This issue’s guest editor is Scout volunteer Alaric Wood…
In my teenage years (the ‘80s & 90s… I feel very old!), I spent many weekends in the Peak District, Brecon Beacons, South Downs, Lake District, Snowdonia, on various moors and on many different rock faces. I was introduced to the outdoors through Copthorne’s Scouts and Venture Scouts (now Explorer Scouts), and it has become a life long passion.
To try and repay the great experiences I had when I was a Scout (and to support 1st Copthorne Scouts, which has provided so many amazing experiences for my own children), I went on a few courses, passed the relevant assessments and became a Scouting hillwalking and rock climbing instructor/permit holder (30 years of experience was also taken into account!).
A couple of weekends ago Copthorne Scouts took 15 scouts to the Brecon Beacons Fundraising for church projects for their first expedition. My group of 5 Scouts walked the Pen y Fan ridge line: this included 2 peaks over 800 meters (Pen y Fan & Corn Du), and 2 over 700 metres (Cribyn and Fan y Big). Safety was key: we looked at route planning, ‘escape routes’ if the weather turned bad, walking on bearings, navigation in difficult terrain with limited visibility and, most importantly, having fun! No mobiles, WiFi, YouTube, computers, games consoles and social media. Just fresh air, walking 10 miles, stunning views and the achievement of climbing mountains!
Adventurous activities are more difficult to organise now. Not because the enthusiasm is lacking, but because people with the skills, interests, time AND commitment to helping others are hard to find.
Actually, not just adventurous activities, but everyday activities – the things that you do as your job or as your hobby. What do you do, what skills do you have that you could pass on to today’s youth to inspire them to become the adults of tomorrow? Photography? Woodworking? Metalworking? Knitting? Poetry?
There are many youth groups and organisations that would love help, even once a year. Just think about what you enjoyed and what inspired you – what can you do?