The Big "E" is no more!
Martin A. Flynn (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sun Feb 15 12:50:10 1998
Forwaded from Scouts-L:
Date: Sat, 14 Feb 1998 14:52:52 -0600
From: "settummanque, or blackeagle (Mike Walton)" <blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET>
Subject: Transformation of Exploring
(Please excuse the massive crossposting; as the day and weekend goes onward,
I'm sure that you'll get more crossposting as this has a large impact upon
the entire Scouting community. I'm also crossing this to the APO and
Patch-L discussion lists, because of the impact that this posting has to
Alpha Phi Omega as individual chapters and to Scouting memorbilia collectors
and traders as this subject matter entails. My apologies in advance to
those that feel that this is "spam".)
I've been going back to several sources and have confirmed this from several
different angles. Because many of my BSA National and Regional contacts, as
well as several Scout Executives and other field professionals are either
coming back from or attending Regional All Hands Meetings this weekend, I
don't have much additional information to answer specific questions.
However, in general terms, here's what I have been able to distill and to
relate to all of you.
Basically, the program of the Boy Scouts of America called "Exploring",
aimed at high-school and college-aged youth, will be no more after July 31,
The Boy Scouts of America, responding to a recent court case in Chicago in
which the City of Chicago and the BSA settled, and in which as part of the
settlement, the City signed an agreement in federal court stating it will
not renew its charter with the BSA's Exploring program, decided after a
special meeting of it's Program Group (which has supervision over the Cub
Scouting, Boy Scouting and Exploring programs and which has volunteer
membership and professional advisement), that the Exploring Division will be
disbanded and elements spread to a new division and to two others.
On Thursday, Feburary 12th, a special meeting of the BSA's National
Executive Board confirmed and approved the recommendation of the Program
Group to eliminate the Exploring Division of the BSA, effective 1 August, 1998.
In its place, will be a new program Division within the Program Group called
"Venturing". The existing outdoor (what is called by many in and out of
Exploring as "high adventure"), general-interest, and varied-outdoor
interest Exploring groups, called "Posts", will be moved to this new program
division. Also moving to the Venturing Division will be those Explorer
Posts which are chartered to the Church of Jesus Christ - Latter Day Saints,
which uses the entire Boy Scouts of America program as part of their
religious education and outreach program. Not confirmed, but would tend to
also move to Venturing would be the existing Sea Exploring/Sea Scouting
program, called "Ships".
All other Exploring Posts, which emphasize career interests or awareness,
will be moved to the BSA's Learning for Life program, which is in place
within many of the nation's high schools and as part of career exploration
programs in junior colleges and universities.
Each "Post" or "Ship" has between eight and 75 youth members on average, and
is lead by an elected youth leader called "President" in most Posts and
called "Boatswain" in Ships. The adult advisor to this youth is called an
Advisor in Posts and Skipper in Ships. A Post or Ship meets usually once to
twice a month and conducts an activity as part of their monthly activities.
Many Posts and Ships conduct very little activities connected directly to
Learning for Life is a special BSA division which takes the ideals of
Scouting and applies them to everyday, community and family circumstances.
For the most part, Learning for Life is a school or community-based program,
whose members are counted against the BSA's youth membership and unit figures.
The Venture program will continue to be co-ed and will continue to start at
age 14 or upon entry into 9th grade, whichever comes first, as the previous
Exploring program used to use as membership requirements. Those National
staff members assigned to Exploring has already been transferred to new
positions as of Friday morning within the National staff in Irving, Texas,
while many field professionals in the BSA's more than 200 local Councils
will continue to stay in place until the full fielding and transferrance of
the Exploring program to Venture and Learning for Life takes place this
spring and summer.
There are no comments on the following issues:
* Whether or not the National Exploring Leadership Conference will continue
to take place this summer in Maryland. Part of the purpose of this
conference is to elect a slate of national Exploring youth leaders.
* Whether or not Sea Scouting will become incorporated into the Venturing
Scouting program or within the Learning for Life program. In talking with
senior Exploring leaders within all four BSA Regions, there has been a
recommendation that Sea Scouting/Sea Exploring remain as a part of the
Venturing program because of its close association with Boy Scouting over
* Whether or not Learning for Life will become a uniformed-optional program.
The Exploring program, after much comment from the field, brought back the
traditional kelly green uniform shirts as part of its uniforming options.
It is not clear whether or not those uniform shirts will now state
"Venturing, BSA" or will go away again completely. The uniform shirts
disappeared in the early 90s only to return toward the middle part of 1994
as an official uniform item for Explorers to wear.
Learning for Life does not require the wearing of the traditional BSA
uniform by its members nor leaders.
* Whether or not Ventures will have an advancement program similar to the
recently approved advancement program for Explorers which the BSA's National
Executive Board approved for implementation this summer. Presently, only
those Explorers whom have earned the Boy Scout First Class rank as a Boy
Scout may continue and earn the Eagle Scout Badge, the programs highest
youth achievement. Other Explorers without a Boy Scout experience could
earn the revamped Growth Opportunities in Leadership Development (GOLD)
Award and the Exploring Leadership Award.
The National Exploring Committee recently approved revisions in the
requirements for the Sea Exploring Quartermaster Award, the highest youth
rank within that segment of Exploring; and to bring back the older Silver
Award, which for many years, stood as the Exploring equal to the Eagle Scout
Badge. The Silver Award was discontinued in the late 60s when the BSA
transformed Exploring from a strictly outdoor program to that of career and
vocational exploration and interest.
It is important to note that even though this has been an extreme set of
decisions for the Boy Scouts of America to undertake, this also places the
BSA more in line with other nations' older-boy program, which in other
countries, is called either Venturing or Rovering. The older-boy programs
in other nations also emphasize advanced outdoor adventures and events over
career and vocational exploration, which are done by schools and businesses
on their own and not as part of the national scouting organization.
The BSA cites in a release to each of it's Council Scout Executives from the
Chief Scout Executive, Jere Radcliff, that the elimination/conversion of
Exploring to Venturing and Learning for Life will "Lead to increased
membership in both Venturing and Career Exploring AND PROTECT OUR CORE
TRADITIONAL PROGRAMS FROM LEGAL CHALLENGES"
Hopefully, with this change, no numbers of youth will drop but the numbers
of career Exploring units ("Posts") will drop. This will also impact the
nations' top 30 BSA local Councils, as their Exploring management and
support professionals will be either reassigned within their local Councils
as Venturing Executives or will move to other professional positions within
each of the four BSA Regions or within the National office. There will be a
few entry-level executives that may leave the profession of Scouting due to
this program change.
There are some impacts this change will have with regard to patch trading
and memorbilia collecting: the Exploring emblems along with all other
Exploring items will now become a segmented collector's item. The Exploring
Division started within the BSA in 1935, and in 1971 admitted girls as youth
members and developed into a career exploration program.
With this closeout, Exploring items of national, regional and local Council
scope will become collectors' and traders items and the "Big E" emblematic
of Exploring will eventually make way for the "Big V" of Venturing.
Local Councils will still be able to register members of the Order of the
Arrow, the BSA's national honorary camping and leadership society, as part
of new Venture Crews instead of within specially created Dance or Camping
Program Explorer Posts, so the impact will be slight presently until the
full impact of the conversion is complete.
Exploring's demise will also have an impact upon many Alpha Phi Omega (APO)
chapters on college and university campuses. APO is a national service
fraternity built upon the ideals of the BSA's Scout Oath and Law but is not
officially connected with the program. Many APO chapters used the Exploring
program as program support and for its liability insurance coverage of its
members. The Exploring program also provides that "connectivity" that many
APO chapters desires between themselves and the local BSA Council and the
BSA itself. With the transformation of Exploring to Venturing, many APO
Chapters hosting Explorer Posts will have to either make the transition or
register individuals as Boy Scouting or Cub Scouting adult volunteers in
order to maintain their active registration in the BSA's programs.
Because APO chapters work on a school year basis, many Chapters will find
their BSA charters deleted before they return to the school and start the
reorganization and pledging.
This isn't good news, folks. As a longtime Exploring leader and as a former
Exploring youth national leader as well as local and regional trainer, I
don't like the change but am looking forward to seeing how the BSA is going
to transform the Exploring Division to this new animal many of us haven't
seen before. Only those whom have been around during the first 15 years of
Exploring in America has seen similar-type programming, and those
individuals are now either very old, have died, or no longer have an
interest in the Exploring program.
Sorry to bring you all this bit of negativity today, but *someone* had to do
it and since my phone and fax machine has been really put through their
paces (yea fax machine!! yea email!!), I wanted to share it with you as
soon as I could confirm it.
Your Council Scout Executive has a copy of a memorandum which outlines what
I've stated here in more detail and is dated Wednesday. I don't have any
more infomation than this and of course, I welcome anyone else that does
have additional information to please let us all know here so that we can
gauge the full effect of this change!!
(and again, I apologize to those of us that will get multiple copies of this
posting, and to those whom this does not affect (there's a very few that
this doesn't affect.... and as always, you're welcome to share this
information with other forums within the online Scouting community!)
(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 email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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