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Ranger District - Home of the Career Exploring Program


Exploring exists to teach important life and career skills to young people from all backgrounds through immersive career experiences and mentorship provided by community and business leaders like you. Together, we equip young people with character, leadership and life skills that can be used both today and in their future careers.

Exploring is based on a unique and dynamic relationship between youth and the organizations in their communities. Businesses and community organizations initiate a career-specific Exploring post or club by matching their people and organizational resources to the career interests of youth in the community. The result is a program of interactive activities that helps youth pursue their special interests, grow, and develop.

We work with thousands of local, regional, and national businesses and organizations to deliver the Exploring programs representing hundreds of different career fields.

Exploring Posts serve older youth 14 - 20 years old. The program is very hands-on and interactive. Character and career activities are facilitated by trained business and organizational leaders in your local community.


Visit our national website at www.exploring.orgExternal Link or see below for all of the current programs offered locally.


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Career Exploring is a unique career exploration program for young men and women ages 14-20.

These programs provide an ideal link between the academic environment and the real world.


Poplar Grove Airport & Vintage Wings & Wheels Museum – Thursdays, 7-9p.m., blue hanger, 5151 Orth Rd., Suite A-1, Poplar Grove, IL.  Contact: Chuck Jansen at (815) 742-9714 or


UTC Aerospace, 4747 Harrison Ave., SW side entrance, Rockford, IL.  Contact: Nick Wlaznik at 815-226-6345 or


SwedishAmerican Hospital, 1401 E. State St., Rockford, IL. Contact: Rebekah Hopper at 779-696-6542 or

Fire & Rescue:

Rockford Fire Department. – Contact: Investigator John McGee at 779.207.8219 or, or Randy James at 779-500-6536 or

North Boone Fire Department – Contact: Tim Davis at (815) 765-208 or

Law Enforcement:

Winnebago County Sherriff’s Department. Contact: Sgt. T. Stanley at 815-319-6010 or

Boone County Sheriff’s Department and Belvidere Police Department – Meets every 3rd Thursday of the month, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., at the Public Safety Building, lower level, 615 North Main Street, Belvidere, IL, 61008. Contact: Officer Joe Danielak at 815-547-6374 or

Rockford Police Department, Public Safety Building, 420 W. State St., Rockford, IL.  Contacts: Sgt. Matthew Krantz at (815) 298-6780 or


Winnebago County Dental Association.  Contact: Catherine Baer-Mirza at 815 964-8713 or

Conservation/Outdoor Education:

Severson Dells and the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District. Contact: Ann Wasser at 815-335-2915 or


There is a yearly application fee for all programs.  Each program varies in a cost range of $33-$45.  For more information, contact Jared Carlin, 815.397.0210, [Click for member's page].


To research Career Exploring online, go to www.exploring.orgExternal Link