Every young person should have the opportunity to get involved in the Duke of Edinburghs Award. Sam Sykes, a world leading DofE expedition provider and lifelong advocate, gives us the background on the DofE and tips on how you can get started. Sam has been involved since the moment he could walk, and his family have been running the DofE for young people for over half a century.
The DofE aimed to inspire young people on their own journey of personal development regardless of their background, culture, ability or interests. Since being set up by Prince Philip in 1956, millions of young people have now achieved a Duke of Edinburgh’s award.
Most youth groups, schools and clubs offer the chance to do DofE. However, DofE Direct is available for anyone who is over 18, wanting to get involved with the Gold Award.
There are three levels of te DofE Award; Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each level has sections – there are four to complete at Bronze & Sliver and a fifth at Gold.
At Bronze, you should be 14 or over. However, if your peer group/classmates are 14 and you aren’t quite there yet, ask your DofE leader as there may be an allowance for you.
At Silver, you should be 15 or over. However, if your peer group/classmates are 15 and you aren’t quite there yet, ask your DofE leader as there may be an allowance for you.
At Gold you must be 16 or older.
You must complete your award (at any level) by your 25th birthday for it to count.
Bronze – It will take at least six months to complete all the sections.
Silver – It will take you at least 6 months for Silver if you’ve already achieved your Bronze, or 12 months if you’ve jumped straight into Silver.
Gold – You’ll need to do your programme for at least 12 months if you’ve achieved your Silver Award, or 18 months if you’ve started at Gold level without doing your Silver – even if you’ve done Bronze.
For the hundreds of thousands of young people who take part each year, the benefits of achieving a DofE Award at any level are endless. DofE is about helping you along the path to a productive and prosperous future. As many of our participants say, it’s life-changing.
Achieving an Award will give you skills, confidence and an edge over others when you apply for college, university or a job. Beyond your academic achievements, universities want to see evidence of so called ‘soft skills’ that you have developed through extra-curricular activities, such as communication, commitment, leadership and teamwork. Your DofE Award is a fantastic way to demonstrate and evidence these skills in practice.
You’ll also make a difference to other people’s lives and your community, be fitter and healthier, make new friends and have memories to last you a lifetime. Our participants also tell us that doing their DofE gives them character traits like confidence and resilience, that can boost their mental health and wellbeing and help them face and overcome personal challenges.
The DofE charity licenses thousands of organisations that work with young people, including schools, colleges and youth groups, to run the DofE across the UK.
Through a Licensed Organisation, you’ll be supported by a Leader who offers advice and encouragement throughout your whole DofE programme.
Do some research. Check out the DofE website, speak to people who have done it & talk to your teachers, parents & friends about it. The DofE is a commitment which takes effort to complete. Nothing worth anything is easy, and rewards come through challenges.
Every young person reading this article is able to complete the DofE if they really want to. As a young adult the next step is down to you. I wish you the best of luck whatever you do, and know this…
“We are all better than we know. If only we can be brought to realise this, we may never be prepared to settle for anything less”
– Kurt Hahn (a smart man involved in the foundation of the DofE – Google him)
GO Outdoors is proud to be a DofE Recommended Retailer of Expedition Kit. Every year, 300,000 young people in the UK start their DofE and we’re on hand to kit them out with the tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, waterproofs and other hiking essentials they need. Whether you’re looking to complete your expedition on foot, horseback, canoe or bike, we have everything you need to enjoy your adventure. When it comes to preparing for any level of DofE expedition, our top tips are to invest in a quality rucksack and a pair of sturdy walking boots. You can get them both expertly fitted by us; simply visit us at your local GO Outdoors store.