Going for Gold!

Two of our Year 13 students are undertaking some pretty cool adventures on their way to completing their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Lisa Parkin and Maia McKibbin-Golf both ticked off portions of the Award requirements recently, and here Lisa tells us about her Duke of Ed journey to date.

By Lisa Parkin
Year 13

The Duke of Edinburgh Award is an international award that has three levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold. For all three levels you have four activities to complete, which include skill, service, physical recreation and two adventurous journeys.

To complete the Bronze Award I needed to commit to three months of each skill, service and physical recreational activity, and then spend one night away for each of the adventurous journeys. To complete Silver I needed to commit to six months of each activity and two nights away. And finally for the Gold award I need to commit to 12 months of each activity and three nights away for each adventurous journey.

I started my Bronze award halfway through Year 10 and completed it by the end of that same year. I then started my Silver award in Year 11 and after some Covid complications I managed to finish it half way through Year 12 and immediately started my Gold. I am aiming to finish this by October this year.

For my Gold Award my skill activity is learning new skills and techniques on my guitar. For my service activity I am a Coastguard volunteer and finally for the physical recreation activity I am completing a personal fitness programme at home and attending yoga classes.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award has given me many opportunities to experience new activities and learn new skills which has mainly been from the Adventurous Journeys I have gone on. The experience that I loved the most was a 7-day kayaking trip around the Hauraki Gulf, which was for my Gold adventurous journeys.

We had amazing views of the different islands and the landscape of the city. For most of this week the conditions were calm and ideal to kayak in. On the fourth day the winds picked up to 30knots and the sea swell was 1.5 metres. I enjoyed the challenge and excitement of the rough weather, but I am grateful that we only had one day of this.

I’ve often asked myself why I started the Duke of Edinburgh award in the first place and the one answer I think of is that it was out of interest or curiosity for me. I remember hearing about the award in an assembly during school and at that time I knew nothing about it. When I got home that day I spoke to my parents about it, searched up more information and decided to give it a go.

When I started my Bronze award I had no idea I’d be finishing my Gold award three years later. I thought to myself that it would be a major accomplishment to complete all levels of the award but now I am so proud of how far I have come and how close I am to finishing. Some parts have been challenging, for example staying motivated to continuously practice guitar or get up early to do some exercise. But I know at the end of this award I’ll be able to look back at those challenging times and be proud of myself for putting my head down and pushing on.