We asked five parents and carers of young people who have done their DofE what they think the best bits were. Here’s what they came up with…
1. Being able to stand up in front of an audience
Emma’s son, Ollie, used to be a bit shy and rarely put his hand up in class. She is convinced that doing his Bronze, Silver and Gold programmes helped him lose his self-consciousness.
She says “He’s a friendly boy, but seemed to be unsure of standing up in front of the class at school and speaking. He would keep his head down at school and avoid making himself the centre of attention, which was becoming a concern to teachers. Doing his DofE through the Scouts, he had to give presentations after his expeditions, run activities and games for his volunteering at Beavers and talk in school assemblies about his DofE activities. He is now the first to stand up and take the lead, and secured a prestigious summer job working for the Royal Collection, interacting with the public. He also gave a public speech at government level in St. Lucia whilst volunteering on a scientific survey.”
2. Being able to work well as part of a team
“My son Chris didn’t mix well at primary school,” says mum Kate. “He had a few personal challenges and issues, such as Asperger’s, which made it awkward for some people to get to know him properly. He signed up to do his DofE at his youth club, though, and things started to change.
When he did his DofE expedition he became popular as he could read a map brilliantly. He is great with numbers and logical puzzles, so could work out grid references and bearings easily and helped his team through the challenge. They worked really well together and their expedition was a great success as they did not argue but respected each other’s thoughts, and worked like a proper team.”
3. Having the chance to get outside for a purpose
Liam was a tech addict, according to his Dad, Steve. “We never used to see much of Liam as he was addicted to his games console and spent hours playing games. It was only when he had the chance to do his DofE that things changed. His teacher persuaded him that he could do gaming as part of his programme, which lured him in. He is now designing his own games under the guidance of a local software company employee.
Before he knew it – and to our great delight – he found he was playing ultimate frisbee; helping at a disabled children’s outdoor centre and he even went on an expedition in the New Forest! His screen time is dramatically lower now, and he’s halfway through his Silver and loving every minute.”
4. Getting to make new friends
Rekha’s daughter, Kiran, always enjoyed her own company best. Rekha says “Kiran used to be a bit of a loner really. She didn’t want to join local clubs or groups, but her teacher persuaded her to sign up to do her DofE at school.
She had always had trouble making friends as she didn’t seem to fit in. Saying that, she was put into a group to do her Bronze programme with girls and boys she didn’t really know from across her year group. They met once a week and soon became really good friends. They do DofE activities together and three of them volunteer as a team at the local horse sanctuary.”
5. Learning new skills
“My daughter Cherise, like most other young teenagers, had no idea what she wanted to do for a career,” says her mum, Margaret. “One week it would be a vet, the next a fashion designer or hair stylist.
When she did her DofE volunteering at our local NHS hospital, though, it all fell into place. She helped out around the wards, moving book trollies, running errands, putting patients’ flowers in vases and generally helping the nurses where she could. As a result, she is now planning to be a nurse herself and has just started a trainee nursing associate course at an NHS university college hospital.”