NINE Explorers from First Castlerock Scouts recently took part in the Northern Ireland Explorer Belt expedition in Belgium.
The local scouts successfully completed the expedition and were awarded their Explorer Belts.
This belt is the pinnacle award for any young Scout.
The Explorer Belt is often described as the ‘antidote to the package holiday’.
It is designed to help young people develop a real understanding of another country by travelling through that country, working as a small team to complete a series of projects, and, most importantly, by meeting local people.
During the expedition, the team spent around 30 hours travelling from place to place and were required to visit at least four different towns or villages as part of the challenge.
The Explorer Belt gives Scouts the chance to take part in a ten-day expedition that brings a real understanding of a different country, its people and way of life.
It’s was a gruelling expedition that the local youths had to complete.
They covered 180 kilomentres over ten days on foot only.
The Scouts were dropped off in different locations in teams of up to four people.
They then made their way to a common finish point carrying a rucksack each and shared tents and cooking equipment.
Each of the partipcants are only given a small daily budget.
This money had to cover all of their daily needs including food.
During the hike the Scouts were required to keep a diary and carry out nine small projects and one major project.
The small projects included community service, helping out locals, helping other Scout Groups and one saw a group cleaning out a Convent attic for some nuns.
Using what Scouts call “The Power of the Scarf” the local teenagers managed to talk local people into giving them a place to camp. Some even managed to get food and shower facilities - just because they were Scouts.
This was a great experience for the Castlerock group.
Roly Wysner, Explorer Scout Leader from First Castlerock told The Times: “This was a great experience for the nine Explorers involved.
“The expedition encouraged them to interact with other people, not just their own age group, which will stand them in good stead in later life.”
ABOVE: Bradley Graham, Thomas Henry, Patrick Crockett, Tyrone Graham,
Front row L-R Conor Wysner, Leanne Lyons, Olivia Biesty, Adam McKee, David O’Neill