What is it that’s fundamentally different about what we do?
30 July 2018 12:51
By Honor Wilson-Fletcher, British Exploring Society CEO
You may know a young person who is currently waiting for results, or choosing between a college or a training programme. They may also have the chance to make a choice about that ‘one off’ experience which takes them away from home and school. You may be supporting them in this. This is the personal challenge which is going to give them the chance to spread their wings, find out more about themselves, and prepare for adult life. But how do they choose? They will only do it once. There are many ‘offers’ out there, and a lot of them look remarkably similar – young people jumping in the air, exotic locations…
So, what is it that’s fundamentally different about what we do? Our ethos, values, approach and the level of challenge we provide are all distinctive – but these will only really be obvious with hindsight.
Lots of young people are being asked to take on debt and make big, rational decisions with long-term consequences. So, I thought I’d focus on the major practical differences which mark us out from commercial providers of overseas experiences for young people which might be more helpful to a young person trying to decide what to do:
• Our intensive leader-to-explorer ratios are c.4:1 (most overseas experiences work on ratios of c.12:1); This is like your tutorial ratio at college – do you want one a week, or two a term? With more leaders, you can also do more challenging and exciting things…
• All our leaders are volunteers – they decline paid opportunities to come with us and donate over £300,000 in professional time a year and go through extensive technical assessment and training to take part;
You will be supported by some of the very best and most committed leaders in their fields.
• Our science and media leaders provide unique learning opportunities in the field;
You have greater opportunities to learn amazing stuff and will return with a wide range of skills and greater knowledge, from a BES expedition. 40% of explorers go on to use science or engineering in their careers.
• We go to genuinely remote locations to stretch and challenge our young explorers;
You will learn about your own capabilities, as never before, and go to places you’d have no chance of accessing otherwise.
• We provide pre-and post-training, track progress and support our explorers on their next steps in education, employment or training;
We will help you convert your expedition experience into stand-out learning for life and work.
• Become part of our community as a Member of British Exploring Society for life (free of charge).
You will become part of a remarkable community of fellow members which includes Roald Dahl and Ran Fiennes, great entrepreneurs and achievers in every field. We want to support you and will be interested in your future now.
It is easy to take for granted the people and institutions we know well; what makes their values special to us, and how they respond to us. When it comes to families, if we don’t make them for ourselves, we are often provided with helpful opportunities – anniversaries– to reflect on how much we care about the people around us, and of our connections with them. Organisations get the chance to do this now and again too – but probably less often.
British Exploring Society wants to hold on to the values and unique principles which have been part of the organisation since the 1932. We are also professionalising and modernising the organisation to ensure that we get to celebrate our centenary in great shape. That’s only 14 years away.
There is something very simple, and very significant, that you could do to help us, as we make the case for the value of what we do over the next few years.
British Exploring Society has earned respect and its place in the world of exploration and the outdoors. It is still not known widely in the world of business, funding, or in state education. One of the most powerful things you can do to help us, is simply to name us. Some of our most eminent past explorers added us to Who’s Who. If you’ve been a Young Explorer – please add us to your CV, to your work biography, and follow our linkedin group. Thank you so much.
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