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Place of worship pilgrimage

Plan your own small-scale pilgrimage to visit a local place of worship or sacred site.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Pens or pencils
  • Scrap paper
  • Map of your local area
  • Device with internet access

Before you begin

  • This activity’s all about a pilgrimage to a local place of worship or sacred space. It covers planning the visit and what to do when you’re there.
  • It’s up to the young people where they visit. You could choose a place of worship (like a gurdwara, temple, mosque, church, or synagogue) or look at holy places from the British Pilgrimage Trust or sacred sites from the BBC.
  • Get in touch with the place you’re visiting in advance – find out when is convenient for you to visit, ask if it’s possible to arrange a guided tour or speak to faith leaders or members of the community, and ask if there are any rules people will need to follow.
  • Check out Interacting with faiths and cultures for more guidance.

 

Plan your pilgrimage

  1. The person leading the activity should explain what a pilgrimage is.
  2. Everyone should get into small groups of three or four people. Each group should grab some pens and paper and find a space.
  3. Each group should use the internet to research different places in their local community that have a religious or cultural significance.
  4. Once each group has a few ideas, everyone should come back together to share their ideas.
  5. Everyone should vote to decide which place they’d like to visit as a whole group.
  6. Everyone should get back into their smaller groups and research why the place is important. What faith is linked to the place? They could find out about faith leaders, traditions, or sacred texts.
  7. Each group should create a scavenger hunt – they should write down around 10 things another group could spot or find out when they visit their chosen place.
  1. Everyone should write down any questions they’d like to ask on their visit. Did their research leave them confused about anything? Were there questions they couldn’t find the answers to?
  2. Everyone should work together to plan a route from their usual meeting place to the place they’d chosen to visit.

Complete your visit

  1. If you’ve managed to arrange a tour, it may be best to do this first so everyone gets an introduction. Leave time at the end for questions.
  2. Everyone should split into their groups. The person leading the activity should give each group a scavenger hunt another group made.
  3. Everyone should look around the location and try to complete their scavenger hunt.
  4. At the end of the visit, everyone should gather back together and reflect on what they’ve learned. Does anyone have any gaps in their scavenger hunt?
  1. Each group should take a piece of scrap paper and fold it in half.
  2. Everyone should think about different places of worship they know about (or have visited). They should write any similarities between the places of worship and the place they’ve visited in this activity on one side of the paper, and any differences on the other side of the paper.
  3. Everyone should take it in turns to share their ideas. Did any groups have ideas in common?

Reflection

This activity gave everyone the chance to think about their beliefs, values, and attitudes. Did anyone learn anything new? It might’ve been people’s first time visiting the place or interacting with the faith. Did the place look like they expected it to? If people were left with any unanswered questions, they could try to find out the answers before the next meeting.

This activity was also about being a local, national, and international citizen. Do people think that visiting new places and interacting with different people is an important part of being a citizen? At the end of the activity, everyone compared different buildings or places of worship. What were the main similarities? Global citizens try to understand the wider world and their place in it. There’s plenty of diversity and difference in the world – but are there any values or attitudes that all global citizens share? What about shared Scout values like care and cooperation?

Safety

Hiking and walking

Follow the guidance for activities in Terrain Zero, or the guidance from the adventure page.

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.

All activities must be safely managed. 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.