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Explorer belt

Since their launch in December 2013, the Explorer Belt requirements and supporting materials have been reviewed and a number of minor amends have been made.  These requirements apply to anyone starting working towards their Explorer Belt from 1st January 2014, and anyone who will complete their Award after 1st September 2015.

The Explorer Belt is a challenge of a lifetime. It is a chance to take part in a ten day expedition that brings you a real understanding of a different country, its culture and way of life. You will develop this understanding by travelling through your chosen country, working as part of a small team to complete a series of projects and most importantly by meeting local people. It is an experience and an achievement that you will remember for the rest of your life.


Register your intention to complete the award here.

Be an Explorer Scout aged 16 or over, a Scout Network member, or a member of the Senior Section of Girlguiding aged
16 or over.

Undertake a 10-day expedition as part of a team* outside of the UK with a minimum travelling time of 50 hours over the 10 days, by foot, cycle, horse, canoe, boat or dinghy.

If aged 16–18 years old, you may only participate in an organised expedition supported by an in-country leadership team, rather than being self-led.

The use of public transport is acceptable as part of the travelling time, where opportunities to meet people would otherwise be missed.

*Minimum starting number of young people per team is three with the minimum of two per team completing the expedition.

Covering the following areas during your preparation and expedition:

Show that you are competent in the following areas:
•    Navigation skills
•    Expedition cooking
•    Lightweight camping
•    Language
•    Acceptable home hospitality
•    Fitness
•    Proficiency in mode of travel
•    Teambuilding
•    First Aid (covering First Response as a minimum)

Agree the budget before the expedition and record spending throughout the trip.

Log book
Keep a logbook of the expedition which records places visited, the route taken, project work undertaken and personal thoughts.

Complete one major project selected by the team which is undertaken throughout the expedition.

Complete at least ten minor projects which may be chosen by the team, leadership team, peers or a mixture of these.

Take part in a debrief of the expedition with your mentor and leadership team.  Ideally this should be within 24 hours of the 10th day of the expedition or within 24 hours of return to the UK.

Make a presentation including all elements of your award to the assessment panel and other invited guests of your experiences and achievements.

Your expedition, project work, and presentation will be assessed by an assessment panel including your mentor to determine if you have successfully achieved your Explorer Belt. Final sign off of the award is the responsibility of a Commissioner at County level or District Commissioner in Scotland.

It is strongly recommended that you read the available support materials before starting to work towards your award to make sure you fully understand what you need to do.  The materials provide more advice and guidance on the award requirements, as well as ideas and information that will help you to meet them.

Access the support materials here.

Each young person who participates in the Programme, including badges and awards, should face a similar degree of challenge, and requirements can be adapted according to each young person’s abilities.  For more information and practical tips see our guidance on flexibility.

If you want to complete your Explorer Belt through the UK Scout Network, take a look at this guidance.

If you started working towards your Explorer Belt before 1st January 2014, and will complete it before 1st September 2015, you can use the old award requirements.

Explorer Belt requirements prior to January 1st 2014.

To complete the explorer belt award, an explorer scout or scout network member must:
•    be over 16 years old
•    be a member of either explorer scouts or the scout network
•    plan and train for an international expedition as part of a small team
•    travel to another country and travel through that country over ten days
•    complete a self selected major project
•    complete about ten smaller projects
•    keep a notebook or diary during the expedition
•    take part in a debriefing after the expedition
•    present a presentation about the expedition

Most explorer belt expeditions are undertaken on foot, although other forms of transport including canoe, bicycle and horseback are equally acceptable.
Some teams may wish to use local public transport as part of their expedition and, as long as this provides real opportunities to meet and talk with local people, then it is acceptable.
Teams may wish to mix forms of travel. Please note that hitchhiking is not permitted by The Scout Association.

The expedition should last for at least ten days. It is more of a marathon than a sprint!
During this time, the team should spend at least 30 hours travelling from place to place and visit at least four different towns or villages.
For a typical team travelling mainly on foot, this would suggest a route of about 100 miles (160km).
However, it is important that the route and distance take into account the local geography, methods of transport, physical ability of the team members, daytime temperatures and likely weather.
Time spent travelling to and from the country of the expedition should not be included.


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