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September 26, 2013

Pioneering incidents

The 'incident hike' is a pioneering exercise for the whole patrol. The general idea is that a patrol of Scouts will hike along a predetermined route, in the wilderness, in camp or in town, and solve a series of 'incidents' or 'obstacles' along the way,using pioneering equipment carried with them, or provided at the scene. The incident hike is part of the Explorer advancement level in Scouts South Africa.
A well designed incident hike will have some variety, and the four categories in the sketch above are a good start to ensure you have variety.

Manipulate an object: this could mean moving a log through a slalom course using ropes only, or retrieving a bucket from the centre of a prohibited zone.

Cross a vertical obstacle: this might mean building a tripod to span over a wall, or prussiking up a tree to retrieve a clue.

Treat and transport a casualty: at first, pioneering might not seem applicable to a first aid situation, but you could use poles to improvise a stretcher or travois, or lasso the tow hitch of a car to retrieve it from under (fake) power lines, or improvise a tackle system to lift a heavy weight off a casualty

Cross a horizontal obstacle: the classic Scout obstacle is 'burning lava' but  if the chance presents itself to use a real stream,pond or culvert, grab it with both hands.

As for the equipment, you can either provide equipment at each base, or give the patrol a predetermined kit to carry eg. One stave and one rope per Scout. In any case, give some thought to whether the equipment can be used to solve the obstacle. A challenge is one thing, but giving a patrol a impossible task can be demoralizing. Of course, every now and then a patrol will surprise you and complete the task in a way you wouldn't ever have thought of.

The incident hike is a lot more entertaining if there is some theme holding it together: maybe relating to a movie, or a book. There could be a clue to retrieve at every incident that provides the destination of the next incident, or a mystery to unravel, like following the trail of a missing expedition.

The incident hike is pioneering in action, a series of exercises for the Patrol Leader to test themselves and their patrol, and is a fun way to work light pioneering or staving into a troop night meeting.

UPDATE: A reader on First Facebook Scout Group pointed out this book at Scouts Canada's The Dump about incident courses with some good ideas.
drawn on iPad Mini using Paper app and Just-Mobile AluPen

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