How to have fun (and safe) outdoor winter adventures
With the nights drawing in, lots of sections will be planning more outdoor winter meetings than they’ve ever run before. Here are ten top tips for making the most of the winter outdoors at any age, from Beavers to Network.
- It doesn’t need to be night time. With groups who are used to being indoors during the winter, think about running events during daylight hours at the weekends. It’s a great way for young people to learn about looking after themselves outdoors in winter, before you add the added challenge of darkness.
- Wrap up warm. Provide clear advice on everything from footwear to headwear. Keeping a necker visible can be useful but otherwise, warmth and waterproofing are what matters.
- Keep active. Plan a programme that keeps every section member physically active all the time, and make every outdoor meeting an adventure that is accessible for everyone.
- Boost energy and morale. Snacks, hot drinks, and warming fires are all great options.
- Provide some shelter from the wind and rain. Go under trees or tarpaulins and keep out of wind tunnels. Keep to the edges of large open spaces rather than the centre; you’ll find it warmer and more sheltered in these areas.
- Keep it short. It’s better to have a short, memorable adventure and send them home warm and happy, than letting them freeze over an epic session.
- See and be seen. Use lights and hi viz to make sure your sections can see what they’re meant to be doing – and each other – all of the time. Lighting can also help social distancing by spreading groups out. Modern LED lights can be a great addition to your stores: quick to set up and portable.
- Make the winter outdoors an adventure, not a worry. Gaze at the stars, listen out for wildlife, look for bats, share a local ghost story. Everyday locations get exciting in the dark.
- It’s OK to cancel at short notice if the weather looks too bad. Parents are really grateful to us for providing our activities. They’ll completely understand, especially for younger sections, if you occasionally decide that the forecast’s too bad and postpone the session to the following week.
- Review and revise. At the end of each meeting, have a quick discussion with your leader team to agree what could work even better for future meetings. Don’t forget to ask your sections too.
COVID-19 safe outdoors activities
We've got a whole host of new, socially distanced, outdoors activities that you can do with your young people. We've also added 'socially distanced outdoors' as a new filter in our activities database so that you can find them easily, whenever suits you.Take a look