Scouting, Volume 67, Number 5, October 1979 Page: 38
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Explorers of Post
1275 are heavy
into science and
John Wolfgang helps
members profit from
learning by doing.
THE NEW EXPLORER hunched over a
computer terminal in building 16-W at the
National Aeronautics and Space Admin-
istration's Goddard Space Flight Center
near Washington, D.C. For five minutes
he had been tapping messages hesitantly
onto the keyboard, and the longer he
worked, the more perplexed he appeared
to be. Obviously he was in some kind of
Finally he shook his head and looked
around for help. A young woman, another
Explorer also recently recruited by Post
1275, walked over. "The little dwarf keeps
threatening me," he said. "I can't get out
of the maze. What shall I do?"
She smiled sweetly. "You gotta kill the
dwarf if you want the treasure," she said.
What's going on here? I wondered as I
walked across the room and stood behind
the pair. Shouldn't Explorers associated
with NA SA's prestigious Goddard Space
Flight Center be more interested in space
shuttles and payloads and rockets than in
dwarfs and killings and mazes?
Looking over the Explorers' shoulders, I
read the message on the screen: "YOU
ARE IN A MAZE OF LITTLE, TWISTY
PASSAGES." The pair typed in new in-
structions several times. They tried to get
out of the electronic maze by going left,
right, up, and down. Nothing worked. And
the computer kept flashing messages like:
"YOU ARE IN A TWISTY MAZE OF
LITTLE PASSAGES." Or, "YOU ARE
IN A TWISTY LITTLE MAZE OF PAS-
SAGES." Or, "YOU ARE IN A MAZE
OF TWISTING LITTLE PASSAGES."
Since all of the computer's messages
were so similar, it took a while for me to
comprehend that they were not identical.
The Explorers were involved in a some-
what sophisticated, programmed game of
adventure. Their adversary was the com-
puter. Gradually -it dawned on me that
unless they sent the computer acceptable
BY DICK PRYCE
Photos by Jim Pickerel!
instructions, the nasty little dwarf would
kill them. Or, far worse, they would be lost
forever in the maze, simply because they
had neither the language nor the capabili-
ty of telling the computer what it had been
programmed to respond to.
Did the two Explorers escape? I don't
Because of their NASA connection, the
Explorers have access to sophisticated
hardware. Even so, the program is devised
and executed by Explorers—not by adults.
know. For I left the Adventure Game and
walked to another room filled with Ex-
plorers and computers. Sorry to leave you
hanging, but, to tell you the truth, I was a
little bored. For science and technology
Post 1275 certainly wasn't living up to my
One of the reasons I was visiting them
was that Scouting magazine wanted to
find out just what makes a super post
super. Post 1275's credentials seemed im-
peccable. In 1977 it was judged to be the
tops in the National Capital Area Council
of Washington, D.C. And there are 240
posts and about 5,000 Explorers in that
council. Advisor John Wolfgang in the
same year was named outstanding Ad-
visor, and Post President Alan Ruberg was
selected the district's outstanding Ex-
plorer. In 1978 their outfit was runner-up
as outstanding post, President Susan
Kessler was runner-up for outstanding
Explorer, Wolfgang was outstanding Ad-
visor, and the chartered organization, a
group of Goddard employees who are
members of a club attached to the center's
Employees' Welfare Association, was
named outstanding sponsor.
There's more. The BSA's national Ex-
ploring Division asked the post to handle
program planning, project management,
and information flow for POSTAR, a
project scheduled to send scientific experi-
ments of selected posts into space in 1982.
Here’s what’s next.
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Boy Scouts of America. Scouting, Volume 67, Number 5, October 1979, periodical, October 1979; New Brunswick, New Jersey. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth353681/m1/38/: accessed April 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Boy Scouts of America National Scouting Museum.