The Crean Challenge Expedition is a 6 month scouting challenge to encourage young scouters to achieve new goals and overcome the toughest of challenges. Throughout the process of this challenge, participants must organise and complete 6 15km-20km hikes, two written projects and finally complete an expedition in Iceland. This must all be carefully logged to fully fulfil the challenge.
My name is Lucy Gilmartin, and I am a scout with almost ten years in 9th/76th Bandon, Co. Cork. This year I am a participant of this year’s Crean Challenge Expedition. It is a scouting challenge inspired by the exploits of Tom Crean, the Antarctic explorer. I am honoured to be a part of this and my aim is to share my experiences of this rewarding trip I will embark on with my readers.
Having first heard about the Crean Challenge from a fellow scouter, I was immediately intrigued and desired to learn more. I turned to the scouting Ireland webpage where there was a wealth of information. I immediately wanted to apply but was worried my scouting career would not compete with others. The application process involves a scouting CV containing all you have achieved in your scouting life. I thought back as far as I could and found anything and everything that was relevant.
There also was a section in the application to write about why I wanted to go. I wrote about my dream of climbing mountain Everest and I saw this as a possible stepping stone. I also wrote about how I would be an asset to the team, as I see myself as a very determined and a hard-working person. I could also offer some scouting skills I have learned throughout my years in scouts to the table. The final section asked what I wanted to achieve, this was an easy question. I want to meet new scouters from around Ireland, possibly learn new skills and tricks to bring back to Bandon Scouts and obviously a trip to Iceland would be amazing. I spend hours drafting, editing and rereading my application. I really wanted to be accepted, so I didn’t want to omit any necessary information.
When I found out I would be embarking on this challenging expedition, I was ecstatic. I had worked so hard on this and I was willing to now work to my best ability. I am proud to be the first scout from my troop ever to attend this challenge. I am also the only scout in Cork County to be accepted. My parents and leader had inspired me and motivated me so I wanted to make them proud and make myself proud.
So far it has lived up to my expectations. As time went by I realised this was a reality and I needed to make more progress. I began attending more national events, enhanced my skills up and improved my fitness. I have walked almost daily and it had improved my strength greatly.
As time flew by the first training weekend came along. This weekend allowed me to impress all the new people I encountered despite being apprehensive. During this weekend I got to know a lot of people and am very comfortable with the idea of travelling to Iceland with. I have been lucky to have some fabulous mentoring through superb educators who have guided me through what I needed to accomplish in the next 6 months. I will be working on two projects my themes are ‘social’ and ‘character’. For my character project I will be working in a local charity shop and writing up on my experiences. For my character I will write 4 monthly articles about my time in the Crean Challenge and log my journalistic experiences. I feel positive about my projects, they are both very interesting and I hopefully I will complete them to the standard needed for the medal.
I am motivated to put my energies into what is to come, the hikes, the project and most of all Iceland.
Next time I will share information on the hikes I must organise and complete, the beginning of my projects, the second training weekend and my reflections on this whole experience so far. I can’t wait!
y Lucy Guilmartin