Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

How do I contact Friends of Nature Cyprus or my Award Leader?

You can contact Friends of Nature Cyprus here. Or contact your Award Leader using this form.

How long will it take to do the Award?

That depends mostly on you. For an idea of the time requirements for each level please check here.

What are the benefits of doing the Award?

Besides being a lot of fun, the Award is a structured way for you to push your boundaries, make new friends, and discover some things about yourself. Along the way you get some good credibility for your university and job applications as well.

When will I get my Award?

Friends of Nature Cyprus plans Award presentation ceremonies when we have enough Awards ready to present to make it a really BIG occasion. Ask your Award Leader for the date of the next planned presentation.

Activity Questions

Can I count baby-sitting as my service?

Normally this would not be allowed, though it may depend on the circumstances. If it is for a normal family who would normally pay you to take care of their child on an evening out, then no, it can't count. But if the family is in unusual circumstances, for instance, the child has special needs, then it might be possible. You need to talk to your Award Leader just to be sure.

Can I help in a shop or store for my service?

No. Working in a shop really misses the point of the service activity. Service means that you are giving useful assistance to a charity or needy group or person who needs help and wouldn't normally be able to pay for your help.

Expedition Questions

Do I have to come to the training?

The training for the Award expedition is mandatory. we keep attendance and track your progress. Participants who miss vital information may be prevented from participating until this material has been covered.

Will there be toilets?

Toilets are not essential to surviving outdoors. Some of the campsites we use have toilets, but it is best to not expect to have one and enjoy the luxury if you do.

Will I be disqualified if I use my mobile phone?

The point of the expedition is for you and your team to experience an adventure which is isolated and cut off from the rest of your normal world. This is why you can't use your phones during the expedition. If you intentionally try to communicate with others outside of the expedition then you have broken this rule and will be required to repeat the expedition. If, however, you use your phones only in an emergency and to inform your supervisor of a serious problem, then you don't need to worry about disqualification.

Can I use a GPS?

GPS is great! We love GPS, but it is only one tool in the kit of things that are useful in outdoor adventure. To ensure that all participants have the basic map and compass skills necessary to survive without GPS, we don't allow Bronze participants to use them. Silver and Gold participants may be authorized, encouraged, or even required to use GPS if the Supervisor and Assessor feel that it is appropriate and if the teams involved have been properly trained in the use of GPS in the wild. No participants will be allowed the use of GPS unless they have cleared this with the Assessor prior to the expedition.

How many people will be in each tent?

If participants are using tents belonging to Friends of Nature Cyprus, they can expect to be in tents of two or three people. We do have some fours and also some ones, but most likely you will be tenting with one or two others.

How long is the expedition?

The expedition length depends on the level of the Award. For Bronze the journey is for two days with one night of camping and usually involves 25-30 kilometres of hiking. The Silver is three days and two nights and covers about 50 kilometres. The Gold is four days and three nights and usually covers 85-90 kilometres.

How many expeditions will I go on?

At Bronze level you can expect two expeditions, two half-days of hiking with a night of camping about 14 kilometres, and then the qualifying journey of up to 30 kilometres with a night of camping. At Silver, if you have already completed the Bronze, you will get a two day practice, and then a three day qualifying. At Gold, if you have completed the Silver, then you will get a three day practice and a four day Qualifying journey. Participants going directly to Silver or Gold will have an additional one-day practice and for Golds, an additional 2 day practice.

Do I have to buy my own expedition equipment?

Participants are not needed to provide any equipment other than appropriate footwear, a suitable first-aid kit, and a sleeping bag. We provide everything else (tents, backpacks, and stoves).

What happens if we fail or quit our expedition?

You have to redo the expedition and pay extra for the one which you failed or quit.

Will there be students from other schools on our expeditions?

Possibly. We don't set out to intentionally have teams from other schools on the same expedition, but we also don't try and prevent it. It depends on the dates of your expedition, your school calendar, and the other expeditions taking place at the same time.

Where will our expedition take place?

We use a number of different expedition areas and are not tied to any in particular. Traditionally our three day journeys take place in the Akamas and our four days trips in the high mountains. All of our expeditions take place in mountainous areas so you can expect to be going up and down a fair amount on your expedition.

When will our expedition take place?

This depends on your training calendar, the team you are on, and when we are running trips of various durations. Bronze Practice hikes normally take place in January and February. Bronze Qualifying will happen in March or April. Silver Practice hikes happen either in October or November. Hikes of more than two days (Silver Qualifying, Gold Practice, Gold Qualifying) always take place during Christmas, Easter, or over half-term or other longer holidays. If you are enrolled at Silver or Gold levels then you will definitely be using some holiday time to complete your hikes.

Can we do our expeditions overseas?

Technically yes, but it isn't quite so simple as all that. Occasionally Friends of Nature will organize overseas expeditions for Silver and Gold teams but these carry additional costs beyond the standard registration fees. If your team is genuinely interested in doing an overseas expedition, then talk to your Award Leader.

Can we do something other than a hiking expedition?

The Award allows for expeditions using other modes of travel besides hiking. Friends of Nature Cyprus does not normally permit Bronze & Silver Participants to do anything other than hiking expeditions due to the logistics and extra training required to make this happen. If you have a team that is particularly interested in using a different mode of travel you need to talk with your Award Leader. It may be possible but will probably cost extra.

Can we drive ourselves to the expedition if we have our driving license?

No. Parents may drive their child to or from an expedition if logistics require it but normally all participants should be going to the expedition on the bus provided.

Can someone from outside of our Award group come with us on our expedition?

Not normally. If the person is doing the Award at another school then it might be possible, but other than that we wouldn't normally allow it.

Questions from parents regarding expeditions

Will my child be safe on their expedition?

We take participant safety very seriously. while the expedition experience is meant to be largely independent of adult intervention we monitor team progress closely and have contact with the teams several times each day including at the campsites in both morning and evening. Supervisors remain in the hiking area throughout the day with vehicles ready to respond to any emergencies and during the nights are camping within a short distance of the campsites should anything arise. All teams have two emergency phones with them and have their supervisor's phone number on their expedition documents. Normally help is just a phone call and a few minutes away.

Can I contact my child during the expedition?

Participants are not allowed the use of mobile phones during the expedition. Contact with the outside world is meant to be limited throughout the journey. Parents are welcome to contact the expedition supervisor at anytime to get an update of their child's progress. Of course, the supervisor will be happy to pass on any messages.