London — A new British group announced plans to send more than 4,000 young explorers to destinations like South American jungles and the South Pole. The project will include 1,700 Americans.
Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, is patron of the four-year, multimillion dollar project, called Operation Raleigh after the 16th-century explorer, Sir Walter Raleigh. The prince said the experience of travel and hardship would help young people cope with problems in their own communities. Besides the Americans, the group will involve 1,500 young people from Britain and 1,000 from other countries.
The first group, aged 17 to 24, will set sail in November next year.
''We hope to make major scientific discoveries, locate ancient settlements, and stretch the youngsters to the very limit of their physical endurance,'' said Col. John Blashford-Snell, who will lead the group.
Operation Raleigh is a successor to Operation Drake, which ran from 1978 to 1980. It was also named after an Elizabethan explorer, and was also led by Colonel Blashford-Snell.