Outdoor Adventures for Volunteers

For the third year running, County hosted an Outdoor Training Weekend at Willow Tree Centre on 2nd -3rd March 2024 for volunteers interested in learning new skills and meeting other volunteers. The aim of the weekend was to equip volunteers with outdoor skills and confidence that they could take back to their units, as well as offering chance to socialise and build connections with other volunteers. This years weekend was focussed on adventures on our doorsteps and different ways we can experience the outdoors with our units. 

We started the day with Jackie Diamond, (County residential advisor) running a session on Orienteering. We first looked at ways of introducing map skills to our young members before heading outside and completing The Willow Tree Trail, an orienteering course that can be completed at Willow Tree. 

After a great lunch, Bethan, (Brownie Leader) ran a session on fun ways to run the first aid skills builder activities and ways we can take these outdoors to add fun or more context to these activities. We then headed outside to try out some of these adaptations. 

We then headed back inside to warm up and practice our knot skills by making some macrame owls, it was a lovely chance to sit and chat to other attendees. 

After a quick break, Bethan ran another great session for us on finding adventure on your doorstep. She got everyone to share their ideas and gave us some great new ideas to try out. We then had a go at some of these ideas including whittling some hedgehogs, mini den making for soft toys and having a laugh trying out the group shelters. 

We then headed inside for a great dinner before heading back outside for a campfire and smores. Everyone had such a great time being by the fire and socialising with other leaders. We then headed inside and continued to exchange stories and ideas as well as some members taking the opportunity to sew more badges onto their blankets. 

Both sessions on day two were led by Helen (Region Walking Advisor), with the morning being an introduction to walking with young members, including map skills, dynamic risk assessing and how to plan a walk. It was a really interesting session that she adapted for the different experience levels within the group. 

After lunch we then headed outside to put our new walk leading and map skills to the test. We learnt different techniques for leading a walk and also tested our map reading and pacing skills with a bit of friendly competition. The woods were extremely muddy adding to the challenge (and the fun) of the session. 

Everyone then headed inside for one final session of the day, an Air & Share session around Outdoor Risk Assessments and the Going Away scheme. 

A big thank you to Jennifer Maidmen, Jade Fardon and Jackie Diamond for organising the weekend and to Guy and Sian Perry for the amazing food over the weekend. A massive thank you also to Helen and Bethan for coming and running some really interesting and informative sessions.

Alice, County Ranger Advisor