Gold Practice Letter from Venture -Out

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Dear Parent / Guardian

Your child is due to attend their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Training Expedition on 7th to 9th July. I’m contacting you to confirm the arrangements. If they no can longer attend please let the school know ASAP as this has an impact on the viability of their group.

I will be coordinating the event and will remain in the area all the time to support the staff. Their trainer for the 3 days will be Caroline Coombes who trained them on their last event. I’ll be on-duty overnight on the campsites and should be your ‘First contact’ if you need to get in touch with your child. I’d remind you that there is often patchy signal in the area that we will be working, and I may not get a message from you for hours. You can leave a message and I’ll return it when I pick it up. You should also not be asking your young people to be ringing you to keep them updated. Assume ‘No news is good news’.

During this training expedition, their trainer will stay with them most of the first two days, training their navigation, group skills and campcraft to a higher level and risk assessing them. On most days, they will be out for at least 8 hours and be walking at least 18km and ascending about 400m. Only on the first day will they not have to carry the group kit (tents, cookers, fuel). Please ensure they have understood that this training is to be harder than the Silver training they attended and that their fitness, equipment and food need to be good.

Please ensure they are bringing a watch – not just a clock on their phone. They need a wrist watch to help them time their walking and is an essential part of navigating and not getting lost.

Drop-off and pick up point
They will meet me and their trainer, and walk from here in a circular route for 3 days to end up back here. They will stay at 2 different campsites on their walk.

Stainforth Village Car Park
The Hollies, Stainforth, Settle BD24 9QD
Click here for map

Friday morning drop off time: 9:30am
Sunday afternoon pick up: 5:00pm.
They may be later or earlier, please understand that they may get lost or be slower on their last day as they will not be walking with the trainer that day. (Remote supervision)

Getting lost – we have had problems recently with parents getting lost on the way to the drop off / pick up because they were using Google Maps and not a dedicated SatNav or SatNav app. Google Maps can struggle in the countryside as it relies on you receiving a 4G signal to update the map position. Please take precautions to download that area. Please also be aware that postcodes are not an accurate place finder in the countryside, they can take you to a 1km area but not necessarily to the exact point (houses and farms are a lot more spread out in the countryside). You must check the map before you set off and print it out.

These are the campsites we are using in case you need to pick up a child.

1st night – Goredale Hall Campsite
Gordale House, Malham, Skipton BD23 4DL

2nd Night – Littondale Park, Hawkswick, Skipton BD23 5PX

Mobile phones
The Duke of Edinburgh Organisation recommend that we do not allow participants to have mobile phones whilst on expedition (day or night). There are a number of reasons for this:
The participants are encouraged to ‘un-plug’ from the outside world and focus on becoming part of their team by socialising and supporting each other.
Mobile phones don’t stand up well to rain, mud, being crushed in pockets. They run out of charge and there are no charging facilities on campsites.
There is patchy coverage in the countryside, and batteries die and so if you are waiting on a phone call from your young person and don’t receive it or you are trying to ring them to check on them, and they don’t call back – you get anxious for no reason.
For these reasons, we have always run and supervised expeditions in such a way that mobile reception is not required for supervision or safety:

Sometimes it is necessary for me to contact home if a young person takes ill or has forgotten equipment. I have all the emergency contact details that you provided the school with and can contact parents if I need to. You can contact me directly on the number above – please only do this if it is an emergency, and remember, I too will have patchy reception and so may not get straight back to you.

Thanks for your support.

Kevin Beattie
Programme Manager