Explorer History

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

In 1912, Sea Scouting was founded for older Scouts and flourished as a program based on traditions of the sea.

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 1938, Mr. Waite Phillips, a Tulsa oilman, gave the Boy Scouts of America 35,857 acres of northeast New Mexico, which became the Philmont Scout Ranch and Explorer Base.

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 BSA 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 Explorer 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 Scout program.

After almost ten years of limited progress, a study was made of the special-interest posts being organized by William H Spurgeon III, a businessman from California, and the newly completed research project of the BSA 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 present Explorer 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 post that specialize in careers or recreational programs attracted large numbers of young adults to Exploring. Exploring locally and nationally became a separate division of the Boy Scouts of America designed to serve young men who had dropped out or never were Boy Scouts

In April 1971, young women became eligible for full membership in Exploring, and the upper age limit was increased to age 21. With these new methods came a series of national activities designed and conducted to strengthen the local posts- the safe driving road rally, the Explorers Olympics, and the National Explorer Congress, which led to the organization of the Explorers Presidents' Association, involving Explorers in planning their program at entry 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 national Explorer leadership conference was implemented in 1994 on a biennial basis.