The Exploring "Change" controversy
Amick Robert (email@example.com)
Tue Feb 17 00:08:21 1998
Scott, et al.
I have seen no plausible explanation of why the term "Explorer" has to be
abandoned for this group, and would be very interested in learning of the
"rationale" for the change. I am not persuaded that the litigation in
Chicago has any direct or indirect bearing on the rationale for changing
the name of the "outdoor/high adventure cluster from Exploring to
Why change at all? After hearing about this "change" I asked my Explorers
what they thought of changing our group name to "venture;" Their
"'Venture' is weird;" "Nobody would know what a 'venture' is, but all my
friends know what Explorers are and they are cool;" "if it "ain't broke,
don't fix it." Moreover they felt that "rovers" would be about as "weird"
as "venture." The consensus among our Explorers was that if we wanted to
be a "venture" crew we would disband our post and be one. We have no
intention of doing so.
The youth are the folks who should have some say in this, not just
leaders who in some instances have ancient biases and baggage to bring to
the table. I am seeing a lot of this on these lists and frankly it's not
While I appreciate the positions of those in sea-exploring/scouting, they
should take note that they comprise a very small minority of the overall
exploring program, and while that is regrettable,
it should not be an opening to criticize other branches of Exploring.
None of us liked the "pop-art" E which replaced the "prism" emblem, and
before that the "land, sea, and air" logo of the fifties. But emblems
are far less important than the youth who comprise the program and
what they get out of it.
Each branch has its values and its place in the program. This
is not a "competition" to squeeze out other factions, or at least it
I also take exception to those who suggest that the career posts such as
law enforcement do not exemplify "Scouting Values." I can show you
numerous examples of law enforcement and other career-interest Explorers
who exemplify the highest ideals in Scouting, perhaps more so than some of
the existing "so-called traditional Scouting/Exploring units." Baden
Powell did not envision a program where "some are more equal than others."
We should all be working together to afford the best possible program for
all youth regardless of what their specialty, career, or interest might
be. The divisiveness I am seeing is again, not representative
of what our goals should be.
Explorers have a long-standing credibility and a track record with
teens. Why should we disband our long-standing program and traditions
just to conform to some other international organization's
setup which doesn't even resemble our own. Are we not the second largest
program for Scouting in the World? Some of the contacts I have had from
existing international Scouting groups have expressed considerable
interest in the career exploring programs that we now have. Rovers only
exist in Australia and Canada, and as you know have not been in existence
in BSA since the early sixties. I support and encourage Rover programs
for those young adults of college age, similar to the Alpha Phi Omega
program, but not as a replacement for Exploring.
Contrary to some opinions, William Spurgeon's revolutionary concept on
developing career Exploring was one of the greatest gifts to the Scouting
Program for teens. Are we now faced with decimating this remarkable
program? I have not seen a good explanation of just how "Learning for
Life" is going to equal or exceed the present Career Exploring Program. I
would be most interested in hearing about just how this is supposed to be
better. So until I do see a detailed proposal on this I will try to keep
an open mind; however nothing succeeds like success.
It would have been appreciated if those who are making these rather
monumental decisions could or would have consulted with some of us who
have long-standing experience and responsibility for Exploring at the
unit and Council level and if we could have had an opportunity for input
on this change, but it never seems to work that way. I think if you were
to poll most of the existing posts, they would agree that they don't want
to change their name to be absorbed into a "more traditional" organization
in keeping with the "rest of the world."
There is a lot of history and tradition in the Exploring program which is
very sound and we have invested many years and resources in promoting
Exploring. Only now is is it starting to make a comeback and be quite
popular. Many of us have invested many years and countless resources
in promoting and improving Exploring as a quality program. I have
seen no substantial indication of just how the "Venture" program will be
superior to Exploring as we know it. Hence, I would have
a great deal of difficulty in supporting this type of name/program change.
As others have said, who also have responsibility for promoting Exploring in their
Councils, I am not at all eager to "start all over" with a brand new and
largely untested/untried concept, and try to sell it as the "new teenage
program" for the BSA. And I sympathize with others who may be faced
with that responsibility.
May I suggest that the Exploring Division do a comprehensive
survey of all existing posts, both career and special interest posts
and ask them what they would like to be called and how
they would like to see their program operated, before any sweeping changes
Market surveys are often very revealing, and if you want a program to work
well, the clients in the existing program should be the ones who have
some input and ownership of what is best for that program. It might be
very interesting to see the results of such a survey. If everyone wants
to be called "venture" so be it, but I don't think very many folks or
units were consulted.
Bob Amick, Explorer Advisor, High Adventure Explorer Post 72/S.E.S. 72,
Longs Peak Council Exploring Training Chair; Arapahoe District Exploring
Chair. Advisory Board Chair, Gamma Theta Chapter, Alpha Phi Omega
1st Associate Advisor, Western Region Explorer Post, World Jamboree,
At 12:53 PM 2/16/98 -0800, you wrote:
>I have been asked by the chairman of my committee, which is the
>largest Exploring cluster to remain with the BSA, to ask for
>suggestions for the name of our group.
>"Venturing" is not set in stone. We have a certain number of days to
>come up with something else.