exploring
Exploring is part of the Learning for Life career education program for young men and women who are 14 (and have completed the eighth grade) or 15 through 20 years old.

Exploring’s purpose is to provide experiences to help young people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults. Explorers are ready to investigate the meaning of interdependence in their personal relationships and communities.

Exploring is based on a unique and dynamic relationship between youth and the organizations in their communities. Local community organizations initiate an 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.

Explorer posts can specialize in a variety of career skills. Exploring programs are based on five areas of emphasis: career opportunities, life skills, service learning, character education, and leadership experience.

Goals

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, service learning, character education, and leadership experience to encourage the development of the whole person
  • Experience positive leadership from adult and youth leaders and be given opportunities to take on leadership roles
  • Have a chance to learn and grow in a supportive, caring, and enjoyable environment

Methods

The methods of Exploring have been carefully chosen to meet the needs of young adults.

  • Voluntary association between youth and adults. Because Exploring is voluntary, youth are receptive to new ideas, experiences, and relationships. For the Explorer, these relationships provide a connection to new ways of thinking and acting as well as a new identity as a responsible young adult.
  • Ethical decision making. Exploring asks young people to be responsible for themselves, for a program of activities and experiences, and for other people, thereby providing numerous opportunities for youth to make effective and ethical decisions. These opportunities are enhanced by the influence of capable adults and structured activities.
  • Group activities. Exploring activities are interdependent group experiences. Success depends on the cooperation of all.
  • Recognition of achievement. Recognition might come through formal awards, but it also is achieved through the acknowledgment by peers and adults of a young person’s competence and abilities.
  • Democratic process. Explorer posts provide exposure to democratic ideals and skills that are needed throughout life.
  • Curiosity, exploration, and adventure. Curiosity is encouraged and a sense of exploration and adventure is developed through new experiences that provide opportunities for youth to acquire new skills and participate in action-oriented activities.

Post Specialties

Every Explorer post specializes in a specific career program area. More than 100 different specialties have been organized, ranging from accounting to zoology. Some specialty programs, such as the following, have grown to include a national committee, activities, and staff support.

Medical and Health Careers

The American Medical Association and other national health organizations support the establishment of posts in hospitals, clinics, medical centers, schools, and other health-care organizations. These posts render valuable community service and give members an insight into a variety of career opportunities.

Law Enforcement

This specialty is endorsed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriff’s Association and is helped by other national law enforcement organizations and industries. Posts can provide assistance in crime prevention and traffic control.

Aviation

The aviation specialty encompasses a range of programs, including maintenance, operations, construction, flight attendants, airport management, and aerospace. The Federal Aviation Administration supports this growth, along with aviation organizations, unions, and industries.

Law and Government

The American Bar Association and other organizations support the high interest of many youth in law or government participation through Exploring. Law Day activities, mock trials, and other law-related activities provide firsthand experience in America’s legal and court system.

Engineering

Many national engineering societies endorse this specialty area of Exploring. Its goal is to promote post programs that open and expand Explorers’ understanding of the many opportunities in engineering and technology.

Skilled Trades

The Skilled Trades specialty area includes posts that are organized around interests in auto repair, cosmetology, electrical, carpentry, and construction, to name a few.

Business

Through the Business specialty area, young adults become prepared for many types of careers, from accounting to financial planning. Many posts organize their program around knowledge of business planning and practices in addition to career preparation.

Communications

This specialty is endorsed by the Broadcast Education Association, International Association of Business Communicators, National Association of Broadcasters, National Press Photographers Association Inc., Public Relations Society of America, and Women in Communications. The Exploring program can serve as an effective outreach program that exposes high school students to careers in communications and public relations.

Others

In addition to the above, other popular Explorer post specialties include conservation, computers, firefighting, music, science, rescue, radio-TV, architecture, photography, and journalism.

Ethics in Action

An important goal of Exploring is to help young adults be responsible and caring people, both now and in the future. Exploring uses “character education activities” to help young adults develop the ability to make responsible choices that reflect their concern for what is at risk and for the people involved. Because a character education activity is a problem-solving situation, leaders expect young adults to use empathy, invention, and selection when they think through their position and work toward a solution.

Program Support

Learning for Life Staff

Learning for Life provides Explorer posts with the following support:
  • Professional and volunteer staff to help the post succeed
  • Recruiting, training, and guiding of a volunteer district/division support staff organization
  • An annual Explorer program planning conference
  • An annual career interest survey of all high schools in the community
  • Activity planning and the use of Learning for Life facilities, such as camps

Liability Insurance for Participating Organizations

General liability insurance covers the participating organization on a primary basis for any responsibility they may have on Exploring-related matters without asking the participating organization or its own insurance to be involved.

Adult and Youth Leader Training

Learning for Life provides basic and advanced adult leader training sessions along with an annual post leader workshop, quarterly Advisor meetings, and an annual Explorer program planning conference.

As part of Learning for Life’s career education program for young men and women who are 14-20 years old, Exploring is a worksite-based program.

Exploring provides experiences to help young people mature and prepare to become responsible and caring adults.

Based on a dynamic relationship between youth and community organizations, Explorer Posts match business people and resources to the interests of young people. The result is a program of career specific activities that help teenagers pursue special interests, grow and develop.

Young adults involved in Exploring will:

  • Gain practical knowledge and experience in a career
  • Engage in activities centered on career opportunities, life skills, citizenship, character development and leadership experience to encourage the development of the whole person
  • Take on leadership roles
  • Learn in a supportive, caring and enjoyable environment.

Exploring programs are based on five areas of emphasis:

Career Opportunities

Youth develop contacts that will broaden employment options

Life Skills

They develop physical and mental fitness while experiencing positive social interaction.

Citizenship

They are encouraged to help others, leading to a new respect for the basic rights of others.

Character Education

They support making ethical choices while fulfilling one’s responsibilities to society as a whole.

Leadership Experience

Leadership skills are honed, expanded and shared.
 
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