Explorers in the Troop (1949-58)

When the Senior Scout program ended in September, 1949, to be replaced by the Explorer program, one aspect of the old program was brought back.  The old Senior Scouting in the Troop program which had been dropped earlier in 1946, was revived.  It would become the Explorer program in the troop.  The basic idea was still the same: allow the use of Explorer program (but not, apparently, the Air Explorer or Sea Explorer programs) in the troop to keep the interest of older Boy Scouts involved with their troop and scouting.  By this way, they could keep the boys in leadership positions in the troop and provide them with a more advanced program as well.

Organization chart for the Explorer Crew in the Troop

The above chart shows how the Explorer Crew within the troop is organized.  As is seen, most of the members of the Crew remain in the already existing patrols, or hold various leadership positions. Only a couple of boys are shown to only be a part of the Explorer Crew and nothing else within the troop. Many who have organized the current Venture patrol have found that following this method also works well for them.

When a boy turned 14, he automatically became an Explorer.  Within a troop, if there were enough boys (at least 2-3) they would form an Explorer Crew.  If a troop had more then one crew, they would elect a Senior Crew Leader over all the crews. They could wear the distinctive uniform of the Explorer program, as well as wear their Troop position.  There would be an adult Explorer Advisor in charge of the Explorers of a troop.

In all things, these boys would follow the same program as the Explorers in a Post.  Working on the same awards, doing the same activities.  National recommended that such boys step aside from leadership positions around age 16, to train and allow the younger boys to be leaders.  Some have misinterpreted this to mean that Explorers were barred from leadership positions.  This is not so.  See the above chart, were Patrol Leaders, the SPL, and other positions are held by Explorers.

For more information about the Explorer program, go to it pages.  The same uniform, awards, and literature were used by both programs.  Resources like the Scoutmaster Handbook of the time gave advise on the uses of Explorer Crews within a troop, as did some Explorer materials such as the Hints on Explorer Leadership.  There was one booklet written on just this program, Exploring at work in your Troop (#3146), which was published in 1950.

With the ending of the Explorer program in 1959, to be replaced by the Exploring program, so too did the Explorer in Troops program.  It was replaced by a vague "program" I have termed the "Senior Boy Scout" program.

As with the prior Senior Scouting program usage in the troop, this program would inspire later programs like the Leadership Corps and Venture/Varsity programs.
year Explorers in troops
1949 366929
1950 294588
1951 268632
1952 265450
1953 257790
1954 261696
1955 257397
1956 259914
1957 255292
1958 176394

Source: Annual Report of BSA, 1964, as reported in Art Hyman's The Scout in Aviation

Updated: 5/22/2001mrb