Over the course of the weekend, Scouts were challenged to built their own shelters to sleep in, locate hidden supplies and navigate across 7km of bush so they could reach the “emergency extraction point” – the local train station, where Scouts caught a train heading back to Melbourne at the end of the weekend. A local Country Fire Authority brigade even provided a truck and crew to enhance the realism of the scenario.
Although tired and muddy by the end of the weekend, it was clear every Scout would happily repeat the experience. “It was great fun,” said Olivia, 13. “Scouts is the only place where we get to try things like this and really push our boundaries.”
Five Scouts aged 11-15 have just returned from a three-day adventure undertaken almost entirely independently of adults thanks to game-changing new technology. Equipped with extensive hiking knowledge and a GPS tracking and communication device, several Scouts from 5th Footscray Scout Troop spent last weekend hiking 32km across the Brisbane Ranges free of adults, with Scout Leaders monitoring the hike remotely. A tiny SPOT tracker – small enough to fit in the palm of your hand – allowed adult Scout Leaders to track the progress of the group in real-time, while the Scouts had the ability to contact the Leaders and even emergency services despite limited mobile phone reception in the Ranges.