Youngsters' bid to shed 'uncool' image of Duke Of Edinburgh Award
YOUNG leaders are trying to shed the "uncool" image of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Grace Elliott, Lucy Chapman and Harry Croucher have set themselves a task of improving the award's brand and are appealing for more young people to "Take The Challenge" – the famous D of E slogan.
A gold D of E award is worth 80 UCAS points when applying for university and Grace, 17, of New Waltham, is convinced it helped her get an offer to study medicine at Sheffield University next year.
However, it's the much simpler benefits that these three young people want others to realise in the hope of convincing more to sign up.
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Harry, 18, of Tetney, said: "I have such a good time doing the D of E but whenever you talk about it with your friends, people seem to laugh in your face.
"It's this bad reputation that we need to shift so that people realise it's fun and you can do it with your own friends."
Lucy, 17, of new Waltham, said: "People think the D of E is "uncool" but I disagree – it's lots of fun.
"It's a shame that people have that attitude because anyone who gives it a chance will realise everything that it has to offer.
"You get to meet lots of new people, it can help you with your confidence, and you have experiences you would never have without it."
Young people who want to do D of E can choose the bronze award when they reach age 14, then choose to go on to the silver and the gold awards. It involves completing tasks in five different areas – skill, sport, volunteer, residential and expedition.
The award conjures up images of trekking through fields on rainy days for many people – although young people at the Heneage Road base do a lot more than walking.
There is the opportunity to learn music, climbing, health and beauty, personal training skills, cooking and a number of conservation projects such as tree planting and allotment work – and those are just a few.
Sue Campbell, project leader for the D of E, said: "It's amazing what these young people can achieve when they put their minds to it – things that they didn't even think were possible.
"There is such a wide variety of people who take the challenge and they all react in different ways.
"Some start cocky and start to lose their bravado as the tasks get difficult but when they realise that it is possible, they come out with a new kind of confidence.
"We have a number of people with disabilities and try to focus on what they can do rather than what they can't.
"Anyone can achieve with the D of E."
Visit www.dofe.org for more information.