County News

Doing the DofE Award – by Dionne

DofE was a great experience. I have completed two now and I can honestly say it was a blast. Through DofE I made new friends, great memories and was a part of something so rewarding.

DofE became available during my time at rangers, it was something that had appealed to me from just hearing about it and to me I thought it would be a new challenge.  I signed up, received my welcome pack, and got stuck in.

For my Bronze, my focus was to push myself.

For my Physical I choose cycling, I set myself a challenge to cycle 100 miles across the 3-month time frame.

At the time I didn’t cycle to frequently, but it was something I wanted to do more of, so I choose it for my physical.

Cycling was fun, some days it would feel more tiring than others, but it got me outside and meant I could spend time with friends and family whilst exercising.

For skills I studied coins.

I have a collection and it is something I find interesting. The time allowed me to find out more about my hobby, making me like it even more.

My favourite section out of the four though had to be volunteering. I helped at my local Cats Protection Charity shop, working on the floor, bring stock out, ticketing and assisting customers. I really enjoyed it there everyone was so lovely and encouraging, I loved it so much I stayed on a few extra months after my DofE. My time also allowed me to gain some valuable work experience.

The most daunting part had to be the expedition.

For a first timer, all the prep that went into the expedition seemed overwhelming, but by working as a group we were able to map our route, work out breaks, stops etc and by the end, it was probably my favourite part and after the practise walk, I knew what was to be expected.

Now the actual walk.

Me and the other 6 set off with high spirits and fresh backs. When we returned the high spirits remained, but the back ache was also presenting. I loved my expedition my favourite memory had to be the failed attempt at making custard, even after a few years the clumpy custard is still a running joke.

Once I completed my bronze, I knew silver was round the corner.

Although it was longer, I felt silver went by quickly, but I enjoyed it the most. I think one of my favourite moments was working on my skills section. For my skills I choose quilting.

This was something I looked at briefly in the past but interested me, through DofE I was able to develop my skill but also meet others who also shared this creative passion.

I attended weekly craft meetings and had a brilliant time chatting to the ladies there. For physical, I did riding, something that at the time I was pursuing, I think that is one reason why DofE is so accessible as you can adapt it to fit your current hobbies and activities.

For volunteering, I still helped Cats Protection but this time at a cattery, working with the cats.

I would go every Monday after school and help where I could. It felt rewarding. Once we got to go ahead on the expedition, we immediately spung into action. We had the planning down by this point.

We did get lost on the practise which did make a few of us concerned but I couldn’t have asked for a better qualifying.

We were early to our check points, communicated well as a group and had a great location to walk through. The bags even felt lighter.

The stories I have made through DofE will stay with me forever, they have allowed me to make connections with so many people whom I did it with as well as people I didn’t, everyone has great memories because of DofE. 

I have pushed myself, tried new things, made connections with some great people and been a part of some memorable experiences, it has been very fulfilling, and I am very proud of what I have achieved.

I was even offered the opportunity to speak at an awards evening about my awards, which was quite uplifting.  In the future, I want to complete my Gold. I have enjoyed the experience so much that I can’t wait to do it again.

I look forward to the new challenge of a residential and can’t wait to start again. – Dionne

Find out more about DofE here.