Duke of Edinburgh
The Duke of Edinburgh Award
Here at Ruislip High School, we are proud to offer our students the chance to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award has three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Achieving an Award will give students skills and confidence. Through the volunteering elements of the scheme they will also make a difference to other people’s lives and our local community, be fitter and healthier, make new friends and have memories to last them a lifetime.
There are four sections to complete at Bronze and Silver level and five at Gold. They involve helping the community/environment, becoming fitter, developing new skills, planning, training for and completing an expedition and, for Gold only, working with a team on a residential activity.
Lucy Garner, RHS alumni, tells us all about her experience of achieving the Duke of Edinburgh award…
"The Duke of Edinburgh programme was one of the best things I have ever participated in, but also one of the hardest. I was incredibly lucky to find lots of different things to do for my sections, which involved volunteering, physical and skill. From Bronze through to Gold, the variety of the award kept me motivated; I didn't feel as if I was doing something above and beyond, it felt like I was making a difference in our community.
When I started Duke of Edinburgh in Year 9, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do to attain my sections. However, I knew what I enjoyed, so I used my interests to shape my Duke of Edinburgh experience. I already played netball, which counted as my physical. In addition, my netball club announced they were looking for new coaches, which led to my skill of working towards my Level One coaching qualification.
I felt incredibly overwhelmed by the volunteering section, as there are so many options available. Luckily, I bumped into my old Rainbow Club leader and she explained that her unit was looking for a new young leader. I signed up - and what began as part of achieving DofE, has turned into a long term commitment. I have now been volunteering with that same unit for eight years and I am about to go on my 3rd Brownie Pack holiday, which also counted as my Gold residential.
Participating in The Duke of Edinburgh programme requires dedication and commitment. People depend on you in all areas: from turning up for your volunteering shift, to the importance of team work on your expedition. If you participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, you are definitely learning valuable life skills.
My favourite section of the award was the expeditions. Although in the early days of DofE, I was guilty of taking too many cans of food and toiletries (especially on my first Bronze expedition)!
Once I obtained my Gold Award, I received a letter inviting me to a garden party at Buckingham Palace. It felt like so many years of hard work had been recognised. The whole process from choosing a dress to waking up incredibly early to being there for 9am felt surreal. Despite the torrential rain it was still an amazing experience and meeting Prince Edward, who took a genuine interest in everyone's expeditions, really was the icing on the cake (even if the rain ruined the one photo opportunity I had with him!).
The Duke of Edinburgh Award has taught me patience, responsibility, awareness, resilience and most importantly taught me that being pushed outside of my comfort zone can open my eyes to lots of different opportunities. Although the award requires a lot of effort, time and dedication, it’s worth it. That feeling when I finally took off my walking boots and realised I had completed my final Gold expedition was unmatched.
Overall, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme gave me a chance to experience a life less ordinary. Whether this was climbing Sugar Loaf Mountain or playing human Hungry Hippos. Each moment of taking part in Duke of Edinburgh was fantastic. It was an experience I will never forget and would recommend to anyone who asks because it truly helped shape me into the person I am today."