This session focuses on reviewing professional development opportunities for teachers and planning a post trip to a professional organization meeting.


  • Exploring – Social Services
  • US DOE - Education and Training


By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Select a professional organization and make plans to attend the national meeting of the organization or a meeting of one of its state affiliates.


  • Computer with internet access
  • Planning Steps resource sheet (one per participant; can email to participants or provide link rather than making copies) Click the download PDF button at the bottom of this web page for the full list.
  • Professional Organizations resource sheet (one per participant; can email to participants or provide link rather than making copies). Click the download PDF button at the bottom of this web page for the full list.


Text in italics should be read aloud to participants. As you engage your post in activities each week, please include comments, discussions, and feedback to the group relating to Character, Leadership, and Ethics. These are important attributes that make a difference in the success of youth in the workplace and in life.

Opening Activity

Select an activity from the resources available at or conduct a favorite opening activity of your own.

Activity 1

Trip Planning for Professional Meeting


This session is focused on selecting a destination and carrying out initial planning for a post field trip to a professional organization meeting for educators. Depending on the interests of the Explorers, it may be helpful to plan several trips to professional organizations, particularly if there is a wide variety of interest among participants.


State affiliates of national organizations typically have annual meetings once or twice each year and feature student rates that are very modest in cost.


The Handbook for Venturers and Venturing Advisor Guidebook have excellent materials on planning outings for Venturers that can be adapted for use by Explorers preparing for a post outing. Another resource for planning is chapter 7 of the Exploring Guidebook. That chapter gives guidance on how to plan the post’s program, but the information can be adapted for planning to attend a conference. (See


It may take more than a single meeting to complete the planning required, particularly if fundraising needs to be a part of the planning for the visit.


Pass out the Planning Steps resource sheet. Then discuss the following steps needed for planning an activity.

Step 1: Define the Specifics of the Activity

What would the Explorers like to do? Consider what the post has done before as well as new activities that relate to the participants’ interests. Narrow down the ideas to create a final list. If your post is mostly interested in elementary education, for example, you will find it valuable to attend a meeting designed to meet the needs of elementary education teachers. If the interest lies in secondary education, there are a variety of content-specific professional organizations that may be of interest.


Work with your Advisor, post officers, and consultant to develop a plan for the activity that will be fun, meet the needs of post members and conform to the safety requirements of Exploring’s Safety First Guidelines.

Step 2: Define Resources

Determine the time available for the activity, what skills will be needed in the post and from consultants, whether the needed tools and gear are on hand, what the event will cost and how it will be paid for, and other relevant issues such as the availability of sufficient adult leadership.


In steps 2 and 3, it may be helpful to refer to the Professional Organizations activity sheet.

Step 3: Consider Alternatives

Evaluate the destination(s) you have identified. Do you have the resources needed for each idea? Are there alternatives that would work as well—or better? What if an emergency occurs leading up to the event—or during the event? How are you prepared to handle changes in circumstances?

Step 4: Commit the Plan to Writing

Draft the plan and calendar, including the activity itself, support activities and key dates. Review the plan with others to make sure all dates are feasible. Follow up with key dates and times to ensure adequate guidance and accountability to implement the trip. Be sure to schedule periodic status checks to help execute the plan properly.

Step 5: Promote the Plan

Promote the plan and the event. Have a point of contact for questions to be answered. Consider the tools to use when communicating the adventure: social media or paper handouts? Keep in mind how the audience prefers to communicate. Follow up with multiple messages to keep the excitement building.

Step 6: Implement the Plan

Have fun. Take lots of pictures. Tell lots of stories. Celebrate success.

Step 7: Assess the Activity

Regular assessment checkpoints along the way ensure you are making progress. Then at the end, debrief the entire experience with the members of the post. What went well? What should be changed? What has been learned? What you can do differently next time? Take good notes and put them in the post history file to help during the next planning cycle. A reflection after the adventure will allow Explorers to learn from the experience. The next post adventure should run more smoothly as you apply what you learned when planning and implementing this activity.


“It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves—in finding themselves.” – Andre Gide

Use the quote to help the members of the post appreciate that taking on—and carrying out—a field trip like this one will help them to learn more about career options in education.


Some sample questions are below. They are designed to help the participants apply what they have learned to their own interests. You are welcome to use these questions or develop your own questions that relate to your post or specific focus area.


  • Why is it important to stay connected to a professional organization?
  • How does attending a forum like a professional organization meeting help support your career?
  • Would you say that listening to others with more experience helps you think about the educational field differently? How so?
  • In a conference you may hear stories of successes and failures of educational projects? How might that help you?
  • By attending a professional organizational meeting like this, what were your key learnings?
  • Did you attendance or what you learned impact your actions or thinking? If so, how will you change your thinking or behavior? And why?


The Advisor closes the meeting with a brief message that connects the meeting’s activities with the post’s area of interest and adds a note of inspiration or a positive challenge.



  • Identify what was successful about the meeting.
  • Identify what needed improvement.
  • Schedule an officer and Advisor planning meeting to prepare for the next post meeting or activity.
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