13 May 2021
Woldingham is a hive of Duke of Edinburgh’s Award activity at the moment with students undertaking training and both practice and assessed expeditions at various levels, many of which have been delayed due to COVID-19.
On the weekend of 8 and 9 May, it was the turn of Year 10 students at Bronze level to undertake their assessed expedition. One group walked from Leaves Green to Reigate Hill, the other from Reigate Hill to Leaves Green, with everyone meeting mid-way to camp at Woldingham overnight on Saturday.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme is designed to challenge and stretch, while building confidence, resilience and teamwork skills, and last weekend did just that, as Year 10s Sophie D and Sophie W describe below.
For me, the expedition is the best part about DofE as it challenges our team building skills, our ability to overcome tasks, and our physicality as well as letting us have fun.
The start of our expedition was quite challenging as the weather was not on its best behaviour. But, after a short period of walking, the sun began to shine, and the clouds and rain went away. Everyone in my team contributed to reading the map and joining in discussions of which direction we should head next. It turned out that we were the first group to return to the campsite, which put us all in a joyous mood! In the evening, we made ourselves comfortable while we made our delicious pasta dinner.
On Sunday, we kept our morale high and departed for the second time. However, things started to go sideways when we misread the map and walked past a turning point. We stayed united even though we felt a bit down. Eventually, we got back onto the right track and carried on walking to our destination. Near the end of the journey, we were all exhausted after the ups and downs of the hills and the six hours of carrying our heavy rucksacks. But we remained optimistic and pushed ourselves to the finish line. When we caught sight of the school bus, we were elated and tired at the same time.
I enjoyed the expedition very much because it was an experience with my teammates that I will always remember and look back at and giggle at the many obstacles and funny incidents we came across.
DofE was the most fun I have ever had but is surprisingly demanding. When I first heard about it, I thought that it was just a leisurely walk with my friends, but it’s much more than that. You need skills like reading a map, putting up a tent, and cooking on a stove. The expedition was so much fun with my friends. Of course, we had disagreements, who wouldn’t when you’re tired, but we had no choice but to move on and work together. My favourite part was when we were at the campsite and we were playing games. The DofE expedition is hard, but it was an amazing experience, and there was nothing better than having a well-deserved 10-hour sleep afterwards.