“What motivated you to get involved in leading DofE?”
I decided to get involved in leading the DofE because I myself went through it with the BB. The experience and life skills that I learned along with the comradeship among the other members made it an experience that I will always remember, and by leading I now hope to give that same experience to the boys completing it. Seeing the boy’s excitement when going up the mountains encourages me more to enhance the time they spend away as I have walked in their shoes and want them to get as much as possible out of it in terms of mountain skills and the other skills they may acquire.
“Best mountain you have ever climbed?”
The best mountain I have climbed would have to be in the time I spent in Australia. Just west of Sydney there is a mountain range called the Blue mountains and within the mountains there is a place called Lockleys Pylon. It isn’t the most strenuous of walks but still takes 8 hours roughly for a return trip. What made this so amazing was the floral and fauna which is very diverse, the wildlife ranging from ground dwelling animals to the singing parrots, and you may see a koala or two. The view is eerily reminiscent of the Grand canyon but completely covered in shrubbery and trees that cling to the vertical cliffs. It is great for those who want to step out of reality and into a natural world of uninterrupted beauty.
“Funniest memory of Duke of Ed?”
One of the funniest memories I had was when I completed my Gold expedition. Within our BB we were the first group to complete gold for some time so the route through the Wicklow mountains was a new experience for officers and boys. There had been plenty of rain and our route took us through a narrow river crossing on the Thursday, but the rainfall had been quite substantial for several days and this small river crossing turned out to be underwater. With officers on one side if the river meeting us, we walked parallel up the river to find a less hazardous crossing only to find none. The decision was made for officers to step into the river at intervals as we shuffled our rucksacks across before we made a somewhat drier attempt at the crossing. At the time nobody was laughing but as we sat around that evening, we chatted about how it was comical to see our officers waist deep in the water not looking best pleased with our ill attempts to cross previously. It was safe to say that the route for the next group of gold had changed.
“Why would you encourage young people to do Duke of Ed?”
The DofE scheme is a great way for young people to learn mountaineering skills and push them out of their comfort zone to do something they may not think they can do. Volunteering is a part which must be completed and it is a great way for the boys to do something for their community and gain experience which will help in future life endeavors.
“Which part of DofE did you learn the most from?”
The entire experience of the DofE was new and presented new challenges for me. What I learned the most was probably that with teamwork you can achieve your aims and push yourself and others to do and be more. During my time we had several moments where we stumbled and doubted ourselves but with perseverance and teamwork, we achieved our goals.
Never mind that the Duke of Ed sets you apart from others on your CV for work life, but the life skills that can be attained such as leadership, teamwork, map working skills and putting your team before yourself will make any young person steadfast in themselves. The comradeship with other young people doing the same can create the possibility for new lifelong friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.