My Duke of Edinburgh Weekends
It’s officially Duke of Edinburgh season for me, which means that my weekends are now very busy teaching young people various skills needed for being in the outdoor’s.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a fantastic scheme, which gives young people a chance to develop a variety of important life-skills and gives them an opportunity to take part in exciting outdoor adventures. I’m very passionate about young people having the chance to take part in the scheme. It’s such an amazing experience and shows true commitment from any young person taking part and completing the project. I have met such dedicated and confident young people throughout my work within the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.
Now, back to my most recent weekend as a Duke of Edinburgh trainer. I always think visual aids help to paint a better picture, so…..
I spend a lot of time driving around check-points and then spend even longer waiting for the groups to pass through, check that they’re doing ok, and then send them on their way again. My mini-bus becomes a little home for me on these weekends…
After waiting in the mini-bus, I frequently find myself having to kit-up, (definitely waterproofs at the moment), and go looking for groups that seem to be taking a little bit too long… (the sheep certainly had the right idea)
I also get to spend my time in beautiful surroundings, and it makes me feel grateful for being able to work in such a variety of stunning environments.
Ocassionally, we find ourselves having to ‘make do’ in a crisis situation. Due a power cut, very late one evening, we had a “delicious” dinner of pasta twists and cheese, eaten by the light of a head torch. A little bit of greenery on the side made the meal slightly more “gourmet”.
Keeping track of maps, compasses and the other equipment that we bring is another “must”, because young people always forget something. (On this trip, we lost 2 compasses and had a map returned with a tear in it… that’s quite usual)
And finally, after a long couple of days spent in the wind and the rain, I get to slam the mini-bus door shut and kick off my boots. This really is the best feeling of satisfaction.
So there it is.
An average D of E weekend is long, cold and not very glamorous at all. We have to adapt and make do, in so many different situations. We have to be replacement parents to about 25 young people for the whole weekend. We have lengthy conversations about how there’ll be no “real” toilets while camping. We have to keep asking them to zip up their coats, and put on a damn hat to stay warm.
If I’m honest, though, I wouldn’t have it any other way !!!