A few weeks ago, I went on an expedition for The Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award in the New Forest. Was it tough? Yes. Did my entire body ache and wish to be at the comfort of my home throughout the experience? Yes. But despite the pains, despite the yearning of a good sleep in my bed and a warm shower throughout these 3 days and two nights, when I was on my way home, I felt an overwhelming feeling of joy and pride. I had made it through three days of trekking through the New Forest with a heavy rucksack bearing down on my shoulders without suffering any major setbacks or injuries. Whilst it was of course a gruelling experience, I geniunely felt a sense of the character-building effects that are so widely praised about the DofE award. However, those aren't the only benefits of the 66 year old scheme.


Readers that have perhaps done an award or have helped others achieve theirs will know the main components of the award: Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition. I have already voiced my glowing opinion on the Expedition so onto the other three I go and I have similarly glowing reviews. The award was founded to solve German educator Kurt Hahn's 'Six Declines of Modern Youth', six points detailing the possible negatives of the future's youth if something wasn't done. To summarise them, Hahn feared the decline of fitness, initiative, creativity, skill and care, discipline and compassion. The award perfectly eases these fears however. The Physical component, where candidates work on a fitness activity, like a sport, for example. This is often one of the parts most enjoyed by the awardees, as they get to improve their physical condition and have fun doing so. Volunteering shows compassion and intiaitive as candidates help other people. I do my volunteering at a local primary school, helping Year 5 children with maths and it's a very fulfilling experience knowing that you are actively helping these people. Finally, the Skill component, which is where awardees pursue an interest of theirs shows off their creativity and initiative to improve their skills at this passion. Furthermore, completing an award takes a year, so sticking to what you're doing displays discipline as you keep on pushing at it.


In summary, the DofE award is extremely fulfilling, enjoyable and useful because of all the qualities the scheme helps to improve and I fully recommend it to anybody contemplating doing it in future, it may be tough at times but when it's all done, there's no doubt in my mind that you will come out of it an even better all-round person.