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The previous Exploring Program became the new Venturing program on August 1, 1998.
Exploring - Discover Your Future

Since August, 1998, Exploring is a worksite-based program. It is part of Learning for Life's career education program for young men and women who are 14 (and have completed eighth grade) through 20 years old. In response to the US Department of Education’s focus on career education for elementary schools, in early 2013, Exploring was expanded to include young men and women in middle school (completed fifth grade and are at least 10 years old but have not completed eighth grade and are not yet 15 years old). The older Explorers are formed into Explorer Posts while the middle-school Explorers are formed into Explorer Clubs.

Exploring's vision is to shape the workforce of tomorrow by engaging and mentoring today’s youth in career and life-enhancing opportunities.

Exploring’s purpose is to provide experiences to help young people mature and become responsible and caring adults, and to provide experiences to help young people learn about different careers. Explorers are ready to explore the meaning of interdependence in their personal relationships.

Exploring is based on a unique and dynamic relationship between youth and the organizations in their communities. Local community organizations initiate a specific Explorer post by matching their people and program resources to the interests of young people in the community. The result is a program of activities that helps youth pursue their special interests, grow, and develop.


Program Emphasis

Exploring programs are based on five areas of emphasis: career opportunities, leadership experience, life skills, citizenship, and character education.

Career Opportunities
  • Develop potential contacts that may broaden employment options
  • Boost self-confidence and experience success at school and work
Leadership Experience
  • Acquire leadership skills necessary to fulfill one's responsibilities in society
  • Develop a variety of leadership traits
Life Skills
  • Develop physical and mental fitness
  • Experience positive social interaction
  • Encourage the skill and desire to help others
  • Gain a keen respect for the basic rights of others
Character Education
  • Help make ethical choices
  • Fulfill one's responsibilities to society as a whole

Young adults involved in Exploring will
  • Gain practical knowledge of and experience in a career
  • Engage in a program of activities centered on career opportunities, life skills, citizenship, character development, and leadership experience to encourage the development of the whole person
  • Have opportunities to take on leadership roles
  • Have a chance to learn and grow in a supportive, caring, and enjoyable environment

Program Methods

  • Voluntary association between youth and adults
  • Ethical decision-making guidance
  • Group activities
  • Recognition of achievement
  • Democratic processes
  • Interactive experiences


Explorer posts and clubs can specialize in a variety of career skills, including, but not limited to, the following:

Maritime Explorer Clubs serve as feeder units for Sea Scout Ships.

Youth Leadership

An Explorer post or club has five youth officer positions:

History of Exploring

Source: Exploring Guidebook for Leaders Adobe Acrobat PDF

Exploring began as a senior program in early Boy Scout troops. These older boys carried out high-adventure activities and service projects, and gave leadership to young Scouts.

In 1935, senior Scouts were called Explorers for the first time, and many were organized in separate Explorer crews in troops, using a senior Scout program.

In 1942, an Air Scout program for boys 15 and older was created in cooperation with the United States Army Air Corps. This cooperative program with the United States Air Force has continued to this day, although Air Scouting was discontinued in 1965.

In May 1949, the National Executive Board revised senior Scouting to recognize as Explorers all young men in posts, Sea Scout ships, Air Scout squadrons, and all Boy Scouts over age 14 in troops.

In 1954, the National Executive Board and the University of Michigan made a national study that revealed the needs, desires, and concerns of boys 14 to 16. As a result, a completely new Exploring program was developed and put into effect January 1, 1959. This new program included activities, methods, and recognitions that were similar to, but separate from, the Boy Scouting program.

After almost 10 years of limited progress, a study was made of the special-interest posts being organized by William H. Spurgeon Ill, a businessman from California, and the newly completed research project of Learning for Life by Daniel Yankelovich. This study indicated that 83 percent of youth surveyed wanted more information on careers than they were getting at home or in school, and 94 percent wanted adult associations. Coed participation, sports, and adult-life recognition were found necessary to attract young adults to Exploring.

This study was implemented by a national committee that developed the current Exploring program. As a result, special-interest Explorer posts began to be organized by businesses and professional and trade organizations. The career interest survey of high school students was developed to identify and recruit members.

This opportunity to join posts that specialize in careers or recreational programs attracted large numbers of young adults to Exploring. Exploring locally and nationally became a separate division of Learning for Life designed to serve young men who had dropped out of or never were Boy Scouts.

In April 1971, young women became eligible for full membership in Exploring, and the upper age limit in Exploring was increased to 21. With these new methods came a series of national activities designed and conducted to strengthen local posts and ships: the safe-driving road rally, the Explorer Olympics, and the national Explorer Congress, which led to the organization of the Explorer Presidents’ Association, involving Explorers in planning their program at every level.

By 1981, the rapid growth of Exploring led to the development of national specialty programs in aviation, business, science and engineering, law and government, law enforcement, health careers, outdoor, Sea Exploring, sports, career education, arts, skilled trades, social service, fire and rescue, and communications.

An Explorer Presidents’ Association Congress was designed to train local and national youth leaders. A biennial national Explorer leadership conference was implemented in 1994.

In 1991, the Boy Scouts of America announced the creation of the Learning for Life character education curriculum that could be facilitated by educators in the classroom. Learning for Life was considered a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America.

In 1998, Exploring functioned as a career education program and was subsequently shifted to fall under the Learning for Life program umbrella.

In early 2013, after 18 months of piloting the program in 17 local councils, Learning for Life obtained official approval to start the Explorer Club Learning for Life career education program for young men and women who have completed the fifth grade and are at least 10 years old but have not completed the eighth grade and are not yet 15 years old. The Middle School Explorer Club program was created in response to the U.S. Department of Education’s recent emphasis on career education at the elementary grade levels.

Later in 2013, Learning for Life approved its first fully functioning executive board and now functions as an affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America.

See also

External Links

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