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  1. #1
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    Nights Away Assesment

    Good morning All,

    I'm coming up to Summer Camp in a couple of weeks, and will hopefully be assessed on my Nights Away Permit. I'm aiming for the greenfield permit, as it tends to be the kind of site our troop prefers. What I want to know is, what aspects are the assessors going to be looking at when they come to visit?

    Are there any particular areas people generally fall down on, any which are seen to be quite good? Are there any small details that will put a smile on the assessors face? I'm slightly anxious at the moment, as although I have been camping in this style for all my life and have read the Nights Away resource book, I'm aware that any oversight could leave me up a certain creek.

    Any stories, hints and help would be much appreciated from all you lovely people out there.

    Cheers,

    Faulkner

  2. #2
    Senior Member Raksha's Avatar
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    Hi Faulkner
    I have not got greenfield, but when I had my campsite assessment, the assessor was looking for a safe and well laid out site, a well planned programme and a plan B! He also spoke to the Scouts and wanted to know if they were happy, what they had been doing, if they had helped to set up the site, what they thought they had learned.
    He spoke to the other more experienced leaders to ensure that what he saw was what usually went on not just an on the day special.
    I made sure I knew where the doctor, dentist and hospital were also the nearest working phone/box in case mobile went dead. I showed him the menu (themed!) and the planning. We also got the Scouts to feed him, which I think helped... he was welcomed with a cup of tea and was offered frequent refills.
    Hope this helps, but there are far more experienced campers than me out there who can help with the greenfield aspect of it.
    The truth is rarely pure and never simple - Oscar Wilde

  3. #3
    Moderator jshirra's Avatar
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    I'm sure that if you have been doing this sort of camping all of your life then you will be absolutely fine!!!! just do what you have always done and that will be all that matters!


    you'll be fine

  4. #4
    Escouts Founder Richard's Avatar
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    The criteria used is here, from page 5

    http://www.scoutbase.org.uk/library/...s/fs120433.pdf

    They should be using nothing else as the scheme is universal

    1. Planning a nights away event
    § define the purpose for which the event is being organised, taking in to account the needs of the young people
    § draw up a timetable for the planning of the event
    § select a suitable venue/location and gather local information
    § select the most appropriate form of travel

    2. Ensuring the effective administration of an event
    § ensure overall costs and individual fees are calculated, based on best predicted numbers
    § appropriate banking arrangements are made, bills are paid promptly and final accounts are produced
    § parents/carers are informed and permission sought in advance
    § the home contact system is set up correctly

    3. Preparing and co-ordinating a programme of activities
    § the resources needed, including human, material and financial, are available at the right time
    § the needs and characteristics of the young people concerned are taken in to account
    § the Scout Association’s safety rules for the activities to be undertaken are observed
    § a balanced programme is developed, allowing for alternatives for adverse circumstances

    4. Choosing and preparing the event team
    § identify the number of support team members required for the event and the range of skills and experiences needed
    § ensure roles and responsibilities are adequately covered (eg catering, First Aid, quartermaster, programme co-ordinator)
    § effective briefing of and communication between support team members

    5. Choosing, organising and maintaining the right equipment
    § ensure the equipment required for an event is obtained in good time
    § ensure the equipment is checked and that any damage or defects are dealt with before use or on return
    § the equipment meets safety standards and is appropriately insured
    § equipment is used correctly and stored properly

    6. Ensuring the health, happiness and safety of self and others
    § recognise the limits and capabilities of both young people and support team members
    § undertake appropriate Risks Assessments for the event
    § ensure control of and adequate supply of medication and of emergency aid cover or medical equipment
    § be aware of safety regulations and emergency procedures at the venue eg evacuation routine
    § know the steps to be taken in the event of an accident, including the need for keeping records
    § ensure adequate provision for maintenance personal hygiene and privacy.

    7. Organising good catering
    § a menu is planned that takes account of all the activities scheduled, the time of year and any special dietary requirements
    § hygiene standards are met in the handling, preparation and storage of food
    § there is a safe and suitable source of drinking water and of fuel
    § responsible disposal of waste material is carried out

    8. Making best use of the venue
    § make good use of surrounding facilities and attractions
    § plan the allocation of space and equipment
    § ensure all participants know the house or site rules
    § plan ahead for departure from the venue and ensure it is left in an acceptable condition
    § ensure borrowed or hired equipment is returned in good order, on time, and with thanks

  5. #5
    SL 1st High Lane Scouts JeanieJ's Avatar
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    What I want to know is, what aspects are the assessors going to be looking at when they come to visit?

    Cup of tea and a bacon butty worked for me!

  6. #6
    Assistant ESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    I have not been assessed for my Nights Away permit yet but one thing I would say is to make sure the camp is generally tidy especially food storage and prep areas.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Friday ESU & ABSL and Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.co.uk

    Bookings Secretary - Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

  7. #7
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    Cheers People,

    I've gone over the factsheets, especially the one highlighted by Richard (cheers Fella!), but I find them to be slightly fuzzy. It seems to be entirely in the assessor's opinion whether something is "adequate" or would require further effort. The definition of what is and is not adequate for various circumstances may well be out there, but it does not appear to be readily available.

    I'm always concerned that there are assessors and advisors whose opinions of a camp are that everything should be done according to their ways and their preferences. I admit that this impression was made when I was knee high to a grasshopper and still had grass stains on my knees, but has anyone had any awkward experiences such as this, and are there any pitfalls or traps that I should look out for?

    I know I'm being slightly too anxious about this, and that I should relax more, but having this small edge would really put my mind at ease. With two weeks to go, transport has been arranged, menus made, programmes defined, all moneys and permissions have been returned, the kids are talking about it and the leaders are all prepped and ready. The only thing left that will need to be overcome is this assessment, and that will be it.

    One very last thing, how long does the permit last? Does it need to be renewed at all?

    Thanks for your help with this, people. It's really appreciated.

    Faulkner

  8. #8
    Escouts Founder Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faulkner View Post
    Cheers People,

    I've gone over the factsheets, especially the one highlighted by Richard (cheers Fella!), but I find them to be slightly fuzzy. It seems to be entirely in the assessor's opinion whether something is "adequate" or would require further effort. The definition of what is and is not adequate for various circumstances may well be out there, but it does not appear to be readily available.

    I'm always concerned that there are assessors and advisors whose opinions of a camp are that everything should be done according to their ways and their preferences. I admit that this impression was made when I was knee high to a grasshopper and still had grass stains on my knees, but has anyone had any awkward experiences such as this, and are there any pitfalls or traps that I should look out for?

    I know I'm being slightly too anxious about this, and that I should relax more, but having this small edge would really put my mind at ease. With two weeks to go, transport has been arranged, menus made, programmes defined, all moneys and permissions have been returned, the kids are talking about it and the leaders are all prepped and ready. The only thing left that will need to be overcome is this assessment, and that will be it.

    One very last thing, how long does the permit last? Does it need to be renewed at all?

    Thanks for your help with this, people. It's really appreciated.

    Faulkner
    The factsheets are the only information that has been handed out by HQ

    There is no hidden guidance. Its all there

    I would add you sound pretty organised to me, so I wouldnt worry.

    The permit can last up to 5 years, but is sometimes renewable at warrant review.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Airobat's Avatar
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    I am a nights away assessor and I usually start by attending one or more of the planning sessions. Are you delegating, do you have a team. Have you considered worst case scenarios, what are you going to do if it rains, is your menu suitable for the site/activities/Scouts/cooks capabilities and so on ? When I go to the camp, I wander round and see if it is laid out in a sensible fashion, is the food area clean and tidy, are the young people happy and so on? I apply the nights away criteria because there should be a consistent standard but recognise that everybody has a slightly different approach. As long as you are running a safe and happy camp and you have appropriate contingency plans then I would give you a permit and encourage you to pass the skills on.
    Sometimes though, I do have concerns. If I do, then I sit down and discuss them with the applicant there and then. It has happened that I have misunderstood and so the problem has gone away. It has also happened that my concern has been justified. The applicant then has to do something about it but it's not a case of YOU HAVE FAILED and are damned for evermore. In some cases, we agree an action plan and re-assess as soon as possible. In others we issue a permit with limitations and then work to remove the limitations. I fervently believe that camping is one of Scoutings best features and that it should be encouraged and enabled as much as possible and the other NAAs that I have met have had a similar outlook.
    I would reccomend that you go to camp and have some fun - don't worry about the assessment.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Raksha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airobat View Post
    I would reccomend that you go to camp and have some fun - don't worry about the assessment.
    Whilst I agree wholeheartedly that Faulkner should go to camp and have some fun, as he seems very steeped in Scouting and camping experiences I can also see his side of it.

    I did my Nights Away assessment for the Scout Troop last year. I was being assessed by a very experienced person, who I knew, who knew what I had done in the past, and who had even been on one of the Beaver sleepovers I had done when I was a ABSL. This did not stop me worrying about every little thing, it didn't stop me going over everything in my head for a month before hand making sure that it was all OK. I also had a debrief, and both the assessment and the debrief were equally nerve wracking for me.
    I knew that this was important, almost like passing a driving test, and because I had very little camping experience I was even more worried. I knew I could plan it, I knew I could run it, I knew I could balance the books and even come away with a small surplus and the Scouts would have a good time. BUT I didn't know if I could set up a camp site properly, or that I could choose a good site to pitch a tent, or how much time it takes to pitch a tent in a howling gale. I am following in some very big footsteps, and I wanted to do it right. This succesful (I still don't know how) assessment led to me taking 40 Scouts to Bude for a summer camp. Double the number on my assessment. Blinking hard work, and not a fun experience for me (the kids loved it). Thats why I am taking the easy way out this year and am off to
    H007 this year, most things organised for me!
    The truth is rarely pure and never simple - Oscar Wilde

  11. #11
    SL, AGSL, TA, NAA curtisuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airobat View Post
    Have you considered worst case scenarios, what are you going to do if it rains,
    another one to add to this is have you got a plan for if it is to Hot as heat stroke is worse then getting wet.

    I know this year has been a exception with weather

    when I asses they don't know I am doing it as I am always making mental notes at all camps as the same team is always there but they take it in turnes to go for there permit at the moment as they are all newish.

    But once away from the camp I ask questions of how it went.

    and chating to YP and othere leaders help as well.
    David Curtis
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Airobat's Avatar
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    If it's any consolation Hilary, I worry about the assessment too. Have I been too hard or too easy. Have I let a potential maniac loose? Did I miss something critical? Is my paperwork up to scratch? If it all went horribly wrong in the future and an enquiry happened, could I justify issuing the permit? I suppose it's human nature to worry. What I was trying to get over is that very few NAAs would quibble about small details. If it was a camping competition then I would check the line up and angles of the pegs and guys and so on. For a camping permit I would check that the tent was up and likely to stay that way.
    Just as a complete aside, some years ago, I attended one of those work related motivational things. One of the tasks was to pitch a tent and sleep in it. Easy! My Scouts frequently won our District camping competition, and I judged camping competions in other Districts. I was mortified when the HR lady marked me quite a long way down the rankings. I tackled her later and it turned out she did a very similar sort of thing but with the Guides and they did it differently. We compared styles and there was no difference in the final result. I changed my views from "this is the right way and anything else is wrong" to "Does it work?". I still have discussions about which technique is better but try to keep an open mind and I think this is the attitude that permit assessments should be carried out with.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Raksha's Avatar
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    Amazing isn't it? All this worry and stress and yet the Young People have no idea what we go through to give them the opportunities! I have to be honest and say I hadn't thought about the Assessor worrying as well!
    The truth is rarely pure and never simple - Oscar Wilde

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