Scouts’ Gold DofE efforts rewarded
150 hardworking Scouts will receive their Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award at St. James’ Palace today.
Completing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award is a real achievement. For many, it has been a long hard road to the summit – and that’s not just the three-night expedition, camping out and carrying all of their kit. Young people must volunteer, develop their skills and undertake residential experiences over the course of 12 months to achieve their Award. But once they do, completing this qualification can open doors for their future.
One young person attending the Gold Award Presentations this year is 19-year-old Sohum Dhir. He has now completed Bronze, Silver and Gold DofE, supported by his former Scout Group, 34th Nottingham. He will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with his team when they collect their Awards from royalty. ‘It’s a great accomplishment, and recognition of our hard work,’ Sohum says.
For the volunteering part of his Gold DofE, Sohum spent an hour each week at a local care home, working with people with dementia. ‘I was supporting residents to do activities, helping with feeding during mealtimes, and giving the nursing staff some support wherever I could,’ Sohum explains. ‘There was lots of emphasis on skills like patience and empathy, and it was nice to be able to offer my company and chat to the residents.’
Alongside this commitment, Sohum also worked on two different skills – chess and karate. ‘I was on my school chess team as Captain for a year,’ he says. ‘We played home and away matches, and got into a national competition. I also mentored younger members at lunchtimes to improve their skills.’ Karate was something Sohum had taken up for Silver DofE, so the Gold Award built on his pre-existing skills. ‘I achieved my red belt, which is one before black,’ Sohum says. ‘As well as training, I also helped out as an assistant instructor.’
But it was the residential experiences which were the real highlight: Sohum and his team spent three nights sleeping under the stars in the Lake District, ascending Cat Bells fell near Keswick. ‘It was very arduous and both physically and psychologically demanding,’ Sohum says. ‘We didn’t have access to fresh water so we were getting water from streams and ponds and using a filtration system, which was something I’d never done before. But when we got to the top of Cat Bells and we were looking down over the landscape, it was a really lovely sight. I definitely felt a huge sense of achievement.’
Fitting all of this extra activity around his exams, schoolwork and social life has made Sohum a well-rounded individual, with plenty to talk about at job interviews and on his university applications. ‘I recently put my Gold DofE on my CV when I was applying for a job, and I ended up getting the job,’ Sohum says. ‘I’ve got really good teamwork skills thanks to my Gold DofE, which will help me in the future. I’m planning to go to university and study either medicine or finance.'
Sohum and the other Award holders have already achieved something incredible by completing their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, but receiving their certificates today will officially recognise their stellar efforts. It’s also an opportunity to thank the leaders and adults who support Scouts through the DofE programme. This year is extra special, as it is the 60th anniversary year of the Award’s creation. In that time, millions of young people have benefitted from the programme – and long may they continue to do so.