American Explorers

An Invitation from Arthur Blank

“The world needs more leaders acting with courage, wisdom, intelligence, skill, and compassion to guide families, communities, organizations, and nations in making healthy decisions for the benefit of all. Effective leaders are also good team players, contributing their talents and abilities to achieve a common goal. Whether the subject is politics, business, science, medicine, the environment or sports, the decisions leaders make affect our lives every day.” 

“I firmly believe that every young man and woman possesses the ability to be a good leader. Ability alone, however, is not enough.  It takes training, hard work, and practice. This is why my family and I decided to create American Explorers, a program that offers young men and women the chance to learn the art of leadership and practice the essential skills. If you are eager to develop your leadership skills, I truly hope that you will consider becoming an American Explorer.”

– Arthur Blank

An Invitation from Arthur Blank

“The world needs more leaders acting with courage, wisdom, intelligence, skill, and compassion to guide families, communities, organizations, and nations in making healthy decisions for the benefit of all. Effective leaders are also good team players, contributing their talents and abilities to achieve a common goal. Whether the subject is politics, business, science, medicine, the environment or sports, the decisions leaders make affect our lives every day.” 

“I firmly believe that every young man and woman possesses the ability to be a good leader. Ability alone, however, is not enough.  It takes training, hard work, and practice. This is why my family and I decided to create American Explorers, a program that offers young men and women the chance to learn the art of leadership and practice the essential skills. If you are eager to develop your leadership skills, I truly hope that you will consider becoming an American Explorer.”

– Arthur Blank


About American Explorers

Created by The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, in partnership with Atlanta Public Schools, community-based organizations and the North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS), American Explorers is a comprehensive leadership development program giving youth from Atlanta’s Historic Westside communities pathways to leadership. Through a collection of programs and hands-on learning experiences, American Explorers become change agents, educators, community builders, entrepreneurs and stewards of their communities. 

The American Explorers leadership development program involves year-round opportunities and activities for participants to engage in school and community service projects, leadership cultivation, and collaborative experiences. Participation requires youth to meet annual benchmarks and to identify ways in which they can improve their Circles of Influence. 

ambff-logo

About American Explorers

Created by The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, in partnership with Atlanta Public Schools, community-based organizations and the North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS), American Explorers is a comprehensive leadership development program giving youth from Atlanta’s Historic Westside communities pathways to leadership. Through a collection of programs and hands-on learning experiences, American Explorers become change agents, educators, community builders, entrepreneurs and stewards of their communities. 

The American Explorers leadership development program involves year-round opportunities and activities for participants to engage in school and community service projects, leadership cultivation, and collaborative experiences. Participation requires youth to meet annual benchmarks and to identify ways in which they can improve their Circles of Influence. 

ambff-logo


American Explorers Program Objectives

  • Encourage participants to pursue post-secondary education or technical training. AE will inspire participants to plan for their educational futures while providing them with the guidance and skills do so effectively.
  • Empower participants to become contributing members and leaders in their communities. This program will support involvement in community service projects and will foster ethical decision making, communication, and conflict resolution skills.
  • Develop sense of self-efficacy and leadership skills.

American Explorers Program Objectives

  • Encourage participants to pursue post-secondary education or technical training. AE will inspire participants to plan for their educational futures while providing them with the guidance and skills do so effectively.
  • Empower participants to become contributing members and leaders in their communities. This program will support involvement in community service projects and will foster ethical decision making, communication, and conflict resolution skills.
  • Develop sense of self-efficacy and leadership skills.

Leadership-focused learning

With an inaugural 22-day Outward Bound wilderness excursion, students enter the program in the summer before their 9th grade year. Through high school graduation, American Explorer students are immersed in experiences that support and foster our Six Pillars of Leadership. These performance based outcomes demonstrate mastery of leadership qualities and instill The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s core values, as they learn to put people first, listen and respond, include everyone, innovate continuously, lead by example and give back to others. 

Leadership-focused learning

With an inaugural 22-day Outward Bound wilderness excursion, students enter the program in the summer before their 9th grade year. Through high school graduation, American Explorer students are immersed in experiences that support and foster our Six Pillars of Leadership. These performance based outcomes demonstrate mastery of leadership qualities and instill The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s core values, as they learn to put people first, listen and respond, include everyone, innovate continuously, lead by example and give back to others. 


"This kind of experience changes lives."

In one of the early planning meetings Mr. Blank said, “I’ve been involved with Outward Bound for more than 30 years–as a participant,  supporter, and board member.  I have seen first-hand how this kind of experience changes lives.  There is nothing more important that we can give young people than the self-awareness to become capable, self-sufficient leaders.  Their personal growth is magnified over many years by their contributions to their families, their communities and their professions.”

"This kind of experience changes lives."

In one of the early planning meetings Mr. Blank said, “I’ve been involved with Outward Bound for more than 30 years–as a participant,  supporter, and board member.  I have seen first-hand how this kind of experience changes lives.  There is nothing more important that we can give young people than the self-awareness to become capable, self-sufficient leaders.  Their personal growth is magnified over many years by their contributions to their families, their communities and their professions.”


About North Carolina Outward Bound School

American Explorers partners with the North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS) to deliver wilderness and community-based educational programs that have proven to be very effective in developing essential leadership and life skills. Based in Asheville, North Carolina, NCOBS offers a wide range of wilderness-based learning expeditions in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Outer Banks, Florida’s Everglades, Chile, and right here in Atlanta.  learn more about NCOBS >

About North Carolina Outward Bound School

American Explorers partners with the North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS) to deliver wilderness and community-based educational programs that have proven to be very effective in developing essential leadership and life skills. Based in Asheville, North Carolina, NCOBS offers a wide range of wilderness-based learning expeditions in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Outer Banks, Florida’s Everglades, Chile, and right here in Atlanta.  learn more about NCOBS >


Six Pillars of Leadership

Throughout the American Explorers program, students are immersed in experiences that support and foster Six Pillars of Leadership.

  1. Personal Development: Stay Ready So You Won’t Have to Get Ready!
  2. Education: Sometimes It Is What You Know!
  3. Health and Wellness: Be the Best Me You Can Be!
  4. Team Building: Get In Where You Fit In!
  5. Advocacy: It’s Always the Right Time to Do The Right Thing!
  6. Logistics: Fail To Plan, Plan to Fail!

Six Pillars of Leadership

Throughout the American Explorers program, students are immersed in experiences that support and foster Six Pillars of Leadership.

  1. Personal Development: Stay Ready So You Won’t Have to Get Ready!
  2. Education: Sometimes It Is What You Know!
  3. Health and Wellness: Be the Best Me You Can Be!
  4. Team Building: Get In Where You Fit In!
  5. Advocacy: It’s Always the Right Time to Do The Right Thing!
  6. Logistics: Fail To Plan, Plan to Fail!