DAA Daily

Duke of Edinburgh Experience

By Keira Khattar, Voices of Society Editor, The Pawprint

The Duke of Edinburgh (DOE) challenge is an incredibly beneficial challenge targeted at students aged 14-25 years old. The challenge contains 3 progressive levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold and involves helping the community, developing new skills, becoming physically and mentally fitter and planning and training to complete a rigorous but fun expedition. The expedition is done in groups of 4-7 people. The challenge helps students develop as individuals and helps build communities. In addition, the experience is a great addition to future college and job applications and assists in maintaining additional CAS points. The program allows any young person, regardless of their background, gender, ability or location to participate in a unique, non-competitive experience.

A variety of teachers and students here at DAA participate in the DOE challenge which has been running for nearly two years. Among the teachers who assisted in bringing the experience to DAA is Ms. Mackey. Ms. Mackey, who participated in DOE as a child had loved the experience so much, she decided, with the agreement of other teachers, to bring the experience to DAA. She explained, “It started last year when I was on a hike with some other teachers, and we thought how fun it would be to bring DOE to DAA.”. Ms. Mackey also deeply believes in the benefits to participating in the DOE challenge as she claims, “[It] helps motivate students to become independent learners by giving them a variety of opportunities that can either be supported or can be independent allowing them to develop a holistic approach to the outcomes of the task necessary in the challenge.” In addition, she notes how the experience changes people for the better. She trusts that in the adventurous journey students participate in, students will develop”life-long skills” and learn to “respect the environment.” In general she explains how “The trip is so valuable to have as a life skill. In addition, you could make new friends, across the different levels of school and just develop yourself as a person, being stronger, more independent and being more respectful to other people.”

This year, more than 100 students have signed up to participate in the experience. Sienna Bouchaaya and her teammates are a small group who have decided to participate. The team participated in their first Bronze practice journey (done prior to actual journey for practice) on the 4th of November. They stayed until the 5th and had to walk about 15 km each day. The qualifying/official journey will take place in January where they will have to repeat this experience at a more intense rate. “The most challenging part of the journey was definitely carrying our bags across the long distances but creating closer bonds with my friends and creating new experiences and memories definitely made it worth it” Bouchaaya recalls. The best advice she gives to someone looking to join the expedition in the future is to “pack light” and ”bring only what you need”.

In general, the experience is incredibly unique and assists in developing oneself both mentally, physically and socially. The experience came as highly recommended by both students who participated and teachers who assisted and have participated in the challenge before.

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