“Exploring” is an interactive career based program of Learning for Life, a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America. The programs are designed for youth grades 6-8 (explorer clubs) and young men and women ages 14-20 (explorer posts) to learn a single career trade. Exploring has organized all of their programs into twelve categories: arts and humanities, aviation, business, communications, engineering and technology, fire and EMS, health care, law and government, law enforcement, science, skilled trades, and social services.
Although explorer programs are found around the country, the Raleigh area has a few of their own.
Capitol Broadcasting Company hosts two Explorer programs: Post 5 and Post 50 focusing on broadcasting live television and production skills.
Explorer Post 5 is held on Thursdays at WRAL studios during the majority of the traditional school year and is the oldest continuous post in the country. In the past, students have had the opportunity to work with and learn from lead anchors, producers, and directors from WRAL news.
Applications are accepted in the beginning of the fall before the program starts.
Although the program only lasts one hour once a week, members can learn a lot from the short amount of time being at WRAL studios. Most weeks it is hands on experience, but there are “lecture” style weeks where members will sit and listen to a WRAL employee speak.
While it is easy for students to get distracted and spend the majority the hour on their phone, especially if it is similar to a lecture style lesson, those who want to learn and are willing to, they will benefit from the program.
Explorer Post 50, Post 5’s sister program, is held during the Durham Bull’s baseball season (April through September), and members are trained to live broadcast Durham Bull’s home games. Members are assigned a position to work for the game: camera control unit, robotics, graphics, mobile uploads, instant replay, or running one of the six cameras on the baseball field.
The application process is more lengthy than their sister program Post 5, students interested have to complete an application, an interview with one of the leaders of the program, and complete training.
At the beginning of each month, a Google form is emailed to the members listing all of the home games. For every game, members will select whether or not they are available to work the game. However, not all the games that a member says they are available to work will they be scheduled for. The leaders ask each member to work a minimum of fifteen games throughout the six month period.
Working a game will usually last approximately seven hours. Members have to arrive three hours before the game to set up and prepare — the baseball game typically lasts around three hours, and the last hour is for cleaning up the equipment and a post game meeting.
Pre-game consists of training for the position which a member is running and eating dinner. During training time, a member can only get out of it as much as they put into it. Asking questions is important, especially when a training session can merely last only a few minutes.
There is no such thing as a perfect live broadcast, which is important to remember. Errors always occur, and what may seem like the end of the world in the control room, viewers at home most likely won’t even notice something went wrong.
Working under pressure can be stressful, particularly when working a camera. A shot that is taken on camera can easily air on television whether it was of high quality or poor quality. Working under pressure causes someone to think and act quickly while using his or her best judgement.
Explorer programs are a way for students to explore potential career options while gaining first hand experience and learning from those working in the profession.