When we talk about expeditions, what thoughts and images spring to mind?
For some it might be heavily clothed mountaineers reaching for the high peaks or perhaps sweat drenched explorers battling through snake-infested jungle; for others it might be as diverse as a voyage of discovery to an unknown destination in the desert or an overnight trip down a canal by canoe. What is usually common to all of them, however, is that the expedition will be away from home, will involve at least one night away (often ‘under canvas’) and have some sort of purpose.
Research into learning on youth expeditions has highlighted the opportunities for young people to develop and increase their environmental awareness. Leadership, goal setting, problem solving and time management are all key skills that the very real context of a multi-day expedition can help enhance and leading to increases in confidence and independence. Brathay’s Model of Youth Development also illustrates the journey that young people go on from self awareness to making choices to taking action – all stages that are supported through expeditions.
Britain has a long history of taking young people on expeditions and two organisations that have been at the forefront of expeditions for young people are now working together to provide a range of expedition opportunities. British Exploring Society (formerly the British Schools Exploration Society) and Brathay Trust have come together to share their expertise. Both organisations are committed to improving the life chances of young people through challenging expeditions, and want to work together to raise the profile of expeditions as an exceptional vehicle for personal development. Each organisation has unique strengths to bring to such a partnership, and we are currently exploring those strengths to see how a partnership might help both organisations flourish.
Brathay will offer a range of UK based expeditions while BES will provide overseas expeditions, all of which can provide a pathway of progression from local hills to the wilderness regions of the world. There will also be parallel opportunities to develop the skills necessary to be a safe and effective expedition member right through to expedition leader. BES and Brathay have many members and we are looking at how both organisations can share the same benefits.