The DofE is the world’s leading achievement award for young people. Its balanced programme develops the mind, body and soul in an environment of social interaction and team working. It encourages young people to live life as an adventure.
The DofE mission is to inspire, guide and support young people in their self-development and recognise their achievements.
The benefits of DofE include: self-belief, self-confidence, a sense of identity, independence of thought and action, respect and understanding of people from different backgrounds, cultures and walks of life and a sense of responsibility. The DofE programme also develops pupils awareness of their potential, gets young people to discover new talents and abilities with an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Young people often plan and use their time effectively and find the ability to learn from and give to others in their community. Teambuilding, problem solving and communication are at the core of this award.
The Bronze DofE award entails pupils to complete: 3 months of volunteering, 3 months of physical, 3 months of skills and complete a practise and assessment expedition. Pupils have to undertake a further 3 months in volunteering, physical or skills.
Volunteering: undertaking service to individuals or the community.
Physical: improving in an area of sport or fitness activities.
Skills: developing practical and social skills and personal interests.
Expedition: planning, training for and completion of an adventurous journey.
At PMGHS our pupils undertake four training days before the start of their practise expedition. These training days prepare the pupils for the expedition which includes: navigation, map reading, Edofe training, fitness, pitching of tents and using the trangia system. The fitness walks take place in outdoor terrain similar to where they would do their expedition walking.
What our pupils had to say about their experiences…
‘A group of year 10 went for their training walk to prepare for the DofE expedition. Throughout the day they learnt a variety of skills that would benefit them throughout their lives. Having learnt how to use a compass and map was very beneficial as they can use this in many different situations because they won’t always have google maps to guide them! They walked 6 miles with heavy rucksacks, this was to experience what the actual expedition would be like. The walk was very tiring as they walked for 4 and half hours in different terrain. With wet and bruised feet they overcame this challenge and thoroughly prepared for their expedition in June’
‘During the months of June and July we were able to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh award. This entailed two days of intense walking and a camping experience. We were assessed through many different means. We had to be able to be able to carry heavy backpacks and navigate our way through the countryside alone. We were also tested on our survival skills and how we did on the campsite. This was our experience…
Skills we learnt and needed:
In order to complete our routes and not get lost we needed to know how to navigate through the countryside. We were taught how to map read and use a compass. With our new skills mastered, we were ready to embark on our hikes. When walking our skills proved useful as whenever we got lost we were able to find ourselves again, however on our real DofE getting lost was scary as we had no teachers with us but thanks to our extensive training we successfully managed to find our routes and get back on track.
After many practice walks we were prepared and ready for our DofE expedition. On the first day we completed 12 miles. We followed our routes, navigated well and met the teachers at each checkpoint. Many found the walking easy, yet found carrying the backpacks difficult. However, once our skills on weight distribution were mastered there was less strain on our shoulders. Once we completed our walks, we arrived at our campsite, set up our tents and sat to eat dinner. We played games and had lots of fun. The next day, we given different routes and set off after packing our tents away and having enjoyed breakfast. Our skills came in handy once more as we navigated our way back. Once we had returned at the campsite, we boarded the coach and returned home.
Overall, we had an amazing experience, made many great memories and became much closer as friends. It was an experience of a lifetime and one we will never forget’.