At the end of November, Silver and Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award participants had the opportunity to reflect upon their experiences as they gave their expedition presentations. Each expedition is not just a walk in the countryside, it must have an aim which the group complete over the days they are out.
Aims from this years groups included landscape photography, the diversity of flora and fauna in upland environments, video diaries of the experience and the creation of landscape paintings. Each group gave their presentation which was watched by the other groups as well as a range of staff involved with the DofE programme. In a thoroughly entertaining couple of hours, participants relived the smiles, tears, laughter, rain, wind and blisters of their expedition, sharing the experiences through video, photographs and conversation.
The P16 students who are completing the Silver award were able to offer advice to the Y10 students who are currently doing Bronze. "Never, ever give up", said one. "You can push yourself much harder than you believe you can. Always believe you can do more", said another. Of course, while the evening was about the expeditions, DofE is much more than that. These same participants give up at least three hours a week of their time for the other three sections of the award. They complete physical activities, learn new skills and help out in the community.
A number of them have subsequently completed their Silver award and are looking to progress to Gold, the most highly prized and hardest earned badge which is always presented by Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex. DofE Manager, Mr Bede said of the presentations, "It was wonderful to watch their faces as they presented. They did their expeditions in September, so by now the stiffness and pain is forgotten and they remember the laughs, camaraderie and elation of success. We are all capable of more than we know, and they proved it. Bearing in mind that these expeditions were happening in the aftermath of hurricane Ophelia and storm Brian, and the very wet and windy conditions conspired to make it even more challenging, they all stayed remarkably upbeat, positive and cheerful. Along with the expedition, the other sections demand huge amounts of time and commitment. We are immensely proud of each and every one of them."