The Alpkit Foundation was proud to support the Wild Wolf Explorer Scout Unit at the end of last year by kitting them out with camping equipment and clothing so that no young person in the group would face financial obstacles to adventure. We caught up with the group to find out what adventures they had been on.
WWESU is a volunteer-led mixed group of around fifty 14 - 18 year olds from across Haringey in North London.
North London isn’t known for its wild places; the ambitious group was established in 2009 get young people out of the city on wild adventures that simply aren’t available to them in their local area.
Camping trips enable young people to experience life outside the city, providing opportunities for them to challenge themselves physically, socially and emotionally. They enable Explorers to develop a whole range of transferable skills which they will use throughout their lives, including self- discipline, organisational and planning skills, teamwork, self-motivation, leadership, communication, cultural awareness, time management, commitment and how to look after themselves, each other, the environment and their equipment. They get the chance to try new things (cooking over a fire, white water rafting, hiking, climbing, survival skills etc) and have the opportunity to work towards Jack Petchey, Duke of Edinburgh and Queen’s Scout Awards. One scout explains how the group can be life-changing for young people:
"Scouts and Wild Wolf have been the most exciting and liberating part of my life for many years now. It's a place where you can be yourself with no fear of humiliation as well as providing opportunities that I don't think I could get anywhere else with the most amazing bunch of people".
WWESU get away as much as they can. Last year they camped, canoed, hiked and cycled in Essex, the Peak District, the Wye Valley, Dorset, the Chilterns, Snowdonia, France and Switzerland. With many exciting trips planned for the year ahead, they want to ensure that no one is left behind. This meant that they needed camping equipment for those who could not afford their own.
The AK Foundation Award inspired a big tidy up and sort out to make sure the kit would be well looked-after
Karen from WWESU explains the importance of breaking down financial barriers to the outdoors for members:
“Living is London is expensive for anyone, but especially for young people. Competition for Saturday jobs, pressure of school work and family economic circumstances mean that many of our members rely on our Hardship Fund for subs, camps, trips and special events. We keep costs as low possible, have no paid staff (all leaders are volunteers) and every penny is spent on the Explorers. We would use a grant to pay for equipment which will benefit those suffering financial hardship. We are proud to be able to say that nobody misses out because they can't afford to join in.”
The young people in the Unit took an active role in choose which Alpkit equipment would best benefit their members; selecting dry bags, stoves, pan sets, torches and duffle bags. Thus far, this kit has accompanied the group to the Yorkshire Dales, the Chilterns, Snowdonia, Pembrokeshire, Essex, Buckinghamshire and Scotland, as well as on numerous canoe trips on the Thames, the Medway, the Wye and the Severn - that's some hardworking kit!
The AK Foundation award even inspired an overhaul of the unit shed and storage systems to ensure that all equipment is easily accessible and well looked-after.
We look forward to hearing about the future adventures of the Wild World Explorer Scout Unit; if you'd like to keep up to date on what they're up to, visit their website at www.wilwolfedu.org, like them on Facebook, or subscribe to their Youtube channel.
The Alpkit Foundation supports projects that enable people to overcome the obstacles preventing them from Going Nice Places and Doing Good Things.