story 30 November 2021

Helping young people to achieve their Award is a “magical moment” for Cowper

Cowper has been involved with the DofE for over 50 years as a Leader, Assessor, Manager and Trainer; supporting thousands of young people to complete their DofE programme. He says it’s still a magical moment when he sees a young person’s pride when they’ve accomplished something they never thought possible. For Cowper, encouraging them to get to that point is incredibly rewarding and the reason that, after five decades, he continues to volunteer.

“I became involved in the DofE in the late 1960s, I trained as a PE teacher and part of that course involved a lot of outdoor pursuits and it sparked a real interest. When I started teaching, myself and a woodwork teacher built plywood canoes, did a course with the Education Board and introduced canoeing to the young people at school. At that time I was asked to assess some boys in another Boys Brigade doing their DofE and that’s where it all began for me.”

“I went to another school later on which was doing DofE and I offered to help, getting more involved in the expedition side. It was definitely harder to keep in touch with what participants were doing back then as we had record books, it’s much easier since they introduced computers. Over the years the organisation has evolved and it’s helped to make DofE more accessible across the board.”

“I’d thought many years ago when teaching that getting into the hills, camping and expedition work could really benefit young people greatly. Those you wouldn’t typically expect to do well on expeditions come into the fore as Leaders in that situation. I’ve certainly seen changes that DofE has made to young people over the years, I have no doubt it’s benefited many greatly and it’s probably seeing that, watching young people develop that makes me so passionate about the DofE.”

“DofE does nothing but good for young people and covers such a range of things, there’s no end to the benefits that can be derived, confidence, independence and teamwork.”

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