American Explorers

How often do students meet in the school year?

Our students meet in their communities about once every month during the school year. These events are important elements of the program and all students are strongly encouraged to attend every event.

What if a student can’t make it to an event?

Each event builds on previous meetings and lessons. If a student misses an event, he/she will be behind the group. If a student cannot attend an event because of a scheduling conflict, we will provide the student with a makeup task that will catch him/her up.

Can students decide to only participate in summer programming? Can I miss a summer?

If students only participate in summer programming or if they miss a summer, they will not benefit fully from the program. Further, they will be unable to participate in certain activities that require skills learned during the missed programming. The four-year, year-round path is designed to create continuous skill building. Students who indicate they can participate in summer and year-round programming will receive preference in the selection process.

How can my son or daughter participate in American Explorers?

Our students come primarily from Nominating Partners. If your son or daughter is already involved with one of these organizations, they can contact the person incharge of the American Explorers nomination process. Nominated students then go through a selection process to determine whether they are a good fit for the organization.

How can I become more involved?

We strongly encourage parents and their family members to be as engaged as possible with their student’s experience at American Explorers. Many of our year-round events will be open for parent participation and volunteers. We have also created a Parent Advisory Council for parents of current American Explorers students.

Can anyone apply?

Students come to American Explorers through a nomination process. We accept applications from students 1) who are currently in 8th grade or 9th grade (rising 9th and 10th graders) and 2) who are nominated by one of our partner organizations. Check out the Nominating Partners page to see a complete list. If you are interested in becoming a nominating organization or have a nominee you would like to submit, please contact us.

How does the nomination process work?

We have partnerships with a number of organizations that work closely with young people. The mentors, teachers, and coaches of these organizations identify young leaders who have strong potential for leadership and nominate them to apply for American Explorers. Check out our Selection page to learn more about the whole selection process. Check out the Nominating Partners page to see a complete list.

How old are the students who are nominated?

Students who are currently in the 8th grade are eligible to be nominated.  We accept both male and female students.

What do I need to do and/or whom should I contact to be nominated?

The nomination process happens begins with our Nominating Partners. If you participate in a program offered by our Nominating Partners, ask your mentor for more information about being nominated to apply for American Explorers. If you are interested in becoming a nominating organization or have a nominee you would like to submit, please contact us.

How important is academic performance in the selection process?

We are interested in learning about the whole person, of which academic performance is a part. Our selection process is designed to allow students to tell us about themselves from multiple perspectives. However, we do take academic performance into account during the selection process. Check out our Selection page to learn more about the whole selection process.

Is there a choice of which session I can attend?

We take students’ plans into account when we make our summer schedule. We want all of our selected students to be able to attend. However, we cannot guarantee that we can always meet every student’s needs.

When will I know that I am selected?

Final selection decisions are made in early March. Selected students will be contacted by email and/or phone and have several days to make a decision. We also maintain a waitlist of qualified students. All students will receive a decision letter regardless of whether they have been selected.

Who decides?

Selection decisions are made by a team of American Explorers staff. We are assisted by volunteers who help during interview days and are trained in our criteria.

 

How much does it cost to participate?

Thanks to the generosity of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, students selected to participate in American Explorers will be fully sponsored. All costs associated with travel, expedition gear, food, and teaching will be covered. This includes the summer and school year components. Students are welcome, but not required, to bring pocket money for souvenirs, etc.  We suggest that students lower incidental costs by leaving valuables and favorite clothing at home.