An ACC Goes Blogging - 6 Feb 2014

GLMW Expedition Training and Assessment Programme 2014

Pitching tentsIt began at “omg it’s early”, 8:30am, last Saturday morning with the pitching of tents and registration to make sure that the people who had signed up were actually the people who were turning up. 47 Scouts and Explorer Scouts from across GLMW arrived to commence this year’s Expedition training and Assessment Programme. After a week of lashing rain and howling gales, the expectation was for a waterlogged and unpleasant weekend in the mud. But no, what was this? The sun forced its way through the early Saturday morning clouds and a dry day was in prospect. The tents went up on moderately dry areas near the training complex and, yes, smiling was in evidence.

Compass So, to work. With the introductions over and the admin for the day explained, the first rotation kicked off and training began. Seven bases, Compass, Navigation, Maps, Equipment, Nutrition, Distance measurement and your Expectations for a successful trip, were laid out inside and outside the PACCAR training complex. Over the next two hours it became clear that we had a highly motivated and competent set of teams on the programme. Skills ready to be sharpened up but always they were ready to listen and to learn. And by 1:30pm they were also ready to eat…

Afternoon, day one, route planning, equipment checked and off for the first of three hikes in the local, South Buckinghamshire countryside. A route card hike, no map to follow, just instructions about each leg to demonstrate that if the route card is well made, the route is easy to follow. And, everyone returned successfully but just a little muddy. ClothingThe impact of the January weather is still there to be found. A little more food, cooked expedition style, trangias, gas burners, all lightweight and typical for an expedition. The meal completed as darkness surrounded the teams, it was time for hike two. Night Hike: a test for the navigation skills on a route where the features are harder to see, even when they are close by and the need some of those techniques from earlier in the day becomes clear. Once again, everyone returned successfully and was happy to collapse into a well-earned sleep at the end of day one.

Day two, sunshine again, someone is fond of us and wants us to keep our tents dry… Breakfast earlier than “omg it’s early” but no complaints, there is fun here and people are keen for the day. Hike three, a longer route with decision points that test the navigation and take you out further from base. On a calm Sunday morning, the route around Chalfont St Peter, Chalfont St Giles and the Misbourne Valley looks beautiful with stunning views up towards the Chilterns. Can this really be the first weekend of February, mid-winter? In their own way, each team lost and then re-found itself out on the hike. Realisation that the skills they are working on need practice begins to dawn. These are teams that can develop and grow together where everyone has a part to play.

BasesLunch and the final session is upon us. Emergency situations: from the usual crop of first aid horrors through adverse weather, group separation and survival situations, all the techniques in bite-size learning moments are available. There is definitely laughter around the place, people are enjoying themselves while learning. Its 4:00pm, the tents are down, kit is packed away and the final wrap up session is ending. Next stop route planning evenings and the practice weekend 11-13th April. 47 exhausted but animated Explorers and Scouts set out from PACCAR after a weekend to remember. This year, for certain, there will be Bronze, Silver, Gold, Chief Scouts Award and Queen’s Scout Award expeditions getting completed.

T.G.U. Young Leader Training Weekend

While we were busy up at PACCAR, our YL ACC, Martin Raby, was lucky enough to be invited down to the T.G.U. Young leader training weekend. There are 6 active Explorer Units within the district and 5 of them were represented on this really great YL training weekend. Having an effective training programme in place for our Young Leaders has never been more important with the increased focus on safety, Safeguarding and having leaders qualified for the role that they are performing in Scouting. This weekend was a good example of how to get the training done and to have fun while doing it.

Selotape & StringOn the Friday evening, everyone met at the 10th Feltham HQ to work on the compulsory module A. This was also ideal for those Explorers just performing a short-term YL role, perhaps as part of their DofE service requirement, who are not expecting to be young leaders for more than around three months or so. They will not be following up with the later modules so it was possible for them to complete their required training during that evening and go home. For the rest, the fun was just beginning…

Saturday started well with a good, full English, and an introduction to the rest of the course. Importantly, the aims and aspirations of our Young Leaders are a key place to start, understanding why they want to be there and what they want to achieve as Young Leaders. The reasons are many and varied but there is a consistent theme of wanting to help others and to give something back to Scouting after years of having fun and learning the skills on offer.

BowlingInevitably, there is cardboard, paper, scissors and glue. If you haven’t cut up, folded, glued or fastened a cardboard creation at some stage in your Scouting life then you clearly haven’t been trying hard enough. This group have definitely been there now. Having sussed the right characteristics for young leadership and the wrong ones, there was always time to keep half an eye on the flip chart top right to make sure you’re current traits aren’t on the list! After a full morning’s activities, it was time for lunch and off to the bowling alley to beat the leaders… Saturday evening, and it was time for a formal dinner where the DC, Colin Porter, attended and gave a talk followed, of course, by Karaoke and a DVD.

The late night cobwebs were blown away on Sunday morning by having an outdoor game using all our Young Leaders new leadership style Skills. DragonsFollowing on, there was a very good session on behavioural issues among young people that our young leaders may have to deal with. The young leaders found this session both very useful and relevant to them. All in all, this was a well structured weekend which has already received positive parental feedback and enthusiasm for the results from the participants. Well done too, to the T.G.U. Young Leader Leadership Training team for putting it together and for finding tasks to keep Martin busy

Even Young leaders were beavers once!

If you have a great tale to tell or some programme ideas to share then drop me a line at An ACC Goes Blogging

Talk again soon


The Events List


14-16th PACCAR February Freezer Camp


1-2nd Endurance 80


11-13th GLMW Expedition Training and Assessment Practice Weekend


27-29th Malvern Challenge – potentially the last ever running of this great event


4-8th GLMW Expedition Assessment Weekend
4-6th Sun Run – potentially the last ever running of this event
11-13th Gilwell 24


2-9th WINGS 2014


19-21st PACCAR SkyCamp Challenge 2014