White Stag traces its direct roots to 1933 and Gödöllö, Hungary, where the Fourth World Jamboree of the world Scouting movement was held. The September 1933 issue of The Scouter, the United Kingdom's scouting magazine, contained a complete report on the Jamboree. Béla Bánáthy attended the Jamboree and he was deeply moved by Lord Robert Baden-Powell's challenge to follow the White Stag and "to make friends with others and peace in the world." For a complete history, see White Stag History Since 1933.