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Boy's Brigade - Duke of Edinburgh with David Andrew

Duke of Edinburgh with David Andrew

Blog Published on 14 Aug 2023

Duke of Edinburgh is an award which incorporates volunteering, building skills, residential and of course, the Expedition. For many years, Boys’ Brigade NI has had a long standing relationship with Duke of Edinburgh, with many young people from BB receiving their Bronze, Silver and Gold Award. The Duke of Edinburgh Award helps young people to work together and build essential skills they need for working in all types of roles. We have asked a few people who have either completed Duke of Ed, currently training to lead or leading Duke of Ed groups a few questions. The first leader we asked was David. David has completed his Level 2 Expedition and Outdoor Leadership and is about to start training other leaders on their Level 1 and 2 Expedition and Outdoor Leadership, equipping them to run Expeditions for their local BB companies.

"What motivated you to get involved in leading Duke of Ed?"

I have always had a passion for the outdoors, and this was fostered throughout my time as a boy in Company Section. We spent many weekends in the Mourne Mountains for camps, during which we went on long walks, deep into the hills. I was fascinated by the scale and beauty of my surroundings. This led me to complete my Duke of Edinburgh Awards through Boy’s Brigade.

When I completed my time as a boy in Company Section, I felt called to go back and serve as an officer. Not long after starting, the DofE Centre Co-ordinator Position became vacant. After previously helping out on DofE expeditions I felt that I had something to offer in the co-ordinator position.

"Best mountain you have ever climbed?"

One of my favourite walks is Cairngorm Mountain in Scotland. It’s not the highest, steepest or most challenging, but (on a clear day) it provides panoramic views across Cairngorm National Park.

When I climbed it last summer, I had to deal with 25 degree temperatures at base level followed by, rain, hail and even sleet during the climb. But it was all worth it for the views and a beautiful walk over Northern Corries.

"Funniest memory of Duke of Ed?"

During my Bronze Expedition we had non-stop rain. One of our checkpoints was at edge of a road and there wasn’t much shelter. We spotted our mini-bus slightly further down the road and we all decided to climb under the bus an lie there to seek some refuge from the rain. One person in my group even fell asleep while we were lying there under the mini-bus.

"Why would you encourage young people to do Duke of Ed?"

I still have many fond memories of completing my Duke of Edinburgh Award, it’s lots of fun! From the outset, it seems like a lot of work, and it is, but I guarantee that you will thoroughly enjoy it. Ask anyone who has completed a DofE award, they will have plenty of stories to tell! It’s not going to be easy, but it will be rewarding, allowing you to grow and do things you wouldn’t do otherwise.

"Which part of Duke of Ed did you learn the most from?"

I would have to say I learned most during the volunteering section of my Bronze Award. I was volunteering in my Church on the Audio Visual Team, where I learned all about sound engineering and video production. Many of the skills that I picked up I still use today, as I continue my role volunteering on the Audio Visual Team.

"Why do you feel Duke of Ed benefits young people?"

Completing the award provides young people with invaluable experience. Each section of the award has its challenges, from learning new skills to the commitment of volunteering. I feel that the award allows young people to take initiative and develop a real awareness of their strengths. The expedition section in particular allows young people to step out of their comfort zones and push their limits all while developing self-confidence and team-working abilities.

I also know from personal experience that many of the qualities displayed while completing the award are exactly what employers are looking for.

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