The YET is an independent, nationally based, educational charity seeking to promote safe and responsible expeditions. In so doing it aims to give young people the opportunity to take part in exploration, discovery and challenging adventure to help foster the personal qualities of service, self-sufficiency and leadership.
The YET’s foremost function is to champion and encourage active, challenging and safe expeditions involving young people. It does this by providing advice and support to expedition leaders and all expedition providers, be they from a school, youth group, charity, voluntary, uniformed or commercial body, as well as by advocating the value of youth expeditions to parents, education managers, government and the media. View our mission statement.
Since it was established in 1972, the YET has:
- Assessed over 1,500 youth expeditions through its national screening system, enabling more than 30,000 young people to benefit from an expedition experience, and very many more through the more recently introduced Corporate Evaluation Scheme for expedition providers that have had their plans audited by the Trust.
- Awarded grants and financial support to over 300 youth expeditions and very many individual young people to help them achieve their goals.
- Organised a bi-annual Forum to bring together the diverse organisations of the expedition sector to share and discuss current issues of concern, often resulting in publications and contributing to the development of policies in national bodies.
- Lobbied and networked on behalf of the expedition sector at government level and as a member of national committees.
The work of the YET does much to engender self-reliance and leadership in young people of all backgrounds throughout the UK. The youth expeditions supported by the YET strongly encourage social and cultural understanding, environmental responsibility and safe behaviour in the outdoors. Above all, youth expeditions are an opportunity for personal development, self discovery, fun and real adventure.
Successes of the Past
In 1979 the YET, together with the Royal Geographical Society and Institute of British Geographers, established Geography Outdoors (formerly the Expedition Advisory Centre). Based at the Royal Geographical Society in London, GO has been the major source of expedition information, advice and training in the UK for nearly 30 years.
- In 1980 the YET pioneered MOBEX, a mobile expedition scheme set up to promote outdoor adventure for disadvantaged young people in several of our most socially deprived inner cities. Today, MOBEX is still helping hundreds of young people to enjoy the outdoors.
- In the 1990’s the YET published a number of key documents including, Safe and Responsible Expeditions, Environmental Responsibility for Expeditions and Leader’s Logbook, which became industry standards and the starting point for the recently introduced British Standard BS 8848 and EVAC safety badges.
- Since 2000 the YET has played a key role in the development of recognised codes of practice, including the creation of the British Standard BS 8848, and in facilitating agreement within the industry.
Challenges of the Future
The YET considers that the development of self-reliance and leadership in young people, a crucial part of our heritage, will undoubtedly suffer unless the work carried out by the Trust’s membership continues. In particular the YET is striving to tackle two critical, publicly recognized concerns that threaten the future of youth expeditions:
- The need to encourage young people to adopt a more active lifestyle
- The perceived ‘litigation and compensation culture’ which is causing a serious reduction in the number of adventurous opportunities for young people
Due to the fear of litigation the YET has observed a growing climate of active discouragement of youth expeditions and adventurous outdoor activities by some head teachers, local education authorities and one of the major teachers’ unions. This trend is fuelled by the media’s high profile coverage of the remarkably few number of incidents involving young people taking part in expedition activities.
The YET continues to be in dialogue with government departments in an attempt to counter these problems but much more needs to be done. In addition, YET is working with a broad spectrum of expedition providers to investigate how it can develop a better career structure for those involved in expedition leadership and management and enable the attainment of sector-specific qualifications.
As a voluntarily run charity, we welcome donations from those who support the trust’s aims and activities. Please contact the Chairman if you wish to make a donation.