story 01.02.2023

DofE enabled Summer to discover a new side of herself

Summer initially took part in DofE in hope that it would boost her confidence and give her new experiences. For her Skills section, she learnt floristry, and learning from a local florist gave her a stronger sense of community. When it came to the Physical section, Summer chose to learn something completely new and slightly different to flower arranging – boxing; she quickly discovered that hitting the punch bags was a great stress reliever! Floristry and boxing are now much-loved hobbies thanks to DofE. 

“When I first started learning floristry I focused on learning the names of the flowers and how to work with them. I enjoy creating bouquets the most, when I work with flowers I zone out and focus purely on the flowers and trying to make it perfect. When it came to picking an activity for my Physical section I’d been looking into boxing for a while but needed a push. DofE gave me a reason to do it and now? I’m really into it! I like the environment, it’s somewhere that I can escape and all my stress goes, any anger you’ve built up – the punch bag is right in front of you.

“I’ve only ever grown up seeing male boxers, all those inspirational people were mainly male, so when I first started boxing I felt a lot of people doubted women and didn’t realise how powerful they are which gave me a boost. Being a girl doing boxing is a really motivational thing and then other females see me doing it and think, ‘Why can’t I?’ One of the biggest challenges young people face today is opening up. They don’t feel that they can but it’s a problem because if you’re going through something and can’t talk openly it becomes a burden on you. I feel like our generation, especially since Covid, have started to lock themselves away which is a big problem. DofE helps a lot with that, in each of your sections you have to talk to people, DofE gives you that opportunity to open up and gain confidence.”

“I think DofE should be offered in schools everywhere because everyone deserves this opportunity. It helps you get to know yourself better and discover new things. When I think about boxing or doing floristry I can’t believe I really did it and then you wonder what else you’re capable of. DofE shows a different side of yourself that you didn’t know existed.”

 Summer is one of the DofE participants at Connaught School for Girls, an inner-city school based in an area of high deprivation where many of the pupils haven’t seen the countryside. Connaught School is one of our Access Without Limits programmes that are underway to offer free places for young people who need this funding the most. 

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