Sky takes us on her incredible journey to complete her Gold Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award. She tells us how she achieved each step of her award journey, and how – although it took longer than her degree – it was one of her most fulfilling adventures so far. We are all very proud of her achievement and wish her well in her next adventure!
My gold DofE journey started 6 years ago back in December 2014. Slowly over the years I managed to complete each section and finally finished in January 2021! I would also like to point out that my Gold DofE took longer than my degree… that took only 4 years!
So you are probably wondering why it took so long to complete and the simple answer is I was busy and it didn’t always fit in. The long answer is below.
Signed up for Gold Dofe – 2014
I was a part of my schools Combined Cadet Force (CCF). As I had reached a senior rank I was able to teach my skills to the new recruits every week. I learnt how to effectively deliver lessons and training in and out of the classroom. My assessor said, “All her classes achieved very good results in tests undertaken and this was down to Sky’s dedication, diligence and determination to her students success.”
Physical – 2015
I attended weekly classes with CCF to increase my overall fitness, which was definitely needed. I was not the most active person but I was determined to get better. Most of the time I looked like a sweaty tomato but “[Sky’s] natural determination and resilience shone through throughout her training and her cheerfulness in the face of adversity was motivating for the other cadets who attended” Whenever someone said they couldn’t do it I always responded with you cant be any worse than me, which was rarely proven wrong.
Skills – Maths (Yes you read that right) 2014-215
At school I spent my Friday evenings, wait for it… in maths club! It was one of my favourite activities every week, mainly because there was cake, but also because I could spend time outside of the classroom working on my GCSE maths, which was really helpful for me and enabled me to go on and achieve a much higher grade than I believed I could get.
So we have reached the end of the first year and, as you can see, I had three sections completed. Unfortunately, I was not able to find an expedition I could attend. Then, I moved to university in 2018 from Dorset to London. This threw a little bit of a spanner in the works as it meant I needed to find somewhere else to complete my DofE. Like most first year students, I was really busy and signed up to loads of different clubs such as volleyball and Tech society. In addition, I also started my journey to becoming a Guide Leader.
My new guide unit advised me that GirlGuiding had some DofE groups that I could join to finish my DofE, so I reached out and joined a new group. I also found a space with a Scout group to complete my expedition.
Residential 2018 – 19
I attended two weekend camps with the same leadership group, one in 2018 and one in 2019. I did not know this group before Camp but I “swiftly became an integral part of the leadership team over the weekends, helping in all aspects of the weekends away.”. I have always loved going away on camp and it was a great experience to take on a leadership role.
I completed my practice expedition in the Yorkshire Dales and my final expedition took place in the Brecon Beacons. Both these expeditions took place in 2019. They were definitely very challenging and I did struggle to complete the final expedition but when we reached our finish point I had never been more proud of myself, or more in need of a shower! I did not know any of my team prior to the practice expedition so I was nervous, but they were amazing team members and I would do it all again (theoretically). “[Sky] showed great perseverance and completed the expedition successfully. Her group was organised, determined and fit”.
If you have made it this far you are probably thinking great its over! Well no, not really. I was very unorganised in arranging my expedition presentation which I delivered in December 2020, over a year since I had completed the expedition, but I enjoyed looking back on the expedition with (mostly) fond memories.
So, there you have it, the timeline of my DofE. Would I change it if I could? No. I really enjoyed all of the experiences I had, which includes the numerous blisters from the expedition. I would definitely recommend Gold DofE to anyone considering it. It has been brought up by interviewers who often reminisce about their own experiences. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in helping me complete my Gold. Especially my DofE leaders who had so much patience and was always willing to help!
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