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What a Nightmare
Duke Of Edinburgh Award
Member Name: sarashaw100
Duke Of Edinburgh Award
Date: 10/10/01, updated on 10/10/01 (6118 review reads)
Advantages: Good on the CV, Fun, Gets You Away From The TV
Disadvantages: Things can go wrong, Hardwork
I was really looking forward to doing Duke of Edinburgh. I signed up and went to all the meetings really enthusiastic; to me it was an adventure. I had a few friends who were doing it as well, not close friends but still friendly faces.
I got a little blue booklet and some gold coloured cards. There were three cards, one for physical one for charity and one for skill.
This is the part of the course where you have to do something challenging that is also physical. I chose to go to the gym once a week. I got a teacher to attend and she would report on my progress from week to week. You have to fill in 24 boxes; each box is worth 30 minutes. I went for an hour a week and so I tended 12 sessions.
I enjoyed it because I could eat extra food and not put on weight (I lived on choccie cake). I didn’t carry on with the gym afterwards though because I didn’t have the time really and couldn’t be bothered. I did however gain a bit of well needed exercise so I found it good fun.
My mum has worked in a charity shop for nine years and so I decided to do my voluntary work there. I knew the people and everyone was really friendly. I mainly did ironing and sorting out the back, while the old dears sat and drank tea and talked about the weather to the customers. I did this for a few weeks here and there. I found I put in more hours than I could of because I couldn’t really turn up for an hour and leave, it would seem a bit rude. I had to do this work over the space of 6 months, but I found that I had something to keep me going because my boyfriend (who was also doing Duke of Edinburgh) would come and meet me afterwards as a surprise.
When I finished charity I had to write a report and get my card and book signed. I wrote a page on the activities I had done. The two ladies I worked with wrote a comment about my work and signed to say how many hours I had worked.
I have pla
yed the piano since I was six years old. I have done a couple of grades so I thought this would be an easy skill to do. I go to lessons for 30 minutes every week so I got my teacher to sign my card until it was full. At the end she made a comment on my progress and signed my book. Nice and easy.
My school has a list of other activities that you could do but I choose to do my own. Everyone was given a choice of ideas. The school ran a p.e. Club every week after school you could attend for physical, craft clubs for skill (my boyfriend went to juggling club) and a list of programs you could join for charity work.
Now we get to the bit that everyone joins Duke of Edinburgh for, THE EXPERDITION.
You have two trips, one is a practice and one is the real thing. Before we went on the practice my school ran a few training classes to help us prepare for what might happen.
On the practice days we learned how to draw up our route plans (so the school would know where we were and we would have rough coordinates to guide us on our journeys), emergency procedures for cuts and other accidents and most importantly checking we could put up a tent.
We were given an equipment list, which we were expected to have on the expedition. The school did have a few spares for people with little money, making this award open to everyone. I got a rucksack, borrowed a tent and cooker and had a nice snug sleeping bag, because it can get cold on summer nights.
I live in Essex and about 20 minutes from my town is Danbury village where I did my practice. It is a very typical country village with lots of fields and farms, few houses and few shops. We were not allowed to go near shops so this limited our chance of abusing the rules.
I was in a group of six people, three boys and three girls. We split our equipment between us so one person carried a cooker and the other two carried the tent. We had two tents in our groups, a bo
ys and a girls.
A teacher came with us on the first day to make sure we got the idea and didn’t cheat. On the second day we were allowed out on our own. My group only made it for the first day.
Apart from not being allowed into shops there were a few other rules. You were not allowed in a member of the other sexes tent. Fair do’s right?
Well we did our walk; we had a stop for lunch and bumped into loads of other groups. We met teachers at check points (to make sure we were ok) and were the last back to the campsite. Not that bad, we set up dinner (a lovely sachet of super noodles) and relaxed. I went and saw my boyfriend and generally had a fun time.
The teachers set up games that evening to keep us occupied. We had a skipping competition and loads of other challenging games to make sure we were not bored.
About nine o’clock we were relaxing and it got a bit cold. So the group of us decided to sit in a tent with the door open and talk (boys and girls). I had gone to the loo and let everyone else in the tent for a while when the teachers came over. The organiser (and my headmasters wife) found the group and chucked them off Duke of Edinburgh, no explanations allowed. I’m best friends with my bladder now. Well half my group were now off and I was split up from the remaining few and put into a new group. I must hasten to add that another group were found in the tent together (mixed) and the teacher just told them to get out end of story.
The next day everyone was in a really bad mood. I joined a new group (who I was friendly with as well) and we went on our journey. I didn’t really enjoy myself because I was thinking the whole time about the people who had been chucked off.
When we got off the trip and went back to school the people who were chucked off were told they had to make a formal apology to the Duke of Edinburgh organiser. They did this reluctantly because it was th
e head masters wife, however they were not really sorry.
THE REAL TRIP
I stayed in the group I had been put on the second day. There were seven of us but one of the boys was moved into another group to make up the numbers. I had broken up with my boyfriend so there was a hostile atmosphere in the air because it was only a few weeks after.
We went to Sussex, any more I don’t know. We were told that we had to write a report about the expedition afterwards so we spent the whole time writing down notes as well as looking around us. I had a wonderful time.
We made up stories and games. I would have been even better if it hadn’t of rained. One of the funniest things that happened was that we put our tent (in the pouring rain) up inside out. We got very wet that night.
The next day we took our time because we didn’t see any need to rush. The group before us (which was my exboyfriends) rushed and got to a checkpoint before a teacher. They carried on and were made to repeat the day another time (because the staff wouldn’t believe they hadn’t taken a short cut). We sore all sorts of animals are really enjoyed the sites (apart from me getting my group lost and walking an extra three miles… they took the map off me after that).
I wrote my report when I got home while everything was still fresh in my head. I asked a friend to hand it in and waited for my results. The school however lost my report and refused to give me my award. I had to write another report, which I was not very amused about but I got my reward in the end
To anybody thinking about doing Duke of Edinburgh it was good fun. I was unlucky to have a moody little ***** (fill in as you like) for an organiser but I did still enjoy myself.