a publication for commissioners and professionals

Summer 2021


Craig Martin
Exploring Chair

Growing Exploring

Commissioners’ Role in Re-Growing Exploring after Covid-19 Impacts. 

Thanks to COVID-19 vaccinations, we are seeing Scouting and Exploring units returning to in-person meetings and activities with proper prevention protocols in place. However, we have a long road in front of us as we begin resurrecting the dormant and lapsed Exploring clubs and posts. As a Systems Engineer, I like looking at numbers to establish a baseline, so let’s look at where Exploring was in January 2020, just before the pandemic, versus where we are in mid-2021.

As of…


Youth Membership

Adult Membership







Jan 2020







Jul 2021














As the numbers tell us, we have taken significant losses in every category. Therefore, Exploring’s #1 goal is to resurrect these clubs and posts, along with their youth and adult membership. This is where our council’s commissioner corps (unit commissioners and Exploring service team members [a.k.a. Exploring commissioners]) can play a crucial role.

As an aside, if commissioners are unfamiliar with the Exploring program, they should visit the Exploring homepage at to learn more especially using the Exploring Resources at the bottom of the homepage.

Additionally, there is a concise and brief training module, SCO_756, within the BSA Learn Center entitled “Servicing Exploring Units.”

There is one document every commissioner supporting an Exploring unit should have handy for quick reference, and that is the “Exploring Guidebook for Post and Club Leaders – Youth and Adult” which is found on the Exploring homepage’s Exploring Resources box under “Unit Resources”. In fact, everything in this article is explained in more detail within this guidebook.

First, our commissioners need to immediately contact all these dormant and lapsed units’ participating organization (a.k.a., the unit’s chartered organization in Scouting terminology) to determine if they are still interested in supporting the club or post, as well as the club’s or post’s adult volunteer leadership to determine if they are still available to serve.

Second, since these are lapsed Exploring clubs and posts, the commissioner and/or the district executive needs to quickly re-accomplish the Exploring “Memorandum of Understanding” (which is the Exploring unit’s “charter”). Signing & submitting this MOU to the local council, along with the adult/youth membership applications & fees, will re-activate the unit’s registration and return them to good standing with both the National Exploring Office and their council. Third, to identify possible new membership for these units or additional Exploring Career Fields’ clubs or posts, commissioners and/or council professional staff should engage with their local middle and/or high schools’ to either request career interest survey information or offer them the Exploring career interest survey, which is offered free online by National Exploring Office, to middle and high schools or school districts for youth 13 and older.

Assuming the participating organization and unit adult volunteer leadership are still committed and available to the Exploring program then, with encouragement and assistance from the commissioners, the Exploring adult leaders need to contact all their unit’s youth membership to invite them back. At the same time, the leadership should start planning the meetings and activities for first three months as well as also scheduling and advertising the unit’s open house.


Fourth, in support of the unit’s open house, commissioners should encourage the unit’s leadership to follow the recommendations found within Exploring Guidebook, specifically the section entitled “Phase 4: Participation” in chapter three. I would strongly recommend that a commissioner, along with the district executive and a representative of the council’s membership committee (if either are available), participate in the open house to assist post leadership.

Before closing my article, I want to remind you what the Exploring program provides. First, Exploring units and youth membership count towards your council membership goals. Second, the Exploring units’ participating organizations provide a potential funding source for your annual fundraising campaigns. And, most importantly, Exploring provides our older youth with an opportunity to learn about future careers as they decide what they want to do with their lives!

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