White Stag Camp

Youth Learn by Doing

White Stag Camp is an intensive, challenging, week-long summer camp that challenges youth to learn and apply leadership skills. We use the outdoors—hiking, camping, cooking, climbing, swimming, rowing—because youth learn best when they’re doing, not sitting. Youth who attend White Stag camp enjoy a fun camp in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains.  They learn more because they’re having a good time! 

White Stag Camp Phases

Depending on your age, maturity, readiness to learn, experience, physical ability, and grade level, you can choose from three White Stag programs.

Camp is about learning, not teaching

When you get trained, you know there is a time and day when it will end. Training is the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills. You look forward to acquiring a specific skill. You expect to get a certificate.  Read about why learning is more important than teaching.

The “aha” moment

Everyone can remember a time when you made a personal break-through, had a sudden, heightened insight or understanding, an epiphany that instantly moved you forward in a quantum leap. And if you think about that moment, you’ll remember that it likely occurred because you had been under a lot of pressure. You were stressed and probably anxious about whether you would be able to complete the task before you. White Stag Camp is about “aha” moments.

A winning attitude

At White Stag Camp, no one knows your background or history. Even if you come to camp with friends, you’re purposefully put in separate groups. You have the gift of being among strangers who do not prejudge you in any way. Any assumptions others have developed about you based on your past are forgotten.  Find out why failure is part of success.

White Stag Camp spirit and traditions 

When you’re at White Stag camp, you’t can’t eat a meal without a yell, a song, and a cheer. No campfire can start without competing cheers, or finish without a closing song or two. No White Stag camp is complete without a opening campfire and a closing campfire. Every candidate attends a candidate neckerchief ceremony and a graduate neckerchief ceremony.

White Stag camp is incomplete with the White Stag legend. Phase 1 uses patrol names derived from local birds; Phase 1 patrol names are extracted from the White Stag legend; and Phase 3 patrol names are based on trees found in the area. Every phase has a unique neckerchief. Learn more about traditions at White Stag Camp.

We develop servant leaders

At White Stag Camp, we help youth develop the innate skills they possess. We don’t train youth how to lead, we develop their capacity and competency to serve. Find out why White Stag develops servant leadership.

About White Stag Camp

The White Stag leadership camp helps develop in adults and youth a specific set of eleven leadership competencies. We are a group of adults and youth who are committed to sustaining the almost 60-year-old program. 

Youth run and youth led

Our youth staff, mentored and coached by adults, work year round to plan and present a week-long camp each summer. During the training week, participants get multiple opportunities to learn and practice leadership skills in small and large group settings. They develop plans for applying these skills at home and in their community.

White Stag Camp is for boys and girls who have completed the 5th grade through 17 years old. We offer three phases for youth based on their age and maturity. 

Enrollment is limited

We only accept about 125 applicants each year. To save yourself a place, apply early and pay your camp fees on time. All candidates are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. 

At White Stag camp, you’ll make friends, go on hikes, swim, and have fun—all with a purpose!  Join us this July for a summer you won’t forget!

Choose your phase

Choose the phase that sounds most fun and fits your ageSpace is limited. Apply for camp today.

The “Aha” moment

There’s no growth in your comfort zone and no comfort in your growth zone.

Remember that time you had a sudden, inspired insight or understanding, an epiphany that instantly moved you forward in a quantum leap?

That’s what we create at White Stag Camp. We create learning experiences that are deliberately outside their comfort zone.

These kinds of epiphanies have been described as a “teachable moment.” But because we believe the focus is on the learner, not the teacher, we’ll call them a “learnable moment.”

A learnable moment

A “learnable moment” is a moment that brings clarity to your thinking. It is:

  • An instant in which the solution to a problem becomes clear.
  • A moment of sudden insight or discovery.
  • A moment of clarity when you gain sudden insight or wisdom.

Primed for growth

Learnable moments are usually a powerful experience because the individual has been primed to accept a new idea or concept. They become a memorable event for an individual. They often have an emotional as well as an intellectual impact.

Sometimes learnable moments are described as an “Aha moment.” Oprah Winfrey has made the phrase somewhat famous in her interviews with celebrities who have gone through life-changing experiences. Merriam-Webster added “Aha moment” to its dictionary in 2012, defining it as “”a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension.”

A learnable moment is a unique, high interest situation that motivates the individual to actively engage and seek resolutions for issues and problems.

The concept of a learnable moment was popularized by Robert Havighurst in his 1952 book, Human Development and Education. In the context of education theory, Havighurst explained:

A developmental task is a task which is learned at a specific point and which makes achievement of succeeding tasks possible. When the timing is right, the ability to learn a particular task will be possible. This is referred to as a “learnable moment.” It is important to keep in mind that unless the time is right, learning will not occur. Hence, it is important to repeat important points whenever possible so that when a student’s learnable moment occurs, he can benefit from the knowledge.

Robert Havighurst, Human Development and Education

Choose your phase

Choose the phase that sounds most fun and fits your ageSpace is limited.Apply for camp today.

Coeducational leadership

Like the rest of the world, but unlike some leadership development camps, White Stag is coeducational. We believe learning to work successfully alongside both sexes is essential to becoming an effective leader. White Stag challenges your with opportunities where you just work together with strangers in a group setting. Your individual abilities are stretched.

Appreciating people as individuals

White Stag Camp is fun with purpose: to help young people develop into responsible, thoughtful, capable leaders. Learning to work with a diverse society, especially with the opposite sex, is extremely important. Learning to appreciate people who are different from you is one way we can solve social problems like harassment, family violence, ethnic problems, and misunderstanding between the genders.

In segregated programs, boys and girls learn to look for differences between themselves, widening the gulf between the sexes. In coeducational programs, young people work together and learn to value and appreciate what each has to offer, not boys are from Mars and girls are from Venus.

Different and equal

As a White Stag candidate, you get to see that girls and boys are different and they are equal. Everyone has different attitudes, skills, and knowledge to contribute. Removed from the every day environment of school and home, given challenges to solve problems and work together as a group, you forget what you think is true about boys or girls and what they can or can’t do. You just work together to make things happen, to plan a hike, or make dinner.

Coeducational before it was fashionable

White Stag Camp leader Bill Roberts was the first to invite girls to attend summer camp as participants in 1978. It was a revolutionary step at a time when White Stag primarily served Boy Scout troops. Mark Cross, a staff member from the Western Region of the Boy Scouts of America visited the camp that summer. He wrote:

Something that somewhat shocked me was the use of girls as part of the staff and as learners. They are incorporated very smoothly into the program, the only problem being showers. This was easily remedied. The girls and the boys seemed not at all uncomfortable about the coed situation. It had no apparent effect on learning.

Mark Cross, Western Region, Boy Scouts of America


We’ve remained fully committed to a real-world experience for boys and girls ever since.

Choose your level

Choose the phase that sounds most fun and fits your ageSpace is limited. Apply for camp today.

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