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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

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Tracking down dinner

Making dinner in the outdoors by laying trails in this tasty tracking treasure hunt.

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You’ll need

  • Kindling (for example, small sticks)
  • Stones
  • Food for cooking
  • Images or tokens to represent ingredients
Tracking signs
PDF – 533.3KB

Before you begin

  • Choose a recipe. It's best to keep it simple, as the more ingredients, the more teams and tokens needed.

We recommend recipes with around five ingredients.

  • Create a token or image to represent each ingredient in the recipe.
  • Decide whether you’ll cook straightaway at the end of the game, and make sure you have everything you need.

Lay your trails

  1. Split into as many teams as there are ingredients.
  2. Name each team after an ingredient.
  3. The person leading the game should give each team member a token to represent their ingredient.

For example, if there are five people in team ‘sweetcorn’, they should each have a sweetcorn token.

  1. Choose a starting area.

You might want to talk about tracking symbols (and set out examples) before you start to make sure everyone’s comfortable with the signs.

  1. Teams should hide their tokens somewhere nearby, and lay a trail from the starting area to the hiding place. The tokens should be visible from the final symbol of the trail.
  2. Once they’ve finished their trails, everyone should return to the starting area.

You may want to set a time limit to make sure there’s enough time for everyone to find the ingredients (and cook, if you’re cooking).

Track your treat

  1. The teams should follow each of the trails to find all of the tokens they need to get the ingredients for their meal.
  2. If a team finishes before the others, they could help the other groups or start preparing the fires and ingredients (if you’re cooking).


This activity helped you to value the outdoors. Did you enjoy finding the tokens? Did the natural environment give you good hiding places, or natural obstacles for your trail to avoid? What natural outdoors things did you use to make the tracking symbols? Did you feel connected to the natural environment?

This activity needed you to communicate to find items (and to help other teams find items). How did you check whether your trails would be easy to follow? How easy was it to understand (or misunderstand!) the symbols? Why do you think people might use tracking symbols in the wild? Why can’t they just call each other or leave a map?


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


Remember to check for allergies, eating problems, fasting or dietary requirements and adjust the recipe as needed. Make sure you’ve suitable areas for storing and preparing food and avoid cross contamination of different foods. Take a look at our guidance on food safety and hygiene.

  • You could choose a location for the tokens, and get the groups to navigate to them.
  • You could use this activity to collect other items such as items commonly used for backwoods cooking or types of fire. For example, teams could collect tokens for a billy can, stick, water bucket, fire and wood.
  • To shorten this activity, split the tracking and cooking into separate activities – you don’t have to cook straight away.
  • You could also hide ingredients for multiple recipes and let teams barter it out to build their recipes.

Make sure the recipe you choose is suitable for everyone’s dietary requirements. If anyone has any access needs, make sure all of the trails work for them.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.