As we welcome back to school 8 students who have just completed their Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award Practice Expedition in the Peak District, Mrs Brocklehurst, DofE Award Coordinator, reflects on a very busy year ..
"We have seen 59 Year 10 girls in 9 groups complete their Bronze and are delighted that some have signed up for Silver, so as they have already planned their Practice Expedition we will take 2 Silver groups on their Practice in Dartmoor in September and to the Peak District for their Qualifying Expedition in October.
"In addition, we have 8 groups of Year 9 (54 girls) who are well on the way through their sections and have just completed a training walk. In September they will complete their Practice Expedition and then prepare for their Qualifying Expedition in May. After this they too could sign up for Silver.
"Mrs Wilson and I have just been with our group of Gold girls in the Peak District on their Practice Expedition. Having just completed their first expedition day it was a joy to visit them in camp and be greeted by our cheery and enthusiastic team. They animatedly told us of their highs and lows whist also working on route cards for their Qualifying Expedition. We will be accompanying them to the Lakes for that towards the end of the summer holidays.
"Our current Year 8 will be offered Bronze when they start Year 9, and Year 12 will be invited to sign up to Gold.... the cycle never stops!
"Sincere and grateful thanks go to Mrs Wilson, Mr Temple, Mrs Jackson, Miss Peters and Mrs Swire who have been helping with DofE this year. I'd also like to thank Mrs Butler who has helped me with some of the administration. Without the commitment of the staff the award could not run. It is clear from comments like those below that the girls get a great deal out of doing their award which also takes a great deal of commitment from them."
For my volunteering section I worked at the charity Oxfam. This was the section were I felt I got the most out of as I felt I was doing something good for the community and learning how a charity works was good experience and will help for later life. It made me feel good about myself knowing I had done something good and fulfilling and honestly made me feel like a better person. For my physical I took up tap. It was not only fun but challenging. This was a skill I've always wanted to take on and I have found a new love for it . It was quite hard to begin with and to get use to the complicated steps. For my skill I carried on with Trinity Drama in school and it made me persevere more to get a high grade and work well with my group. I'm glad to say this paid off and I obtained a distinction. Lastly, the expedition, this was the most challenging part. I learnt so much from it and I hope to take these things with me for the rest of my life. I learnt to trust my team members to guide us through the walk, communication in order to put tents up and plan the routes, team work and supporting one another. Its safe to say I had never used bearings before and its a new skill that I'm safe to say I can do. Same as cooking on a Trangia and putting up tents. I think my main weakness was trust and I've learnt that it is important to trust one another as sometimes you have to let other people take the wheel.
"We hope that those who have completed their award have discovered new strengths and interests, and that those about to start will do so too. DofE, like Farnborough Hill is all about educating the whole person. The more that the girls put into it, the more they will get out of it, and perhaps they will become more self reliant in the process."