It has been a busy season supporting the Duke of Edinburgh Award helping young people achieve their goals but an equally rewarding experience. Through my years in supporting DofE I have taken on many roles including but not limited to:
- Theory navigation training
- Practical navigation training
- Practical camp craft training
- Expedition support
- Expedition assessment
- Theory and practical navigation training to support staff
The above is provided to all levels of DofE from Bronze through to Gold for various schools, organisations or Approved Activity Providers on the walking expedition section.
It is a no brainer to support DofE when you get to truly understand what it is about and what the young people can get from it. For example during the expeditions I have encountered a number of firsts including but not limited to:
- Away from home
- Navigating using map and compass
- Cooking on a trangia (often first time cooking!)
- Walking a considerable distance
- Leaving their electronic devices behind
- Fending for themselves
The young people can come to us with a “no can do” attitude, this is why we spend time training at the start of their award level to equip them with the skills, knowledge and confidence to become self sufficient and have a “can do” attitude for their assessment. This is normally provided through training events and practice expeditions. These days can be hard and long days which is usually rewarded during the assessment when they complete without any issues.
I share the sense of achievement with the young persons at the end of the assessment weekend not just by them navigating to their destination, camping for a number of nights, cooking their meals working as a team or completing their aim under their own steam but for gaining real life skills which will stay with them for a long long time.