Exploring and Adapting to Change in an Uncertain Time
It is probably an understatement to say that COVID-19, along with the ongoing BSA restructuring, has turned our Scouting and Exploring world upside down.
At the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic, the Exploring program had 4,450 units, 95,400 youth, and 19,800 adult volunteers. As of February 2021, we now have 2,885 units, 44,373 youth and 13,278 adult volunteers. As these numbers seem to indicate, it doesn’t look like our Exploring post Advisors and club sponsors have been able to adapt effectively to the changes caused by the pandemic, especially when it comes to holding meetings and continuing career-emphasis activities. Many of these Exploring units have allowed their memorandums of understanding, the Exploring equivalent to a unit charter, to expire and not be renewed.
Here is where it’s crucial that our council and district commissioners, along with their staff and Exploring service team commissioners, re-engage with their Exploring clubs and posts to offer unit service assistance. In partnership with their council and district membership teams, they need to resuscitate their inactive/expired Exploring units. On the Scouting side, our commissioners have learned how to use virtual and social-distancing tools to continue their programs, and many of these lessons learned could be used by our Exploring units too. This is a great opportunity for our commissioners to help our Exploring units to adapt to the current COVID-19 environment and still continue their career-emphasis activities. With the ongoing nationwide administration of the vaccine, the ability for in-person meetings and activities will also become more and more a reality for both our Scouting and Exploring units. This will help all our commissioners and membership teams in resurrecting Exploring units that have gone dormant. Remember, Exploring membership also counts for your council’s membership goals. Helping our active Exploring units adapt to the current and post COVID-19 landscape, as well as resuscitating our “expired” Exploring units, will pay dividends for your council’s membership numbers.