According to Google, rendezvous means,“to meet at an agreed time and place”. Scout camps across the country are the meeting place for countless outdoor adventures!
The Wilderness Rendezvous Camp hosted by Saskatchewan Council and open to Scouting communities across the country, is an annual summer camp that fosters hiking skills. The camp takes place over nine days at the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. Here, Scouts have an opportunity to develop Outdoor Adventure Skills, particularly Trail and Camping Skills, while taking advantage of the area’s scenic hiking trails.
The camp program works in stages over seven years . During the first year, for example, third year Cubs can participate in two overnight programs in Patrols: one with Scouters and the second without. In the fourth year of the program, Scouts with appropriate personal progression skills hike for five days without the Scouters. They also participate in a 24-hour solo hike in the wilderness for 24 hours. Through the Wilderness Rendezvous Camp event, Scouts continue to focus on increasingly difficult skills while building a foundation of leadership in their programs and with their Troops.
Scouts continue to focus on increasingly difficult skills while building a foundation of leadership in their programs and with their Troops.
The new Wilderness Rendezvous Hike Challenge (WRHC) answers the challenge of Scout camps not being able to run in person this summer, due to COVID-19 safety restrictions. Scouting often means being able to adapt to changing circumstances, and in this spirit camp members Penelope Ulmer, Gary Brown, Gillian de Graauw and Paul Ellerman have created this initiative to promote the benefits of hiking throughout the country.
The challenge is simple – hike 25 kilometres this summer, but once you have hiked 25 kilometres, don’t stop! Continue the journey. Along the way, Scouts are encouraged to post photos and other updates of their completed hikes on the WRHC’s Facebook page. The hashtag #WRhike can also be used to showcase hiking trips on other social media channels. For $5, participants can submit their hiking information and receive a crest for their campfire blanket.
There are currently 230 participants completing the WRHC across Canada! The program allows for everything from backcountry to urban hiking, as long as you hike at least a two-kilometre trail.
I have personally undertaken this challenge. As one of the 230 participants, the WRHC has encouraged me to get outside and hike more. The program has also fostered a sense of community and pride in Scouting as I can view where others are hiking on the Facebook page. The program has cheered me up because I feel like the Scouting community is still out there, even amidst these unprecedented pandemic times. It has also encouraged me to stay active and foster a more thorough local understanding of the amazing trails in my area.
Although it is difficult to truly ‘rendezvous’ during the pandemic, we still have the ability to get out and explore the wilderness. What trail will you hike next for the Wilderness Rendezvous Hiking Challenge?