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Thread: New to Explorers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    New to Explorers

    Hi All

    I have recently moved from being a Scout leader to an Explorer Leaders and I thought the Gold award was tough for a leader to plan.

    I can't think of anything that can be incorporated in to an evening for the Platinum, Diamond or Queens. Please don't shout at me for wanting to run this in an evening as I get it that it has to be involved and worth while. But I can't even come up with any long term ideas.

    Any help will be amazing.



  2. #2
    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
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    Basically TSA has no actual programme for weekly Explorer Scout Unit meetings. You simply can't base your entire programme or even a significant proportion of it on The CSA and QSA as not all of them will be working towards it and more importantly apart from tracking their progress and expedition skills and planning the rest has to be done by the Explorers themselves outside of Unit Meetings.

    This means that far far more than at Scouts its really up to you, your fellow Leaders and your Explorers what you do at weekly Explorer meetings.

    I have complained about this at every oppertunity for the last 10 years or more but unfortunately TSA doesn't seem inclined to actually provide a programme for Explorers any time soon

    Our Unit Programmes are far from the best and are definitely quite repetetive but you are welcome to look at them at
    Last edited by shiftypete; 03-01-2019 at 10:22 AM.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group

    Previous Scouting Roles
    2003 - 2013 ABSL
    2017-2018 AGSL

    Wike, North Leeds District Campsite -
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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  4. #3
    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
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    Welcome to the best section.

    I basically agree with shiftypete.

    But what you can do, if you're so inclined, as part of a balanced programme, etc etc, is do the training that will help with those awards...

    Navigation skills
    First aid
    Young Leader modules

    You could take the shiny new hashtag #skillsforlife literally, and they could have a go at all sorts of things, DIY, tap washers, tiling, decorating, changing wheels.

    There was a document somewhere that was chock full of ideas, I'll see if I can find a link for it. Ah, here it is...there's a PDF at the bottom of this page...,815

    most of which are pretty lame, but it might be useful, and your mileage may vary, depending on what sort of kids you have.

    Buy the TaskMaster book.

    Also, actually, finding useful things to do with their time is an important skill, so please please please try and get the Explorers coming up with ideas, and organising themselves as best as possible, it'll seem terrible to you at first, but it's all about confidence and willingness to have a go at things.

    I've found the keys to an explorer's heart is food and fire.

    What they also like is freedom. So instead of being lead by the nose and told what to do and being strict with them, often it's, well, say you're cooking, you
    - tell them not to run around like loons, be safe
    - unlock the gas cage
    - tell them where things are
    - give them a pile of food
    - let them get on with it
    - maybe throw in a few tips, as and when it seems fit

    rather than say "tonight we're cooking sausage and mash, first peel the spuds, get some water on to boil, now chop into large bits, boil for 20 minutes" etc. say "make sure your sausages are cooked through because puking from both ends is no fun, have at it..."

    And obviously, come to Theme Park Camp, and go bowling as part of Jambowlree.

    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2018 - May 2019

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  6. #4
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    May 2005
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    Agree with both shiftypete and ianw. Keep the meetings fun and active so they keep wanting to come but with bigger challenges. Training for the awards and DofE (since for a bit of paperwork and a little extra work you get DofE as well), so mapping/navigation, lightweight cooking, camping, first aid (see if District/County will run it for you) and so on.
    Dave Ralphs
    DofE Advisor
    Oxford Spires District

  7. #5
    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    Jan 2005
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    The only bit of DofE that can be done on a section night is a bit of expedition prep but as some of the unit will not be doing DofE, some will have done it and some will be doing it through school... it's not easy to do much of that even.

    The rest of it is trying to save them from the intense drudgery of the GCSE/A level system that forces them into years of relentless revision and coursework. The 2 hours a week is an amazing release for them where they can relax and socialise. The benefits for their mental health must be staggering.

    It's normally pretty standard stuff

    Ready steady cook night
    backwoods cooking
    chip survey and treasure hunt
    survival camp
    apprentice night...

    that kind of gubbins.

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  9. #6
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    What Chris said.

    We were never a group that did much badge work, but we did try. With Explorers, it was more a social thing. We did try to organise things, but eventually went to a more free flowing meeting - they just decided. Most of the time it was getting the pool table out, switching the console games on and chatting. We did the scouty stuff when we were away on camps and trips.

    (When we were trying to be organised, it was a lot of cooking, quiz nights, special skills where someone might come in to teach... But it wasn't supportable in the long term. Eventually we asked Explorers, and they said they were happy to sit around and chat or organise a wee bit for the expeditions we did. We still did a fair bit for other sections mind, being as we weren't a district unit, that spoke for maybe 25% of our nights... Ironically, it actually became more boring for leaders than it ever did for Explorers...)

    Even at Scout age, we're not keen to press the program as TSA would have it...

  10. #7
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    Jan 2012
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    Whatever you and your unit decide to do, don't be dissuaded by others who will tell you it won't work, tried it and it failed, it's a waste of time,etc. Don't be afraid to change an activity midstream if it is obviously not working though. Embarrassing for you maybe but respect from the unit members will soar. Mainly, have fun and the unit will have fun with you. Relief from exam stress, school pressures etc is paramount. Badge gaining is as important as those who want to gain badges. It is much more useful to mould a group of like minded youngsters into a cohesive unit who care for each other and are willing to help others. Our unit is well known locally for its commitment to the community and can be seen helping at various local events providing manpower (I know!!) with humour and respect. This pays dividends both in support and financial gain - although the financial reward is incidental an never expected, suggested or demanded.

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  12. #8
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post

    Buy the TaskMaster book.
    Could you expand on this? What book do you mean? Does it help?


  13. #9
    Join Date
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    North London
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    For me [and in turn our groups programme] the real nitty gritty of even the Scout age group and defiantly the Explorer Section is outside of a weekly meeting doing something away of camp and activities. Weekly session can be used for team building/ skills training/ prep for these activities or even just as some mid week fun and social time for the members but the real achievements and proper Scouting stuff come from all the "other things" going on in the programme.
    Dan Sheehan
    Group Scout Leader
    9th Muswell Hill Scout Group

    District Training Adviser
    District Executive Member
    District Appointment Advisory Comittee
    North London District Scouts

    twitter: @9thMuswellHill
    facebook: /9thmuswellhill

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  15. #10
    Scout Leader (Bosun) Nick's Avatar
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    Thatcham, Berkshire
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    Attend Gilwell 24 - always voted as one of the best activities of the year by our Explorers.

    At WINGS 2014 we had a base just for Explorers where they learnt to put up wallpaper, lay block paving and a numerous other household and DIY skills. Very well received by the Explorers so you could try one skill per evening over a year or two.

  16. #11
    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GScrimgeour View Post
    Could you expand on this? What book do you mean? Does it help?

    Taskmaster. It's an entertainment programme on Dave where five comedians and celebrities are given random tasks to do. Either in small teams or individually.


    Task #18

    Make the highest tower of coins on the wobbliest thing.

    After the task your taskmaster will rate your things wobble out of five.

    Height of tower x wobble rating = your score

    Highest score wins

    You have 200 seconds.

    Your time starts when the taskmaster wobbles.


    They've made a book.
    Taskmaster: 200 extraordinary tasks for ordinary people
    By Alex Horne

    I got it for Christmas, and I've read through some of it and gone Yep that'll work, yep, yep, nope, yep, yep, oh my days yes!

    There's team tasks, solo tasks, beach tasks, pub tasks you could probably adapt, there's even travel tasks to make that next long minibus trip fly by/seem longer.

    I think it contains mojo.


    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2018 - May 2019

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