Ten Year 14 students from St Killian’s College recently took part in the bronze level, Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, guided by Mr Ciaran Kinney.
Read Katie Burns’ account of the challenge.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award is a strange but hugely rewarding scheme. Many people may wonder where the attraction is to spending long arduous hours in the rain and participating in gruelling hikes so as to achieve this award. Nevertheless, I decided to embark upon on this multitude of volunteering, physical and skilful activities with my nine classmates. The rest of the troop of brave soldiers consisted of six girls; Emma Robbin, Hannah Fergie, Emma Ashe, Hannah McIlwaine, Lauren O’Boyle, Kathryn Cooper and Shannon McLoughlin, as well as two boys; Paul O’Loan and Sean McLoughlin.
The bronze award has four main sections; Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition. Each section requiring three months of commitment and in addition to this each participant did an extra three months in a section of their choice. On top of completing these obligations we participated in an expedition of two days in the wilderness.
Our group saw a wide range of talents developed, from rowing to poetry, from knitting to charity work. Energy, self-discipline, commitment and teamwork went into each section of this award.
However, the most memorable part of the whole Duke of Edinburgh Scheme was the expedition. Two days and one night on our own – no technology, no home comforts and, most regrettably, no toilet.
Yes, I was cold, and yes, it was long days of trekking, but I discovered that this award was not just about giving up your time to broaden your career prospects. It also taught me resistance to the elements and helped build my ability to step outside my comfort zone. It is about meeting new people, discovering new interests and giving back to society just a bit more than you get out.