Troop Leadership Development's
Origins in White Stag
the 1974 Troop Leader Development Staff Guide, p 94-95)
factual inaccuracies are corrected. Editor]
Back in the 1930's social
scientists began examine leadership. Through these studies, it was determined
that leadership is something
people do, and therefore the premise was developed that it is possibly
something that people can learn to do.
One of the more famous studies identified leadership in
three areas: (1) laissez-faire, (2) authoritarian, and (3) democratic.
These studies reinforced the notion that over a long period the most productive
groups were those identified with the democratic style of leadership.
That is, the people had a part in the decisionmaking and in the development
of a project, and the group was strengthened through this process. This,
of course, supports the basic plan that we have had in Scouting since
the days of Baden-Powell, known as the patrol method.
Back in the 1950's the armed forces of the United States
became concerned about the quality of leadership among noncommissioned
officers. Experiments were carried out in noncommissioned officer schools
at Fort Hood in California. [Fort Hood is in Texas. In fact, the program,
called Task NCO, was located at Fort Ord, California, and led by
Dr. Paul Hood, a
research psychologist and Task Leader for the U.S.
Army's Human Resources Research Office. Editor] Several Scouters
from the Monterey Bay Area Council learned of this program and designed
a junior leadership training experience using some of the competencies
or skills of leadership identified in this Army training, and it was
known as the "White Stag" program.
[As noted elsewhere, Dr. Béla Bánáthy actually
founded White Stag in 1958 independently of the Army program. Editor]
This program came to the attention of the Boy Scouts of
America through a member of the national Scouting committee [Maury Tripp]. As a result
of several conferences, it was felt there were grounds for the Research
Service to take a closer look at this White Stag program to determine
the value of this approach to adult and boy leader growth.
By the mid-1960's a "blueprint for action" had been developed
and approved through the Research Service to continue experimentation
in the leadership development concept for adult and boy leaders. The first
experience was conducted at the Schiff Scout Reservation in June 1967,
using the Wood Badge as a vehicle to transmit this information and concept
to participants selected from nine councils across the country. This first
experience, although very crude, produced enthusiastic participants, and
it was not long before five of these councils were selected to conduct
experimental Wood Badge sessions using a careful monitoring and evaluating
plan to develop further input into this leadership development concept.
By 1969 it was determined to expand leadership development
to junior leader training in these five local councils. It proved to be
successful, but the experimentation did not stop here. The Rockefeller
Brothers Fund was approached to underwrite continued experimentation and
evaluation at the two national junior leader instructor training areas
located at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico and the Schiff Scout
Reservation in New Jersey.
In 1971 more than 800 young men aged 13-17 experienced
the leadership development idea at Philmont. This was evaluated by volunteers
during a five-day conference held at the Rayado site on the Philmont Ranch.
The unanimous decision of this group was to move ahead with leadership
Also about this time the framework for the improved Scouting
program to be launched in September 1972 was being created. An idea for
the 14- and 15-year-old members of a Scout troop to be known as the leadership
corps was developed and included in the leadership development program.
In 1972 councils were invited from all over the country to send representatives
to experience the leadership development idea at the Philmont and Schiff
sites. Also in 1972, the leadership development concept was fully integrated
into the Wood Badge curriculum. Every course conducted in the United States
in 1972 included the leadership development idea. Scoutmasters were getting
this information to help themselves and to help the troop leaders who
would be experiencing this course in every council beginning in the year
In the summer of 1972 the people associated with the Rockefeller
Foundation requested that this program be evaluated by an outside source:
hence the Management Analysis Center of Cambridge, Mass., was contracted
to make an independent analysis of this experience by interviewing participants,
staff members, and parents to determine Scouts' attitudes toward understanding
the different aspects of leadership before and after they had completed
this program. In their report, the Management Analysis Center indicated
that the educational methods being used in leadership development are
consistent with both the current state of knowledge concerning the conditions
under which people learn most effectively and within the current practice
in the best leadership development programs available to managers in both
public and private organizations.