I was involved as an adult adviser in the white stag program for 7 years. I came to understand the value of the program when I picked up my son after he had been a Phase 3 candidate. He was a Life Scout at the time so he had a good deal of outdoor experience as well as troop leadership experience. When I picked him up and asked him how his week of camp was he replied “it was the best thing I’ve ever done, I learned so much but didn’t realize I was learning until the end”. He promptly fell asleep exhausted, relieved and inspired. After our first year on staff in Phase 2 during our final reflection his words were ” this was an amazing experience but the best part was I got to share it with my dad”. I am fortunate to have had both the experience with my son but more importantly to have heard those words. Many parents are not so lucky.
We are both still in touch with all eight of the youth we shared the year with. White Stag is an opportunity. If you have the courage to participate as either a youth or an adult it will leave you a changed person. Changed for the better, wiser and more understanding as a human being.
Both my daughters attended as candidates and worked as staff. What impressed me the most during camp was the camaraderie developed in a short period of time within the patrols and the overall phases; most kids develop friendships that last and last. On Graduation Day you see such dedication to outdo each other with their phase yells– each year half the kids are hoarse from so much spirited shouting, plus foot stomping and stave (walking stick) banging- it deafening to hear (but in a good way)! After camp is over kids come home with a lasting effect– we saw new organizational skills applied to schoolwork, better planning, leadership skills, and improved communication skills. My daughter have fond memories of White Stag, and now as young adults love backpacking and are immersed in recreation/student leadership. I highly recommend the program for both boys and girls, and both experienced campers and newbies.
I’ve been involved with White Stag Sierra for the last 15 years. The attributes that set White Stag apart, for me, are the low cost, fun activities, safe learning environment, and emphasis on outdoor skills. All of which are the icing on the Leadership Training cake, which is the reason to go to camp.
I’ve used my White Stag-garnered leadership skills countless times in my adult life. When leadership is learned in a practical environment, it can be applied in all practical environments.
This is a 6 year program in which Scouts learn for 3 of 6 and are on staff for 3 of 6. Scouts on staff have monthly weekend meetings where they develop the curriculum for the candidates that will attend the 1 week long camp; adult Scouters are only there for safety and transportation. I served several years on adult staff including as Phase 1 Scoutmaster. Over the course of the 6 years Scouts learn, develop, use 11 leadership skills useful not only in their own boy-led Scout units, but, more importantly, for life. This is an outstanding program that will change a youth’s life!
Forward, upward, onward,
I served on support staff for several years at the summer camps chartered by this fine organization. I’m also a past president of the White Stag Association. All three of our children participated as candidates, youth staff and/or adult staff. I believe they all gained skills and, even more important, attitudes that have been helpful to them as adult workers and leaders. How do leaders learn to help groups work together to meet goals? It’s all there. I think the registrar probably gets a post-camp call every year from some parent who wants to know what happened because the enthusiastic young person who came home is different from the one who went to camp. I’ve often seen young people who did not see themselves as outstanding in conventional settings discover that they did, indeed, have leadership ability. I’m also impressed with the gender equity fostered in the program.
The White Stag Leadership Program is one of the few experiences in my life that provided a safe and supportive environment for me to learn and practice the act of being a leader. In the time I spent in the White Stag program my confidence and interpersonal skills grew to the point that I could confidently manage large 400+ person groups.
Because of the skills I learned through White Stag I was motivated to become a teacher and have been able to serve as an effective school activities director. The program is life changing!