Duke of Edinburgh
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme is a voluntary, non-competitive programme of practical, cultural and adventurous activities, designed to support the personal and social development of young people aged 14-25, regardless of gender, background or ability. It offers an individual challenge and encourages young people to undertake exciting, constructive, challenging and enjoyable activities in their free time. All Awards must be completed by the participant’s 25th birthday. The scheme started in 1956 and its Founder and Patron is HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. The Award is widely recognised by employers and people involved in education. Some of the benefits to young people include developing or discovering a sense of achievement; new skills and interests; self-confidence and self-reliance; leadership skills and abilities; exciting opportunities; friendship; experience of teamwork, problem-solving and decision-making; increased motivation; enhanced self-esteem; development of communication skills; a network of local, national and international connections; enjoyment.
Activities in the Award scheme carry on throughout the year even in the winter months. Each Year group from 11 to 14 has 28 participants carrying out various tasks. Pupils achieve an Award by completing a personal programme of activities in four sections: Expedition, Volunteering, Physical and Skill (five if they’re going for Gold). They’ll find themselves helping people or the community, getting fitter, developing skills, going on an expedition and taking part in a residential activity (Gold only).
This year we did our usual Silver ventures into the Mourne Mountains that included climbing some peaks and not just trailing around the valleys! Pupils enjoyed the first experience of wild camping and certainly relished in the task of cooking their own group dinner on a stove!
At Easter we ventured into Scotland for our Gold practice. We are currently exploring the area around the Lowther Hills which is both challenging and rather on the chilly side even at Easter!
At the end of June, while everyone was breathing a sigh of relief after the exams, we set off on our annual expedition to the Lake District. As usual we did our acclimatisation and training walks to Watendlath and Ambleside and visited the Castlerigg Stone Circle. All the groups were exceptionally strong and although the routes were very challenging, everyone coped extremely well in the beautiful surroundings of the Lake District even when interrupted by the odd RAF jet!