Activities & Gear
Scouting activities vary depending on the location of the Group, the skills of the leaders, available equipment and particular skills/interests of the young members. A Sea Scout Group will probably do more rowing regattas than a land-based Group, for example. Age and experience matters - Beaver Scouts will do similar activities to Venture Scouts but perhaps shorter in duration or nearer to home.
If it’s an adventure and it’s outdoors, a Scout has probably done it – this list is a selection of what your Scout might encounter:
- Hiking & hillwalking – from 6km up to 20km+, often including an element of height gain e.g. not a stroll in the local park
- Camping – on a campsite or wild camping in mountains (experienced Scouts), putting up tents, cooking their own food, fire lighting
- Slumber party/hostel/Scout den stay
- Kayaking, sailing, rowing, rafting, swimming
- Visit an airport/the zoo/the cinema/ice-skating
- Camp craft competitions to test camping & Scouting skills
- Building structures like gateways, camp tables, bridges using rope and wood
- Orienteering, scavenger hunts, using signals and codes
- Creating shelters in the woods and cooking over a fire
- Building a raft and sailing it
- Litter picking, painting for Tidy Towns, carol-singing for charity
- Expeditions nationally and overseas on foot/bike/train/canoe etc
Gear varies depending on the activity. Your local Scouters will give you a list of what is needed for each activity. Borrow, use second-hand, avail of Scout discounts in outdoors shops, and build their gear gradually to last many years both in and out of Scouts. The Scout Shop is available online and in Dublin, Bray, and Cork.
Irish weather is predictably unpredictable and temperatures drop in wind and with height-gain. Best solution is layers that the Scout can remove/add depending on conditions. Breathable fabrics (e.g. sports tops) work better than cotton in wet conditions. Fleeces are lighter than wool. They’ll get cold and wet wearing jeans – go for jog pants or hiking type trousers. Don’t forget a warm hat, a sun hat and gloves – we get all types of weather in a day in Ireland.
Raingear is vital – a hooded jacket and over trousers. The emphasis is on being rain proof. Warmth can be handled by wearing extra layers underneath.
Hiking boots are vital – can be expensive but bad footwear makes unhappy Scouts. Buy boots in a camping/hiking shop and get the best fit you can so they don’t rub – not too tight. Stiffer boots protect ankles from twists/breaks on rough ground. Trainers/wellies are dangerous on hillwalks.
Gaiters (knee to ankle) protect boots and socks from mud and water – a good optional extra for the Scout that does a lot of hiking in the hills.
A small rucksack (school bag size) for lunch and layers on day-hikes plus a larger one for overnights. Get the Scout to try it on – shouldn’t be too long for their back. A 55-65 litre sack will be about right. 85 litre sacks are for expeditions/adults.
Get an adult sized 2-3 season sleeping bag and a stuff sack for older Scouts.
A Roll-mat is ideal – this foam or thin inflatable mat insulates the Scout from the cold of the ground when camping. Yoga mats don’t work, campbeds are too bulky, and full airbeds are way too bulky for your Scout to carry and inflate.
Tents, camp stoves, boats etc will be provided by your Group.
Other items your Scout will gather over time include a first aid kit, personal survival kit, compass etc.