Exploring InsigniaExploring (1959-1968)

In January of 1959, National replaced the Explorer program with the Exploring program.  They had conducted an extensive research project, A Study of Adolescent Boys, from May 1949 to 1955 with the University of Michigan on the needs, desires, and concerns of boys 14-16, and from the findings made extensive changes in the core Explorer program.  The most radical change in the program was to drop the distinct Explorer advancement program, as the research concluded that boys at that age didn't care for advancement.  Officer terminology changed to a more generic club based one.  Other features like the Explorer Cabinet and the like were added.

Initially, no changes would be made to the Air Explorer and Sea Explorer programs.  Later in 1965, changes would occur to both. For more information about these changes to the Air Explorer and Sea Explorer program, see their pages.  The rest of this page will deal only with the new Exploring program for the years of 1959-68.  To learn what happens to the Exploring program with the establishment of the Exploring Division, go to the Exploring (1969-1998) for the rest of the story..

The New Exploring Logo
The new Exploring program made use of a radically new logo.  This logo was meant to be very modern and forward looking. To quote the Exploring manual: the general impression of movement and speed is intended, and the design is meant to be dynamic.  The "V" in the center is symbolic of Explorer's growth and progress.  The two prisms represents duty to self and fellow man.  They merge, pointing to infinity, representing duty to God.  The circles represent the Explorer's environment: home, school, community, nation. The colors of the circles represent his American heritage.  The fleur-de-lis in the center represents the Explorer's affiliation with the BSA and the world brotherhood of Scouting. Most people today refer to this as the "Circle-V" logo, or rarely the "rocket-V" or "rocket" logo.  The logo on green was for the uniform shirt.  The one on red was for the red explorer jacket.  It was also produced on white and navy blue for Sea Explorers to wear.

Exploring Program
The Exploring program was a radical change from the Explorer program.  Much of a Post activities would be built around six experience areas: Citizenship, Service, Social, Vocational, Outdoor, and Personal Fitness.  By this way, posts would have a more well rounded program. Posts would also be encouraged to have a particularly large 'superactivity' around their interest. More so then under the Explorer program, Exploring posts would be marked by specialty posts, especially in vocational areas.  These career focused posts would soon become among the most widespread of all the specialties.  In addition, Explorers would get their own Code and Motto.  Before they just used the Boy Scout Oath, Law, and Motto.  Overall, we see the Exploring program move away from being just an advanced Boy Scout program into a more unique and separate program.

The Explorer Code
As an Explorer-
I believe that America's strength lies in her trust in God and in the courage and strength of her people.
I will, therefore, be faithful in my religious duties and will maintain a personal sense of honor in my life.
I will treasure my American heritage and will do all I can to preserve and enrich it.
I will recognize the dignity and worth of my fellow men and will use fair play and good will in dealing with them.
I will acquire the Exploring attitude that seeks the truth in all things and adventure on the frontiers of our changing world.

The Explorer Motto
Our Best Today, For a Better Tomorrow.

The Explorer Cabinet
One of the major changes to the Exploring program was the addition of Explorer Cabinets.  These would exist at the district and council levels and allow for Explorers to themselves drive their program.  Each Explorer Post was to elect 2 members as Cabinet Representatives, who would represent the Post on the District Cabinet.  Each Post also sent an adult, and the districts would appoint a cabinet advisor and have a professional member as well.  The District Cabinet officers (chairman, vice-chairman, secretary) would serve on the Council Cabinet, along with the district cabinet advisors. Council Cabinets also had an advisor and professional staff member as well. District and Council cabinets where expected to met no more then four times a year and plan out no more then 3 events for the year. Surprisingly, both adult and youth members of the cabinets had a vote.

In 1969, district and council Explorer Cabinets would be replaced with a biannual Exploring Program Planning Conference at the Council level.  Later on this would be replaced by Explorer President Associations at the council level.

National Explorer Conference
A new National event for Explorers was established, the National Explorer Delegate Conference.  This was held every two years, in between which were held regional conferences.  In 1961 the first of the Regional Conferences were held.  Each unit could send two delegates, in addition a delegate from the district and council cabinets.  At the Regional Conferences, each Region elected a youth to serve on the steering committee for the following National Conference.  The National Conferences had a certain number of delegates from each council, based on number of Explorers. At the National Conference, each Region would choose the head of the next Regional Conference Steering committee. The Regional and National Conference Steering Committees were the closest to the idea of National Cabinets, however, their purpose was limited to running the Regional and National Conferences, not running the Exploring program.  With the elimination of the district/council cabinets in 1969, these events would end.  Eventually this would evolve into the National Explorer President's Congress which started in 1971, and the creation of a true National President and Cabinet.

1st National Explorer Delegate Conference- August 1962, University of Michigan
2nd National Explorer Delegate Conference- August 1964, University of Kansas
3rd National Explorer Delegate Conference- August 1966, Indiana University
4th National Explorer Delegate Conference- August, 1968, Colorado State University

1962 item (nametag)


1964 Explorer Delegate Conference Token

1966 Explorer Delegate Conference Buckle

1968 items (mug & t-shirt)


1960 Jubilee Field Day
As part of the BSA's Fiftieth Anniversary, a special event was created just for Explorers: the Jubilee Field Day.  This one day event was to be held on July 23 in local councils.  It was to be a day of athletic competitions.

1960 Jubilee Field Day

Other National Exploring Events
There were a few other National Exploring events.  Starting in 1956, there was the NRA-BSA Explorer Rifle Match.  The eleventh was held in 1966.  Not sure how long they had them.  In 1961, an annual National Bowling Tournament was also begun.  The last was held in 1965.  One was planned for 1966, but was cancelled, and Explorers were encouraged to participate in the new "Sports That Can Last a Lifetime" program, which included bowling, golf, swimming, and physical fitness.

Exploring Uniforms
Explorers continued with their forest green uniforms.  The strips on the shirts now read "Explorer". Also, the Circle-V logo was already sewn on the left pocket, preventing the wearing of any advancement patch there.  Office patches were strips worn below the left pocket.  The white web belt would be updated to the Circle-V logo on the brass buckle.

Explorer hat, shirt, pants, belt, and leggings, circa 1960sExplorer shirt strip, EX-03
In addition, a more formal blazer uniform was introduced.  This consisted of a blue blazer with Explorer logo, gray slacks, white shirt, and maroon tie.  This was intended for more dress-up occasions: socials, community events, conferences, and the like.  This blazer uniform, with a red, white, and blue tie would later become an optional uniform for Scouting professionals.

Exploring Blazer

Overall, we would see in this period a lessening emphasis on Explorer uniforms that would evolve into the idea of 'Distinctive Dress Identity' with the posts determining their own uniform.

Exploring Advancement Program
The new Exploring program had no advancement program.  The only award available to Explorers was Eagle Scout.  They could earn it one of two ways.  One was to continue to progress through Star-Life-Eagle if they had earned First Class or higher in a Boy Scout Troop.  The other way was to earn Eagle using special "Explorer-only" requirements. These requirements did not require that the Explorer have earned any prior Boy Scout ranks.  These Explorer-only requirement would end on December 31, 1971.

Exploring Unit Organization
With the new Exploring program, officer names were aligned with more common club terminology, such as President, vice president, etc.  These were strips worn below the left pocket on the uniform.

The position of "Representative" was for the 2 Cabinet Representatives from each unit.  The "Cabinet Officer" was for the elected officers of the Cabinet, and the Cabinet Advisor for the Cabinet Advisor, of course.

Exploring Office Insignia

Explorer Advisor Office Strip, EX-74

Associate Advisor Office Strip, EX-75

Post Committee Office Strip, EX-80

Cabinet Advisor, NO PICTURE

Post President Office Strip, EX-78

Vice President Office Strip, EX-79

Cabinet Officer Office Strip, EX-83

Explorer Representative Office strip, EX-82

Secretary, EX-76

Treasurer, EX-77

Quartermaster, EX-81


The basic manual for the Exploring program was the new Exploring Manual. This manual gave detailed information on how Exploring operated.  Toward the end of the 60s, it would be dropped to be replaced by nothing more then a few pamphlets.

For information on operating District and Council Explorer Cabinets, you had the Explorer Cabinet Guidebook (#3145A).  This book was a revision of the District and Council Explorer Activities booklet. Not sure how long it was kept in print. With the replacement of Explorer Cabinets with EPA/EOA, new booklets would describe those groups.

Several other small manuals were produced.  There was the Explorer Parent's and Leader's Guidebook (#3151), for instance. This was about the closest they had to a leader book initially. It presented some of the findings of the University of Michigan study.

National continued with the Explorer Program Quarterly until May of 1966, at which point they created monthly Explorer Program Helps as a special insert in Scouting, the same for Cub Scout and Boy Scout leaders.  The first of these were the June 1966 Explorer Program Helps, which appeared in the May 1966 issue of Scouting.

The Explorer Program Notebook continued as the Explorer Officer's Program Notebook.  These lasted at least until 1968, but probably not past 1969.

The University of Michigan study, A Study of Adolescent Boys, was apparently available from the National office as a supply item (#3091) up until the 1980s at least.

Exploring Literature

Exploring Manual (#3506A)
  1st     1958,Aug       317p+34p       200000
  2nd    1959,Jan        317p+34p       200000
  3rd    1966,Sep       317p+34p       200000

paperback book, Ted S. Holstein, editor

Exploring Manual

District and Council Explorer Activities (#3145A)
   1958, Aug
Explorer Cabinet Guidebook (#3145A)
   1962, Jan
   1966, Mar (#3145)

paperback, 64pg

Explorer Cabinet

Explorer Parent's and Leader's Guidebook (#3151)

pamphlet, 48pg

Explorer Parent's and Leader's Guidebook

Explorer Officer's Program Notebook
 1958-59 (shown)
 1959-60 (shown)   80000
 1961-62 (shown)   70000
 1963-64 (shown)
 1964-65 (shown)   70000
 1965-66                70000
 1968-69 (shown)

paperback, 132pg

Explorer Officer's Program Notebook, 1958-59Explorer Officer's Program Notebook, 1959-60Explorer Officer's Program Notebook, 1961-62Explorer Officer's Program Notebook 1963-64Explorer Officer's Program Notebook, 1964-65Explorer Officer's Program Notebook, 1968-69

Explorer Program Quarterly
 V6 winter 1958-59; spring 59; summer 59; fall 59
 V7 winter 59-60; spring 60; summer 60; fall 60
 V8 winter 60-61; spring 61; summer 61; fall 61
 V9 winter 61-62; spring 62; summer 62; fall 62
 V10 winter 62-63; spring 63; summer 63; fall 63
 V11 winter 63-64; spring 64; summer 64; fall 64
 V12 winter 64-65; spring 65; summer 65; fall 65
 V13 winter 65-66; spring 66

magazine, 24pg

Explorer Program Quarterly, Fall, 1961






Eagle awards













































Statistics taken from BSA Annual Reports to Congress

Updated: 01/17/2006mrb