Young people are being encouraged to volunteer in their communities to earn credits towards expeditions in destinations as diverse as the Indian Himalaya, Peruvian Amazon and Canadian Yukon.
The 2019 Explorer Miles scheme has been launched by the British Exploring Society, a youth development charity founded on the belief that challenging experiences can change lives.
The charity takes young people between the ages of 14 and 25 on expeditions to remote locations where they face challenges, gain skills and learn about themselves. 11,000 young people have benefited from the expeditions to date, acquiring knowledge relevant to their lives and to the fragile environments that they explore.
The Explorer Miles scheme enables young people to earn credits towards the costs of participation on an expedition up to a maximum value of £1,000 for 100 hours of volunteering.
According to the British Exploring Society, the scheme is all about making expeditions more inclusive while incentivising and developing the habit of community action.
Honor Wilson-Fletcher, CEO, commented:
We have two main aims with our Explorer Miles scheme. Firstly, to make our expeditions as accessible as possible. Secondly, to ensure that everyone who joins us on expedition acquires as many skills for life as they can with us. The positive learning gained from volunteering at home is a fantastic start.
Explorer Miles volunteering comes in many forms. Young Explorers in 2017 and 2018 worked in charity shops, made bread in community bakeries, mucked out rare breed animal sanctuaries and spent time with patients in respite care homes.
Peter, a participant on a previous scheme, said:
Perhaps the most rewarding and enriching experience locally has been my time working as a street dance coach. Watching the children there grow and develop, both in skills and confidence, influenced me massively.
Expedition costs in 2019 range from £2,700 for a three week trek in the Canadian Yukon to £4,200 for a five week expedition in the Peruvian Amazon. Flights are not included.
Further information about the Explorer Miles schemes can be found here.