The preparations for the new Duke of Edinburgh groups are well underway. Pupils have signed up to Bronze, Silver, and Gold, and most have decided on what they want to do for their sections. this year sees a great variety of skills, sports and voluntary work: For their skills, we have caring for chickens and horses as well as beekeeping and bike maintenance, some participants develop their artistic skills, some learn an instrument such as the guitar or the piano. The physical section has horse riding, mountain biking, playing hockey and football, swimming, and ballet. Our volunteers work in community shops, help with junior school clubs and around the school stables, help elderly neighbours with their garden, train a hockey and a swimming team, work with the scouts, to name just some of them.
Just before winter sets in, we fitted in our yearly “very first training walk” for the DofE new-starters – mostly Bronze participants, but also a few Silver direct entrants. And yet again, we were extremely lucky with the weather. While the wind and rain made Bonfire Night rather unattractive, we had dry, calm weather and even a bit of sun on Sunday. We practiced our map reading skills, and how to use a compass. We found sweet chestnuts, some beautiful fungi, tempting climbing trees, hobbit dwellings in the woods, fuzzy cows, and various car parts (we are hoping that by the time we finish the qualifying expedition we will have a full car).
The expedition section is going into hibernation now, with training resuming after February half term. But I am certain that our DofE participants will keep themselves busy working on their physical, volunteering and skills section, developing themselves, supporting their community and having fun.