Save the date – Regional Explorer Camp

Save the date – Regional Explorer Camp


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Save the date – Regional Explorer Camp – 16th – 18th September


This September the South East Scotland Scouts region will run a Sky Camp from 16th – 18th September at Philiphaugh, Selkirk.

What is a Sky Camp? 
Explorers have to create and spend a night in a campsite that is pitched between 50cm and 2.5m above ground level with a minimum of contact between the site and the ground beneath it. 

The team will be challenged to live, eat and sleep in the SkyZone plus complete a series of additional challenges over the competition weekend. 

More information and how to sign up will be shared in June and with an anticipated close in the middle of August. 

Volunteers needed for SEEE

Volunteers needed for SEEE

  • We are looking for adult Volunteers to help with Expedition Training (outdoors) and on Expeditions.  The leaders-in-charge are in place, so what we are looking for is offers of help, whether for one day or for a whole expedition.  If you have not received a request, contact us on
  • Explorers should have heard about Silver and Gold expeditions and be replying to our messages.  The first training session, on Zoom, is on 6 March, followed by a face-to-face day on either 12 or 13 March, then another to be arranged with groups.  If in doubt, contact
  • Most Bronze expeditions are being run locally by Units or Districts.  Those who have not heard yet should get a message very soon.  If your local leader cannot help, get in touch with

The SEEE Team

Explorers are 20!

Explorers are 20!

This is the 20th anniversary year of the creation of the Explorer section.  Explorer Scouts (14-18) are at an incredibly dynamic phase of their lives, and we are fortunate to have so many leaders across our Region who have the energy and skills to provide the stimulation required to cater for their needs.   

Explorer Units do meet in their halls, but more often they are out and about, whether for traditional adventurous activities, games like ‘Where’s Wally’, or an informal ‘Chippy Challenge’.   They do lots of exciting things together.  Here are some of them.

Explorer Belt in Iceland

Camps, expeditions, activities of all sorts, including hikes like the West Highland Way, climbing, watersports, cycling … 

Blair Atholl Jamborette, World Scout Jamboree, Explorer Belt, trips to Europe, Africa and Asia 

DofE, Chief Scout’s and Queen’s Scout, Young Leader Belt.

Fund raising, sleepouts, litter picking, environmental projects, First Aid training, Remembrance Day … 

Helping the younger sections, doing training modules and missions on the way 

Parties, rowdy games, ceilidhs, campfires, challenges … 

What Explorers have to say:

Wildfire ESU (Balerno) asked their Explorers: “How has being an Explorer shaped your life?”  Their comments were very positive: ‘people’ and ‘skills’ featured strongly, as did ‘new’ and ‘fun’.  

New things:

New friends: those I would not have met, and those now at different schools who I can keep in touch with 

New skills: knots, navigation, using an axe, teamwork, leadership … 

New activities: canoe, kayak, expeditions, hikes, lots of camps … 

New role: Young Leader 


A fun way to learn new skills and take part in fun activities 

Overnight hikes gave me a really fun experience  

An outlet to relax and enjoy myself every week 

A few general comments:

Not only has Explorers enabled me to travel over the world but also to prepare me for life with social skills!  

I have met so many new people who are now some of my best friends, they have taught me a lot. Explorers has taught me not only personal skills like confidence and determination but also physical skills like knot tying and canoe riding

It allows me to hang out with my older brother without him being embarrassed by me.  

See what Explorers get up to!

Images included camps, canoeing, ceilidh, charity sleepout, climbing, Explorer belt in Iceland, First aid, investitures, kayaks, Lochgoilhead, map reading, pioneering, QSA, wet hike, wild camping, winter fun and Young leader Cubs class!

Reflecting on their summer camp, they said: 

What I enjoyed at camp 

  • Singing around the campfire 
  • Talking to people I wouldn’t normally talk to 
  • Dancing to music with friends 
  • Stargazing at night and seeing a shooting star 
  • Messing around in the river 
  • Lochy’s dramatic readings at the campfires 
  • Seeing a peregrine falcon was cool 
  • Learning to build a rope bridge was epic 
  • Being given more responsibility and trust by the leaders 
  • Freedom, and getting to choose what to do 

What I learned at camp 

  • How to chop wood 
  • How to tie a square lashing 
  • How to light a fire 
  • To eat what I was given 
  • Lots of new card games 
  • Lots of new camp songs 
  • Confidence in starting campfire songs 
  • How to coordinate in a team when making meals 
  • How to empty a canoe full of water 
  • Irn Bru chicken doesn’t taste that good 

Currently on offer

Apart from the ‘normal’ local programme, the following are live projects right now for SE Scotland Region Explorers:


Some readers may be surprised to see that a lot of these are the same things that they enjoyed, but, actually, young people are much the same now as they have always been – we just live in a different world.  The challenge for us, as adults in Scouting, is to create the environment where they can learn, develop and make friends while having fun.  That depends on leaders.   

Here are some comments from leaders who were asked: “How has being a leader in Explorers shaped your life?” 

  • Keeps my mind busy, gets me outside, gives an expectation to learn and share skills.  Explorers and Scouting are a big part of my whole family’s life. 
  • It has provided an outlet for creativity and organisation, has brought me into contact with lots of young people, has provided a reason to upskill in outdoor activities and has been an enormous amount of fun. 
  • I have done many things that I simply would not have done if not an Explorer Leader. I have enjoyed tramping the Pentland Hills in the middle of the night, rolling kayaks in the local swimming pool, and summer camps. It keeps me active both physically and mentally and engaged with the younger generation. 
  • I’m pretty new as a leader in Explorers, though Cub leader for a number of years.  For me, though, it is about giving teenagers opportunities to do new things in a safe environment, and to form great bonds with others forged through those experiences.  The values of scouting are also those that will stand in good stead throughout life and in that sense as a leader we can have a lifelong positive impact on Explorers. 

Explorer leaders come in all shapes and sizes, and from a wide range of backgrounds.  Some are new to Scouting, some are parents, many have already been leaders with younger sections.  Could you offer some time to help with an Explorer Unit?  It could be as a leader or helper, but also as a skills instructor, DofE leader or administrator.  If at all interested, get in touch with your local Unit, or contact me directly. 

John Buchanan 

DofE Expedition in 2022

DofE Expedition in 2022

Do you know any Explorers thinking of doing a DofE Expedition?

South East Explorer Expeditions (SEEE), formed to provide expedition opportunities across the Region where Units and Districts cannot do so on their own, are recruiting for 2022.  We are asking Explorers who might be interested to sign up now using our Expeditions Form.  There is no commitment at this point and we will use the replies to develop our plans and offer expedition places by January.

It is important that Explorers should sign up now if they expect to continue to their next Award level with SEEE, perhaps by doing a canoe or bike expedition for Silver and/or Gold.

We are still accepting registrations of interest, so please encourage all Explorers to consider this.  

Adults interested in helping are also warmly welcomed to contact us.

The SEEE team

More information:

South East Explorer Expeditions (SEEE) is a team of over 60 volunteers from across South East Scotland Region who run DofE expeditions.  Over 250 Explorer Scouts successfully completed expeditions with us in 2021 at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels.

South East Explorer Expeditions are preparing DofE expedition plans for 2022.

Are you looking to do a Duke of Edinburgh Expedition in 2022? Sign up before the extended deadline of December 10th.

Whether you are starting out on Bronze or carrying on from a previous level, South East Scotland Scouts Region – South East Explorer Expeditions (SEEE) – offer Silver and Gold Hill, Canoe & Bike expeditions & Hillwalking for Bronze.

Want to know more? Watch our short videos on Hillwalking, Biking and Canoeing – at – to get a flavour of what to expect and enjoy! They are great!

Note your interest via the registration sign-up form before before the extended deadline of December 10th, 2021.

Got a question – read some handy FAQs. You can also email the team – 

  • Full training is provided 
  • Learn new skills you may need for biking and canoeing, special gear is provided 
  • Try something new if you want – no previous experience needed 

Please spread the word!

Top Awards for Explorers and Network

Logo of South East Scotland Scouts 2018


First published in November 2017 and updated September 2021.

Information on all the awards is available below, and on the Scouts Scotland site. You are welcome to contact the Region to discuss the best way to support individuals or groups. It is worth noting that the Mencap Gateway Award is available for people (of any age) with a learning disability and that it can be done along with DofE.

DofE Bronze

DofE Bronze award badgeDofE Bronze can be the main part of CSA Platinum, and leads on to DofE Silver.

CSA Platinum

Chief Scout's Award PlatinumThe Chief Scout’s Platinum Award leads on to CSA Diamond.

DofE Silver

DofE Silver award badgeDofE Silver can be the main part of CSA Diamond.

CSA Diamond

Chief Scouts Diamond AwardThe Chief Scout’s Diamond Award leads on to the Queen’s Scout Award.

DofE Gold

DofE Gold Award badgeDofE Gold is the highest level of DofE and can be the main part of the Queen’s Scout Award.


Queen's Scout Award badge The Queen’s Scout Award is the highest in Scouting.

Explorer Belt

Badge of the Explorer Belt award The Explorer Belt is an expedition abroad for Explorers and Network aged 16-25.


Badge of the Scouts of the World award The Scouts of the World Award is for members of Network, working individually.

Get advice on awards

Chief Scout’s Award, Queen’s Scout Award and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is complementary to the Chief Scout’s Awards and the Queen’s Scout Award, and both sets of awards fit perfectly within the Explorer Scout programme.

Scouting and DofE

The Adventure Begins: Explore and Achieve with the Scout Association and the Duke of Edinburgh's Award

The Adventure Begins

Two awards at the same time

The requirements of the two sets of awards are very similar: for example, an Explorer who completes DofE Bronze has only a few extra requirements to complete Chief Scout’s Platinum. The best explanation is given in The Adventure Begins. Many Explorers count being a Young Leader for the Volunteering section of DofE. All Explorers, including Young Leaders, are encouraged to do both DofE and the Scouting awards.  Those who do DofE at school can ask their Explorer Leader to use it towards the equivalent Scouting award.  Network members who are Leaders can count this for Volunteering or Service.


Expeditions are part of most of the Awards and there is a lot of advice available.  Much of it provided by DofE but it is relevant to any expedition. See our Expedition Information page. All expeditions must be carried out in keeping with the requirements of The Scout Association, including Activity Permits and Nights Away; for Explorers this may involve the issuing of an Event Passport.

Scouting Awards

Information about CSA and QSA for Explorers, Network, Leaders and Commissioners

Reach the Top!

The Queen’s Scout Award

Queen's Scout Award logo

The Queen’s Scout Award

Please note that you must register for QSA to start, and have a mentor in place to help you.  If you are an Explorer, your leader is likely to do this.  Those over 18 should contact their District or the Region for help.

QSA and DofE Gold

DofE Gold Award badgeQueen's Scout Award badge

It should be remembered that candidates have until they are 25 to complete DofE Gold and The Queen’s Scout Award, so they should not give up if they have not completed them when they leave Explorers.  Any Network member can do the awards.

The other Awards

The Explorer Belt – an international experience

Badge of the Explorer Belt award The Explorer Belt is not just for Explorers!  In fact it can be done by Explorers aged 16 and over, by Network members and by members of Girlguiding aged 16 and over.

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.

For full information and to register, see Explorer Belt on Scouts UK.

SOWA – Scouts of the World Award

Just for Network!

Scouts of the World Badge SOWA is an individual award, and the project can be completed at home or abroad.  It does not require an expedition. Here is a summary of what is required:

  • Be a member of Scout Network.
  • Attend a residential weekend Scouts of the World Discovery, based on the three themes: development, environment and peace.
  • With the support of your mentor, finalise your plans for your voluntary project based on the theme from your discovery weekend.
  • Undertake Scouts of the World voluntary service, either in the UK or abroad, lasting a minimum of 80 hours, recording and evaluating your experiences in the participant handbook.
  • Undertake a presentation locally.

For full information and to register, see SOWA on Scouts UK.

Bonaly Scout Centre September Update

Bonaly Scout Centre September Update

Welcome back!

It is so good the see Scouts back camping at Bonaly following the relaxing of the Covid restrictions. If you are camping or visiting for the day why not give our new self-led “Camouflage Tracking” activity a go? Working in two teams, the first challenge is to lay a trail of tracking signs for the other group to follow into the “Hiding Area”. Then one member of the team is chosen to hide and is camouflaged by the rest of the team using the equipment provided and natural materials. The teams now follow each other’s tracking signs and attempt to find the hidden person! 

ScotJam@Bonaly was a great weekend with 120 Cubs and Scouts enjoying the sunshine and the Archery, Tomahawk Throwing, Low and High Ropes, Burn ScrambleCamouflage Tracking, and of course the Campfire.  We would like to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers who helped to make the weekend possible.

Image: Burn scrambling in the Roman Bath. 

Our maintenance ASU have been hard at work keeping the centre looking good. The Chalet refurbishment is now well underway with new carpets, beds and vanity units. We are now taking bookings from the 1st of October for the new look Chalet and dates are filling up fast! To make an inquiry you can email or use our online booking request form.

Image: The New Look Chalet

The Bonaly “Come and Have A Go Day” was very well attended and gave anyone interested in volunteering a chance to take part in some of the activities we have. Everyone had great fun enjoying the Low Ropes, Crate Stack, Burn Scramble, Pioneering skills or some of the Self-led activities we have on offer. Interested in joining our volunteer instructor team? Please get in touch by email or give us a ring on 0131 441 1878.

Image: Well done Sandy – that’s got to be a record!