YET announces award winners for 2024!

Young Explorers' Trust

The YET is very pleased to announce the well-deserved winners of grants and awards for expeditions this year. The awards are named after explorers who have achieved great feats in the past or were leaders of youth expeditions. Read our guide to YET awards which explains what each one is about.

Peer Group Awards

Stephenson Expedition Award

The British University Kayak Expedition 2024 will be exploring and paddling multiple undescended white-water rivers in the Sierra de Los Cuchumatanes region of Guatemala.

Sir Vivian Fuchs Award

Imperial College Whitewater Kayaking Expedition. The purpose of this whitewater kayaking expedition is to provide the expedition members with a physical challenge to help develop their kayaking and teamwork skills by safely and independently exploring the rivers of Kyrgyzstan.

Individual Awards

John Hunt Awards

Ace & Josie Cockburn. This is a joint award to two disabled, but passionate, teenagers, who will be volunteers in the small town of Nanyuki in Kenya for a month this summer giving their time, energy, and hard work to two deserving organisations, a hospital and an animal orphanage.

Kaitlin Frost is a member of the Essex Boys & Girls Clubs expedition to Nepal. They will trek for 10 days to an earthquake devastated village where they will help in the restoration before trekking out and white water rafting!

Jim Bishop Awards

Amelia Lee is a member of her school 4-week expedition to organised by Camps International. While they are there they will be working on community projects that support local people and experiencing life in Ecuador.

Cameron Duffy, also with Camps International but in Borneo, where he will be contributing to projects designed to make a significant and lasting impact on the region’s most critical issues. Such as village Improvement works to improve the facilities of the rapidly growing community of Bongkud & Habitat Conservation involving activities to help safeguard this wildlife paradise.

Lottie Devlin The Zululand – Natal Community & Volunteering Project is based in South Africa. The main project location is in the Bonamanzi game reserve with a second module in St Luci. She will be undertaking conservation work (such as reserve maintenance, tracking and monitoring protected wildlife, carrying out field surveys and research), working with children and communities to learn about the culture.

Ruby Horsburgh is undertaking an expedition to Morocco, trekking in the Atlas Mountains and working on community projects.

David Hollier Award

Joshua Page & Toby Simpson are members of the Central Yorkshire Scouts Expedition to Morocco, trekking in the Atlas Mountains, aiming to summit Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa at 4167 metres, and to take part in community work at Atlas Kinder, a children’s village set up for abandoned children.

Sir Vivian Fuchs Awards

Jema Skinner is joining an Operetaion Wallacea expedition to Madagascar to where she will be working on conservation projects counting the biodiversity of endemic species in the rainforest and the coral reefs.

Peter Smith Awards

Mary Betteridge was a member of the Mount School, York, 2022 expedition to Iceland. Since then through the Trainee Leadership Programme at the school she has developed the skills needed to be an assistant leader on the school’s all girls expedition to East Greenland. The expedition projects include mountaineering science research in glaciology and ecology.

Everest Awards

Pranav Krishna will join an expedition to Kenya, which will have a real impact on one of East Africa’s most amazing destinations. He will live and work alongside local people and get involved in a range of sustainable projects, from community development to environmental conservation, his first real life adventurous experience.

Annalise Fraser, 17, from Speyside in Scotland has grown up in the outdoors, enjoying various types of water sports including kayaking, canoeing, and surfing, regularly hill walking, outdoor swimming, cycling and cross-country skiing and undertaken a two-week outdoor residential leadership course. She is using this experience to join a two-month Operation Raleigh Expedition to South Affrica with three key phases, being a community project, an environmental project, and an adventure leadership trek through untamed, remote South African bushland.

The Alfred Stephenson Award for Individual Contributions to Youth Exploration

This is an annual award made to an individual who is a member of the Young Explorers’ Trust (or an affiliated expedition group) for outstanding service to youth expeditions.

Alfred Stephenson was heavily involved in Antarctic exploration during the 1930s. He was very keen on youth expeditions and became the first Screening Panel Chairman in 1974 for some 10 years.

The 2024 Stephenson Award has been given to Ben Parker of Perse School, Cambridge

Ben is an experienced and well qualified outdoor adventurer both in the mountains and on water. He has taken these skills into education, where he has continued to develop not only his own levels and standards of performance but also those of many young people and fellow staff. He is now Head of Outdoor Pursuits & Expeditions at The Perse School. On joining The Perse School, he soon became an active member of staff on their overseas expeditions, being a leader of both Swedish canoe ventures and those to the far mountains, as well as training activities in the UK

When the then leader of outdoor activities left the school Ben took on the role, enthusiastically and rapidly expanded the department. He developed a whole school progressive approach to a wide variety of high-quality experiences that are appropriate to each age group and engendered a sense of development framed in the collective body of Perse Exploration Society (PES). The PES structure is designed to build challenge step by step with all pupils trying outdoor pursuits as part of the timetabled curriculum starting in Year 7 with “Base Camp” sessions. Many students choose to continue exploring the great outdoors by joining “Ascent Group” in Year 8 and progress through to “Summit 12 “by the 6th Form.

During their adventure journeys, students learn bushcraft, canoeing and mountaineering skills, along with how to work effectively in a team, and a range of valuable personal skills. These ventures both in and close to the UK, as well as to some of the more remote places on earth (e.g., Himalayas, Andes) are a highlight of pupils’ school career and a source of lifelong memories

Alongside these open trips for those who simply want a one-off experience of outdoor adventure, for those students who wish to get more deeply involved, PES offers societies that involve a commitment to weekly training sessions, weekends away and expeditions. These activities provide opportunities for the students to develop higher skill levels and extend their interest and enthusiasm. Clearly Ben has been unable to do this alone and he has encouraged the school to develop a full-time outdoor pursuits staff based in a dedicated centre at the Upper School, allowing them to also run specialised clubs for archery, climbing, paddle sports, woodcraft, and well-established schemes such as Scouts and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards at Gold and Silver level. As well as the on-site Outdoor Pursuits Centre, Ben has most recently been involved in developing a climbing wall at the school. Teaching staff in other departments are encouraged and supported through Perse Outdoor Pursuits department to develop their own skill levels and qualifications thereby creating a wider pool of people who can take part in ventures as part of the leadership teams. Such is the enthusiasm and success of PES that many parents also take part in assisting with off-site activities, supervised by appropriate qualified staff, as well as equally having opportunities to develop their own skill level, experience and if they wish qualifications.

Ben has really developed a life-long range of outdoor learning experiences that encompass all engaged with the Perse School and he is an outstanding ambassador for the value participation in adventurous activities and expeditions bring to education and personal development.


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