Re: Re2:Exploring Scouting to end as we know it?
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Sun, 15 Feb 1998 18:16:35 -0600
>*From what I see* of the letter, it does not end Exploring as we know it
>but instead separates it into the traditional and "modern" exploring
>versions we've all lived with for a few decades.
That's basically the end of the "Contemporary Exploring program" as we've
known it since 1971.
In that year, Spurgeon took a group of Explorers that were previously an
outdoor group and converted it into a group of Explorers interested in
business. Today, the vast majority of Exploring units specialize in a given
career field or including discussions/field trips/exposure to a vocation or
The "traditional Exploring" evolved into "High Adventure Exploring" which
evolved into "Outdoor Adventure and Conservation Exploring" and became it's
on "cluster" (the BSA's National Exploring Division subdivided the program
into "program clusters", each sponsered by a national chartering partner
organization and which had a youth representative and two adult
advisors...one professional and one (usually from the national chartering
partner organization) volunteer. This became known as the first "Key
Threes" of Exploring, which trickled downward to signify the volunteer,
youth and professional triad that manages not just Exploring but later on,
the Order of the Arrow and NESA as well). This cluster was one of the most
active clusters, due in part to three elements:
- the impact that many Troops had to try to retain their youth leadership
and membership. This is one of the reasons why the BSA wanted to try the
Leadership Corps program , the Varsity/Venture program and presently the
Venturing program...it's nothing but "Exploring in the Troop", a concept
first used back in the late 30s and 40s by the BSA to separate the older boy
from the younger ones.
- the impact that many chartered partner organizations did NOT want a Boy
Scout Troop but wanted an "outdoor element" as part of their program.
Exploring and in particular, Outdoor Exploring, fit that niche very well.
This allowed churches to create special "outreach and challenge" Posts which
camped and did other outdoor events but also allowed for sharing and
religious education as well.
- and the impact that the absence of a "recognition plan" for Explorers.
Explorers that did a lot of outdoor events could potentially have some of
their former Boy Scout members become Eagle Scouts (or OA members at one
time). Career program Explorers had very little interest and many of those
Posts RESENTED the *implication* that they "had to do something with the Boy
Scouts" even though on everyone's membership cards, the wording "Boy Scouts
of America" appears!
But it was ALL still part of Spurgeon's grand idea, which is now being
trashed, in my opinion, just because the BSA is no longer interested in
providing career, vocational and outdoor programming if it also means
compromising their core values with regard to adult and youth membership and
So we throw more than seven years of research and then another more than 25
years' worth of application down the toilet and "go back to the 30s and 40s"
with "Exploring in the Troop". To me, it didn't work well when we tried it
with the Leadership Corps; it didn't work well when we called it "Varsity"
and "Venture", spliting up the "sports and academics" from the "outdoor
adventure" elements; but I'll hold off judgement on the new format until I
actually see in what shape it's going to be in, Tom.
>Will my communications post be LFL and my Service Team in the same
>district? Or will I need ST's in every district?
I don't know how the service aspect of the new Venture program will be; I
don't know if we'll have "Venture Commissioners" similar to what we have for
Packs, Troops and Teams, or if we'll have something crossing the old
Exploring Service Team (a bad concept, even though I led several and trained
plenty) and the District's Commissioner setup (the best way to deliver
Exploring to each unit in my opinion).
I do know that Learning for Life is supposed to have something called a
"Support Team" to work with individual groups on an ad-hoc basis.
>My question is where this puts qualifying for the Exploring Leadership
>Award, the Spurgeon, etc. And should I push my district to nominate as
>many for everything as they can to get everyoe recognized possible >before
The "word on the streets" are that everything is still a "go" as far as
anything dealing with Exploring until August 1. This means that this will
potentially the last year that Councils can name Spurgeon Award recipients
*unless they carry over* the award to the new program. The same will go for
the Exploration, Leadership and and of course, the GOLD and Ranger/Silver
Awards once those are taken out of "testing and fielding". There's a lot
of National BSA volunteers and professionals cursing under their breaths,
because they have truly worked HARD AND LONG on these new standards, only
potentially not to see them come to life because of this change. I know if
I was a part of that team doing this rough job, I would be mad than I don't
>And Matt the candidate whos going down to re-write his PACE
>speech...again...wonders what thus will do for the OA. Will Venture units
>be allowed to hold elections? Will they include females?
>From the CSE's memorandum to Council Scout Executives (and others):
>The Venturing program of the Boy Scouts of America will include girls >and
boys ages 14 through 20 who have completed the eighth grade and >are members
of our current high adventure, religious, and outdoor >Exploring programs.
>The Learning for Life subsidiary will include girls and boys who
>participate in elementary school, middle/junior high, high school, special
>needs, and Career Exploring programs.
Now, whether or not Venture units will be able to hold elections and have OA
membership as part of their units, I don't know. I don't even think that at
this point, the OA Program folks have even thought about this. I'm of the
opinion that since this all came about rather quickly, the biggest things
that everyone (professionally wise) is worked up over is the immediate loss
of units and membership, which hurts local Councils and their professional
staff's standings. The Chief made it clear that it won't, but to me, that's
like the President of a firm saying that we're going to have cutbacks, but
don't worry, nobody is leaving.
I'm full of information today, aren't I? ("full of something.....I heard that!!"
*hehehehehee*; why yes, I am....full of coffee!! yum yum!)
Seriously, Tom, I'll going to stand around here and wait for the BSA to roll
out how it's going to rework Exploring to this new Venturing program. They
have two months or so to get it ready before the BSA National Meeting!!
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
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