The final expedition of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award took students to the Black Forest and offered them one challenge after the other.
“How long did Outward Bound last in Year 9? Ten days. How long is this final Duke Gold expedition? Only four days. Ah, that’s easy-peasy!“ With this thought in mind we started the Duke Gold Programme at the beginning of Year 11. But Duke is not just about going on outdoor hikes. It also involves time-consuming planning with regard to the route, provisions and equipment. Without such preparations the final excursion to the Black Forest would certainly not be possible. In order to receive the badge of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Gold we also had to continue our endeavours in extracurricular areas, such as community service and group activities, as well as to develop our personal talents.
No toilets, but a herd of cows instead
Despite our detailed planning, we were confronted with unanticipated problems during the expedition: for example, when a different group had chosen the same farm for their overnight stay, and we had to re-adjust our entire planning; or, as another example, when the farmer hosting us wouldn’t let us use his toilet facilities. Our own expectations were not always met, sometimes not even by a long shot. But as a result we grew to meet the challenges. Crossing a brook instead of crossing paths with a herd of cows was one such challenge by which we showed that we could find solutions for unexpected problems. In risky situations we gave each other a “leg up“ and completed the tour together as a team. All in all Duke was an enriching experience, a fun time among friends and an opportunity to discover new interests and talents.
Isabel Paredes und Linhong Fei, Abi2