Back in 2003, when I was in Year Thirteen, our school started running the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and I was part of the first group that ever did it. I spent six months as a Brownie Helper for my Volunteering section (for which I earned my Service Flash at Guides – and actually, I kept it up from the moment my former Brown Owl suggested it until the pack closed down, which was longer than six months). I made an assortment of toys for my Skills section – I remember making a dinosaur from recycled rubbish like eggboxes, a foot-tall camel from a kit and maybe some felt finger puppets. For my Physical section, I took up caving, and then continued it for four years at university and am still pining for it ten years later. And for the all-important Expedition, we did a practice expedition in Wareham Forest and a real one across the Isle of Purbeck.
But that expedition didn’t happen until the first weekend of July. We’d finished our exams and left school by May, June at the latest. By the time our badges and certificates arrived, we were long gone. And by the time we went back to collect them, they were long gone. The upshot is that thirteen years later, I have no evidence that I ever did it and no way, short of scouring eBay, to get a replacement badge or certificate.
In the process of searching the DofE website for some way to request, apply for or just plain buy a Bronze badge, I stumbled upon the Diamond Challenge. DofE started in 1956, which means it’s sixty years old this year and to celebrate that, they’ve created a special challenge for everyone – someone who’s already doing DofE, a parent, a leader, someone who wishes they’d had a chance to do it when they were younger, someone who wants a new challenge. Or someone who wishes they’d carried on with Silver and Gold before they hit the age limit…
So I jumped at the chance to do the Diamond Challenge. Alright, you do have to fundraise, which is something I find difficult and will be challenge enough in itself but it’s only £60 – £60 for 60 years. As for the actual challenge, I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. I’m leaning towards Adventure, over Personal or Skill, but it seems so open-ended. My Challenger Kit is on the way and that should help me decide and plan what I’m going to do. Climb a mountain? Flying lessons?
I can’t believe I’m thirty and about to start a new Duke of Edinburgh challenge.