Ann Theresa Varghese
Duke of Edinburgh: Bronze; Ever wonder what that is? Let me tell you since I’ve experienced it first hand- Duke of Edinburgh is an award gained for completing 4 tasks, the first task is your physical task; this consists of a person doing a physical extracurricular activity such as dancing, karate, water skiing ect. You have to do this either for 3 months or for 6 months. The second task is skill; in this task you take up a skill such as singing, learning to play the piano, cooking ect. Again you can take this up for either 3 months or for 6 months (explained later on). The third task consists of volunteering such as volunteering at a local charity shop and as said before, for 3 or 6 months. The final task consists of an expedition; two days and one night.
Now why for 3 or 6 months? For the bronze award you have to take one task (1-3) for 6 months whilst the other two only for 3 months. After you have completed this you need a sign from your assessor who signs the task off as completed. That’s basically all there is to it, quite a bit of a hassle though mind you.
The expedition will happen twice, one is a practice expedition- in this expedition members of your team (4-7 people) are taught map reading skills, orienteering, recognising paths and finding clues as to where you are (e.g. near a church) in this part of the first day you will have someone who is skilled at this with you from the camp you stay at. The first day’s walk only consist of 3-4 hours of walking, up hills, down hills, through mud you name it. The second day’s walk you will be on your own, you will have to reach certain checkpoints, sometimes in the middle of nowhere and other times in a local restaurant, and then head to your final destination point- this will take you 5-6 hours if you have 15-20 min breaks.
The real thing will consist of you planning a route to take (for Saturday and Sunday), there will be no one with you, it’s just you, your team mates and nature…oh and your 9 kg weighing rucksacks. Our group took 3-4 hours on Saturday and 5-7 hours on Sunday.
Many of you maybe questioning what the point of DofE is, it’s rather obvious actually I only found the reasons out on my real expedition though. There was one point in our expedition where we got lost and the only way to get back on track was to cross through a field, no not the serene beautiful looking fields that you feel like you could stroke. No, it consisted of thorns, stinging nettles, brambles, ivy and all of nature’s cruellest plants created exclusively to ruin our day! We geared up and ventured into the mini jungle. We had to keep moving if we wanted to get back on track and pass the expedition.
And that was when I had realised in my frustration what this whole award was about. It was preparing us for the world of work, if you gave up then that was it for you – at least in the real world, in the rules of the DofE world if one teammate didn’t make it then the group as a whole would fail, individually. Teamwork was essential in this expedition, this whole award was preparing us for teamwork. If one person doesn’t do their part in the group for a presentation then a group’s ideas would be dismissed. The competition out there, out of our comfort zones are surreal, their tight and ridiculous but that’s how life works. This whole award was to teach us a lesson, teamwork. Teamwork was the biggest skill we needed in life, even if there are problems such as mini jungles, 9 kg rucksacks oh and animal poop, you can’t stop there, you have to persevere. Guess the power puff girls did teach us something, huh?