My DofE Diamond Challenge has been a long slow burner…as HRH himself says, a DofE award is a ‘do-it-yourself tool kit for life’. And this year’s life has been different to any other in my adulthood, in large part due to deciding to do this year long replay of my own Gold Award, first completed 25 years ago. This week I’ll round up my year of Diamond Challenge with a blog post for each section of the award that I’ve re-completed.
- Wed – Skill
- Today – Volunteering (this one!) and Physical
- Friday – Residential and Expedition
This post has the potential to come across as moany. It is not at all – if I can help it there is not going to be a time when I do not voluntarily give a large part of my life to doing this. It is however a long list of big jobs that are looming for 2017 as well…and hopefully many more years to come. I hope that if there are any readers out there who are in a position where they are to support someone doing what I do, on any scale at all, that this list might help them to understand why the leaders of DofE are so so important to the young people who can do their award as a result of the leaders’ motivation. It is not really possible to document everything in the role, but I do know that anyone who actually does it will be able to spot the many holes in my list…
List of DofE activities undertaken as a Leader/Assessor in 2016…below are events on my calendar from the year, and so of course in between these is all the ‘normal’ weekly admin – visits to Bronze groups, chasing route cards, meeting Golds, booking campsites, completing green forms, Evolve forms and risk assessments, and ensuring that eDofE is kept up to date. As well as answering many ‘out of hours’ emails from participants, about their sections, eDofE, their assessor reports.
- January – Gold training – 48 hours in a bunkhouse with 34 Golds, covering the training syllabus for expeditions.
- Feb – Silver training and preparation – 2 days, 30 Silvers, one day out on the moor and one in school, training, route planning and preparation.
- March – Bronze training day and prep – 100 Bronzes in 16 teams. Also Gold practice expedition – 3 days and nights under canvas on a cold wet moor.
- April – Admin month – much chasing of route cards for completion, other sections to be signed off for Bronzes
- May – Bronze practice weekends – 2 x 2 days out in South Devon, checkpointing Bronzes, with all the usual shenanigans of the first time out… plus a very special Buckingham Palace Gold Award Presentation!
- June – Bronze Assessed weekends – 2 x 2 days out on the edge of Dartmoor, 50+ Bronzes each time, with 10 staff and vehicles to sort as well. To top off June, Silver practice for three days at the end!
- July – Gold expedition week – 7 days away in Wales, one of the most stunning weeks we have ever had – mixed weather, 5 great teams and superb staff!
- August – some time off...that average of an hour a week, remember?!
- Sept – Silver expedition preparation, bronze completion chasing, and a 3 day PHSG assessment (two Silver teams from another school).
- Oct – Silver assessed – 3 days, 5 teams, AAP staff and me on Dartmoor. A good one!
- Nov – new Golds and Silvers enrol, Bronze finishers mounting up, Torbay Leaders meeting organised, SW Managers’ meet, Palace GAP to surprise some Golds that I have not seen for a year!
- Dec – Silver finishers being chased, new Golds underway, planning a Torbay presentation evening…
Here are some photos of the best expedition bits…