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Explorer Post 72 Records (MS-639)

Identifier: MS-639

Scope and Contents

The Explorer Post 72 Records include a variety of records documenting the activities of the organization, throughout nearly its entire existence, with the bulk of records dating from the early 1960s to the group’s ending in 2002. Materials include administrative and financial records of the post, as well files on trips and other activities, newspaper clippings, photographs and slides, and audiovisual materials. The collection is divided into six series.

Series I, Administrative, includes a variety of materials documenting most of the clerical aspects of the group’s activities. Records in this series include the official post charters (1960-2002); membership rosters (1958-2002); application files (1964-2002, all of which are restricted for 150 years from the date of the document, see Restrictions on Access section for details); recruitment materials (1980-2001); secretary’s record books, both the official record as well as freeform notes (1964-1987); reunion planning materials (1978-1998); correspondence (1964-1997); and newsletters (1968-2002). Correspondence includes both official post correspondence, as well as many letters written directly to Ray Wylam by post alumni (labeled “Ray Wylam’s Correspondence”). Newsletters include both the official Explorer Post 72 newsletter The Postscript (1974-1990, 1998), as well as post reports (1971-2002) from the Lifeline newsletter of Fairborn First Presbyterian Church, Post 72’s chartering organization. Overall, materials in this series date from 1958 to 2002, and are arranged by type then chronologically.

Series II, Financial, includes the treasurer’s records; records of various fundraisers, especially the July 4th Festival (1972-1985); and documentation pertaining to the annual sustaining membership drive (1973-2001). Materials in this series date from 1964 to 2002, and are arranged by type then chronologically.

Series III, Trips and Activities, includes planning information, travel brochures, itineraries, and attendance records for the many trips and activities that Post 72 engaged in over the years. Materials in this series date from 1962 to 2002 and are split into two subseries. Subseries III-A, Super Trips, dating from 1965 to 1997, includes paper documentation of annual “Super” activity, usually a long-distance trip of approximately two weeks in the summer, often including one or more national parks (e.g., Rocky Mountains, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, or Acadia) or Boy Scout high adventure bases (e.g., Philmont Scout Ranch or Charles L. Sommers Wilderness Canoe Base). Subseries III-B, General Trips and Activities, dating from 1962 to 2002, includes records of other trips and activities that are not the summer “Super” trips—such as sports leagues, road rallies, canoe races, and an annual spring trip to the Smoky Mountains—as well the participant record sign-in books (1974-2002). Materials in both subseries have been arranged chronologically.

Series IV, Newspaper Clippings, consists entirely of newspaper clippings document post activities and post members, from 1964 to 2002. The series includes a few scrapbooks of clippings (1964-1989), as well as many loose clippings (1965-2002) arranged by date. A few folders towards the end of the series consist of clippings that pertain to Post 72 members and alumni engaging in non-post activities.

Series V, Photographs, is the largest series in the collection and includes photographs and 35mm slides (most of which were created by Mr. Wylam, a talented amateur photographer) documenting many of Post 72’s trips and activities, from 1965 to 2002. Items in this series have been arranged chronologically inasmuch as possible, while still respecting original order and format. This series includes many photograph albums, as well as “loose photographs.” Several boxes of “Posterboard Photographs” consist of photos originally mounted to poster boards but now filed in archival shoeboxes; note that while these are described only to the level of year in this finding aid, many have more specific description of the contents (files for individual activities) within the boxes themselves. Trips, especially the Super activities, are heavily represented, but many other activities are documented as well.

Series VI, Audiovisual, includes primarily the audio for slide shows (most on audiocassette and a few reel-to-reel audio), as well as a few videocassettes. Materials in this series date from 1975 to 1996, and are arranged by format then chronologically.


  • Creation: 1958-2002


Conditions Governing Access

There are no donor-imposed restrictions on access restrictions for this collection; however, necessary logistical, preservation, and privacy restrictions are described below.

Audio/visual materials: Due to preservation concerns, only reference copies of original audio and video materials can be accessed in the reading room. Items without reference copies can be digitized at the request of a patron for the cost of creating a digital copy. Please provide us at least two weeks advance notice if you would like to request an audio or video reference copy. Call (937) 775-2092 or e-mail us at Use of digitized content is subject to conditions governing use.

Privacy: Original application forms are restricted for 150 years from the date of the document, due to presence of health information on some forms, per HIPAA requirements. Only the archivists may access these application files. Researchers may request a copy of the application form for a particular person, and an archivist will search for and review the document. If health information is present, a copy will be provided, with any health information redacted. If no health information is present, or if the individual document has exceeded the age of 150 years, the researcher may examine the original application form. This restriction will be lifted entirely for all application forms in the year 2152, when the newest documents reach an age of 150 years.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

The “Explorer Scouts” were one of several “Senior Scout” divisions created by the Boy Scouts of America in 1935, and focused mainly on advanced camping. In the mid-1960s, Exploring began to take more of an emphasis on career interests in addition to camping and other activities. The age limits for Explorers during the time period of this collection was age 14 to 20, and in 1969, the BSA began allowing girls to join Explorer Posts as well as boys. Like Boy Scout troops, Explorer Posts had to have a sponsoring organization.

Explorer Post 72 was first chartered in November 1958, sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church in Fairborn, Ohio. The Post began with 9 registered Explorers. The first leaders of Post 72 were John Davis (adviser), George Hoffman (associate adviser), and Richard Anderegg (committee chairman), and James Morrow (institutional representative).

Ray E. Wylam, an aerospace engineer at nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (1960-19971), became part of the Post 72 leadership about 1963, became the adviser soon after, and remained its dedicated leader through 2002. Mr. Wylam was also an amateur photographer and loved photographing the Post 72 trips and activities, as illustrated by the thousands of photographs in this collection. He was clearly beloved by its members, as well, as demonstrated by the many letters written to Mr. Wylam by Post members and alumni, also in this collection.

In 1971, Post 72 became coed, and within a year, 6 out of the 32 members were girls. At the height of its membership, in the mid-1970s, Post 72 had a total of 118 Explorers. Most of the scouts in Explorer Post 72 came from Fairborn High School (including both Fairborn Baker High School and Fairborn Park Hills High School before they merged in 1972-73), as well as Beavercreek, Carroll, Greenon, Stebbins, Oakwood, and Tecumseh high schools, and a few of the older scouts from Wright State University and Sinclair Community College.

Explorer Post 72 was very active, going on many camping trips and participating in other activities throughout the year. At the council level, Post 72 conducted and sponsored such activities as safe driving rallies, canoe relay races on the Little Miami River, and a basketball league. The Post also had two big trips each year: a one-week spring trip, usually to Great Smoky Mountain National Park; and a two-week “Super” trip during the summer, usually to one or more national parks (e.g., Rocky Mountains, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, or Acadia) or Boy Scout high adventure bases (e.g., Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico or Charles L. Sommers Wilderness Canoe Base in Minnesota).

In 1998, the Boy Scouts of America executive board created “Venturing.” The old Exploring program was completely reorganized and split into two program categories. All the career-oriented posts were moved to Learning for Life under the name Exploring, while the rest (including outdoor-oriented posts) became the new Venturing program. Thus, Explorer Post 72 became Venture Crew 72.

The Venture Crew 72 disbanded in 2002.

Mr. Ray Wylam died in January 2023.


39.75 linear feet

4.696 Gigabytes (ms639_e0001 - ms639_e0004)

Language of Materials



Explorer Post 72 was chartered in November 1958 by the First Presbyterian Church in Fairborn, Ohio, and was active until 2002. From 1971 onward, the group was coed, and members engaged in a variety of camping trips, outdoor activities, sports, and social gatherings. Records include administrative and financial records, files on trips and other activities, newspaper clippings, photographs and slides, and audiovisual materials.


The collection is arranged in 6 series:

  1. Series I: Administrative, 1958-2002
  2. Series II: Financial, 1964-2002
  3. Series III: Trips and Activities, 1962-2002
  4. Subseries III-A: Super Trips, 1965-1997
  5. Subseries III-B: General Trips and Activities, 1962-2002
  6. Series IV: Newspaper Clippings, 1964-2002
  7. Series V: Photographs, 1965-2002
  8. Series VI: Audiovisual, 1975-1996

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection contains original analog audio and video materials, which must be digitized prior to access, due to preservation concerns. A light-box will be helpful to view the slides.

Electronic records in this collection (digitized versions of audio and video materials) require a computer and software capable of rendering MP4 video format and WAV audio format.

Custodial History

The collection was in the custody of long-time advisor Ray Wylam for many years, prior to Mr. Wylam’s donation of the materials to Wright State University. Some of the materials are official records of the organization, while many of the photographs were taken by Mr. Wylam himself.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University Libraries, by long-time Explorer Post 72 advisor Ray Wylam in 2002. Additional materials were donated by Mr. Wylam in 2021.

Related Materials

While not directly related to this collection per se, the Marie Aull Papers (MS-501) also include many similar materials concerning trips to various U.S. National Parks in the 20th century.

Separated Materials

Some oversize materials have been separated to Oversize storage in map-case files.

Processing Information

This collection has been arranged and described to the file level. Most enclosures throughout the collection have been replaced with archival folders and sleeves; however, only limited removal of fasteners was completed.

Photographs in boxes 40-74 were cut apart from poster-size display boards and placed into archival shoeboxes at accessioning. Many have file level description within the box; however, these file-level descriptions were not captured in the finding aid. Nor was any attempt made to put the “files” into chronological order other than by year, unless date was explicitly stated on the existing divider itself.

Photograph albums in boxes 75-80 remain in their original pocket-style albums, which are in good condition, and contain handwritten descriptions in the margin of the page for many photographs. It was due in part to the presence of these descriptions (on a medium separate from the photograph itself) that contributed to the decision not to rehouse the photographs at this time.

For additional details, on a box-by-box basis, of how collection materials were processed, please refer to the preservation assessment survey recorded at time of processing, in the collection file.

Guide to the Explorer Post 72 Records (MS-639)
Lisa Rickey
2019 Nov 25
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Processing of this collection was made possible in part thanks to the generous financial support of Explorer Post 72 and Ray Wylam.

Revision Statements

  • 2021 Sept 7: Additions processed by Lisa Rickey and Donna Bobb, September 2021.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA