Go on an adventure with the Explore skills builder

Get ready for your unit's next adventure

28 July 2021

With more of you planning to return to face-to-face guiding at the start of next term, we’re taking a close-up look at the Explore skills builder, so your unit can be ready for its next adventure and to help you feel confident getting out and exploring in a way that works for your unit.

What is the Explore skills builder?

The Explore skills builder, sponsored by our friends the Royal Navy, is all about exploring new places, developing navigational skills, and building confidence. This includes all sorts of adventurous activities, from finding out about women explorers and navigating without using technology, to exploring landmarks and planning a trip. It’s a great way for girls to engage in the outside world and to get excited about discovering what’s on their doorstep and beyond.

Whether you’ll be meeting in-person or combining online and in-person meetings, you can adapt the Explore skills builder to suit your unit so no-one will miss out on an adventure.

We spoke to some leaders who have done just that, to find out how they got on and the advice they have to share.

Running the Explore skills builder

Gemma, a leader at 2nd Limbury (St Augustine’s) Brownies, ran activities from the Explore skills builder online and in-person socially distanced.

For stage three activity, Suss out the symbols, girls have to identify map symbols for different places such as car parks, schools and castles. To do this socially distanced, Gemma adapted the activity into a treasure hunt, spreading map symbols and their names across a field. Each girl then had to match the words and symbols with a list they’d been given. A week later Gemma continued the activity in an online meeting, asking girls to use the whiteboard on zoom to draw symbols of places in their local community.

And Gemma has this advice for other leaders thinking about running the Explore skills builder.

It isn’t just about doing walks and exploring the local area, it’s also about how to look after yourself. It’s actually one of the easiest ones for adaptations where it needs to be socially distanced or online. The activities can be as complicated or as easy as you want them to be. All that matters is making sure you meet the aim of the activity and the girls have fun.

Claire, a Brownie leader at 21st Bromley Brownies, ran the Explore skills builder stage two online.

To adapt the activity, I made some slides to go with the cards and where possible made it into a game or quiz. Our unit likes role-playing, so we made sure to incorporate lots of role-playing activities.

The Brownies enjoyed Mapping it out in stage two, especially when given a local map and they had to give grid references to the others to find local landmarks. Using breakout rooms to help facilitate group discussions was great. It allowed the quiet girls to contribute.

Take it further

Our new badge booster activities, created with the Royal Navy, are available to all Guides and Rangers who achieve their Explorer badge for stages four, five, and six, to take their skills a step further. They’re designed to be completed in their own time, with activities focused on planning an adventure, using the moon and stars to navigate, and finding someone who’s lost.

Share this video of G.P. Yes! in your unit meetings from stage five of the Explore skills builder. Girls can have a go at planning a route using GPS and latitude and longitude.

To make it easier for you to plan meetings, we’ve shared ideas for how to adapt activities for social distancing or online, including some from the Explore skills builder.

Remember to check guidelines for your country to help you plan your meeting in a covid secure way.