The Duke of Edinburgh award program melds with the IB Diploma and forms a solid foundation for completing the CAS requirements, especially the Duke of Edinburgh section requirements for service, skill and activity. In addition to these sections, participants are also required to complete a practice and qualifying Adventurous Journey- a journey with a purpose. The Adventurous journey can be an exploration or an expedition but must be a challenge. The aim of this section of the award is to provide participants with the opportunity to learn more about the wider environment, as well as to develop their self-confidence, team work and health. Participants are taken out of their comfort zone in an unfamiliar environment but kept within a safe and secure setting, achieved through suitable training and supervision.
Our current QAHS Duke of Edinburgh award students have now completed both their practice and qualifying journey, and will continue to work towards completing their skill, physical activity and service over the next 12 months to fulfil the full requirements of the award. Our students can attend the school facilitated hiking journeys or choose to participate in journeys led by external providers, such as the south sea passage sailing journey (see the reflection below).
Year 12 Student Saskia Uccellini
Setting sail on South Passage this school holidays was an extremely memorable and enjoyable experience. The five day Silver Duke of Edinburgh youth voyage took place around Cairns with a group of eighteen strangers. With no previous sailing experience, this voyage exposed us to life at sea and the challenges that came along with it which included midnight watches and seasickness. However, during the voyage we had amazing experiences such as snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef and visiting the many islands around Cairns. We also had the privilege of making so many new friends and meeting people from all over the East-Coast. Overall, this experience has enlightened us with a deep appreciation for the reef, what sailing has to offer and also our comfortable beds at home.
We express our gratitude to Principal Kalindi Brennan from Numinbah Valley Environmental Education Centre for facilitating our Duke of Edinburgh Adventurous journeys and sharing her wealth of knowledge. The partnership with Numinbah Valley allows us to fulfil the requirements of the award to best support our students.
Below are reflections from Year 10 and 11 students who have completed the Adventurous Journey component of their award.
Year 10 Student Marion Khoo
My experience with the Silver Award Practice and Qualifying journeys had a significant impact on my mental and physical development. The Duke of Ed adventurous journey involved not only hiking but also learning important skills like cooking with a stove, setting up tents, and leading the group using a map and compass. Throughout the journey, I had the opportunity to improve my leadership skills and gain more confidence in communicating with my teammates. By the end of it, I was able to make my own decisions without relying on teachers and become more independent. During our expeditions, my group and I gained a thorough understanding of the cultural and geographical significance of every natural feature we encountered. I am confident that these expeditions have instilled in me a great appreciation for the splendour of nature, while also equipping me with invaluable skills that will undoubtedly prove beneficial in the future.
Year 10 Student Shen Chung
For someone who hasn't done much outdoor recreational activities and had no prior interest in such activities, I surprised myself when I decided to try it out. And as you might imagine, The Duke of Ed Silver Adventurous Journey was not only an amazing new experience but also gave me a scope of not only my physical capabilities but also skills such as camp craft, navigation, leadership and teamwork. The journey gave me a completely different perspective to what I have had on camping and hiking, also raising awareness to not only the culture and history of the First Nation's People and their connection with the land but also the importance of preservation of the land.
To be honest, my lack of knowledge in these fields have led me to have very low expectations towards the program and how it would aid my development, which I could not have been further from the truth. This program persistently encouraged me to venture beyond my comfort zone, which allowed me to realise the flaws and areas of improvement in myself as a leader and a team member. Ultimately, I personally believe that this program is progressive not only in terms of building teamwork and leadership skills but also your camp craft, organisation and physical abilities.