When were you appointed DofE Ambassador for King’s Ely?
I was appointed to the post of Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) Ambassador for King’s Ely in March this year. I was one of the first ambassadors to be appointed in the Central England region and the first to occupy this role at King’s Ely ever. I am really pleased to be promoting DofE to our community.
What does the role entail, what did you have to do to become DofE Ambassador and what sort of things have you been up to promote DofE so far?
To become a DofE Ambassador I had to be nominated and then attend a one-day training event with students from around the region. The training was held near Peterborough. We spent the day practising our presentation skills and refreshing our memories with relation to the different criteria for the three award levels. The levels of the scheme are Bronze, Silver and Gold. So far, to promote the DofE scheme I have presented to a group of Year 8 parents and students, as well as running a promotional stall at Open Morning to share my experiences and the benefits of tackling the DofE Awards Scheme.
What initiatives have you got planned for the coming months/year as part of the role?
This month I am supporting the Year 10 students on their Bronze expedition in Thetford with another Pupil Instructor. In the forthcoming months I would like to create a DofE page on the school website, put up some permanent notice boards for both parents and pupils and offer some information sessions during break times for any students wishing to learn more about the DofE Awards Scheme. I am looking forward to helping lead more expeditions and camps.
When did you first get involved with DofE and Ely Scheme?
As a Year 9 student I participated in a weekly double lesson of Ely Scheme. Those sessions were led by the Pupil Instructors here at King’s Ely. I first got involved with DofE in Year 10, following some inspiring talks about what the Award Scheme offered. I also took part in some of the hill walking and navigation expeditions which confirmed how much I enjoyed the outdoors.
What DofE levels have you completed so far?
I have completed both Bronze and Silver and I am currently working towards the completion of all elements of my Gold Award before September 2020. For both my Bronze and Silver Awards I volunteered with a fellow student at a local nature reserve in Little Downham. We created a brochure for the reserve and it is now available to the public. Other activities included making a willow arch, refurbishing a bridge, fixing fences, harvesting apples, painting and maintaining the storage spaces and compiling a full inventory of the nature reserve’s resources. For Gold, I am volunteering my time to lead expeditions and camps for younger children at weekends and in holidays.
Which elements of your DofE programmes have you enjoyed the most and why?
Out of the DofE programmes that I have done, my favourite element would have to be the expeditions. Throughout my expeditions, practice walks and on the expeditions where I have helped as a DofE Ambassador, I have loved the challenges and sense of adventure. Being more self-sufficient and finding the way through a range of new and wild locations helped shape me as a person and developed my team-building and leadership skills.
What do you find so rewarding about DofE, Ely Scheme and outdoor education, and what sort of skills do you think they are teaching you as a young woman?
Being in the outdoors and taking on challenges and expeditions with friends is something I really enjoy doing. We learn to be independent, to appreciate each other’s strengths and to pull together as a team to achieve a shared ambition.
If a student is considering DofE but hasn’t quite decided yet, what would you say to them?
I would ask them if they were participating in any clubs or activities outside of school or if they have any hobbies and interests. If the answer was yes, then I would explain that by signing up for DofE they would be working towards an award for activities that they already enjoy. Bringing all of their areas of interest together through the DofE Award Scheme will help them build a greater sense of confidence and celebration. Hopefully this purpose would make joining the DofE Award Scheme seem like less of a challenge and more of a logical ambition or next step towards independence.
How does DofE and outdoor education benefit your other studies here? Do you think the skills you are learning will benefit you for your future studies and career path?
DofE and the opportunities for outdoor education have helped me to set achievable goals which have, in turn, developed my courage and initiative. In order to complete the larger awards I have learnt to work strategically and plan carefully. I have grown in confidence and I am able to stand up in front of my peers and present ideas in my classes. Hopefully this growth in confidence will help when it comes to interviews for University, as well as for my future career plans, which will rely on my initiative and courage when I strive to achieve my goals.