Bobmore Lane, Marlow, Buckinghamshire SL7 1JE
Telephone - 01628 483 752
Company Registration No.07690054

Bronze DofE 2022 Training/Practice Expedition

This year’s Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award participants have taken the challenge by the horns and embraced its demands with determination and enthusiasm.

80 of our Year 9 students signed up for the award, and over the last few months have been spending an hour of their week on each of three sections: volunteering, physical and skills. From litter-picking in the local area, helping younger students or being an Eco-Warrior, our GMS students have been making a difference by volunteering in their community. They have participated in training sessions with their sports teams, or in their chosen individual sports, to achieve their physical section, or taken up a new active hobby, such as walking or cycling. Many of this year’s cohort have developed an existing skill and improved their talents in playing an instrument, acting, drawing or caring for animals. Others have chosen to learn a life skill and participated in the St John Ambulance course or the cookery club, both of which I ran for Bronze students at GMS.

Often the most memorable (and eventful) section for participants in the DofE Award is the expedition. Whether it’s blisters or sunburn, making new friends or discovering new strengths, getting lost or getting soaked, campsite dinner disasters or snoring tent-mates, every participant remembers their DofE expedition, and all have a story to tell.

This year’s Bronze cohort have completed an expedition training day in school. Expedition Leaders from Off Grid Adventures came to GMS to advise the participants about the expedition kit list; they gave advice on appropriate clothing and footwear. The students were shown how to pack an expedition rucksack correctly, how to keep kit dry, and how to successfully share the group kit. They also looked at expedition food suggestions, discussed good and bad food choices and put together a menu for their team.

To complete the training required to safely undertake a remotely supervised assessed expedition, the Bronzes needed to complete a weekend practice expedition. This event took place in the beautiful Chilterns countryside between Stoke Poges and Wooburn Green. The participants arrived at camp on Saturday morning and each group had an Expedition Leader guiding them through the weekend. Throughout the first day’s walk, leaders taught the students how to use a compass and navigate; map orienteer; and administer first aid or  emergency procedures. By the end of the first day, each group had progressed from being closely supervised to finishing their journey without leader supervision.

On return to camp, the Bronzes erected their tents and organised their overnight kit. They were shown how to safely use a trangia stove and prepared themselves a cooked meal. After washing up and tidying camp, the students had some free time before bed and some well-deserved sleep.

Day 2 of the expedition involved making breakfast, washing up and taking down tents. Rucksacks were packed with their kit and the camp was cleared of litter. The ‘Leave No Trace’ motto is strictly adhered to on DofE expeditions. Once the students had looked at their maps with their leader, and were confident about the day’s route to their destination, group by group the Bronzes set off on a long day of walking without supervision. The expedition leaders and GMS staff met up with groups at pre-arranged checkpoints throughout their journey to make sure they were keeping to the planned route (no short cuts!) and progressing at a good pace.

The Bronze practice expedition destination was Wooburn Park. The adults waiting to collect the participants were both proud and relieved as the Bronze DofE groups starting appearing at the top of the slope leading down into the park. Over the next hour, all 12 groups of tired, but elated Bronzes, made it to the end of their weekend’s journey, and once debriefed by their leader, were able to climb gratefully, with lots of stories to tell, into waiting cars.

The Bronze assessed expedition is on 11th/12th June and after completing the training and practice expedition, students will be ready to undertake the final part of the expedition section of the award. Best of luck to all 80 Year 9 students who have taken on the challenge of the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award this year, and thank you all parents and carers for supporting and encouraging these young people on their journey.

Helen Murray

GMS DofE Award Manager

Highslide for Wordpress Plugin