The Gold level is undoubtedly the most challenging stages of the DofE programme, and can only be undertaken by those aged 16 or over (although the Bronze and Silver levels are available to anyone over the age of 14). As someone who is familiar with youth development programmes like the DofE, Tunde Folawiyo understands that the key to successfully passing the Gold level is to demonstrate that you have developed your skill sets, and grown as a person, due to your involvement in your chosen activities.
Much like the other levels, the Gold requires participants to complete Volunteer, Physical, Skills and Expedition sections. However, in addition to this, they must undertake a Residential trip, which will last for at least five days. Those who are aware of this programme, like Tunde Folawiyo, might know that the Residential section is particularly demanding, as it involves working on a challenging goal with complete strangers, in an unfamiliar setting.
In short, a great deal of effort goes into completing this particular level. As such, it should come as no surprise that many participants consider receiving their Gold certificate to be one of the highlights of their young lives. Recently, a national DofE award ceremony was held at St James’s Palace for those who had finished the final stage of the programme, with recipients accepting their awards from the Earl of Wessex.
Daniel Albone and Peter Hawkings, both from Axbridge, attended this event in order to receive their certificates. The two boys had undertaken a wide range of activities in order to reach this stage; they held fundraising events so that they could go on a wildlife conservation expedition to South Africa, volunteered for the National Trust, and worked as wildlife wardens on the Welsh island of Skomer.
Both recipients had nothing but good things to say about the programme, explaining that they had learned a lot about themselves and their abilities through their participation in it. Whilst they acknowledged that it had been hard work, they went on to say that it had also been hugely enjoyable and rewarding.
More young people involved in this programme will be receiving their certificates over the coming weeks, including over a hundred students from Caistor Grammar School. Whilst the students’ Bronze and Silver certificates have already been given out at a small ceremony held in the school hall, Caistor students who have finished the Gold level will be awarded their certificates at a grander event, to be held at Buckingham Palace, in February of this year.