Back to Basics : Pioneering

By Loh Feng Ryan

On the 6th of February, our Year 1 Ventures unit built a drawbridge pioneering project under the supervision of our Year 3 Ventures and Rovers as part of our pioneering activity. Pioneering is an important skill even today as it trains scouts in the skill of awareness; awareness of self, awareness of resources, and awareness of space. It is also good training for scouts to learn how to work in a well-disciplined team.

Up for the challenge

The Ventures were given a short time of one day to prepare. However, they did not let this fact deter them and took the challenge in stride. As they planned the activity to much detail the night before, our Ventures faced little difficulties in executing the plan. The pioneering project was also a great opportunity for our Ventures to test what they have learned and trained for the past years and show the importance of application of the skills they have learned.

Basics of pioneering

Through this pioneering project, our Ventures reinforced their awareness of resources. The selection of wood is dependent on its function, which will determine the length and weight required. In addition, the structural integrity of the wood is an important safety aspect. Looking out for cracks and fractures within the wood is of paramount importance. All these are major factors in achieving a safe, stable, and successful pioneering structure. Secondly, the choice of rope depends on the thickness and length. Lashings such as shear lashing require a longer length. Ropes of 8mm thickness are optimum for tying lashings from one wood base to another. Thirdly, the choice of length of metal intings is dependent on the force it needs to support. A longer inting allows it to be malleted deeper, allowing it to withstand and support greater forces.

Our Ventures also employed various pioneering techniques and concepts. A block and tackle pulley system was established, providing a mechanical advantage to allow a single Venture to support the weight of the drawbridge. The anchor intings were also malleted at a 45-degree angle, and ropes were tied from the top of the first inting to the base of the second inting. This reduced the magnitude of the moment generated by the weight, allowing the anchor to withstand the weight of the drawbridge and the people on it.

Knowing ourselves, Knowing our allies

Most importantly, our Ventures learned about awareness for ourselves and our peers. Being aware of ourselves means understanding the capabilities of our skills and knotting, to ensure that the task assigned to us can be achieved to an excellent standard. Being aware of our peers is to understand one another's strengths and weaknesses, and how we can work together to outweigh our weaknesses and play to our strengths. During the project, we had to delegated tasks based on each person’s speciality, to ensure everyone could work together efficiently and smoothly like a well-oiled machine. Communication and teamwork within the unit was also vital in terms of distributing manpower, the construction sequence, and many others. Our Ventures also learned the importance of mental resilience. Staying focused and positive under the sweltering heat and fatigue, pushing themselves to their limits, and having the drive to achieve for nothing but perfection is important to achieving excellence and success. Ultimately, each knot was an exercise of discipline and trust in each other - discipline to tie each and every knot to their best ability to ensure the safety and structural integrity of the build, while trusting others to do so as well.

In the end, the new Ventures proved their mettle and rose above the challenge. Persevering and pushing forward even when new difficulty arises, the pioneering project was successful and the Ventures achieved excellence in building the drawbridge.