International Escape for Berkshire Explorers

Anyone in need of an escape from the challenging situation in which we are all locked need look no further than Scouting for inspiration. As the Scout Association’s “The Great Indoors” campaign offers an impressive array of activities to keep young people – and adults alike – entertained from home, an Explorer Leader from Berkshire has developed an online activity that has quickly become an international hit.

The South Berkshire Explorers Escape Room, the brainchild of Leader Neil Harris, pits participants’ wits against a series of hidden clues, codes and puzzles in a bid to escape from a virtual Scout Hall. Such was the popularity of the game, it has already been enjoyed by Scouts as far flung as Canada, Brazil, Australia and South Africa.

Neil said: “In the current climate, with no face-to-face meetings permitted, we have started virtual meetings for our Explorers. This presented an immediate challenge, as we don’t necessarily have a back pocket full of meetings for these circumstances. We know from our youth shaped Scouting that Escape Rooms are popular with our Explorers, so we set about creating our own.”

Neil’s inspiration was found at Hogwarts, no less, using a Harry Potter themed digital escape room to generate his own magical creation.

“I gave the Hogwarts room a quick go and decided it would be an ideal format for the Explorers. I familiarised myself with Google Forms and the next challenge was dreaming up the problems to solve, so that it wasn’t completely linear. After a few trial runs by other leaders to iron out the flow and glitches, this was the result.”

We know from our youth shaped Scouting that Escape Rooms are popular with our Explorers, so we set about creating our own.

Neil Harris, South Berkshire Explorers

As we continue to seek solace in home entertainment during this period, it’s well worth giving the South Berkshire Escape Room a try, whether you’ve done a real-life Escape Room or not. All you need is pens, paper and a willing team of sleuths to decrypt the clues.  

“When we ran it with South Berks Explorers,” said Neil, “it took them about 50 mins to complete and went down a storm. So far it has been completed by Scouts in the UK, Jersey, Canada, Brazil, Australia and South Africa. It provided an engaging activity and provided an outlet for social contact that is important for our young people, especially at this time. We’ve put a lot of effort into it, so we want it to be enjoyed by as many people around the world as possible.”

The feedback from the Explorers was certainly positive!

Ellie said: “A really fun evening! We had to think outside the box and work as a team to solve the clues.” Kitty added: It was good to still maintain the social aspect of Explorers whilst doing something enjoyable.” Even the adults were impressed: “Thank you Explorers for organising such fantastic activities. The girls really look forward to each meeting and the laughter coming from the room is fabulous to listen to!”

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