Maxi is in the throws of his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award at the moment and as dutiful parents, we have been to all the meetings and tried to be as helpful as possible. There is so much information out there for parents when their child is doing their DofE but just what do you really need to know?
First off, the expedition is the easiest part of the award. The skills, volunteering and physical sections require much more commitment. You can read about what is involved here.
So I put a shout out on social media about what other parents wish they had known and also ask for their expertise to fill you in on what parents really need to know about the Bronze (and other) Duke of Edinburgh awards.
What parents really need to know about Bronze Duke of Edinburgh
Even if you have hiked Snowdon remember that your child will always know best! What their exhibition leader will be god and nothing you say will change that.
Do not do it for them. The whole purpose of the Duke of Edinburgh is that it is led by your child. The temptation is there to arrange their skills and volunteering. But stop, this is their job, instead, just gently remind them (nag) to make sure they get their evidence and record it. Make sure that they do not leave everything until the last minute as that will just be a stress for you. So many people reminded me that this is their award and that it is key for them to do their own planning and preparation. This was reiterated by a parents support working.
Don’t be tempted to buy them the best of everything. Shop around. We picked up a fantastic sleeping bag from Aldi. We also borrowed some of the kit and Maxi’s school provides the tents and cooking equipment. We have opted for middle of the road stuff that we know will last as we are hoping that Mini does it next year and that Maxi goes on to do his silver. Go Outdoors give you an extra 10% off with a DofE card and Decathlon was also recommended by a friend. We took a trip to our local outlet village and picked up some of the kit list at a reduced price for last seasons colours.
Things not to skimp on are waterproofs and walking boots. Try to encourage your child to wear in their boots. Pack them a spare pair of socks in a sealed plastic bag as there is nothing worse than wet socks.
Encourage them to take a self inflating mat – it is worth adding the weight to their pack for a decent night’s sleep.
Make them pack early, do not let them leave it until the night before. I don’t know about your teens but mine seem to have lost the ability to prepare and plan and leave everything until last minute. Whatever you do, don’t pack for them. They need to know where everything is and be responsible for anything they forget! Add blister plasters to their bag, I was recommended Compeed about 16 times!
Give them more food than you think they need. Maxi is always eating, so I made sure that he had a good selection of snacks. Aldi does a great range of fruit and nuts, protein balls, protein bars and flapjacks. If you are sending them with prepacked stuff then don’t let them try it before they go, hunger makes anything palatable!
After the Expedition:
Make sure you have food available for them, a hot bath and a bed. Leave all the questions until after they have had sleep.
Then make them unpack their exhibition bag and clean everything before returning any borrowed items. Don’t let them leave it to fester in their bag.