Hoadley Hide. It’s the competition to end all competition hikes, where hundreds of Venturers gather for three days of hiking and performing stunts along the way. At the end of it all, four or five teams will stand proud, champions amongst the multitude of others, co-holders of the highest Venturing accolade aside from the near holy Queen’s Scout Award. To win the Hoadley Hide is not a difficult task. Out of the fifteen plus teams, only a few are truly competitive and the distances travelled are fairly average for moderately experienced Venturers.
To be confident of a win, you and your team must be in tip-top physical condition and pre-hike training is the best way to get into shape for the big event. A twice weekly run for about thirty minutes around your neighbourhood should build up your stamina. Avoid smoking (or vaping), and go for a daily walk or run. running with a full pack will also get you ready for what it will feel like when carrying food, clothes and a tent on the hike. Sure, running with a full pack in Suburbia may look a little ridiculous, but while you are running, you will know that whoever heckles you today will kiss your feet later on when they find your Team has won the Hoadley Hide. You should start your training about two or three months before, so that by the time of the actual event, you and your team will be a pack of Hide hungry winners, ready to tear the opposition apart.
The right equipment is another winning factor. Since even the fittest team cannot win if they are lugging around packs that would give Arnie Schwarzenegger a hernia, the trick is to travel light. Chances are you won’t change your clothes unless you are hellishly wet, or you want to dress to impress. The second excuse is NULL and VOID because everyone else there will be totally filthy along with you, so take only as much as you need for emergencies. A nice light hiking tent is a necessity and a warm, but light sleeping bag is also fundamental. Your food must be good and hearty so as to replace all of your lost energy, but also it needs to be easy to cook and as light as a feather. Fossick around your local supermarket for food and you will be surprised what you can find. Along with this goes the first aid kit, ropes, pen and paper that are also used in completing the various stunts.
Once you’ve made it to the Hide, you have to start along your winning ways as soon as possible. Walk quickly and as you overtake other starters, have some nice things to say to them. Sometimes you have to go through the predictable greetings of “How many stunts are you doing?”, but the act of becoming immensely popular is never a bed of roses. When there are no other teams within sight, RUN…..
Apart from running between stunts, of which there are more than 15 over the weekend, the performance at the actual stunts is what really makes a winning team. The object of the Hide is to do as many stunts as possible and to do them as best as you possibly can! Always make a lasting impression on your assessors, be charismatic, make them laugh, it’ll get them on side and they’ll help you on your way – and maybe they’ll give you some extra points for team work. Stunts range from first aid to construction and from fun activities to initiative type stunts. You and your patrol must work well with your patrol leader, performing the activities with planning, teamwork, speed and success. Plan who is to be the leader at each stunt before you get to the next one, that way it looks as though you know what you are all about. Positive attitudes always go a long way to making people feel confident in you and your team.
With winning the Hoadley Hide covered, you and your team must make sure that you are remembered by all the other competitors and while during the day that can be achieved, the best way to gain team popularity is at the VOC (venturer overnight camp). The idea is to make conversation with as many people as possible. Whilst you may know some Venturers already through some of your escapades at other Venturer activities, there are lots of others to meet and say hi. Make heaps of friends and if you are lucky, you may meet your next special someone!!! If you have brought some extra snacks – share them. Ask really predictable, but effective questions, such as “what did you think of stunt 5?”, a slight variation on the previous predictable question, or “How do you think you’ll go?”, which always results in a laugh and an answer that rhymes with ‘hit’. Your reply should be a bold “We’re going to win this year!” which will result in more laughter and the predictable Hide winners joke. From here your conversation should ride faster than the wind. Of course, there are bolder ways of making acquaintances, so try out a few different ice breakers, but be sure to break as much ice with as many people as possible.
Have Fun Winning
The rest of the Hide is mostly doing what the previous instructions say – do as many stunts as possible and make as many friends as possible. If you do this to the extreme, a win is almost guaranteed and when you and your team go up in front of 100 or so people to collect the prize of your efforts, you can fully expect all those in the national park you are hiking in, to rock with hearty cheers and congratulations.
Article originally by a former member of Boolaroo Venturers Reproduced with thanks from Interchange magazine.
Some facts have been updated as of 2023, the main idea is the same 🙂