Re: Starting an Explorer Officer Association
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Tue, 28 Apr 1998 14:25:36 -0500
Jason asked an Exploring question (YEA!!) of us all:
>I have got the Explorer executives of my council interested in starting
>an EOA here for Chief Seattle #609.
Chief Seattle used to have a VERY ACTIVE Explorer Officers/Presidents'
Association (EOA/EPA) in the past. I am kinda baffled as to why your EE
wants to try to reorganize the EOA in view of the new Venturing/LFL split.
Before you two and others do some HEAVY-DUTY planning, I would ask him to
please talk with his or her boss to find out if this is the intent of the
Council to do this....it could prevent some planning and a lot of meetings
and organizing for nothing.
I served as a District and Council EPA Chair in Kentucky and later as a
member for three terms as part of the National Explorer Cabinet. I helped
write several of the Exploring youth training materials as part of the
Exploring Leadership Development Committee.
I'm going to answer your questions, Jason, as if the Exploring program was
"continuing to march" forward through the Exploring/Venturing splitup:
>* For a council with a lot of posts, would you form District EOAs
>similar to OA Chapters? How large would you have to be to warrant >that?
I would organize OA along speciality or interest lines and not among
District lines. There's normally a couple of Exploring units in a typical
District that kinda "runs with the EOA ball", leaving the other units back
in the dust literally. My post was one of them, and as Advisor or
President, I got a lot of comments from other Posts that chose not to "get
involved in that stuff" but resented my Post whenever something came up in
our District that "required" or "involved" Exploring....we were the most
visable, we made ourselves known as that, and they didn't want to be
involved in a Officers' Association....
As Exploring Chair in three Councils, I had a lot more success with clusters
than I did with the traditional District organization. This was because the
clustering allowed those Exploring leaders to interact more closely with
units that are doing similar things. It's hard to try to have other than
leadership or fellowship activities between a Law and Government, Law
Enforcement, several outdoor, several more General interest, and some other
interests thrown in.....but if you are going to have a special Law Day
program, you could get pretty much all of the Law Enforcement and Law and
Govenment posts -- and a lot of individual Explorers from other Posts and
Ships -- to attend it. The same for a beach party hosted by my Ship, in
which Explorers will come literally out of the woodwork to attend!!!
So, I would go with organization by cluster or by speciality as opposed to
organization by District. I've found that I get more interest, more adult
support to serve as Advisors and more Explorers would tend to attend those
The downside is that of division between the various specialities....but
this can be managed to a degree.
>* Who are the officers, advisors, and members of the EOA? How are >they
The Explorer Presidents'/Officers Association is a come-together of all of
the Exploring units in a District or Council. Membership should be open to
ANY Exploring unit officer (no matter if it's not conforming to the
"President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer" positions; for instance,
my Post had FOUR Vice-Presidents, two Secretaries and no Treasurer. One of
the Vice-Presidents was for Finance).
The leadership of the Council EOA should be entrusted to an ELECTED Chair
and ELECTED Vice-Chairs....you should have at least TWO Vice Chairs, one for
Program and the other for Administration. Elect more depending on the size
of the Council and the number of Exploring units within the Council. I
would have no more than ONE Vice Chairs for every 25 Exploring units in
your Council. Give additional Chair important jobs....for instance, we had
a Vice-Chair for Cluster Activities which rotated among the chairs of the
various Clusters in the Council.
You should have a Secretary and Treasurer as well. And don't forget that
you need adult advisors to "mirror" those youth officers. Your Council's
professionals also serve as advisors, to what we called "Professional
The Key THREE of your EOA is the youth chair, supported by the adult Chair
and the senior Exploring professional in your Council.
The Clusters should have a Chair but this person serves on the "Cabinet" of
the EOA and NOT as a "Vice Chair" unless you put it together that way.
But I'll tell you from personal experience, don't do it that way.....you
want Cluster Representatives to have an EQUAL say. The Vice Chair for
Cluster Activities rotated because I found as Council Chair that having them
there permenantly tied the hands of the EOA youth chair to a point whereby
he couldn't do much else but hold meetings!
>* How often does the EOA meet?
Once a quarter. Associate the EOA meeting with a significant Exploring
event...don't hold the meeting on its own, or your'll get a poor attendance.
Always hold the meeting as a subset of a major Exploring event or activity
in your Council. The activity serves as the drawing card, the meeting is
held during the lull time within that activity.
>* What kind of things does the EOA do?
Basically, the EOA serves as a resource tool for all of the Exploring units
in that Council. You can do a LOT of things, more than I can explain in
this posting, Jason. Just don't limit it to "training and coaching youth
officers and sharing Exploring information from the National and Regional
>* Will Council EOAs need to split in two (like the National EOA
>reportedly will) after the LFL-Explorer/Venturer split this summer?
Yep. It is a fact that the Exploring program will disappear and something
new will come up, but right now, nobody really knows how that's going to
happen. That's why I asked you to please let your EE talk with his or her
boss to find out what they have been told at the Council level about
organizing EOAs. Some Councils have been told that their EOA will become a
Venture Cabinet and that the EOA program will be moved outside of the
Council to the LFL program!!
>* What BSA publications provide info about the EOA?
There are several but most are outdated. Check out my best, called the
Explorer Presidents Association. While the terminology in that booklet
addresses the PRESIDENTS part, substituting "Presidents" for "Officers"
should help you.out! I don't have the BSA bin number for the EPA booklet,
but check around your Council office...I betcha they have a couple copies in
a binder somewhere around there!!!
>* How does the Council EOA fit into the District, Council, and Region?
Right now, it doesn't fit readily. What USED to happen was that each
Council would have a EOA in a similar manner to OA Lodges. Once a year, the
Councils would send their Chair and a couple other officers to a National
Exploring Conference or Congress, whereby they would elect Regional and
National youth officers and receive additional training and resources to
take back to their local Councils. This all fell apart when lots of local
Councils' Scout Executives resented having young men and women telling them
how they should manage and run their Exploring program. Today, the only two
Regions with active programs above the local Council levels are the Western
and Central Regions.
Your EOA Chair becomes a youth member of your Council's Executive Board and
should be appointed to serve on that board, again, just like the OA Chief.
The term is for a year.
Your District EOA Chairs, if you go that route, should serve as a youth
member of your District's Committee and should provide input into Exploring
programming in your District.
Jason, you know you have a very upward climb to make.....I'm more than happy
to help you make the climb but please understand that much of what I stated
here is subject to how your Council's Scout Executive (not your Exploring
Executive, but his boss' boss) is going to manage Exploring over the next
four or five months. Exploring is going away, and it's going for the most
part over to Learning for Life. Not knowing for sure what the program
content of Venturing (the working name for the older youth program of the
BSA), I can't offer any more advise than this.
But at least this is a good start for you and others out there looking to do
the same. I hope that I've helped rather than to hinder your willingness to
make Exploring, my favorite part of Scouting, work once again in Chief
Post me privately and I'll be happy to provide more information on what I've
posted here publically!
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
241 Fairview Dr., Henderson, KY 42420-4339 firstname.lastname@example.org
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