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BP phone home

Baden-Powell never had a smartphone, but who might he have called while on an expedition if he did?
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Pens or pencils
  • A4 paper
  • Chairs
  • Tables
  • Access to the internet

Creating and managing contacts on a smart phone or in an email can help everyone feel more organised and prepared when sending out information. This activity gives everyone the opportunity to do this while planning an expedition.

Before you begin

  • For the e-mail portion of the activity there should be a central email address set up using the name of the group – if there is not already one it can be set up easily (and for free) through a number of providers including Google, Outlook and Yahoo.
  • Ideally, every adult involved in the activity should be able to access the email account. At least two members of the adult team must be able to access it for safeguarding reasons.
  • The expedition can be based upon one that is being planned as part of a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award or and Expedition challenge award or it can be an imaginary one. Check your programme to see if you have any expeditions coming up that you could plan for.

Expedition Planning

  1. Everyone should split into small groups or teams.
  2. If needed, each group will choose a location, time and purpose for their expedition from the options below.

Who ya gonna call?

  1. The groups should now consider who they would need to contact to plan this expedition and create a list of at least 5 contacts they think they would need.
  1. Using available technology, each group should now research the phone numbers for their chosen contacts and demonstrate to group leaders that they can save these contacts suitably into the phone.

Putting the E in Expedition

  1. Using the same companies, get the groups to create a list of email addresses that they would use to contact about their expedition and add these to the contact list on the group email.
  2. Allow each group the time to create an email on paper to one of these companies that explains their expedition, the reasoning for contacting them and what they would like from that company.
  1. Once drafted get each group to type up this email and send it if needed.
  1. At the end, select a few emails that have been sent, read them out and discuss them with the whole group. Talk about how it’s written and whether it will get them the answer they are looking for.


In this activity everyone has considered all of the different people and organisations they might have to contact to plan and run an expedition. How would this have been possible back in Baden-Powell’s time? Would planning the expedition have been more difficult or taken longer? Our access to technology gives us access to so much more information that people would have had even just 20 years ago.

Could we use this technology to learn new and exciting things every day or do we spent most of our time online not doing this? By using our modern technology to access the world of information online we can do and learn fantastic things so much more quickly and easily than Scouts in the past. We should definitely use this to our advantage.


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Online safety

Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe.

For more support around online safety or bullying, check out the NSPCC website. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command.

As always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare (including their online experiences), follow the Yellow Card reporting processes.