Should a scout go Outward Bound?
As a lifelong Scouter and proud DofE Award holder I often wonder, would I have benefited from going Outward Bound when I was younger?
One of my biggest regrets is not completing my Queen Scout Award, it was a classic case of doing everything, but not getting it signed off by my DC in time (weak excuse, I know). But what about Outward Bound? Do I regret not doing that?
To be fair, I didn’t know it existed, so as much as it may have been a missed opportunity, at least I didn’t know at the time. But knowing what I know now, I really really wish I had.
This is from a Scout who’s life was shaped by District camps as well as Roverways and Moots. I genuinely believe that going Outward Bound could have been the icing on the cake for me. Why? Because there’s no other Scout event like it.
The Ultimate Expedition
Take the Ultimate Expedition, imagine spending nineteen days, that’s NINE-TEEN (the WSJ is only twelve), under canvas, exploring the most beautiful and remote places the British Isles has to offer. A rolling camp where you can conquer mountains, kayak the seas and sleep under the stars. It makes your run-of-the-mill DofE exped look like a walk in the park.
Don’t be tricked into thinking that all sounds familiar either, just because it’s in the UK or you’re hiking. Every instructor I’ve met specialises in the unfamiliar, living and breathing adventure so that no two courses are ever the same – it’s literally their career.
I’m not saying you won’t bump into any Scouts, it attracts a lot of young people from uniformed organisations (even some of our instructors). But it also attracts a lot more non-Scouts, people from all over the world that have very different interests, reasons and motivations for coming. It’s this diversity of people that makes Outward Bound feel so special.
I’ve seen it first-hand. Every summer I get to visit our centres and watch the end of course presentations by participants, there is no other word to describe them than inspiring. It’s their stories that made me realise what I missed out on.
...That and the badge. I was never one for collecting badges in Scouts (my Explorer shirt had practically none), but the legendary Outward Bound pin badge, that’s a whole different story. When you see it you want it, and after you earn it you become part of a very exclusive club.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d never knock Scouts, it made me who I am today and I’m proud of that. A part of me just wishes I had the chance to go Outward Bound. To go on an expedition and make friends with a bunch of people outside of my scouting circles. To go on a challenging adventure across some of Britain’s wildest environments and to have an expert instructor coach me through the tough times.
I believe there’s a natural space for Outward Bound in every Scout’s heart, if not for the badge, then to fulfil a curiosity that you may not even know you had. To do more than you think you can.
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