I have great memories of adventures with groups from when I was young. I was the child that went on every trip I could. I loved group activities, in school and clubs after school.
Now I am older I still get to go away, but this time I bring groups of young people with me. Still awesome but it involves a little bit more planning.
I’ll always remember the time when I was younger we went away with an after school club. We stayed over night in a hostel but there was another group also staying there! That was cool at first but our leaders hadn’t booked space for us to hangout and the other group were doing small training sessions through the hostel. Some of our group didn’t have warm clothes or jackets with them so none of us were allowed outside either. It made for a really boring trip because the leaders hadn’t planned ahead!
A group trip with young people is quite a responsibility and maybe not as easy and as you may imagine it. Even if you have done it before, maybe you will find something in this list of tips that could be useful for you as well!
Most off the work will be done in the months before you and your group take off on the adventure so make sure you have a solid preparation to make it a smooth trip for everyone! Plan to take in a non-refundable deposit early. This way you have confirmed numbers for accommodation, money to start paying some of the invoices and you can begin on the real planning without having to change it every time the numbers change.
1. Start Soon!
Plan like 6-7 months early. As soon as you know your location, book it! The hostel will give you the best rooms because you are in first and it means you are more likely going to get the exact rooming you want. Make sure you have a fair idea of the gender breakdown of leaders and young people as well; this will make your rooming a lot easier. You don’t want to end up having all the kids in one part of the hostel while you sleep on the other side of the building and you can’t keep an eye on them.The extra time also allows you to start getting money together to pay for the trip.
2. Don’t assume anything!
If you want a lot of space for games and the hostel says they have a conference room, then book it in case someone else does. If you want the group leaders to be beside or near the young people, then make sure you let the hostel know. Just be clear about what you want and discuss the possibilities with the hostel. They specialise in accommodating groups.
3. Where is the first aid kit?
There will always be cuts, headaches and blisters. Its better to be prepared than to have to ask for one off the hostel or have to go running to the shop! (Maybe a bit more up-to-date then the one below! You don’t want to be the one creating the infection instead of healing the small cut.)
4. Hungry Mouths
Get dietary requirements early off everyone. For your own sake, its great to know early on if you are dealing with peanut allergies or someone who can’t eat meat for religious reasons. If the hostel are taking care of food, dietary requirements are important for the hostel staff to know.
Aim to bring the consent forms with you. The contact details and even dietary requirements might be needed during the trips. Having the hard copies has come in handy a few times for me!
5. Kit list
Provide a kit list to your young people. Someone will always pack wrong or bring a sleeping bag they might not need or not have a waterproof jacket with them. You are better off providing a list of what you think they should bring and explain that all items are important. This saves a lot of stress later! On sites like PackinglistOnline you can make a packing list real simple for every occasion. That way you and your group will be sure not to forget a thing.
6. Plan B
Always have back up plans, if there is a storm outside and you do your hike or orienteering, have quiz and indoor games in your back pocket, ready to go. Vice versa, if the hostel indoor areas are in use by others, have interesting things planned for outside. A lot of games are, with a little bit of adjustment, suitable for the inside, as well for the outside.
7. Share the Load
If planning the trip is stressing you out, ask for help. It is always better to have a few people involved in the whole process in case you end up sick or not able to go. It also makes the planning process easier and more fun! Taking away a group is not always easy, but the hostel staff are used to all questions. When in doubt, just ask!
Try to let everyone have their say in planning the trips. Young people will suggest things that will never come to mind for you. In my experience they can be a lot more fun and less complicated to do than what you have came up with yourself. You are also giving them a chance of leadership and the feeling of responsibility if they are involved in the planning process.
Do you have anymore group trip tips that we have forgotten which could help other people who are taking a group of young people away on a trip? Share your thoughts with us, comment on our section below or on Facebook! If you are planning a group trip, you can get in contact with us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or ring on +353 (0)1 830 4555 during office hours!
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