By: Blonde One

It is a widely used technique while expeditioning with youngsters that having a buddy helps with safety on the hills. A buddy will keep an eye out to make sure you are drinking and eating enough and are generally ok. A new twist on this is the idea of a secret buddy. All the names of participants are put into a hat and each person draws a name. You then keep an eye on this person, sometimes from afar, without telling them that you are doing it. At the end of the trip each person has to try to guess who their secret buddy was. This proved to be quite tricky for many of us recently. Some people took their role seriously and were more obvious in their care and attention to their buddy. It was good to see young people taking care over others that they would not normally look out for – in some cases staff. The person I was secret buddy to was an easy one. He usually needs very little looking after and is most often the first to spot and rectify any problems. Nevertheless, I kept an eye on him anyway. At the end of the trip I thought long and hard about who my buddy was. Was it the staff member who gave me a hug when I felt rotten? Was it the team leader of the day who gave me gentle encouragement to finish the climb? Was it the person who had a ready supply of tissues? Was it the one who quietly asked me if I was ok when I had a thoughtful moment? I was a little frustrated that I couldn’t guess and then it struck me what an amazing bunch of people I had been lucky enough to spend time with. The fact that there were so many possibilities for my secret buddy was amazing: clearly they were a fantastic group who didn’t need telling to look after each other. Their ability to show kindness and consideration came naturally and it didn’t matter which name they drew from the hat.