19.03.2022 By Jessie, Silver Award holder

Jessie’s sewing skills proved her adaptability and gave her focus

I had been volunteering for my local Scout group for four months when COVID-19 brought our weekly meetings to an abrupt end. My DofE Manager at school suggested participants find alternative remote options to complete our outstanding sections.

I was in a sewing club for my skills section and was aware my sewing club leader was supporting the national effort by making drawstring bags for NHS staff’s uniforms to be washed in, limiting the spread of infection and avoiding unnecessarily discarding lots of plastic bags.

She assured me that my skills could help to make a difference and I set to work sourcing unwanted bedding from friends, cutting it to size and sewing bags based on a guideline pattern. I have family members working in the NHS and it was rewarding to play a small part in supporting their invaluable work.

Adapting my volunteering to support NHS staff gave me a clear purpose and focus, in a time of major adjustment for us all. As all my usual recreational outlets were put on hold, I occupied my time outside of school hours with a worthwhile task. Fulfilling the remainder of my programme helped me to stay positive and more determined to achieve my Silver Award.

Due to restrictions at school my Leader was no longer able to facilitate my expedition as planned. However, Karos Adventure stepped in and did a brilliant job of organising pupils at short notice, allowing us to carry out our practice and qualifying expeditions, canoeing on the Severn and the Wye, while adapting to the fast-changing restrictions last summer.

The joint sense of achievement on completing our qualifying expedition was incredible. I plan to continue to the Gold Award, and in the meantime, I am walking regularly with a fellow Silver expedition team member to stay fit. It keeps our spirits up and helps us to remain focused on our next goal.

The effort and commitment required is rewarded by the sense of satisfaction and achievement at the end. The DofE is an incredibly enjoyable way to develop your skills. The opportunities it provides are more important to me than ever in these uncertain times, when all the academic goals I have been working towards have changed.

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