Review 2017-18: Explorers

John Daoud

Explorers are young people aged 14+ to 18 years old. Throughout the year the explorer unit have taken part in a diverse range of activities.

All our explorers are enrolled in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and this year 3 have completed their Bronze and 4 their Silver Awards. They are also working on the Chief Scouts Platinum and Diamond Awards. These are aligned with the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze & Silver Awards, so members have the bonus of being able to collect ‘DofE’ awards on their way to the Scouting awards. The Unit is dedicated to helping our explorer scouts to achieve these and then aim towards the coveted Queens Scout Award (and Gold ‘DofE’). We now have the record number of 6 explorer and 8 network scouts working towards their Gold Duke of Edinburgh award.

Unit members have taken part in a full range of District activities, here are the results:

Month Event Position
June 2017 Raftless Race Second
October Shooting Competition First
November Cooking Competition First
Year 2017 Scope Trophy First
March 2018 Cross Country Snow!

This has been another busy year with the Explorer unit, culminating this September with a large number heading off to study at various universities.

The unit have had the annual canoeing trip down the River Wye in South Wales, staying at a scout hut near to Monmouth and tackling the Symonds Yat rapids on the Sunday, with only a few swimming down and all of them being successfully fished out.

The year was seen off with the Explorer Christmas ball at Lynwood Palace, remaining a classy event. Thanks to head chef Hanna for the catering.

In January we had the District Explorer winter activity weekend in the Brecon Beacons staying at an old railway station. On the Saturday we walked up Pen-y-Fan and did a shorter walk on the Sunday. It was typical Welsh weather, and about the wettest weekend I have ever experienced, leading me to buy a special waterproof woolly hat. In March there was the District paintball day which was good fun and whilst “leading from the front” led to me being shot a lot.

The explorers also launched a novice team on the 4 Inns hillwalking event in the Peak District, covering over 40 miles in a day. They successfully completed the event in good time and even managed to pick up a couple of rather lost Explorer leaders near the end.

This year we have had two gold Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, a practice in April and a successful qualifying expedition in July. The qualifying expedition is 4 days of walking with 3 nights of camping. Each day must have 8 hours walking and participants must carry all of their kit and food for the duration of the expedition. The April expedition took place in the Peak District, starting in Edale and finishing on the Snake Pass by a circuitous route. The weather was very challenging with rain and cold, however both groups performed admirably and kept spirits high throughout. The qualifying expedition was conducted by Thomas Hill, Sophie Beaney, Stefan Collins, Thomas Nair, Joshua Smith, Daniel Camp and Hal Hopkins in the Brecon Beacons in July during the hottest heat wave for some time. The over 30 degree heat presented real difficulties which the team managed to overcome, partly by starting walking each day by 5.30am.

Explorers also took part in summer camp, with the younger explorers also taking part in expeditions in Pembrokeshire. Daniel Camp took part in the International Roverway expedition in Holland in July working on community projects with scouts from across the world and celebrating scouting in a jamboree at the end.

The 1st Hinchley Wood Explorer Unit is led by John Daoud and Oliver Cruddas with some help from other leaders. More leadership is an urgent need for the Unit.