Unit Led – How we managed expeditions in 2020 (Platinum & Diamond Award)
What we did
After a period of digital Scouting where our Explorers were completing aspects of their DofE Award under the restrictions, it was clear that the expedition requirement was the only thing holding a few Explorers back from achieving their award, and so it was our responsibility to help them to achieve this… time for us all to think outside the box!
How we did it
Before being able to meet face to face, we underwent an online programme of development for those who were interested in completing their expedition. This covered topics such as navigation, route planning, menu planning and what to do in an emergency. There were loads of videos from respected sources on YouTube that really helped with this. We then issued challenges for the Explorers to practice in their own time. We also provided the young people with access to OS Maps online so they could tell us the (local) routes that they wished to walk under the restrictions we provided.
They submitted their route cards as teams and from these we worked together to come up with the agreed final route.
The risk assessments were then completed to allow us to continue with our plans.
On the weekend of the expedition, they met at agreed points, dropped off by parents at staggered start times for each group.
They carried out their routes carrying full kit (including their share of the tent) that would normally be required for the duration of the expedition.
They met leaders at checkpoints (the same leaders met with the same group by leapfrogging to minimise cross-contact) and some checkpoints were challenge bases to test their skills such as use of stoves, micro navigation and first aid knowledge – demonstrated on themselves!
To make sure they hit all the points on the route and that their navigation was up to speed, there were ‘bear’ symbols along the route that had to be marked accurately on the maps…. This led to a lot of fun and safe competition between the teams!
The Explorers carried laminated cards with Emergency contact numbers, but also with information that stated they were Scouts and were carrying out their activity within the government guidance to help them if they were challenged by members of the public unaware of the youthwork rules.
At the end of the walking day, they were collected by their parents and taken home individually, where they were asked to cook their own meal (which they had been carrying with them) and encouraged to camp out where situations permitted – ready to start it all again the following day!
What the Explorers thought
I did the expedition because I thought it would be a good and fun experience to say I had done. I enjoyed seeing all the nature and I also enjoyed being in new places and I enjoyed getting to know some more things about my team mates. It was also interesting to talk to all the people that were curious about what we were doing. I loved being able to meet back up at Explorers because it meant I got to see my friends again and it meant I could do more things outside
I participated in the hike because I wanted to use it as a way to complete my Platinum Expedition and a way to get out in the times that we have at the moment.
I also enjoyed being back at Explorers because it is better being able to talk to people and being able to have human contact. It is also nice to do different things like stuff you can't do on zoom.
Merlin Explorers, Dalgety Bay