White Stag Sierra leadership camp was founded in 1958 on the Monterey Peninsula at Camp Pico Blanco in the Big Sur backcountry. In 1979, we began hosting our program in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Then, in 1992, we moved our camp from the civilized confines of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the wide-open Sierra Nevada mountains, and in 2014 to Camp Cole in the Tahoe National Forest. The White Stag Academy, formed in 2004, continues to provide the White Stag experience at a camp in Arroyo Seco, near Greenfield.
Founded in 1958
Our founder, Béla Bánáthy, was an emigre from post-World War II Hungary. He became an instructor at the Army Language School in Monterey, California. He had a passion for the idea of leadership development in youth. As Chairman of the Leadership Training Committee of the Monterey Bay Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, in 1958 he founded the White Stag leadership camp. It remains an entirely volunteer-run organization with a rich history anchored in the Boy Scouts of America and the myths of the Hungarian people.
Role in Scouting
In 1974, the Boy Scouts of America published the TLD Staff Guide, which credited its origins in the White Stag program. During our long history, we’ve also contributed to defining leadership development for youth in South America and Europe.
Many of our attendees are members of the Boy Scouts of America but we also attract youth from different organizations. The White Stag youth staff are organized as Venture Crew 122. Our sponsor is the White Stag Association. During the six decades since our founding, more than 21,000 youth have learned leadership from the White Stag program. Hundreds of youth every year continue to enjoy the fruits of Béla Bánáthy’s vision, excited to learn leadership and have fun.
During 2015, White Stag Sierra attracted youth from other countries including Mexico and China.
For our complete story, see White Stag History Since 1933.