Management & Supporter roles are key in enabling the minimum standard of offering a Nights Away experience. The appointment of suitable Nights Away Advisers who actively seek out the promotion of the Nights Away Scheme is an essential element to this, and the Damboree Team believes:
- Each Group should have a Nights Away Adviser, able to mentor those leaders in the Group in the Nights Away skills and scheme
- All Sections should camp #EveryoneInTents, and Camping permits should not be restricted to older section leaders
- Beaver Leaders should not be artificially restricted to Indoor Permits due to local rules, or dodgy Nights Away Advisers
- Nights Away Advisers & District Commissioners who have prejudice about the younger section camping should be called on it, and have those perceptions corrected.
- Older Scouts and Explorers should be passported a lot more than they are now
- Taking other peoples Young People away camping is a noble thing, and we recognise that through our Adult Badge scheme
- We also think minimum should be a Night Away under Canvas (or hammock!) per year, rather than limit it to just any old night away
We believe the premise that Scouting is a progressive system…progressively less supervision as a young person moves through the sections.
We firmly encourage camping to start as early as possibly in a young persons scouting career, the earlier they learn camp etitquette (not running through someone elses campsite) and a mallet is not a projectile, the better.
What’s in it for me as a Group Scout Leader/Commissioner/Nights Away Adviser?
Ultimately more work, whether that’s approving NANs, asessing & mentoring more Leaders for permits, sourcing more kit for more campers, arranging more training for extended skills like bulk cooking, or more Mod38’s.
But the return is the investment you put into your leaders, and supporting them camping, is they stay longer, even if it’s a parent who choses to move through the sections with their young person.
Because Permits are non-sectional (unless the permit holder has asked for that restriction, it shouldn’t be forced on them) the Beaver Leader Parent who then becomes a Cub Leader Parent is permitted and ready to camp with the Pack.
More camping means more revenue for camp sites, your occupancy percentages go up, so your sites generate more revenue.
Best of all your young people get fantastic camping experiences, and the more confidence they get from starting earlier, in Beavers, the more competent they get as they progress, so long term the success of your Top Awards programme increases.
Does Damboree do Nights Away Assessments?
NO! We don’t. Not as active support unit members. We may have other roles in Counties or Districts that enable us to do assessments, however the ASU does not offer Assessment-As-A-Service.
This is often a common misconception of Damboree, we’re here to support and encourage, not deliver. We don’t organise Damboree events, we cheer from the sidelines, and help break down barriers to leaders taking young people camping.
What about Explorers and Young Leaders?
The Damboree Silver Badges are there for Young Leaders and Explorers who help deliver a Damboree event, in fact Damboree is a good first base for a Young Leader led event, supported by their section leaders.
The more Young Leaders can be involved in camp planning, the earlier they can get the camp leading experience to be assessed for a permit when they become an adult leader.
Also it is felt that if Explorers needed encouraging to camp using Damboree, then something has gone wrong elsewhere. We believe that Explorers should be working towards Event Passport Camping, in support of their Top Awards.
So what can Damboree do to help me promote nights away in my Group/District/County/Region/Country?
- Well, we have a cracking badge scheme that supports Beavers, Cubs & Scouts, broadly aligned to the Outdoor Challenge with some Damboree magic thrown in.
- We have Gold Badges for those who get their first Campsite Permit, so your leaders can join a prestigious alumnus of around 350 Gold Badge owners.
- Golds for those who step up to become Nights Away Advisers, and support you in your manager/supporter role ensure you’re delivering minimum standard with competent well mentored & supported permit holders.
- We have a network of Active Support Members to support and encourage engagement with Damboree & Nights Away Permits
- Our Active Support Members can challenge those out-of-date notions that some adults in your District/County may harbour without affecting your local dynamics. Allowing us to annoy your people instead of your team.
- Attend County Rallies, District Conferences to promote Nights Away Damboree Stylee
Nights Away Passports – Reasonable Adjustments
One of the questions that comes up is how to make Nights Away Event Passports inclusive for those who need additional support. So one of our team asked HQ InfoCentre the question, and this is what came back from them:
“In the case where a child with additional needs is to be partaking in an expedition under the Nights Away Passport scheme, here’s a few pointers on how to go about making sure the correct support is in place without jeopardising the purpose of the NA Passport Scheme (to encourage self-independence):
A conversation between the parents of the child, the Nights Away Permit holder (and passport issuer) and the District Commissioner should be had outlining the specific needs of the child and how much of these needs could be handled by the passport holder/the Scouters around him.In the same way that you would for any other Nights Away passport expedition, make sure there is a robust home contact system in place.
This means that the Nights Away Permit holder (and possible another Leader should a child need to be taken away from the expedition) should be in the general vicinity such that they can make it to the campsite on short notice.
It could be, due to the specific needs of one or more of the young people involved in the expedition, that it is agreed that the home contact should be more immediately available if needed.
In this case, it would be best practice for the young people to not be made aware of these adjustments.
This is because the purpose of the Nights Away Passport scheme is to instill a sense of self-reliance in the young people and, especially to those in the Group that do not have additional needs, the fact that a more immediate home contact system is in place could effect that.
With regards to the case where the Nights Away Permit holder (and Passport issuer) has their own child within the expedition, try and act in the same way as if there wasn’t. It would be best practice that this Nights Away Permit holder with a child in the expedition wouldn’t be a part of the Home Contact process (although I appreciate that it may be difficult to find another Nights Away Permit holder who is available) but would merely be a part of the conversation spoken about in point 1.”
(Edited to remove abbreviations)
Everyone wins when #EveryoneIsInTents