The Duke of Edinburgh Award Success
The Summer Term was incredibly busy for DofE at Cobham Hall, with Qualifier Expeditions for all three levels of the Award – Bronze, Silver and Gold.
DofE Leader Miss Lambert commented, “We had a very successful Bronze Qualifier Expedition with all 27 participants passing! We had five groups out and they showed good teamwork, camp craft and navigation. Despite the very hot weather they kept their spirits high.
“It was great to see participants showing their knowledge of the different parts of the expedition and also working so well in their teams. For some, this experience will have been the toughest challenge they have done this year but also the most amazing and beneficial.”
The Award does not only involve the expedition, but comprises of several areas, including volunteering and learning a new skill. Bronze Participants Trinity and Niu Niu reflect on their experience.
Trinity: “The DofE Bronze Award was such a challenging yet unforgettable experience. I found myself trying new and difficult things that I wouldn’t have tried in the past. A good example of this was the Photography Club, which I ran for my charity service. It was all new to me and I had to teach Year 7 photography skills. In order to do this, I really needed to be confident in what I was teaching to give them the best understanding.
“My favourite part of DofE was having to work together with my friends and people I hardly knew to overcome the challenges we faced on the expedition such as setting up the tents and trying to navigate our way around. I became a lot closer with the girls in my group and even though the expedition felt impossible at times, I can truly say that I enjoyed the whole experience and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn basic skills such as: communication, navigation and working not only as a group but also as an individual.”
Niu Niu: “I really enjoyed completing each part of the Duke of Edinburgh mainly because I did things that I liked to do: like netball for my physical, LAMDA for skill, and running a Crafts Club for children at my local library. I found that doing my LAMDA section was a bit challenging because I was preparing for my Grade 4 exam, but I had fun making crafts with children. I found myself enjoying the expedition part of the Duke of Edinburgh despite getting a bit lost and confused when trying to read the map, but there was a big sense of achievement when we finally reached the end.”
For girls in Years 10 and 12, the Silver Award was their target. Miss Lambert said, “All 12 participants successfully passed the Silver Expedition. Throughout the weekend they showed good teamwork, navigation, camp craft and cooking. It was a pleasure to see them overcome challenges and at the end many of them felt proud of what they had achieved.”
Isabela and Jess shared their experience of the Silver Award.
Isabela: “The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I feel that I have benefitted greatly from it. For my physical section I decided to join badminton club and I had a great time learning new skills and getting to know girls from various year groups. I attended singing lessons for the first time over the course of this school year for my skill section and I intend to continue next year. I also worked in the school shop for my volunteering section where I enjoyed working with the other girls and taking on different responsibilities. Finally, the expedition was a really memorable experience that I gained a lot from but I also found it the most challenging. Having not done Bronze I had to work on my navigation skills, but I improved a lot and had a wonderful time working with the other girls in my group.”
Jess: “Through my DofE experience, I have gained many new skills such as teamwork, perseverance and determination, but most importantly I felt that the challenges I went through made me appreciate my privileges. I've also gained a lot from DofE through the sections I needed to complete; skills, volunteering and physical. For example for the skill section, I chose to learn a new language which may help me in the future. Overall I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment and making new memories with my friends.
For four girls, the summer holidays meant taking on their Gold Expedition. Kathryn recounts the experience.
“We did our DofE Gold Award Expedition in the Cairngorms in Scotland. This summer’s heatwave made it more of a challenge, as did the unexpected surprise of an extra person in our group, but we coped well as a group.
“I really enjoyed the experience. The expedition I felt was similar to Silver, but you felt the camping element a lot more, even though it was only one night more. It was nice to be able to choose a different area too, which made it more challenging as well as it was more hilly. It’s much more scary thinking about the expedition than it is actually doing it; everyone is in the same boat so you really support one another.
“For my skills section, I joined with Jess, who’s working towards her Silver Award, and we’ve been learning Korean. I also joined trampolining club for my physical section and helped run Computing Club for volunteering. It was quite easy to find activities I could do that tied in with my interests and were enjoyable to do.”