If you are considering whether your child or teen should do the Duke of Edinburgh programme then you might be wondering what the expeditions are all about. Here I will talk, from experience, what Ben plans to do on his expeditions with college and everything you need to know about what to take.
This article includes items I was sent free of charge as PR samples in return for trying them out and sharing them with you.
What is the Duke of Edinburgh programme?
The Duke of Edinburgh programme was set up to help young people to have something different and challenging to do.
The aim of the programme is to help youngsters gain new skills, help others more, push themselves physically and explore new areas whilst also being fun and interesting.
There is a big focus on teamwork and creating new friendships while improving skills and pushing your boundaries.
A perfect way of taking young people out of their comfort zones and helping them to see they are capable of more than they realise.
It is also perfect for them to add to their CV to show future employees the skills they have gained. As an employer, it would show that this young person is courageous and interested in being pushed gently out of their comfort zone, is great at teamwork and has looked to overcome personal challenges.
Who can do the Duke of Edinburgh scheme?
There are three Duke of Edinburgh awards, Bronze, Silver and Gold. They are taken independently of each other but the Bronze should be done first to gain the skills needed towards the Silver and Gold awards.
The programme is for young people aged 14-24 and each award takes around 6 months to a year to complete in general.
There is a minimum amount of time each needs to be completed but no maximum, provided it is before the participant’s 25th birthday.
Duke of Edinburgh is a well-known programme that is open to anyone regardless of disabilities and finances.
The costs depend on the activities chosen for each section but funding is available for schools and communities to ensure that all young people who want to complete the programme can.
How is the Duke of Edinburgh scheme inclusive of disabilities?
Anybody with any disability can do it from people in wheelchairs to people with learning disabilities. It is a very inclusive scheme and it is accessible to lots of young people from many backgrounds.
Many special schools and colleges do it too which means even more young people have the chance to do it.
All activities incorporate people with lots of different disabilities and the different sections are open to all needs. There is a focus on personal challenges and boundaries rather than winning or being first.
An example of this is the volunteering section of the programme. This can be anywhere suitable to the participant so regardless of mobility, ability or income there is something everyone can do.
The expeditions are about pushing personal boundaries but in a safe way for those completing the programme so expeditions for those with physical difficulties will be different to those with learning disabilities.
All that matters is the young person tries new things and goes a little out of their comfort zone.
Duke of Edinburgh scheme expeditions – what do you need?
For the expeditions, the kit that you need will vary depending on the time of year that you complete the expedition and the weather predicted but as it would usually include camping and being outdoors a lot the majority of the kit will be similar.
Different colleges, schools and other community groups may also have certain equipment that they provide for those doing the programme to use so do be sure to check that before you buy anything!
The main items you may need are listed below but do check with your leader.
For the camp:
- Sleeping bag – suitable for the time of year you are camping.
- Sleeping mat – this is partly down to preference and partly to the weight you are willing to carry.
- Walking shoes or boots – these need to fit suitably or you will end up injuring yourself, with blisters, or both!
- Waterproof jacket – the thickness will depend on the weather.
- Waterproof trousers
- Hiking socks and warm socks for the night
- Layers of clothing to add or take off depending on the weather.
- Warm clothing including for at night – even in the summer when nights outside can be cool!
- A warm or cool hat – depending on the weather.
- Blister plasters, just in case!
- A torch with spare batteries.
- A Whistle
- A first-aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Phone and power bank
- Waterproof bag
Food, drinks and cooking:
- Plate and bowl, ideally collapsable. (We have this one from Mnched)
- Snacks that are good for energy and lightweight
Ben and his Duke of Edinburgh programme
Ben is doing the Duke of Edinburgh with his college and they even got to meet the Duke of Edinburgh recently when he visited the college.
The programme has helped give Ben more confidence and push him out of his comfort zone he hasn’t been on the expedition yet but it is planned.
Ben has a practice expedition in June and the qualifying one in July. Fingers crossed there are not too many bugs and spiders on either as he isn’t keen on either!
He is really enjoying it and looking forward to the expeditions so we have been sent some items to review and share with you which I have written individual articles about.
Choosing the best socks for camping and the Duke of Edinburgh Expeditions
Duke of Edinburgh essentials from Outdoor World Direct
Duke of Edinburgh essential clothing and footwear from Helly Hansen