A firm favourite activity for our Scouts, the Order of the Boot night hike competition is one of our annual highlights. This year marked the 40th Anniversary of the District competition and produced not just a unique result but the best one ever for Longham.
For the last two years our Scouts have come home with both the winner and runner-up trophies in the junior ‘Welly’ competition but had to settle for the runner-up trophy in the senior ‘Boot’ competition. This time we broke all previous records and took both Welly trophies and the winning Boot trophy. We are not aware of any group achieving such high results in the competition’s history.
What makes the event so enjoyable for the Scouts is the challenge it provides and the satisfaction of completing it. Teams are required to navigate themselves around a muddy route in the middle of the night. They don’t know where they will be walking until the start. Along the route, they have checkpoints, with mystery challenges that test their skills, knowledge and teamwork. Boot teams comprise 4-5 Scouts (that can include 1 or 2 Explorers) who walk unaccompanied. Welly teams comprise 4-6 Scouts accompanied by 2 Leaders who cannot assist with navigation or challenges.
Our winning Welly team of 4 Scouts gave an extraordinary performance. Not only due to the team’s achievement but also on a personal level for the team members. One being the youngest member of the troop, who had not taken part in the competition before.
The runner up Welly team of 5 Scouts also put in a very strong performance. Three of the members were new to the competition. All went away proud of what they had achieved together and with enjoyable memories.
It was a climax to their time in Scouts for the members of the Boot team. Three of whom were Scouts and two were our former Scouts, now Explorers. Some within this team had trained and competed for a number of years to attain this historic accomplishment.
Aside from the trophies and certificates, this event has provided an important learning experience for those that took part. As Henry Ford said, “If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right”. They can all attribute their success to the hard work and dedication that they chose to put in during the run up to the competition. Practicing hiking during weekends, learning to navigate and work as a team was all part of the satisfaction and provided a memorable experience for all.
This competition has also provided inspiration to many who have taken part from Longham. Some participants from recent years have been inspired to go for their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and enter the Ten Tors competition.