One of the many great benefits to the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme is encouraging students to go beyond their comfort zone and meet new people. Recently, some Year 11 students laced up the boots for a practise Gold Journey with many students from other schools.
Claudia Hayman: Who knew that spending three nights camping with strangers could be so brilliantly entertaining? Well anything is possible on Duke of Ed Gold, and as the six of us St Lukians rocked up to the Colo River on that Thursday morning and scoped out our fellow campers, little did we know that in our midst was a set of Greek-folk-dancing-twins, one refugee-rights-activist, one hardcore-star-wars-fanatic and several other less-than-average Joes.
So how does such a diverse group of folk become the tight-knit group spewed out at the end of the camp? That, friends, is Duke of ed Magic. As we hiked along the rolling hills of the region and paddled across its vast waters, several ingredients were key to our DoE success, all conveniently beginning with ‘B’:
- Beats: Oh the sonorous rhythms of Matt Corby, the funky bass lines of Stevie Wonder, the strange and wonderful lyrics of Queen. Our tired legs are forever indebted to your encouragement. When the conversation has petered out, the sunburn starts to sting and you begin to marinate in your own B.O. belting out a few tone-deaf toons is the only way to go on.
- Braiding: Whoever said that braiding was the domain of the 12 year old girls sleepovers was most definitely mistaken. Our love-affair with woven locks began with a niche challenge to braid the boy’s fringes (success reigned). The flames of inspiration were kindled in said males, and they managed to round up a few wary test-guinea pigs. Indistinguishable knots quickly became intricate fishtail braids, so determined were they to out-braid one another. Our group chat is now filled with pinterest-worthy pics of their sisters’ plaited tresses. Well done lads.
- Burning things: We all have that inner pyromaniac and what better time to let it shine than in Duke of Ed. Burning the midnight oil by burning things proved to be an excellent bonding experience. The trangia patiently endured all things, from chewing gum to fingers to marshmallows that tasted like meth. As we stared intently at chemistry’s phenomenon, we chattered about everything and anything - paternity leave, the peculiarities of the English language and how to solve the refugee crisis, sprinkled of course an abundance of banter.
- Bouncing: Duke of Ed and luxury do not usually go hand in hand… unless of course you stay in a glorious glamping paradise complete with hot showers, cafés, golf parks and fountains. Restraining from buying hot chips proved difficult with only our hard-won DoE principle pulling us through. One particular highlight of this heavenly realm was a jumping pillow. Yes, one of those peculiar blown up pieces of canvas that you bounce on. Absolutely marvellous, it was, frolicking about and accidentally knocking down small children while having gymnastic competitions with random 8 year old girls. We really did live the good life.
All of us had an absolute ball on Duke of Ed, we would all highly recommend to anyone interested!