"Follow the White Stag"
A Special Heritage

In 1990, the Boy Scout Association of Hungary rejoined the World Organization of the Scouting Movement. After years of suppression under the Nazis and the Communists, this brave organization and its members were once again free to join in our worldwide brotherhood.

Scouting in Hungary has a long tradition going back to the years before the First World War. In 1933, Hungary was honored to host the Fourth World Jamboree. Twenty-five thousand Scouts from thirty-two countries pitched their camp in the park surrounding the former Royal Castle at Godollo, the favorite summer residence of Elizabeth, the last Hapsburg Empress.

The official symbol of the Jamboree was the "White Stag" of Hungarian legend. Baden-Powell spoke of the White Stag to the Scouts assembled at Godollo:

"The White Stag has a message for you. Hunters of old pursued the miraculous stag, not because they expected to kill it, but because it led them in the joy of the chase to new and fresh adventures, and so to capture happiness. You may look on the White Stag as the true spirit of Scouting, springing forward and upward, ever leading you onward to leap over difficulties, to face new adventures in your active pursuit of the higher aims of Scouting — aims which bring you happiness. These aims are duty to God, to your country, and to your fellow man by carrying out the Scout Law. In that way you will help to bring about God’s kingdom upon earth — the reign of peace and goodwill."

Among the many Hungarians who came to America after the Second World War, were three young men who had met as Scouts at Godollo in 1933. They and their American colleagues would go on to establish the first leadership development course for junior leaders in 1958. They adopted the White Stag as its symbol. At the center of that course were eleven skills of leadership. Today, these skills continue as an important element in Wood Badge and the Junior Leader Training Conference. They establish a firm link with Scouting in the past, the present and the future.

The Heritage of the White Stag

For the historical background of White Stag, Brian Phelps has contributed excerpts from his chronology of the original White Stag program: A History of the White Stag Leadership Development Program.
Manager of Learning: Resources for Leadership. The current leadership skill of "Effective Teaching" derives from the White Stag competency "Manager of Learning." This section, from the original White Stag curriculum, deals with "Resources for Leadership." It provides excellent background and insight for understanding the process of "Effective Teaching." The material is currently under revision by Brian Phelps, an active leader and author in the White Stag program for many years.
brians-stag.jpg (7338 bytes) For an in-depth treatment of the White Stag program, see Brian Phelps’ White Stag Leadership Development pages.
One of the founders of White Stag and the designer of the leadership development model used in Scouting today is Bela H. Banathy. He was one of the young Scouts who met B-P and received from him the challenge of the White Stag at the 4th World Jamboree at Godollo in 1933. Bela begins the story of his journey in Scouting in Hungary, 1925-1937.
James E. West and William Hillcourt were with the American contingent at the 4th World Jamboree at Gödöllö, Hungary. In the1933 Scout Jamboree Bookthey gave some impressions of their Hungarian hosts and of B-P’s closing remarks.
In 1969, the World Bureau (WOSM) published the findings of the Boy Scouts of America’s research and testing of a new approach to leadership training in a monograph written by Bela H. Banathy entitled: Leadership Development: World Scouting Reference Paper No. 1.Dr. Banathy presented the results and an excellent summary of "Learning by design" to a meeting of the World Scout Conference in Helsinki, Finland.

 The Historical Background of Leadership Development

The Troop Leader Development Staff Guide (1974) presented a short history of leadership development and how elements of the White Stag program were incorporated into the leadership development efforts of the BSA in:The Historical Background of Leadership Development.
In 1976, after several years of testing an updated Scouting program, the BSA introduced a "back to basics" initiative called "All Out for Scouting." The key activity was a week-long course for senior patrol leaders, Brownsea Double-Two.The Brownsea program placed the emphasis on Scout skills, campcraft and Scouting traditions.
Both Troop Leader Development and Brownsea Double-Two continued in use for several years. Many councils experimented with combining the best features of both programs into a single youth training event. In 1979, based on these experiences, the BSA introduced the Junior Leader Training Conference replacing both Brownsea and TLD. This page is under construction.
From 1990 to 1993, the Junior Leader Training Conference program received an intensive review. A new Junior Leader Training Conference Staff Guide was published in 1993. Comments on the 1995 Revisionstakes a close-up look at the most recent changes published in the 1995 printing.
Since the first experimental leadership development courses at Schiff and Philmont in the 1960’s, the National Junior Leader Instructor Camp has set the standards for Junior Leader Training courses in councils across the country. A unique experience in leadership and learning, NJLIC leads the way by providing the most up-to-date training for those junior leaders selected to lead their local council courses.
Resources for Evaluation at JLTC. Materials on participant, patrol and staff evaluation at JLTC from Pine Tree Camp, the Junior Leader Training Conference of the Viking Council, Minneapolis, Minnesota. These materials are designed to support the program as presented in the Junior Leader Training Conference Staff Guide (1993/1995 printing).

The Legend of the White Stag

Here are two links to interesting background on the legend of the White Stag. They were suggested by leaders of the Magyar Cserkészszövetség, the Hungarian Scout Association, in Budapest.

"The Legend of the Stag" by Fred Hámori

"The Hungarian Legend of the Wonderous Stag is one of the oldest legends of the nation. It is so old that it is found in various forms among those nations who were the distant relatives or neighbors of the Hungarians, before their settlement in Hungary. The meaning and the wording of the legends may have changed slightly, but they all have much in common. Today the remaining legend is relatively short, whereas in the past it was probably much more extensive. However the Hungarian legend, despite it’s brevity, includes in it many important points some of which can be found in most of the related legends found in other cultures. It is these points which show that once, in the remote antiquity, these people were neighbors."

Visit "The Legend of the Stag" by Fred Hámori for a detailed history of the legend in its many forms.

The Hungarian National Museum, Budapest.

Here the White Stag of legend is depicted in an ancient gold ornament from the collection of the Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum, the Hungarian National Museum. The museum is also the repository of the Crown of St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary. The Crown is a symbol of freedom and independence in Hungary and appears on the badges of the Hungarian Scout Association.

Visit the Home Page of the Hungarian National Museum, Budapest and follow the links to a beautiful photograph of St. Stephen’s Crown and to a fascinating history of the Museum.

The Pine Tree Web Home Page: A Collection of the Author’s Links

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Please write to: Lewis P. Orans

Copyright © Lewis P. Orans, 1997
Last Modified: 12:42 PM on June 21, 1997