On Saturday, February 3, 2024, WRAL-TV had a very special crew covering a big event in Raleigh, the Occoneechee Boy Scout Council’s Eagle Banquet. Members of WRAL’s Explorer Post 5 conducted interviews, shot, edited on-site and created two short 40-second packages which aired on WRAL’s Sunday morning news. The event took place at the McKimmon Center.
“It was exciting to witness members of Explorer Post 5 put the knowledge that they learned into real-world action. The icing on the cake was to have their work broadcast on TV,” said long-time Post 5 Advisor Ken Bland.
The 2023-24 Explorer Post 5 class is the first back in the actual WRAL studio since before the pandemic.
The 6- to 8-month program meets weekly, giving students an opportunity for hands-on learning experiences in the newsroom, editing bays, in the field and more.
“It never ceases to amaze me how adaptive and creative young people are with new technology – and this is especially true of our Explorer Post 5 members,” said WRAL-TV Local Production Producer Steve Elizondo, also a long-time Advisor for the group.
Five students participated in the volunteer learning opportunity at the Eagle Scout banquet.
“It was amazing to get a hands-on experience and doing the job instead of just learning about it through a conversation with another person,” said Post 5 Member Daniel Towery, a senior at Apex High School.
He appreciates having advisors there to help him to learn.
“If you don’t know how to do something, it’s simple!” he said. “Just ask and they will teach you how to some of the camera work, audio, or wording of the interview questions for example.”
Bland, Elizondo, WRAL-TV Maintenance Engineer II Chris Cormier and WRAL-TV Programming Coordinator Melissa Heilicser are key program advisors, with additional CBC staffers helping teach specific skills.
“…coming up with good questions was a little challenging,” said Post 5 Member Morgan Warren, a senior at Rolesville High School. “But it became easier because the interviews flowed more like a conversation than an interrogation. I feel like being involved in this event helps supply a lot of skills needed for the real world.”
Elizondo loved the students’ flexibility and willingness to learn.
“I worked closely with Azure Noel, who shot and edited a lot of the footage we used,” said Elizondo. “He and Danny George (who shot footage of the Eagle Scouts using a GoPro camera), impressed me with their ability to ‘grab a camera and go’.”
Post 5 members not only enjoyed the technical skills they were learning, but liked learning about the Eagle Scouts at the banquet.
“It was also cool to hear all of the scouts’ projects and to see all of the amazing work they did,” said George, a senior at Apex Friendship High School.
“Because I’m a first-timer, going in was a little nerve wracking, but I feel like we all worked together well and ended up making something we can be proud of.”
– George Poliachik, Post 5 member & Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academy sophomore
“This was my first time working with an experienced team with professional equipment, and definitely taught me a few things about the process of making a news package,” said Post 5 member George Poliachik, a sophomore at Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academy. “Before this I had only done small videos for myself or for my school, so it was kinda surreal seeing something I filmed on the WRAL website.”
Post 5 team members used the video gear package recently purchased for Post 5 by the station. They put the new equipment to great use.
“Chris Cormier, Ken Bland and I are all very proud of what the Post 5 team accomplished, especially in a tight shooting / producing / editing delivery window,” said Elizondo.
Explorer Post 5 is the oldest communications post in the United States, chartered in 1969 by Corp CEO & Board Chairman Jim Goodmon and engineer Powell Kidd. The program is part of the Occoneechee Council Boy Scouts of America.
See out the great work of Post 5 on WRAL.com:
Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Steve Elizondo for these CapCom photos.