Gold DofE Award

To complete my gold Duke of Edinburgh’s award I had to complete five different sections, these were; a set of expeditions, a residential, a skills section, a physical section and a volunteering section. These were all done over the course of over a year and are explained in greater detail below.

The expedition was probably the most challenging part of the gold award for me, the final expedition lasted four days and three nights and involved walking for most of the day and camping out overnight each night. As with all DofE expeditions we had to carry everything that we would need for the entire expedition the whole time and due to the length of the expedition this resulted in some rather heavy bags. The expedition took place in the Yorkshire Dales, but I walked in several other areas to get to this point and proved to be a great challenge to us all, especially when the inclement weather was added into the mix. Though it was challenging it did prove to be a valuable experience as it not only pushed the group physically, but mentally as well and in my opinion improved our team working skills a great deal.

The residential that I chose to do as part of my gold award was a week long camp to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, this included many different aspects including learning more about Cypriot culture and looking around a local village as well as the activities that would be expected on a camp such as visiting the various different sections based at Akrotiri and a night exercise.

The skills section was an eye opener for me as I chose to learn to play the clarinet in the squadron marching band, albeit to a basic level. This I found incredibly interesting as I did not previously appreciate how complicated musical instruments such as the clarinet were to play.

For my physical section I chose to do a bit of fitness at the local sports centre along with the rest of the squadron, this included circuit training and physical fitness, such as timed activities and endurance activities. It has certainly improved my fitness by a fair margin, something that I plan to continue going forward.

The gold award also contained a volunteering section for which I chose to raise funds for the squadron by attending various different fund-raising events such as various different bag packs at local supermarkets. This proved to be a good opportunity to do something that was not for my own personal gain, but rather for a greater cause.

In conclusion the most enjoyable section for me was the residential to Cyprus as this was an opportunity to do something different that I would not otherwise have had the opportunity to do and also allowed me to meet new people from different places that I would not otherwise have met.

I can highly recommend DofE to anyone who has not yet started as it is a very rewarding scheme that will allow you to push yourself and do new things that are out of your comfort zone. I now can’t wait to visit St James Palace to collect my award. I would like to thank the many staff and other supporters who have helped me along the path to Gold.

By FS Lewis Melia