Baljodh’s story in his own words:
I was in Year 10 and school released the extra-curricular activities, DofE was one. I wanted to build those skills, confidence, team-work, and step out of my comfort zone, I’d never done camping or cooking and wanted to try that and doing it with friends meant that I was having fun and learning at the same time.”
For Silver I did CCF Army Cadets, I’d joined before DofE so included the things I was learning there, drills, cooking in the field. I think DofE really made me take on a lot of these extracurricular activities.
For Gold I’ve carried on with CCF as a leader, I went back as an adult volunteer after I’d gone to University, and it’s helped develop leadership skills.”
“For Bronze Volunteering I helped out at Punjabi class as a teaching assistant in the GCSE class doing translations and helping younger students understand books and essays then, for Silver, I started working with A level students. Teaching Punjabi is a key thing connecting to your religion and culture, it means you can read books, you can read holy books. I have friends who can’t read or write Punjabi and I wanted to help more students understand their heritage.”
“I did my first expedition in Cannock Chase and it was a really good experience even though it rained all night. It was the first time I’d been in the countryside and seen certain animals, it also connected to my village in India which is a farming community. Some of the scenery was mesmerising and, when you live in a city, it’s really nice to step back into nature.”
“I was born in India and came to the UK 10 years ago. I discovered a Bhangra class near me and it really appealed because its background is Punjabi which felt like a good connection with my culture and religion. I didn’t want to forget my culture in India and knowing the language and Bhangra is really good when I go back.
“I started doing Bhangra at school on Friday nights and really enjoyed it. I’d just started my DofE Gold so I could do it as my Physical and then the manager wanted me to join the team, we have different teams that perform at weddings and festivals and I’ve been all over the UK. What really appeals is the music, dancing to Punjabi songs which I’ve listened to since birth, that beat, that tune is quite exciting and the movements link to the background of Punjabi and are based around the farmers and their lives.”
On the DofE:
“I think DofE is one of those things that you can do alongside other things, if you have hobbies you can incorporate that and it doesn’t have to be a specific sport, it can be swimming, dancing or walking, DofE incorporates your hobbies into something that can gain you a qualification and real sense of achievement. It also builds discipline and the confidence to explore other opportunities whether that’s art, sport or charity work.”
“The DofE is about life lessons and one of the biggest for me was stepping out of my comfort zone. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do something like Punjabi or cadets and now I come back and help others. The learning is endless, one thing leads to another and another and these are all skills that you take with you through life.”
“I’ve loved my DofE and I got so much out of it. It’s really helped me develop as a confident person with loads of different skills and interests, it’s been a stepping stone to so many other pathways, the first step in opening so many other opportunities.”