What is Exploring?
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Exploring is Learning for Life’s career education program for young men and women who are 14 (and have completed the eighth grade) or 15 through 20 years old. Adults are selected by the participating organization for involvement in the program. Color, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, economic status, and citizenship are not criteria for participation.
Exploring’s purpose is to provide experiences to help young people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults. Explorers are ready to investigate the meaning of interdependence in their personal relationships and communities.
Exploring is based on a unique and dynamic relationship between youth and the organizations in their communities. Local community organizations initiate an Explorer post by matching their people and program resources to the interests of young people in the community. The result is a program of activities that helps youth pursue their special interests, grow, and develop.
Explorer posts can specialize in a variety of career skills. Exploring programs are based on five areas of emphasis: career opportunities, life skills, citizenship, character education, and leadership experience.
- Career Opportunities
- Develop potential contacts that may broaden employment options
- Boost self-confidence and experience success at school and work
- Life Skills
- Build physical and mental fitness
- Experience positive social interaction
- Encourage the skill and desire to help others
- Gain a keen respect for the basic rights of others
- Character Education
- Help make ethical choices
- Fulfill one’s responsibility to society as a whole
- Leadership Experience
- Acquire leadership skills to fulfill one’s responsibilities in society
Young adults involved in Exploring will
- Gain practical knowledge of and experience in a career
- Engage in a program of activities centered on career opportunities, life skills, service learning, character education, and leadership experience to encourage the development of the whole person
- Experience positive leadership from adult and youth leaders and be given opportunities to take on leadership roles
- Have a chance to learn and grow in a supportive, caring, and enjoyable environment
The methods of Exploring have been carefully chosen to meet the needs of young adults.
- Voluntary association between youth and adults. Because Exploring is voluntary, youth are receptive to new ideas, experiences, and relationships. For the Explorer, these relationships provide a connection to new ways of thinking and acting as well as a new identity as a responsible young adult.
- Ethical decision making. Exploring asks young people to be responsible for themselves, for a program of activities and experiences, and for other people, thereby providing numerous opportunities for youth to make effective and ethical decisions. These opportunities are enhanced by the influence of capable adults and structured activities.
- Group activities. Exploring activities are interdependent group experiences. Success depends on the cooperation of all.
- Recognition of achievement. Recognition might come through formal awards, but it also is achieved through the acknowledgment by peers and adults of a young person’s competence and abilities.
- Democratic process. Explorer posts provide exposure to democratic ideals and skills that are needed throughout life.
- Curiosity, exploration, and adventure. Curiosity is encouraged and a sense of exploration and adventure is developed through new experiences that provide opportunities for youth to acquire new skills and participate in action-oriented activities.