A student reflection on the Duke of Edinburgh Practice Expedition

The Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award is a prestigious program aimed at young people, encouraging personal development and self-discovery through a series of adventurous, volunteering and skill-enhancing activities. Schools across the globe have adopted this program, offering students a unique platform to challenge themselves, learn new skills, and build meaningful connections. The award is structured around several key components—physical, skill, service, and an expedition—that participants tailor to their interests, making the experience both educational and deeply personal. This customizable approach allows students to engage in activities that they are passionate about, while also contributing to their communities and exploring the outdoors. Here, a Justus L. shares his recent experiences with the DofE Award.

The DofE Award is an excellent way to create new skills or strengthen the ones you already have. You make your individual program, divided into three sections: a physical, a skill, and a service. The best part is that you get to decide what you want to do and when you want to do it! The fourth element of the DofE award is the expeditions. Last weekend we completed our practice expedition in the Dübener Heide which will lead to the final expedition in the Sächsische Schweiz.

The weather and scenery in the Dübener Heide were miraculous during our hikes. Good map skills as well as a good sense of orientation were essential. Too often our group took a wrong turn and ended up in nowhere. Exhaustion and frustration from the hike can cause heat between group members in such situations. That is why it is essential to keep a cool head and work together as a team.

Joint cooking for dinner and breakfast was also a highlight! I must say that cooking on portable gas stoves has a charm! Furthermore, spending time and sharing conversations with the groups was amazing. 

I wish more people would participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award at our school. Despite never having been a fan of camping or hiking, I am beginning to find my passion for it. It is a great opportunity to have loads of fun with your friends or create new relationships with people you might not know that well.

Justus L. 9D

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