Founded in 1956 by Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a youth awards programme that recognises and rewards youngsters’ completion of self-improvement exercises. Based on Kurt Hahn’s solutions to the problems identified by “Six Declines of Modern Youth,” the charity organisation promotes betterment and self-improvement for youth. Offering life-changing experiences, fun, friendship, opportunities and personal skills development, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award seeks to support adolescents and young adults navigate into adult life. Activities include helping the community and environment, developing new skills and training for and completing an expedition. Young people of all abilities are encouraged to join in.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Various Awards
The DofE charity supports thousands of organisations that work with young people and under whose auspices they can enter the award scheme. Schools, colleges and universities all offer access to the DofE, while national youth groups and local youth clubs similarly offer access. From each organisation, leaders are assigned to individual participants who are charged with guiding and inspiring young people to achieve their goals. The three categories according to which entry is determined are: Bronze (aged 14+ years), Silver (aged 15+ years) and Gold (16+ years).
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Expeditions
The DofE is best known for its most challenging activity, its expeditions. While participants are allowed a considerable degree of flexibility, with planning the expedition being a vital part of the exercise, the DofE provide many suggestions. Ideas range from embarking on adventures by foot, to cycling expeditions, boating, canoeing or kayaking, wheelchair expeditions and expeditions on horseback. Participants are encouraged to incorporate elements of planning, role delegation, leadership, orienteering and experience recording skills into their expeditions of choice. Beyond personal improvement, better health and the acquisition of new skills, the DofE is also looked upon favourably by would-be employers.