My experience earning my Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award

Written by Beth Keyzer

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award (DofE) is a voluntary, non-competitive programme of activities open to anyone aged 14 to 24. DofE fits in closely with many other awards and qualifications available to Girlguiding members, particularly the Queen's Guide Award, and Girlguiding works with DofE so members can complete the challenge as part of their guiding experience. There are three levels of the award - Bronze, Silver and Gold - and for each level you need to undertake four sections: volunteering, physical, skills-development and an expedition. For the Gold level you also need to take part in a residential event. Girlguiding LaSER member Beth has completed her Gold Award and tells us about her experience here!

I feel very privileged that I was given the opportunity to complete my Silver and Gold DofE through Girlguiding. The Gold Award presentation is at Buckingham Palace next month, and I'm really looking forward to it!

I had always enjoyed my time in the outdoors through Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers, taking part in various camps, walks, wide games and holidays with my unit. When I was approached at school and asked if I wanted to do my Bronze DofE, I was busy with other extracurricular activities and didn’t want to complete it with the people in my year group. But while I was in Guides, I found out there was a local Guide and Scout DofE club so I joined along with a friend and completed my Silver Award.

When I was asked through the club if I wanted to complete my Gold Award, I jumped at the opportunity. I massively enjoyed doing it, especially the Skills and Expedition sections.

For my Skills section, I learnt how to drive a powerboat. This was a valuable skill for my personal development as I wanted to pursue a career in water sports. Driving a powerboat is great fun, and it's important that you get your qualification to make sure you're being safe out on the water. I also volunteered at my local Rainbow unit and worked towards my Leadership Qualification.

For the Physical section, I developed my tap dancing skills, working on a piece and performing the choreography in a show. My Residential section involved working on a community project and campaigning for support for young carers in my area.

The Expedition section was so memorable - exploring and studying geology in beautiful National Parks. I challenged myself in so many ways and built resilience and team-working skills. My teammates started off as strangers and are now my friends! During the expeditions we supported each other, creating a well-formed team.

My DofE experience was unforgettable and I would encourage anyone who is considering the Awards to go for it. I am looking forward to celebrating my achievement at the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on May 22nd.

If you would like to get started on your DofE, talk to your county DofE Adviser. If you don't know who this is, check with your leader. Find out more and download Girlguiding's DofE pack here.

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