Discover 10 Reasons to Choose DofE, by Lucy Grayston.
Written by Craghoppers Ambassador, Lucy Grayston with the help of her mum, Shell.
The DofE is an award for youngsters and consists of four sections: volunteering, skills, physical and an expedition.
The length of time it takes to achieve the award depends on the level you are completing. The Bronze award takes around six months, whereas the Gold Award takes approximately two years. The Award requires dedication and time, so why go to all the effort?
Here are ten reasons to choose DofE, and why the award is worthwhile.
1. Challenge yourself
For the skills section, you can virtually do anything, from learning how to bake to completing a sign language course. It’s completely up to you. Learning a new skill is both challenging and rewarding. It can also open new doors such as possible career opportunities. For example, for my Silver DofE Award, I learnt psychology. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I’m now considering taking it to an A level. Along with future career opportunities, it’s also very rewarding learning a new skill, and it could motivate you to go further in life.
2. Get Fit
Although running around and getting sweaty might not be your thing, there are many other ways to complete the physical aspect of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
It’s important to get fit not only to be able to finish the expedition, but studies have also shown that people who do some physical activity lead a happier healthier longer life, which makes the sweat and effort worthwhile!
For my Silver DofE Award, I chose running. At first, it was a big effort, but I soon got into the routine of attending my local Park Run every Saturday morning. It sets me up for the day, and I am now hooked!
3. Give something back
Give something back to the community or the environment and make a difference. That’s what volunteering is all about. There’s no better feeling than helping others. Volunteering gives you the chance to gain experience in a working environment, test out a possible career, develop new skills, or build on existing ones. Communication, confidence, or building self-esteem are just some of the skills learnt from volunteering. For my Bronze DofE I volunteered at my local cat rescue shelter, it was a great feeling each week knowing I was helping cats to have a better life.
DofE requires dedication and commitment. People depend on you in all areas, from turning up on your volunteering shift, to the importance of team work on your expedition. If you take DofE, you are gaining valuable life skills.
5. Make new friends
DofE is an excellent way to meet new people and make new friends.
Working together in the wilderness on your expedition forms new bonds and great memories. Through volunteering, you meet many different people in a working environment, which prepares you for the working world.
6. Enhance your CV
Finding employment is difficult. There is so much competition for one job. Having the DofE Award on your CV might just give you the edge over other applicants. Employers highly respect the Award. It demonstrates a rounded, confident individual who can work independently and as part of a team. The award will give you an extra step ahead for the chance of success.
On an expedition, you have to carry your rucksack, navigate to a certain point, and take responsibility for your cooking, water and most importantly: yourself. Independence is a great life skill to achieve.
Working as a team is an important part of DofE. Navigating, pitching a tent and looking after each other all involve working together as a team. On my Bronze Expedition teamwork was vital when a member of the group was poorly. Working together ensured everyone was safe and a satisfactory outcome for all involved.
9. Explore somewhere new
My favourite section of the award is the expedition section. It’s a chance to do something different, learn to be an explorer! It’s so easy to sit on the sofa and not venture far, but DofE motivates you to get outside. You get to sleep under the stars, witness incredible scenery and natural landforms, which you don’t get to see sitting at home! On my silver DofE, we wild camped. I loved it; waking up next to a beautiful lake was fantastic and very memorable.
Completing your DofE Award is a great attainment, with a self-satisfying “I did it!” Although the award requires a lot of effort, time and dedication, it’s well worth it. That feeling when you finally take off your walking boots and realise you have completed your challenge is immense.
If you’ve got the chance to do a DofE Award, then go for it!!
By Lucy and Shell Grayston
Inspired to take part in DofE, but not sure what to pack? Discover our essential DofE packing checklist here – it’s printable too!