Duke of Edinburgh's Award

DofE Qualifying Weekend

9th July - 10th July 2022

On Saturday 9th July 56 students began the weekend of all weekends. Every training session and every drop of sweat and tear from the practice weekend lead up to this very moment.

Students in groups of 4-7 had planned their route, packed up their rucksacks. The weather was on their side and they were as organised as they ever could be. Some students began heading towards Wye, some were dropped off in Hothfield and some headed towards Singleton/Great Chart.

Day 1 was challenging, new routes not practised before; groups really had to show us they could orientate themselves using their maps. They were no longer with a teacher to help guide and support; it was all down to them and their training. There were moments where they got a little lost, but the perseverance and confidence in themselves allowed them to locate themselves on the map and find alternative routes back on track.

Throughout the walk each group had an expedition aim to complete. Many worked on teambuilding and leadership, whilst others were collecting footage to produce a movie of their journey. We are very much looking forward to seeing these once completed.

Students arrived at their destination and were then back on site to put up their tents and get their dinners underway. Having learnt from the practice weekend, everyone had more food. There was a feast for one in one of the groups with three plates of chicken and noodle stir fry! It looked amazing! Once cooked, every team delegated team members to wash up and this worked so well; all the pots and pans were spotless and packed away ready for breakfast the next day. Awesome teamwork!

Everybody settled down for the evening, ball games, laughter, the true spirit of a campsite was had. Lights out at 10pm and many fell straight to sleep after a long tiring day. Assessment was over for the day.

Day 2 began bright and earlier with breakfast being cooked on the stoves again; meals consisted of pancakes, porridge, tins of a full breakfast as well as some cooking meals for their lunches in preparation for the day.

Pots and pans washed up again, tents taken down, rucksacks packed. A quick assessment of how the groups left their campsite and they were ready to get going on their route. Same routes to make sure they could show their assessor that they could meet every condition. Similar challenges to Day 1.

We had some funny stories about “cows” taking shelter from the heat under a motorway bridge in the Warren. These turned out to be bulls. Students managed to reroute through the Warren and get back on track; this was amazing initiative and problem solving. We also had comments from local walkers who praised our students on their etiquette using the public footpaths, walking through farmland and also crossing roads. We are very very proud of them.

Every group completed their Day 2 route, warm and tired, but fulfilled and relieved it was over. Debriefs were had, questions were answered, assessments completed. Very well done to each and every one of them.

Every student became that bit closer to each other during the weekend. Every member of the amazing staff team who gave up their time to volunteer to assess and support grew closer together during the weekend. It was a phenomenal effort by all and one that will never ever be forgotten. There is a true buzz about the Duke of Edinburgh's Award now at Towers and that will never stop. This has all happened because of the dedication of the students, the parents and the staff.

We will go again next year, bigger and better and this time “Striving for Silver!