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Engineering Exploring Post Helps Build Powerful Connections

September 28, 2017

By its own definition, the Boy Scouts of America Exploring program “provides exciting activities and one-on-one mentorship for youth looking to discover their future.” So what does that mean to a 17-year-old?

“Exploring gives you this real-life outlet to learn. You’re not confined to a classroom where they are teaching you lessons,” said Keyton, an Explorer with Boeing Post 9067. “In Exploring they tell you here’s what your objective is, now go and do it. Go and learn for yourself how it is in real life.

“And it’s not a group of four or five people that you’re friends with. You are working with 50 people that you don’t really know. You have to get to know them. You have to be able to communicate with that many people. There’s a lot of responsibility that you have to take into your own hands. And that’s what I love. It gives real-life insight into engineering and it gives you a fun and more engaging platform to learn.”

Someday, Keyton wants to be an industrial engineer for Boeing. So it’s no surprise that once he learned about the Boeing Exploring Post, he jumped at the opportunity. While at first, he feared the meetings might feel more like extra school work, Keyton soon realized it was fun work! This past year, his Boeing Post operated in teams to design a drone along with all the transportation, storage, and testing needs it would require. Keyton was a member of the road team.

“We built a curve that was elevated at the end of the road. That way we could test the mobility of the rover and its center of gravity to make sure it wasn’t too top heavy and wouldn’t flip over.

“Some teams were charged with building roads because vehicles that transport parts have to use roads. Another team put in weather obstacles. You’re going to have to face things like rain or snow so somebody had to create a road that could replicate those conditions. And when you have those materials, you have to store them somewhere. You can’t just leave them out in the elements or out in the open all day so somebody had to create a materials facility.”

While he’s enjoying his time in the Post, the fact that this experience could help him a great deal in the future isn’t lost on Keyton.

“It shows [employers] that you were engaged and interested when you were this age,” Keyton explained. “It puts in someone’s mind that this kid was motivated enough to go out to these programs with a desire to learn. No matter what you do, if you have experience leading people and organizing events like this, those are universal traits. Any explorer program will help you to get those skills for your resume.”

So, cool engineering experiences- check. Great resume-building skills- check. But there is something else perhaps even more important that Keyton points out of his time in Exploring.

“One of the best experiences with the Exploring program is the diversity,” said Keyton. “When you have so many people from different backgrounds, there’s a lot of diversity and diversity breeds innovation. When you go out to these exploring posts, you have kids from Francis Howell, Ferguson, CBC; they all think differently. They have different ways of doing things. And when you can work with those people and learn how they do something, that broadens your mind and makes your thinking better. And it makes the project better.”

This past summer, Keyton wrapped up a two-month internship at Boeing. And now, as he heads into his senior year at Wentzville Holt High School, he’s also starting up the school’s first engineering club. The club plans to utilize new 3D printers Wentzville Holt received. Conveniently, they’re similar to printers Keyton used at Boeing so he visited school the week before classes started to set them up.

“Me and another kid have experience setting up [3D printers], and this way we didn’t have to get the tech guy at our school to do it. He was pretty busy, and he would have just read the instruction manual.

“We already knew how to do it.”