Newest Review: ... 6 or 7 of your own choice. You are then given a place to get to and given a map and a few essential tools such as a compass and cooking ... more
Duke of Edinburgh-Go for Gold!!
Duke Of Edinburgh Award
Member Name: liloth
Duke Of Edinburgh Award
Advantages: Watching team members get stuck in a bog up to their thighs, laughs, skills and trying new things
Disadvantages: It requires a long term commitment, and the expedition can be very hard in bad weather
The Duke of Edinburgh Award is a scheme for young people to challenge them and test their teamwork, perserverance and confidence. There are three levels of the award to complete; Bronze, Silver, and finally, Gold.
Many people say that the Duke of Edinburgh Award is highly respected, particularly at Gold level. It is true that employers and universities for example regard it very highly, it really demonstrates your commitment and gives you that bit of an edge!
I missed out the Bronze award, being a lazy 13 year old it seemed irrelevant and honestly, far too much effort to bother with. It was only after hearing my friends talk about how much fun they had had on expeditions that I decided to do the Silver award. After completing this I was very eager to reach the top level, Gold.
The Gold Award comprises of five sections, unlike the others which have four. One of these sections is Skills. For this you need to spend at least one hour a week learning a new skill, for either 6 or 12 months (if you have completed Silver) or 6 or 18 months (if you didn't do Silver). To complete this section I decided to take up guitar lessons. Without this award, I probably would never have gotten into music but 2 years on, I love my guitar, and am so glad I got the motivation to take up an instrument! Many others decide to use driving lessons to complete their skills section, other instruments or crafts.
The next section is Volunteering, which you must do for 6 months if you did 12 months of skills, or 12 months if you did 6 months of skills. If you didn't do Silver and didn't spend 18 months on skills, you must spend 18 months on volunteering. Being a keen animal lover, I decided to ask the local Cats Protection if they wanted help. Of course they were more than willing to kit me out with a plastic apron, rubber gloves and a cloth to start cleaning pens! However, it wasn't all cleaning pens and shovelling poo. I met some wonderful people there, and eventually fell in love with a cat that I just had to take home! Although I have completed the award, I'm not ready to leave the pens of kittens just yet, so have carried on the voluntary work
One of the most difficult parts to arrange is the Residential. This involves spending 4 nights away from home with -the key part- people you have never met! This was the most daunting for me, as I was quite comfortable with my routine of visiting cats and playing guitar. I eventually plucked up the courage to apply for a Cathedral Camp- spending a week at Gloucester Cathedral painting benches, cleaning turrets and polishing silver. Many of the others there were doing it for D of E too. We all became great friends and I'm still in touch with my good friends from Russia, Spain and Germany!
Now here's the most exciting, and the most daunting part. The Expedition. My group decided to do ours in Snowdonia in Wales. We spend many days and a weekend practicing our navigating, pitching, cooking and teamwork skills before we headed off. To say the least, we could not have had worse weather. It rained literally all day, every day for 4 days. I can tell you, walking 50km in wet boots is a nightmare. The first night, it rained so hard our camping stove would not light, so we cooked in the camp toilets. On the second, we were found by our leaders at around 8pm and told to stop right there, on the side of the hill, and pitch our tents immediately. No campsite, no toilet, no clean water. Just a stream and sterilising tablets.
It might sound horrific, but we had a fantastic, gruelling, stressful and incredible time! Our team really glued together when it became difficult, and I will have those skills with me for life. Yes, it was difficult at the time, but now when we look back on it, we can only laugh at the situations we ended up in.
The Duke of Edinburgh Gold award requires a lot of commitment, willpower and determination to complete. It is more than worth it just for the fantastic memories and friends which you may have for life. It isn't for everyone, but if you're unsure, have a go at Bronze, and work your way up!
Summary: An amazing experience, and an award to be proud of.