Choose your own adventure
Involving young people in camp or expedition planning, not only helps you naturally build youth involvement into your programme but will also help them develop valuable skills like team work, planning and problem solving.
Edinburgh-based Meadows Explorers had the perfect idea to encourage their Explorer Scouts to think about international adventure. Assistant Explorer Scout Leader Vikki created a board game to make Explorer Belt planning interactive and fun. We asked her to tell us more about it.
“The Explorer Belt encourages young people to really explore and engage with countries and cultures different to their own. It’s so much more than ‘just an expedition’. It is a tremendous challenge both physically and mentally. Young people have to take responsibility for themselves, work as a team and navigate through communities they have never met before.
“When communicating the requirements of the Explorer Belt to young people, the exploration and fun can sometimes get overlooked.
"I was keen to find an interactive way to help our Explorers not only understand the required elements but also get a sense of the adventure and problem solving involved in a quick and fun way.
“The game’s playing style is a mash-up of more familiar family games. The aim is to get to the end of the board’s 10 squares to finish your hike. Depending on which square you land on, you will either answer a training question or play a chance card; the outcome of which decides if you move forward, backward or wait a turn.
“The game focuses on two elements: training and chance. It introduces the idea that as Scouts we aim to be prepared for all the potential outcomes that may come our way, positive or negative. The better trained the Scout, the better they can handle challenges they may face along their expedition, or even avoid the circumstance in advance. As an introductory activity, it isn’t comprehensive, but it gets the ball rolling and starts conversations.
“The game has certainly made the Explorers think more about the encounters and situations they might find themselves in during an Explorer Belt expedition. They asked questions and discussed other elements of the Belt, such as what kit they would take, who would work well together in a team or what country would they like to visit. In one instance, after the game had been won, the Explorers read through the remaining cards and continued quizzing each other. I think that means they enjoyed it!
Soaking up culture
“The important thing to remember is that each Explorer Belt will be unique; the aim is not purely to hike or cycle or kayak for 10 days abroad. The participants need to stop, smell the flowers, talk to locals, try the food, dance the dances, generally get involved as much as possible and make memories!
“This can be daunting for even the most experienced of adults, and for some participants this may be their biggest adventure yet. As Leaders we need to support our young people to have the skills and confidence to do this. They are called Explorers after all. . .”
Play the game