Why did they do away with Explorer Scouts? That was a great program!! I loved being able to work with youth...I think the BSA made a mistake with doing away of Explorer Scouts!! Did you earn the Silver Award? Did you get one of those BSA scholarships for Explorers that they advertise in the magazines?
I HATE the term "Explorer Scouts"; just want you all to know. Despite the fact that at one time, for a SHORT period of time, we were called "Explorer Scouts", the program was called EXPLORING and the people in it were called EXPLORERS. It's all under the bridge now, as Exploring was split up a short time back. There's a longer story associated with it, but the short story is that youth leaders in Exploring were tired of raising large sums of monies for Scouting and none of it going toward their part of the program; and the Boy Scouters were tired of the Explorers with their special titles, their special structure and their special leadership which the Boy Scout Division didn't have. So Chief (Ben) Love, at that time the Chief Scout Executive of the BSA, decided that it was time for the Exploring program to be reformulated. The original 'target date' for the transition to a new program was January 2001. But because of several court cases which involved the Exploring program specifically, and which involved the BSA in general terms, the BSA decided to move the "target date" up two and a half years. Exploring was a great program, and I was proud to have served as a national and regional youth officer within the program. But it had some shortcomings, and the biggest was that it tried as hard as it could NOT to be a part of the BSA. Not because it had girls in it...most of the girls WANTED to be part of the BSA so that they can earn things like Boy Scouts could. They didn't want to be a part of the BSA because of the way the BSA was "set up" and the outdoor nature of the program. See, if you're an engineering Post, why would you want to camp out somewhere?? Why would you want to go to Philmont or the council's summer camp facility? But if you were an Outdoor Post, your post probably BUILT THINGS at the council's summer camp facility, camped out somewhere every single month, and went to Philmont several times!
So, two "tracks" were set up. Those units that are purely occupational in nature, that concentrate on career exploration were moved to the Learning for Life Corporation and became Explorers over there. They don't wear uniforms, because the vast majority of them said they don't WANT to wear a "stinkin' uniform". All they want to do is to explore their career or interest. So we let them. Those on the other "track", however - those involved in religious education or service; those exploring hobby interests; those interested in the outdoors or the environment; those involved in sports and athletics, and those Sea Scouting units (formerly called "Sea Exploring") all were moved into a NEW division of the BSA called "Venturing".
New name, old ways. Venturing still looks a lot like the old Exploring of the 50s and 60s. They retained the uniform, got new Awards to earn and can camp and do whatever they like at BSA facilities. The leadership is structured the same, except that right now there's not much going on between the local Council and the national level youth-wise. But it's the same old Exploring program with a new coat of paint, some new ways of doing things, and a "connection" with the Boy Scouts of America.
No, I was too young to earn the Silver Award (the old Silver Award, that is; there were two versions of the Award before the BSA decided that Explorers "didn't want to earn anything". How wrong they were!). I lobbied the BSA in the late 70s for a new advancement award for Explorers, called the Explorer Achievement Award (EAA). I became one of the first holders of that Award. I didn't get one of those scholarships that the BSA advertised for, but I did receive a scholarship to attend my first year of college with at EKU, funded through the Southeast Region BSA. It was in recognition of my longtime service to the Region in lots of different ways as a youth member. It was also my "springboard" toward paraprofessional service later onward in my second year of college.
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