In order to complete our Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award we all had to take part in the three volunteering, physical and skills sections. We got to learn and develop new techniques and experience different situations. These ranged from cooking a chocolate cake to riding a horse and none lacked excitement! In all the sections we chose to do either something we were familiar with or step out of our comfort zones to try something new. We know that the time limits haven’t restricted anyone as many are still taking part in and thoroughly enjoying the activity that they started with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.
A noticeable challenge during the award scheme was the weather! The high temperatures on our practice expedition made the walk very difficult. We had to walk more slowly and stop more often as the heat made walking exhausting. Navigation was also a new experience for many of us. This came with its own challenges, from upside down maps to having no idea where you are in a field which looks a lot like the field you just walked through! Another challenge we faced was the commitment involved as it meant that each week we had to spend time doing new activities, such as helping others, playing a new sport or musical instrument and meeting new people. However, each of these challenges added to the fulfilling experience gained by everybody who took part.
During and just after our expedition we produced presentations about our experiences, ranging from an A-Z of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, to the importance of teamwork. A presentation on the accuracy of pedometers illuminated the hard work which is put into the expedition as the number of steps in a single day reached over 20,000! This figure only begins to demonstrate the drive and determination needed to complete the award and highlights the fantastic achievements of many students.
The final presentation was a time of celebration. We were lucky enough to hear from Melanie Southworth and her inspirational climb up Mount Everest. It showed us that if, at first, we don’t achieve then we don’t give up and we keep trying. We were amazed and so happy to receive our certificates and badges after all the hard work.
Overall the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award was a challenging, yet unforgettable, experience and we have all learnt so many skills that we are sure we will use again in life. It required a huge commitment and so much motivation, but everyone took this on board and excelled. Yes, during the actual expedition some of us have never experienced backache so bad or had such an uncomfortable night’s sleep but all in all teamwork and enthusiasm pulled us through and we are sure many will happily go on to do their Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award.
Finally, a big thank you to school for enabling us to take part and to Mr Taylor for his enduring guidance and support.
Izabel Forrest and Katie Taylor