The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is a voluntary, non-competitive programme of practical, cultural and adventurous activities. It is designed to support the personal a social development of young people aged 14-24 years. It offers an individual challenge and encourages young people to undertake exciting, constructive, challenging and enjoyable activities in their free time.

What is the DofE Award?

The Award is a challenging programme of activities that will help you to learn new skills, help others; experience adventure and it will give you a great sense of achievement. What's more many organisations such as employers and universities take a good view of the Award and what it says about the person who has achieved it.

What does it involve?

There are three levels, Bronze/Silver/Gold and for each one you need to complete activities in four different sections - Service/Skills/Physical Recreation and Expeditions.

At Gold level you also take part in a residential project, it's up to you what you do and if you need any help or support the Squadron staff are there to help you. It could be something new or an activity that you already enjoy, the good news is that it is not an exam so you can not fail! The Award is about having a go and enjoying yourself, it is NOT a competition.

As stated above, there are three levels:

> You can do a Bronze DofE programme once you’re 14 (or nearly 14, which sometimes happens when you and your friends decide to start your adventure together.  However, your Leader must agree this.)

> A Bronze DofE programme has 4 sections, Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition.  You must do a minimum of 3 months activity for each of the Volunteering, Physical and Skills sections, and plan, train for and do a 2 day (1 night) Expedition.

> You also have to spend an extra three months on one of the Volunteering, Physical or Skills sections.  It’s your choice which one and, though you can change your mind later, you should decide which section you want to do for longer at the beginning.  Knowing how long you’re going to do it for will help you to choose your activity and set your goals for each section.

> It will usually take you at least 6 months to complete your Bronze programme.

> The next step up from Bronze... you need to be at least 15 to start doing your Silver DofE programme.  If you've achieved your Bronze Award, your Licensed Organisation may allow you to start your Silver a month or two before your 15th birthday.

> A Silver DofE programme has 4 sections, Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition.  You need to do at least 6 months Volunteering and a minimum of 6 months on either Physical or Skills and 3 months on the other. It’s up to you which one you do for longer.

> The Expedition section involves planning, training for and doing a 3 day (2 night) expedition.

> If you start your Silver without doing Bronze first you’ll have to do an extra 6 months volunteering or doing whichever of the Physical or Skills sections you have spent more time on.  Though you can change your mind later, you should decide which section you want to do for longer at the beginning.  Knowing how long you’re going to do it for will help you to choose your activity and set your goals for each section.

> It will take you at least 6 months for Silver if you've already achieved your Bronze, or 12 months if you've jumped straight into Silver.

> Once you are 16 you can do your Gold DofE programme.  No activities can be counted for this before your 16th birthday.

> You’ll spend 12 months on your Volunteering section.  For Physical and Skills you must spend 12 months on one and six months on the other - you decide which way round you do it.

> Your expedition will be for four days and three nights (plus an acclimatisation day) and should take place in 'wild country'.

> The big difference at Gold is you'll also do a Residential section - staying away from home for five days and four nights doing a shared activity with people you don't know.  It's great fun and a real chance to do something different!

> If you’ve jumped straight into your Gold DofE programme you’ll need to do a further six months either volunteering or whichever one of your physical or skills activities you spent the most time on.

> For Gold, you'll need to do your programme for at least 12 months if you've achieved your Silver Award, or 18 months if you've started at Gold level without doing your Silver - even if you've done Bronze.

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