Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Exhibition
Thursday 9th May 2019
The bags of kit just about fitted under the coach as the U4 students set off for their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Exhibition near Crays Pond.
This was a new campsite for DofE and proved to be perfect: with an outdoor tap for water, toilets, and a lovely large field to pitch our tents.
Making camp was the first activity of the weekend, and this was expertly guided by the expedition staff from Sam Sykes. Under their instruction, all of the groups perfectly pitched their three tents, so well in fact that none collapsed in the night. Thankfully, all of the U4 participants survived the night intact too, although some realised just how cold it can get at nighttime in late March!
The students were lucky to benefit from the 1:7 ratio of Sam Sykes staff to Queen Anne’s girls, and this was never more needed than when the evening’s cooking began. Multiple challenges were faced and overcome including: match lighting, safely placing a pot on a lit gas ring, working out how to ‘cook’ super noodles, and quite how much you need to stir hot chocolate to avoid powder in the bottom of the cup.
The students made substantial progress with their navigation skills, capably managed by their expedition leader, who created more opportunities for independent navigation as the students gained confidence. This meant that on the second day, the students embraced using the map to follow the route they had planned between checkpoints. At the checkpoints, the students took the opportunity to discuss any challenges with their instructor and harness the motivation to conquer the next leg.
Overall, it was an amazing weekend, in which students grew tremendously in terms of specific expedition skills, as well as in self-reliance, perseverance and resilience; all so-called soft skills which will positively influence their futures. We are already looking forward to the assessment expedition!