Saturday 22nd July – Sunday 13th August 2023
An event to provide an international experience for Explorers
Well, where did those 3 weeks go? What an adventure.194 explorers and 32 enthusiastic leaders have just had a trip of a lifetime with incredible experiences in 4 coaches and 1 support vehicle, covering over 3000 miles in Europe.
After just short of 2 years of planning and various deviations along the route the Project 23 core team which I was part of appear to have delivered another fantastic event looking at the feedback on the Facebook page afterwards.
So as an event we delivered the following:
Hotel stops in Munich, Vienna, and Prague where the explorers got chances to look at culture architecture and various other explorer suggested themes. The managed to dine in Hard Rock Café, a roller coaster restaurant, a medieval themed restaurant and the occasional Maccie D’s or KFC. They saw castles, clocks, citadels, cathedrals, zoos and many other intriguing ideas.
We stayed at 3 different Campsites. The first was Zellhof which is wonderful campsite near Mattsee beside a lake that many of the scouts managed to swim in.
The explorers had an opportunity on this site to mix with other scouting members from Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium.
They managed to visit Salzburg for a day, had a salt mine visit where they crossed a border several times without passport control; had an opportunity to walk or cycle around locally.
The second site was KapraLyv Mylln which is a converted water mill in the bottom of a valley close to Brno in the Czech Republic. Here the explorers got a chance to visit a water theme park, a set of dungeons in a castle and a nuclear bunker.
On site they experienced pre historic hunting; were shown sustainable energy processes and had an opportunity to walk around the local valley trails visiting caves and streams.
Our last 24 hours was highlighted by an amber weather warning so we struck all the canvas and moved all the explorers indoors where the sleeping accommodation was a case of sleeping by numbers. Thankfully we heeded the warning as it started raining at 19.00 and had not stopped as we loaded the last coach to depart at 10.00 am the next morning.
Sites 1 and 2 were also members of the Scout Centres of Excellence for nature and Environment (scenes).
The final site was a castle site in Rieneck, Bavaria, in Germany. I am still convinced that the explorers did not believe us that we were taking them to a Castle, but yes, we were and apparently as the coaches rounded the final corner and the site became visible there were gasps of awe in each coach.
The explorers got the opportunity to do Rafting, High ropes and Abseiling on site and a theme park day at Tripsdill. Half of the explorers slept out on the campsite whilst the other half slept indoors, everyone changed around after 2 days.
Every site provided catered meals except lunch at Zellhof which the explorers made themselves. From a contracted in catering supplier at Zellhof to the Kitchen catering teams at both Kapra and Rieneck we salute you for feeding us so well and looking after such a large number.
On the way home we stopped at Ypres (Leper) in Belgium for some dinner, a coach driver change and to attend the Last Post at the Menin Gate. At this time the Menin Gate is being reinstated but the event itself is still takin g place. Each Team and the Core Team laid a wreath in respect and the whole unit stood in silence and respect during the event. A memorable event by all who attended.
Evening activities had not been specifically planned but there were opportunities available for the explorers. As the week progressed there became an evening workout session and a dance session after that which grew in participants as the days went on. Several campfires occurred and on the last night we managed to show a movie too.
We believe all the Explorers have had a fabulous life changing and learning experience. We hope that this will encourage them to engage to achieve the Explorer section awards of King’s Scout Award and Duke of Edinburgh Gold.
Many we believe will progress through the Young Leaders scheme and achieve their Young Leader Buckle and Award. Thank you to all our participants for being so kind, considerate and caring of all the other members on the event.