From Friday the 15th of March through to Sunday the 17th of March, a Young Leader training course took place at Phasels Wood Activity Centre. The weekend was held for Explorer Scouts (aged between 14 and 18) who help out in other sections of scouting and guiding. The course had originally been planned to run for only 30 explorer scouts, however due to the unprecedented interest, two courses had to be run on site, in parallel with one another, in order to accommodate the 60 applicants. The weekend involved the Explorer Scouts participating in and completing several modules involving everything from understanding the characteristics of a good young leader to planning sessions for the Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Rainbows, Brownies or Guides. Many useful resources were given out such as planning sheets for evening sessions which made the participants think about what activities were possible to do, what games they could do to keep the children interested and whether the activities would possibly be part of working towards a particular badge or award. On the final day of the course, the participants spent the entire day earning their Level four First Aid qualifications. A member of the St. John’s Ambulance service and a fireman came in to train and teach the Explorer Scouts the various techniques and precautions involved in First Aid through watching videos, demonstrating and letting the participants themselves try out the new skills.

Despite the course being a huge success, the weather became an issue for those who were camping. There was a constant downpour of rain over the whole weekend, resulting in a bog-like field with tents slowly sinking into the mud. Some of the campers even had to go home for the night due to a fear of their tents being unable to cope with the rain, hail and powerful winds. However, despite the weather, everyone remained positive.

I spoke to Lucy Entwisle, and Explorer Scout from the Naphill Vipers unit who said “It was wet, cold and muddy, but overall a great experience. I have found that it has been especially helpful in planning sessions with the Cubs”.

Overall, the entire weekend was a roaring success having turned many Explorer Scouts into Young Leaders ready to set a good example and lead the way for the younger children.