Nights away and activities

Resources and notifications

Cubs in a tent

Nights away notification

If you’re taking young people on a nights away experience, you’ll need to fill out a notification at least 7 days before the event. Download the form, and return (with your risk assessment) to [email protected]

Activity notification

Adventurous activities require a notification to be filled out, at least 7 days before the activity.

Nights Away

Nights away experiences are an essential part of running any section. They offer a different type of adventure to young people outside the usual meeting place.

To ensure adults running nights away events have the right skills and knowledge, there is a ‘Nights Away Permit Scheme’. Each nights away event must have a permit holder who holds the correct permit for the type of camp.

Frequently asked questions about nights away

What is a Nights Away Permit?

The Permit is credit card-sized and is a ‘mini certificate’ confirming the level of camping skills attained by its holder. The available categories are:

Indoor – for staying in a building that has toilets plumbed into a waste disposal system (eg. a cess pit, storage tank or mains drains) and access to running drinking water.

Campsite – for staying at a site that has toilets plumbed into a waste disposal
system (eg. a cess pit, storage tank or mains drains) and access to running drinking

Greenfield – for staying at any site where any of the above facilities do not
exist – for example a summer camp on a farmer’s field.

Lightweight expedition – for staying at any site for not more than one night before moving on. The core activity is a form of expedition, not residential, and
all the equipment is transported with the participants eg. QSA/DofE hikes, expedition hikes, canoe expeditions etc. NB The Green Field Permit is the only one which automatically includes this element of the Permit Scheme. Those holding a hillwalking permit that includes lightweight camping in remote areas may also run Lightweight Expedition events.

Occasionally restrictions may be imposed on any of the above, but the reasons for these should be discussed with you prior to the recommendation being passed to the DC for issue of the permit.

Do I need a permit?

Yes. For every nights away event, a permit holder must be present.

See POR Chapter 9.56

Where can I find out more about the permit scheme?

Those wishing to gain a nights away permit or wish to find out more should refer to the applicant’s guide.

What is the application process?

Submit your Nights Away Application Form to the relevant Advisor at the address. This must be done before any planning can take place.

You should include, where possible, documentation to back-up previous camps/overnight stays you may have organised or been involved with. Please note camps or parts of camps or residential experiences you have run rather than just attended.

Prior to starting the process of planning a camp you will need to arrange a meeting with the relevant Advisor so an initial assessment can take place. It is at this point that your current level of experience can be discussed, and the level of assessment required will be determined.

During the time you are working with the NAA to attain your Nights Away Permit you will be assessed on the 8 Core Skills:
1. Planning a Nights Away Event
2. Ensuring the effective administration of an event
3. Preparing and co-ordinating a programme of activities
4. Choosing and preparing the event team
5. Choosing, organising and maintaining the right equipment
6. Ensuring the health, happiness and safety of self and others.
7. Organising good catering
8. Making best use of the venue

Your Advisor will be assessing your input into the above stages, and that it is not just an “off the shelf” camp exactly as run in previous years by previous Leaders. You will not be required to reinvent the wheel, but ensure your personal stamp is put on the event.

Assessment is likely to take place at three stages – planning, during the event itself, and a follow-up de-brief afterwards. Only if you have shown competence in all assessed areas will you permit be recommended to the DC, further assessment may be required.

Your camp will be visited as part of the Permit assessment by either the DC, DC’s representative or an NAA either from the District, or if camping outside the District, a local representative.

Your Permit will be issued based on a mixture of prior experience and assessment. It is not envisaged that a permit will be issued on the running of your first camp, but an assessment based on a variety of previous experiences and your current level of skill.

As a Permit holder you will need to prove you are able to run and be responsible for all Sections at any location during a residential experience.

Given the level of responsibility that comes with the Permit, the assessment is not meant to be easy, however your Advisor will be able to help and guide you through all stages of the practical assessment, advising where necessary, with the aim of promoting quality residential experiences for all our young people across Wansdyke.

Is there any training I should do to get my permit?

Applicants may find it useful to view the below training modules.

Module 16 – Residential Experience
This module is not a requirement under the Nights Away Permit Scheme, it is however a requirement for the Wood Badge.

Module 38 – Skills for Residential Experiences
This Module is not a requirement under the Nights Away Permit Scheme, it is also not a requirement for the Wood Badge.

It should be noted that although neither of the above modules is a requirement for the Nights Away Permit Scheme attendance of either of these courses should be noted on your application form as they will be taken into account by your advisor whilst carrying out your initial assessment. Issue of a Nights Away Permit does however validate both of these modules.

I’m ready to apply. Who do I contact?

Apply to the District Nights Away Advisor, Mark Smee via [email protected]

Please ensure you apply in good time for assessor availability.

Can I upgrade my permit?

If you wish to be considered for a Permit Upgrade you need to contact an Advisor before doing anything else. Each upgrade needs to be reviewed on an individual basis and your Advisor will need to be informed before any camp arrangements are made.

How do I renew my permit?

Permits are issued for a maximum of 5 years.

You will need to complete the standard application form and forward to your Advisor including all experience gained during the period since your last assessment. A further assessment may be required, dependent upon your recent experience. Occasionally restrictions may be imposed but the reasons for these should be made available to you.

NB – POR 9.57 – Permits will expire automatically if they are not renewed.

Useful resources for nights away

Further Support

Contact Ian Tucker, District Nights Away Advisor.

Ian can advise on nights away enquiries and the nights away permit scheme. Ian is also an assessor for Wansdyke.

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