Our official title is Mid Cheshire Explorer Sea Scout Unit, but we decided to shorten it a bit and are now generally known as Endurance Explorers.
Although Explorer Scouting is a district provision and we are not technically members of Weaverham Sea Scouts, we have Partnership Agreement with the group which allows us to use the hall and equipment and the Treasurer collects our membership fees.
Membership of the unit is open to anyone from 14 to 18 years old and previous scouting membership is not a requirement. Our current members come from scout groups at Davenham, Barnton, Comberbach and Weaverham and a few who have never been in scouting before.
Meetings are usually held on Friday nights at 9.15pm, after scouts.
Explorers are encouraged to take a more active part in their programming and this allows them to develop their leadership and organisational skills (supposedly) as they mature.
All the Unit members are working towards their Chief Scouts Platinum or Diamond Awards. Seven Platinum Awards were presented in December 2011 and all those Explorers are now on the verge of completing their Diamond Awards. Others are hoping to complete their Platinum Award early next year. Most of the group also undertake the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award alongside the Chief Scouts Award.
Several members are also acting as Young Leaders with other sections and other groups. The Unit as a whole also helps at District and County Scout Events, such as providing bases at the District Survival Camp or refreshments at the District Wide Game and fire lighting at Born Survivor. They have also helped to run programme nights for the Scout section.
Like all the other sections, we do wear uniform which is the same as the Sea Scout section but with a different neckerchief. Our official district neckerchief is Royal Blue with the Wyvern logo on the back. However, for Unit activities the Explorers wanted their own identity and so wear black neckers with a Hi-vis border. The difference is that we do not wear uniform every week. Usually about once a month or for any ‘official’ meetings.
Explorers have a very varied programme which changes to reflect the interests of the membership. For instance, for the last two years, the focus has been on Outdoor skills as Kathryn, one of our previous leaders, had completed a Ray Mears Survival course and everyone was keen to acquire some of those skills. Although their fire lighting skills were not quite good enough to light a fire in torrential rain in the dark, they did become very proficient in knife and axe skills. We did of course make sure they all completed a first aid course before they started on that particular training!
They also like cooking and have done everything from the Ready Steady Cook activities creating imaginative meals from random ingredients, to providing a three course Christmas Meal for 20 invited guests! For that one they worked just like any restaurant. They all had to apply and be interviewed for their chosen role be it a Chef, Waiter or Front of house manager They planned the menu, sent out invitations, did all the shopping, then prepared, cooked and served the food. All the leaders had to do was to carry out the interviews, provide transport for the shopping and as everything was going so well, sit down and enjoy the food!
Explorers are like everyone else in scouting, they love to go camping. The unit have had the opportunity to take part in survival camps, indoor camps, wild camps, hammock camps and international camps. The furthest we have travelled so far is to Sweden when we also took the opportunity to visit the World Scout Jamboree. A memorable trip for everyone! Next year we are planning to join the Sea Scouts at their camp at Waddecar. There are also plans to join up with Cestrian Explorers for a weekend in Wales and maybe take part in an international jamboree in the UK as well as our own unit weekends.