As the date for our set off draws closer and closer – only 2 weeks to go now – we thought we’d give people an update on the Special Interest Badges (SIBs) that lie ahead of us in Germany. As you may or may not know, each candidate on the Belt is tasked with two SIBs to complete on the road. These are agreed between the team members themselves and the team lead for the assessments – basically, you come up with two challenges that you can do on the Belt that are then checked and tweaked if needed by the lead assessor. The SIBs can be anything from the 5 SIB areas – physical, skill, adventure, community or environment. The most important thing is that they are achievable on the Belt as if you fail to complete them, you will fail to get the Belt.
Both of us have now picked and decided our SIBs so we thought we’d give you a bit of an insight into what we’ll be doing. Both of us have chosen to do a SIB from the physical ares based upon yoga. Fionn has done a considerable amount of yoga while I (Cathal) have only done a little. Fionn is hoping to learn more about Yoga to see how it will get him through the physical challenge of the Belt while I take a slightly different approach. I have been interested in doing more yoga in an attempt to become a bit more flexible so I’m going to take the Belt as an opportunity to see if it would be worth be doing some more in the future.
For the second SIB, Fionn is going to try and improve his knowledge of international Scouting by doing a community SIB. He hopes to learn more about Scouting operates in Germany by talking to people about Scouting (hopefully meeting some German Scouts!) and by the end of the 10 days he will aim to know more than when he set off.
For my second SIB, I am going to take on Geo-Caching. For anyone who’s not aware, this involves using a GPS to find hidden “Caches” and interacting with them, which usually involves signing a log and exchanging an item with those hidden in the cache already. I will aim to learn some more about Geo-Caches in Germany by finding a few while on the road. This will hopefully bring me to places I would not visit otherwise and give me a better experience of Germany!
Alongside SIBs, we will have to complete a number of projects, prescribed to each team by the organisers. We will not find out what these are until we get dropped off in Germany but we do know that there will be some compulsory projects and some optional ones, of which we will have to pick a selection off. It’s pretty impossible to say what they will be but they have the aim of increasing our interaction with the local people and German culture. Projects in the past have included sending postcards back to Larch Hill, to trading acquiring and trading a potato for a more valuable object and then re-trading object until you get the most interesting object to bring back. Another past one that springs to mind is finding out more about water and its distribution in the local area taking the incoming water charges in Ireland into consideration. All the experiences and outcomes you must be recorded in a folder that also contains your experiences and outcomes with the SIBs.
This folder is submitted for assessment alongside the team logbook folder to the assessment team to determine alongside interviews if you’ve truly earned the Explorer Belt.
That’s all for now, we’ll have an update on the gear we are bringing before we head off so keep an eye out for that!