Re: Transformation of Exploring (a different view..long)
William H. Sills (email@example.com)
Wed Feb 25 00:36:00 1998
> Sea Scouting has never had many adherents of Sea Exploring.
> "Traditional Exploring" as you call it, wasn't working in the late 50's
Sea Scouting and Air Scouting were on their way back in the 50s. After all, as
commended by Admiral Nimitz, Sea Scouting was the single most important personnel
item in providing experienced seamen and officers to hold the line in the early
days in the South Pacific. Our heavy losses caused us to lose many ships. BSA just
had an idea and tried to destroy ALL non CAW programs. Many councils absolutely
refused to recharter ships except as posts. For the next thirty years, we had to
check to see if we were still ships. Later, we had to ensure 1208 because the
council would change the number on us.I could post forever on what BSA did to Sea
Scouting. Anyway, I was there. If anyone else was also there and disagree with me,
I'll be glad to discuss the issue.
> because teens clearly wanted to do learn more about careers and other
> interests. This was determined by the famous "Yankelovich Study"
That study found that Sea Scouts were the exception. We were only changed much
later and for administrative purposes only!
> found that not everyone wants to only do outdoor/camping stuff. While that
> portion of the program is of great interest and enjoyment to many, it is
> not for everyone. Exploring has seen its greatest growth as a result of
> the vision of William Spurgeon who started the career emphasis and
> specialty programs in the 60's and 70's.
In order to force all ships and former Explorer Scout posts into CAW, ACE, Ranger
and Silver Award tracks and all traditional units were discouraged. Posts also
lost their crew structure.
> These programs have been validated repeatedly, with thousands of young men
> and women finding their life's work directly as a result of having been
> in a career program. Many are now physicians, law enforcement officers,
> journalists, lawyers, health care professionals, etc.; the list is infinite.
> Moreover, "traditional Boy Scout" troops
> typically lose teens shortly after they turn 13 or 14 at astounding rates.
That was not true when BSA encouraged affilaited ships and troops. My own Troop 1
and SSS Hathor (1) amply demonstrate that ever greater challenges keep youth in
the BSA forever.
> Thus, a complementary program is highly needed that will attract and hold
> their interests through the most critical teen years. This was the
> primary reason we formed our post nearly 20 years ago, and it has been
> highly successful. And, interestingly, it is associated with a Scout
> Troop such that it becomes an incentive for the younger Scouts to stay in
> the program in the anticipation of becoming Explorers/Sea Explorers
> when they turn 14.
> Older teen-aged Scouts are not as attracted to the program offered
> by Troops after having been in them since they were eleven. In essence,
> they have "been there, done that," and want a more exciting program with
> folks of their age group and the chance to also have female members
> involved in the program. Moreover, the greatest number of "total available
> youth" who potentially could be in Scouting is currently in the Exploring
> age group of 14-20, yet statistically only about 6% of those folks are
> involved in Exploring programs in an average Council.
> Some troops do have good Venture programs that do attract and hold older
> youth, but they are not widely available and do not offer the option of
> female membership or the networking possibilities of Exploring.
> Although the Sea and Air Scout programs predated "traditional Exploring"
> they were included as a part of Traditional Exploring nearly 50 years ago,
> Air Scout Squadrons and Sea Scout Ships were left alone and were only later
> included for administrative purposes. Although post went CAW, Air Scout
> Squadrons and SS Ships only had some cosmetic changes in the beginning.
> for many of the same reasons listed above. Thus your statement that
> "Sea/Air Exploring has always been separate from the basic
> Explorer program, w/ its own uniform" is inaccurate.
Sea Scouting and Air Scouting were always separate. Evejn when officially
integrated into Exploring, most of us remained Sea Scouts (Traditional Air
Scouting was abolished in 1965 and replaced with CAW Aviation Exploring). To this
day, we have our own training, outr own publications, our own nets, our own
newsletters, our own awards, knots, etc., etc.
> Exploring has
> deliberately allowed all posts to select a "unique" identity where
> uniforms are involved.
What bearing does this have to Sea Scouts? Traditional ships wear US Navy
> Many outdoor high adventure posts have a "polo
> shirt" with
> an embroidered logo rather than a traditional uniform. Our post wears the
> "traditional" dark green shirts, and has a polo shirt for an informal
> Police,fire, medical, and other career interest posts often pick a uniform
> or identity which befits their organization. So you don't have to "fit
> into a mold" of one standard uniform type to still be a part of Scouting.
> Like it or not, there is a "stigma" attached to the word "Scouting" that
> is a "turn off" for teens who have not been in the program,
Sea Scouting certainly does not have that connotation in the Great Midwest! Yes,
Boy Scouts has a problem but we do not share it.
> so it makes it
> very difficult to recruit new members into the program. For this reason,
> has been a conscious decision from the National level on down to not refer
> to the program as "Explorer Scouts;" rather, they are simply "Explorers."
> If you have been following the discussions on Explorer-net,
> nearly all the current Explorer/Sea Explorer youth who have expressed
> opinions about what they want to be called, said "Explorer;"
> not Venturer, not Sea Scout and not Air Scout.
That is incorrect. The opposite is true.
> The proposed name change for the "outdoor/high adventure program from
> "Exploring" to "Venturing" will have a major impact on existing posts
> which fit into that category. While it has been suggested that legal
> reasons prompted the decision for the change, I have seen no justification or
> "rationale" advanced for the particular decision to use "venturing" in place
> of "Exploring" for the O.H.A. side (other than an effort to "be more in
> keeping with other World Scouting groups" with similar age-group programs
> who do use the term "venturer.")
> The key difference here is that those
> international programs have used that terminology for many years and it is
> an accepted and familiar "term" in those countries/venues. Conversely,
> "Venturing" in the U.S. is a highly unfamiliar term and would require
> education to get the point across that it is the "new teen program replacing
> Exploring." The momentum gained up until now with existing Exploring programs
> will be significantly impeded by such a change, particularly since the
> for Life/Career Exploring side will continue to use the "Explorer" name.
> If a similar change were mandated for an organization like the Order of
> the Arrow, there would also be substantial impact. Say that, for whatever
> reason, it was decided that the program needed to be called something
> different, such as "Campers Extraordinaire."
> All of the familiarity that has gone into the OA program and the years of
> education and traditions that are associated with the program, and the
> de corps" invested in the program by the members, both youth and adult,
> would be significantly affected. Thus it is really no different in mandating
> a name change from Exploring to "Venturing."
> Research has shown that organization names and insignia are very important to
> youth as marketing tools (witness the association with commercial sportswear
> manufacturers and their "hype.")
> In point of fact, the Sea Exploring Program and the Aviation Exploring program
Aples and oranges. Air Scout Squadrons died in 1965. Aviation Exploring Posts are
> represents a very small minority of the membership of the Exploring
> Program. The largest specialty is now outdoor/high adventure (90,000)
> which would
> go to "Venturing" followed by Law Enforcement (50,000) which would go to
> for Life/Career Exploring.
> And don't think that career posts don't
> do outdoor stuff. Many of our Law Enforcement and other career type posts
> participate in rock-climbing, SCUBA, caving, camping, canoeing,
> Explorer Mock Disaster, EMT and First Responder training,
> as well as helping with District/Council activities such as
> Klondike Derbies, Merit Badge University, Scout Show, to name just a few.
> The bottom line is that programs in Scouting should be complementary
> and offer as many opportunities as possible for those teens that
> want to be involved. There are many teens who would never consider
> joining a traditional Boy Scout Troop, but would be greatly attracted to
> an outdoor/high adventure Explorer Post or even a career post such as Law
> Enforcement, Search and Rescue, etc., which may offer a very similar
> program, but in a venue that teens are more comfortable in. Similarly, it
> is difficult for a traditional Boy Scout troop to offer the career
> exposure and in-depth involvement that a Law Enforcement or other career
> specialty Explorer Post can offer. Some teens belong to a troop, as well as
> one or more posts such as high adventure and law enforcement, because those
> are all complementary areas of interest for them. But for those who only have
> time for membership in one unit, the currently available and future
> and program opportunities should continue to be equally
> available for them regardless of affiliation.
> Best wishes
> Bob Amick, Explorer Advisor, High Adventure Explorer Post72/Ship 72,
> Boulder, CO; Exploring Training Chair, Longs Peak Council; Advisory
> Board Chair, Gamma Theta Chapter, Alpha Phi Omega, Univ. of Colo.
> >On Sun, 22 Feb 1998, michael mc abee wrote:
> >> Can't see the prob .... as someone who has see the demise of exploring
> as a
> >> valid part of the BSA, where true scouting values are pursued, and
> replaced by
> >> an emphasis on "career" discovery, I really don't see what you are
> >> Also, the Venture program as presently, pre-change, practiced, it has no
> >> relationship to that practiced in other countries; the Rover program came
> >> closest to the old BSA Explorer program and when they tried that in the US,
> >> it failed, for the exact same reason that "traditional" exploring died - a
> >> fall off in
> >> Explorere age youth, interested in camping, hiking, etc......
> >> If it saves the BSA legal challenges from low lifes who have no interest in
> >> what
> >> Scouting's all abt great, but lets not waffle on abt the demise of
> >> that hasn't been in existence for donkey years, and definitely don't
> waffle on
> >> abt
> >> how this is going to impact the trading community. Collecting/trading
> is the
> >> bottom end of the program -- it comes abt as a result of a program
> >> lets pull for the development of this new event, not worry abt what hasn't
> >> been.
> >> Actually, I'm surprised you aren't upset that the National BSA didn't
> try to
> >> generate a Venture/Rover program similar to that in Canada and England.
> >> would especially have been of help to the APO, as Rover membership in those
> >> groups can go to 25; as for awards, why not model something along the Duke
> >> of Edinburgh award as used in England - its not exactly a scout-based award
> >> and can be earned by people over 18.
> >> Sea Exploring, as w/ Air Exploring, has always been separate from the basic
> >> Explorere program, w/ its own uniform, and prob should be retained as such;
> >> but except for the "BrownShirts" of the Police Posts, and some of the Medic
> >> posts, I've never observed any other posts in "green shirts".