As you plan your programme for next term and book in camps and nights away, it’s the perfect time to build in the Outdoor Challenge Award. It’s a great chance for young people to develop some great practical skills that could stay with them for life, and to do it all while getting outdoors and being active.
To help you in planning nights away, guidance is available at scouts.org.uk/nightsaway or in the Nights Away resource, available from Scout Shops. You can also access support through our partner and recommended outdoor retailer, Go Outdoors.
You’ll find plenty of useful guidance on outdoors skills and inspiration for activities in Haynes Outdoor Adventure Manual, created in association with The Scout Association.
Beavers – My Outdoor Challenge Award
We’ve partnered with TheGruffalo to produce some brilliant resources for Beaver sections wanting to undertake this badge. Even better – for rainy British summers (not that we ever get those), some of the tasks can be done indoors too.
Next time you go out to the woods or the park, get the Beavers to collect leaves to make a lovely natural leaf crown. They’ll need enough leaves to cover a strip of paper that fits around their head. Sticking the leaves on with double-sided tape keeps everything nice and tidy, and avoids sticky hands!
Cubs – Our Outdoor Challenge Award
You can link this award with some of the other Cub Activity Badges, including the Backwoods Cooking Activity Badge. Try making something a bit different on your campfire next time – how about trying our recipe for energising trail bars? You can make them in one pot over an open fire, and they are delicious!
Another part of the award involves Cubs constructing a simple camp gadget. Your Cubs could construct a tripod to hang their cooking pot from, in order to suspend it over their fire when making their dinner. Brush up on lashing techniques with this helpful factsheet from Scout Adventures.
Scouts – Outdoor Challenge Award
As part of their award, Scouts need to show that they are able to use a knife, axe or saw (or all three tools) safely and effectively. Have a read of this helpful resource from Scout Adventures before you start showing the young people how to use the tools.
You could combine learning these new skills with pioneering, or creating a camp gadget – like a clothes drying rack for airing smelly camp clothes. This will also test your Scouts’ ability to tie knots and lashings.
Though Explorer Scouts do not have Challenge Awards like the younger sections, these themes are mirrored in the Challenge Areas which support Explorers to plan their Programme. They can continue to develop skills learnt in younger sections in their Programme and achieve a range of activity badges and top awards.
The Survival Skills Activity Badge could be completed as part of a two-day survival camp, where the Explorers construct their own shelters and cook over an open fire without utensils (except a knife).
Check out the fire lighting factsheet from Scout Adventures for some tips about the best kinds of wood to use on a fire, and teach your Explorers how to find water in the wild with this helpful blog. You could even give your Explorers an extra challenge: to take their sleeping area off the ground and construct hammocks to hang out in!
Members of UK Scout Network can set up projects and events which allow them to achieve virtual badges for all sorts of adventurous activities and unique experiences – from climbing and caving, sleeping off the ground and below the ground, to scuba diving and everything in between.
Members can build on the skills they learned in younger sections, or adventurous experiences they’ve had throughout their lives to challenge themselves to try new things. They can also earn permits which can help them to share the experience with other young people.