As a large expedition company, it certainly seems strange writing the title ‘campless Expediitons’. So why? What and how?
Well, I guess the why is the easy part. BXM is a school expedition company, with schools shut from March to September this meant there was hundreds of thousands of young people missing out on their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, The Venture Award and other similar outdoor educational trips. Often overlooked due to the all too famous GCSE and A Level exams, Britain has a worldwide recognised culture for outdoor pursuits and this year is set to be very damaging for the entire industry. The DofE (which requires participants to camp in order to pass), has become a foundation for the outdoor industry and the people working within it. Literally thousands of skilled instructors earn their sole annual living from the DofE summer months. Therefore 2020 has been devastating for the industry to say the least.
When schools returned in September, we were excited to be able to pick up all our rescheduled Expediitons and get young people learning about the outdoors again. Unfortunately the Department for Education decided that overnight trips would not be permitted. So…. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award issued temporary changes in their rules and are allowing participants to pass the expedition section without actually sleeping in a tent. So… like many expeditor companies, the only way we could continue operating was to make all school trips ‘campless’.
In short, everything is still pretty much the same. Participants turn up and meet their instructors. Participants still have to plan their route, work together and even carry all the same kit, yes even the tents. Partly for safety purposes but it is important to keep the Expediitons as accurate to the 'normal' conditions as possible. Groups complete their day walks, cook they dinner, erect their tents to prove they can complete the camp craft side of the expediiton effectively.
BXM The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award trips are not a military operation, nor are they a real test of an individuals ability to map read or camp. The qualifying expeditions are simply a tool where groups must adhere to conditions which shows they can work as a team and be self-sufficient. By adapting the conditions this year, it means we can still assess groups safely. Crucially it means we can carry on the traditions and show young people the Great British Outdoors.
Unfortunately The Venture award is being held off until 2021 but this is going to be hugely popular in 2021 for year 7 and 8 students.
BXM Expediitons have always said we are constantly searching for that perfect expedition. Let's hope we can get closer in 2021.