Outdoor/Adventure Award System

Source: Reprinted from Outdoor Awards 2000 The Boys’ Brigade Australia.

1. Introduction

Boys and Officers participating in the Outdoor/Adventure Award System 2000 will find that the activities and training required for the awards will:

  • develop skills to enable them to safely undertake outdoor activities encourage a spirit of adventure and discovery foster an understanding of ecology and the environment develop self-confidence develop leadership skills.

Through participating in the award scheme they will:

  • learn to make decisions work as a team with others enjoy a physical challenge

This section of The Boys’ Brigade Australia (BBA)  Award System presents an exciting challenge to Boys and Officers alike. It requires participants to train for and carry out environmental projects, expeditions, exploration and/or adventurous activities in both familiar and unfamiliar areas.

Organisation, planning, training and completing the final qualifying event will require teamwork, self-reliance and cooperation. Emphasis is placed on developing skills related to the particular type of event. The safe practice of bushcraft is an essential part of both Environmentalist and Expedition awards and minimum standards are prescribed for each level in the core curriculum.

The events, whether Environmental, Expedition or Adventure, should aim at encouraging participants to gain confidence in meeting new challenges; develop a spirit of adventure; achieve a sense of personal accomplishment and gain an appreciation of the environment.

2. Award Regulations for the Outdoor/Adventure Group

The Outdoor/Adventure group consists of two awards, Environmentalist and Expedition. The following regulations are copied from the BBA No.2 Section Award System 2000.

2.1 Environmentalist Award

AIM: To encourage a Boy to gain an appreciation of nature and to identify ways in which he can make a positive contribution to the environment.

AWARD CRITERIA: Awarded to a Boy who has at the appropriate Level satisfactorily completed training, completed the practical component and submitted a report on an environmental subject studied as part of this award.

At each Level an appropriate environmental subject must be studied. This is undertaken by both knowledge-based training and by practical application.

Minimum Training Requirement: Training in the safe practice of bush craft is an essential part of this award even when camping may not be undertaken. Topics to be covered include:

  • Safety and Group Skills
  • First Aid
  • Campcraft
  • Bushcraft
  • Use of Equipment
  • Use of Map and Compass
  • Care of the Environment
  • Record keeping

The knowledge requirements prescribed for each Level are stated in the Outdoor/Adventure Curriculum available from BBA (this document).

Where travel is by a method other than walking a suitable course of study should be undertaken to ensure that the Boy is able to carry out that part of the activity safely.

Minimum Practical Requirement: The practical component can be carried out in either one of two ways or a combination of both provided that the required number of practical hours have been completed.

The practical hours may be completed by going on two outings where the first is a practice event and the second the qualifying event. Or, they may be completed by carrying out an ongoing activity over the required number of days. If it is carried out as two events then it is expected that this will involve overnight camping utilising the skills learnt in the training sessions.

GUIDANCE: Within this award low impact camping and recreational activities of an outdoor type eg. walking, canoeing, cycling etc. could be combined with an exploratory approach to the natural world to promote an appreciation of the outdoors and an increased knowledge of environmental issues.

The practical component could be completed by participating with a community group such as Landcare in a bushland rehabilitation project.

Preparatory training common to both the Environmentalist and the Expedition award may be counted towards both awards. However, the environmental study and the practical activity for each award have to be carried out separately.

A Boy entering the Company above 12 years BB age may start this award at the level appropriate to his age. However, all preliminary training must be undertaken and the practical component has to be increased by 50 %. eg at Level 4 the requirement under the continuous method would be 54 (36 + 18) hours over at least nine (6+3) days. These requirements may be carried out in conjunction with camping activities. When camping the time spent in setting up and breaking camp is included in the practical hours.

For a Boy with a disability the content of this award should be modified to meet his particular need but still provide him with an understanding of the environment and allow him to make a positive contribution.

Assessment is to be carried out by a competent person. Though formal qualifications are not essential the person must have an appropriate level of knowledge and practical skills to adequately assess the level being attempted by the Boy.

The report can be presented in any form, which is acceptable to the assessor. As examples the report can be verbal, written, in poster form, audio or video taped or by computer presentation or any combination of these. Photographs are a valuable adjunct to the report. The form of reporting should be discussed as part of the training sessions prior to the commencement of qualifying activity. Care should be taken that the means of report presentation does not overshadow the purpose of the activity.

Exploration at Silver and Gold Level as prescribed within the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme will be a satisfactory method of achieving this award at Levels 4 and 5 respectively providing that the topic studied meets the aim of this award.

2.2 Expedition

AIM: To encourage a Boy to undertake adventurous activity so as to gain personal growth through meeting and overcoming a challenge within a safe environment.

AGE CRITERIA: Minimum ages for commencement:

AWARD CRITERIA: Awarded to a Boy who has at the appropriate Level satisfactorily completed training, completed the practical component and submitted a report on a qualifying expedition carried out as part of this award.

At Levels 4 & 5 it may be awarded to a Boy being 15 BB age or older who has satisfactorily completed training, completed the practical component and submitted a report on some other adventure activity.

Safe practice must be stressed at all times. Challenges must be kept within the reach of the Boy and suitable training provided so that he has the necessary skills to meet the task at hand. Environmental awareness is also an essential part of this award so that a respect and appreciation of the outdoors is gained.

Minimum Training Requirement: Training in the safe practice of bush craft is an essential part of this award. Topics to be covered include:

The knowledge requirements prescribed for each Level are stated in the Outdoor/Adventure Curriculum available from BBA. (this document)

Where travel is by a method other than walking a suitable course of study should be undertaken to ensure that the Boy is able to carry out that part of the activity safely.

Minimum Practical Requirement: The practical component can be carried out in either one of two ways or a combination of both provided that the required number of practical hours have been completed.

The practical hours may be completed by going on two outings where the first is a practice event and the second the qualifying event. Or at Level 5 instead of undertaking two 4 day expeditions they may be completed by leading 2 day or 3 day expeditions for Boys at a lower level.

This is to be four 2-day expeditions or three by 3-day expeditions or any combination of these to cover at least 8 days of expedition leading. Note that this is significantly different from the Gold DEAS requirement.

At Levels 4 and 5 (minimum 15 BB age) other adventurous or challenging activities may be undertaken instead of or as part of an expedition. These activities must follow a suitable course of instruction and have at least 36 hours practical effort at Level 4 and 54 hours practical effort at Level 5. When camping is carried out for this part of the award the time involved in setting up and breaking camp is NOT to be counted. (It is counted when part of normal expedition)

Before commencing an adventurous activity confirm insurance coverage with relevant State Director.

Examples of Adventure Activities:

  • Abseiling,
  • Canyoning,
  • Caving,
  • Rock Climbing,
  • Sailing,
  • White Water Canoeing
  • or other approved activity

The time spent in setting up and breaking camp is counted as part of the practical component in normal expedition activities.

GUIDANCE: Training in the safe practice of bush craft is an essential part of this award. Minimum safety standards are prescribed for each level in the curriculum. The curriculum is available from BBA (this document).

Where travel is by a method other than walking, additional training should be undertaken to ensure that the Boy is able to carry out that part of the activity safely.

Preparatory training common to both the Environmentalist and the Expedition award may be counted towards both awards. However, the environmental study under the Environmentalist award and the practical activity for this award have to be carried out separately. The focus of the Expedition Award is on being able to travel safely, comfortably and responsibly over a wide range of conditions.

A Boy entering the Company above 12 years BB age may start this award at the level appropriate to his age. However, all preliminary training must be undertaken and the practical component has to be increased by 50%. eg at Level 4 the expedition requirement would be 63 (42 +21) hours over at least nine (6+3) days and six (4+2) nights.

For a Boy with a disability the content of this award should be modified to meet his particular need but still provide him with an understanding of the environment and allow him to make a positive contribution.

Assessment is to be carried out by a competent person. Though formal qualifications are not essential the person must have an appropriate level of knowledge and practical skills to adequately assess the level being attempted by the Boy. The assessor may travel with the party under assessment but must take great care not to become involved in decision making processes.

The report can be presented in any form, which is acceptable to the assessor. As examples the report can be verbal, written, in poster form, audio or video taped or by computer presentation or any combination of these. Photographs are a valuable adjunct to the report. The form of reporting should be discussed as part of the training sessions prior to the commencement of the qualifying activity. Care should be taken that the means of report presentation does not overshadow the purpose of the activity.

Expedition at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels as prescribed within the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme will be a satisfactory method of achieving this award at levels 3, 4 and 5 respectively.

Exploration – should include the above components but with a greater proportion of time spent on the particular exploration or investigation. At least 10 hours per trip should be spent travelling across country and should include route finding, navigation etc. The major proportion of time should be spent in investigations and inquiries related to the particular purpose, (eg botanical, geographical, historical or photographic surveys). Exploration is only available at Silver and Gold Levels.

Other major adventurous activities or projects – which are not covered by the above requirements and conditions, but are of equally or more demanding nature, are acceptable. Any enterprising proposals, conforming to the aims and spirit of this section, will be considered. This activity is only available at the Gold Level.

4. Preparatory Training Common to both Awards

Both Environmentalist and Expedition awards require that time be spent in the outdoors and therefore Boys will require skills in:

  • Safety and Group Skills
  • First Aid
  • Campcraft
  • Bushcraft
  • Use of Equipment
  • Use of Map and Compass
  • Care of the Environment
  • Record keeping

This preparatory training is common to both of the Outdoor/Adventure awards. The curriculum outline for this common training is presented in APPENDIX I.

While much of this training will occur on company night, not all the curricula will or should require formal lectures. Training should also take place during fixed camps and other practice outdoor events.

Training is progressive and each level builds on earlier work. Some revision will be necessary to reinforce skills and ideas previously learnt.

Some areas covered in the Group Skills and Leadership sections overlap areas covered by BBA Leadership Development Courses for Boys. If a Boy has attained the Leadership Certificate, a brief revision of the relevant topics would be beneficial. A Boy who has not had the opportunity to reach this leadership development level should cover this material in more detail.

5. Additional Training

Additional training for each award will depend on the nature of the activity being undertaken. Expedition training will concentrate on the specialised skills necessary for that activity. Skills such as photography that will enhance a report could also be included.

If travel is by means other than by walking (eg canoe, cycling, horseback) additional training in the method of travel must be undertaken.

5.1 Environmentalist Suggestions for additional training are: –

Ecosystems Identification of plants, birds, insects, animals etc.

Field investigation and recording techniques

Environmental monitoring

5.2 Expedition Additional training could include: –

  • Additional Map and Compass work
  • Orienteering
  • Trip Planning
  • Walking Skills including pacing, rhythm, foot placement.
  • River crossings
  • Procedures for Groups Specialised expedition equipment (rucksacks etc.)
  • Use of huts (where appropriate)
  • Rations for Expedition
  • Snow camping (where appropriate)
  • Recording the Expedition

5.3 Other Adventurous Activities

If undertaking an adventurous or challenging activity instead of, or as part of, an Expedition a suitable course of instruction must be completed before the activity commences. The preparatory training in common for each level must also be completed before the test activity commences. Instructors and supervisors should have qualifications approved by The Boys’ Brigade Australia in the activity.

For insurance purposes ensure that you gain prior approval for the activity from the relevant state or territory Director responsible for No.2 Section activities. The Director will satisfy himself that the qualifications of the instructors are relevant and current before giving approval.

6. Environmental Projects

The following Environmentalist activities are suggested:

Impact of Humans on the Environment: This project could be undertaken during a fixed camp or during an Exploration. It could involve a survey of rubbish found in an area. Assessment of land clearance or use of wood for campfires. This type of project could be undertaken by a Company over several years and could include photographs taken at defined spots to show changes to the environment.

Surveys of plant, animal and bird species in the area.

Mapping of Ecosystems: This project could look at several different ecosystems in an area. It could also provide practice at mapping and use of compasses.

Geology of an area.

Weather Observations including micro-meteorological observations to establish differences between ecosystems.

Landcare, make contact with your local Landcare group and join in with them on some of their projects

7. Instructor, Assessor and Leadership Training

It is recommended that Officers seek out courses offered by outside bodies to improve their skills within this area. Suggested courses include:

  • DEAS Expedition Instructors and Assessors Training Courses for Volunteer Expedition Leaders and Registered Operators.
  • The Bush and Mountain Walking Leadership Training Boards (or equivalent) in each state offer courses for people wishing to develop their skills in leading bushwalking groups.
  • The Scouts Australia training schemes.

Where State, Battalion and Group Councils provide training programs to provide specific training in expedition, safety and leadership skills. Officers should avail themselves of these courses.

A trainee Officer should participate in several expeditions supervised by an experienced assessor before acting in their own right.

8. Leadership and Supervision of Events

The company Captain will need to ensure careful supervision of each outdoor event. They have a duty of care to ensure the safe conduct of events. However, they should encourage and prepare Boys to take on leadership roles. The environmentalist events may also require more specialist scientific advisers to be present.

A copy of the assessor’s guideline sheet for either Exploration or Expedition (Appendix 2) should be given to any person responsible for assessing an exploration or expedition group. It would be helpful to a person from outside BB to give them a copy of the award requirements as well.

8.1 Expedition Events

While Level 1 and 2 events are complete in themselves and an achievement in their own right, Boys at this level are generally inexperienced and require close supervision. Both practice and qualifying events at Levels 1 and 2 should be regarded as training and preparation for higher level award activities. Each event at these levels should be supervised and lead by an officer, responsible adult or an experienced Senior Boy who has completed Expedition Level 4 and is working towards his Level 5 award (note: leading a 1 day expedition does not count towards the Level 5 award). The level 3 practice is also a training exercise and an Officer or trainer should accompany the party.

Officers or trainers may accompany training expeditions at levels 4 and 5 in adviser and assessor roles. They should not act as leader of the event so that Boys can gain experience in this role under supervision.

Qualifying expeditions at Level 3 and above should be lead by experienced senior boys. The assessor should maintain frequent contact with the party. Senior boys will gain experience and confidence in leadership and responsibility from these events. In some circumstances it may be appropriate for an officer to accompany Boys on a Level 3 qualifying event. However, an officer in this situation should take care not to influence the decisions of the party.

8.2 Environmentalist Events

Similar supervision requirements to those for expedition events should apply. However, officers or responsible adults may accompany all events to act as advisers, particularly when the group may require scientific advice.

8.3 Adventurous or Challenging Activities for Boys at Levels 4 & 5

Instructors and supervisors of adventurous or challenging activities should have qualifications approved by The Boys’ Brigade Australia for instructing in that activity. These may be Instructor qualifications approved by national or state associations or federations for the activities being taught.

9. Track Notes

Track notes consist of descriptions of expedition routes including points of interest, significant features, warnings on potential hazards, suitable camp sites etc. Many companies and Officers would find a set of Track Notes very useful as suggestions for events. It is envisaged that Boys’ reports could form the basis for these notes. Companies could swap copies of expedition and exploration reports or submit them for publication in state newsletters.