Gold Award winners share their thoughts on the DofE | Tunde Folawiyo

Each year, thousands of people begin their DofE journey, in the hopes of one day receiving the programme’s top prize, the Gold award. People who are familiar with this programme, such as Tunde Folawiyo, understand that receiving the Gold is an outstanding achievement – one which recipients are likely to cherish for the rest of their lives.

Recently, dozens of young people from across the UK finished the final stage of the programme, and received their Gold awards. Ellen Chilcott and Harry Tavare joined the DofE after they began studying at Somerset College, undertaking their projects in their spare time. Discussing his experience with a journalist, Harry explained that the programme had improved his organisational skills, and given him a great deal of confidence in his own abilities.

Tunde FolawiyoEllen had an equally positive experience, stating that her volunteer work with a charity shop had been hugely rewarding, and that she had made many new friends as a result of her involvement with the DofE. Whilst she admitted that at times, it had been challenging, she said that in the end, it had been worth it. Both Harry and Ellen will be receiving their official certificates at a ceremony in St James’ Palace this month.

Three young students from the Channel Islands, named Yasmin, Rowland and Sophie, will also be collecting their Gold awards this February. Like Harry and Ellen, they all had very positive experiences; Rowland said that his DofE expedition had helped him to understand the importance of team work, co-operation and perseverance, whilst Yasmin said that she is confident that completing the programme in its entirety will help her with future challenges, such as university interviews and job applications. This is precisely why Tunde Folawiyo, and other people are in favour of youth development programmes like the DofE; it gives young people a head start, and makes it considerably easier for them to achieve their professional ambitions.

Several teenagers from Berkshire are also due to receive their Gold certificates during the coming weeks. One of the recipients, Luke Crisford, spoke enthusiastically of the 4-day DofE expedition he had taken, which involved a 60-mile canoe trip, beginning in Fort William, and ending in Inverness. He explained that this activity had allowed him to understand the value of working as a team, and of persevering when faced with challenging circumstances. He finished by saying that he would recommend the DofE programme to all teens.

DofE launch project with Dallaglio Foundation | Tunde Folawiyo

Just a few months ago, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award committee decided to team up with the Dallaglio Foundation, in order to encourage young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate in sport, and join the award programme. As of September 2013, the DofE has been working with Lawrence DallLawrence Dallaglio 2006aglio – the former rugby star who launched the foundation – to help teens to get involved with the DofE, via their local rugby associations.

Dallaglio’s charity is an organisation which virtually everyone, including Tunde Folawiyo, is familiar with. Launched just five years ago, it has already managed to raise over £7 million, by hosting annual events such as the Golf & Wine Club, the 8-Rocks and the Dallaglio Cycle Slam. His collaborative project with the DofE is being funded by ICAP, who have donated enough money to enable at least 200 people to join a rugby club and gain their Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. The goal of this venture is to teach teens how to work well under pressure, communicate effectively with others, and work as a team.

Speaking to the press, Lawrence Dallaglio stated that sport can have a profound impact on a young person’s life, and that partnering with the DofE would allow participants to not only enjoy all of the benefits of playing rugby, but also provide them with the opportunity to achieve accolades which will make them more employable in the future.

He went on to say that the values which had been instilled in him through the practice of this particular sport – things such as trust, honesty, sportsmanship and respect for others – had helped him to cope with a very challenging period during his teens. He added that he hoped that his foundation, along with the DofE, would help other young people going through similarly difficult times.

Adedoyin Sonibare was one of the first DofE students to get involved in this project. She joined Dallaglio for a rugby training session, which she described as one of her most enjoyable DofE experiences.  She remarked that it had been a privilege to have been taught by Dallaglio, and added that he was a lovely person who was very supportive and encouraging. Sports enthusiasts like Tunde Folawiyo will understand that training with Dallaglio is a dream for many people; he is widely regarded as one of England’s greatest rugby players, having participated in 85 matches for his country, including the 2003 World Cup.

Progressing through the DofE Gold level | Tunde Folawiyo

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 fivTunde Folawiyoe 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.

How the DofE established itself overseas | Tunde Folawiyo

Just a few short years after the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was launched in the UK, word of this exciting new youth development programme began to spread overseas. A number of schools in other countries started to take an interest in it, and with some careful planning and preparation, their students were able to participate.

The trend of foreign schools and organisations joining in the DofE, and creating their own versions of this programme, continued to grow and by the early eighties, the DofE committee in the UK decided that it was time to hold an International Forum. In total, nineteen delegates attended; after lengthy discussions on the best ways to develop the programme overseas, they decided to re-designate the International Secretariat. Not long after this, they established the DofE International Award Association, whose work is now carried out by the highly-respected DofE International Award Foundation – a charity which Tunde Folawiyo may be familiar with.

Tunde FolawiyoThese two organisations have made is considerably easier for young people around the world to get involved with the DofE. Currently, the programme has more than 850,000 participants worldwide, and since the DofE was first launched, approximately 8 million people have completed their bronze, silver and gold level activities.

Today, the staff at the DofE International Award Foundation work tirelessly to promote this programme in over 140 countries, giving young people the opportunity to participate – regardless of their circumstances or background – and preserving the integrity of the award itself. Whilst the Foundation has already achieved a great deal in this respect, its staff intend to help even more people to get involved. Their new business plan will enable the Foundation to raise awareness of the DofE in countries where it has not yet been launched and continue to improve the quality of the programme itself, both in the UK and abroad.

Those who are aware of this programme, like Tunde Folawiyo, might know that the Countess and Earl of Wessex have also been doing their part to promote the DofE around the world, with the former having recently been named as the DofE International Award’s Global Ambassador. The couple have set off on a journey which will take them to the USA in late February, and Barbados and Jamaica at the beginning of March. Throughout the past 12 months, the Countess and the Earl have travelled to many other countries on behalf of the DofE International Award, including Zambia, South Africa, Canada and Hong Kong.

Completing an expedition with the DofE | Tunde Folawiyo

For many DofE participants, the most challenging and enjoyable aspect of their experience in the programme is completing the expedition. Tunde Folawiyo, and anyone else who is familiar with the DofE, will know that whilst the exact nature of the expedition itself is left up to the individual, the DofE does require individuals to follow the expedition rules very closely. For instance, only a team of between four and seven people can work together to carry out this activity.

Tunde FolawiyoIn addition to this, participants must show proof of the preparations they have made, and the training they have undertaken in the lead up to the actual expedition, and the entire process must be overseen by a DofE-approved supervisor. The team also has to be very clear about what their aim is for their expedition; depending on where they are going, examples of aims might be to explore and document a historical landmark, or to observe the levels of pollution in a particular forest, and plan activities which might help to reduce or eliminate this pollution.

Like most people, Tunde Folawiyo understands the importance of being physically and mentally ready for this type of strenuous, and challenging event. The training which is done prior to the trip must adequately prepare the participants for the mode of travel and activities they intend to engage in; so for instance, if they plan to go on a long hike in a mountainous area, they might have to follow a fitness regime, and ensure that they have the right equipment to guarantee that they reach their destination safely.

So as to ensure that the teams are fully prepared, the DofE also requires them to carry out a practice run of the trip; this is something which most  participants find quite helpful, as it gives them an idea of what to expect. Recently, students from St Patricks School in Malta completed their trial expedition, choosing to spend three days exploring the route from Mosta to Ghadira Bay. During it, they learned some important survival skills, carried out team-building exercises, learned how to correctly read maps, pitch tents and understand basic first aid techniques, all of which will undoubtedly make their actual expedition considerably easier.


Gold Award Presentations held in UK and Australia | Tunde Folawiyo

Many people, including Tunde Folawiyo understand just how important it is to encourage young people, and help them to reach their full potential. When a student dedicates years of their life to completing a series of goals which they have set for themselves, it seems only fair that their hard work and perseverance be rewarded.

Tunde FolawiyoIn the case of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, many participants say that their experience, and the skills they acquire throughout their journey are reward enough. However, the DofE committee makes it a policy to ensure that the young participants’ achievements are publically acknowledged and celebrated, which is why, each year, they host dozens of Gold Award Presentations (GAPs), in venues all over the world.

Last month, a GAP was held at Government House, for 99 Australian students from Hunting Tower School. Bareetu Aba-Bulgu, who recently received the Empowering Monash Women Award, was chosen as the representative for the Gold recipients. Despite being just 18 years of age, Bareetu has already achieved a great deal, due to her involvement with the DofE.

Anyone who is familiar with this programme, like Tunde Folawiyo, will know just how much time and effort the DofE demands of its participants. Over the last three years, Bareetu became a volunteer for the Waverly Hockey Club, learned to play the double bass, and applied for, and was awarded a cadetship with the renowned Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

The above-mentioned Empowering Monash Women prize required her to carry out a long and challenging list of tasks, all of which she completed in addition to her academic studies. Speaking to a journalist at Government House, she described her exchange trip, which allowed her to attend an Australian indigenous school, as the most rewarding aspect of her DofE experience, adding that the trip had taught her a great deal about the importance of respecting the land.

Another GAP was hosted in the UK a few weeks ago, at Herstmonceux Castle. In total, 44 students from East Sussex received their Gold Awards for their participation in the DofE programme which, in this part of the country, is run by East Sussex County Council. One of the recipients, named Chloe Braybrook, gave a presentation; during it, she spoke of her DofE volunteer activity, which involved working with an organisation that runs residential camps for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Following her speech, she and the other attendees were all awarded their Gold certificates, in recognition of their years of hard work. Councillor Nick Bennett praised the recipients, and commended all of the DofE staff and volunteers who sacrifice time in order to run the DofE programme in East Sussex.

Who supports the DofE programme? | Tunde Folawiyo

Each year, more than 300,000 people get involved in the DofE programme, and in doing so, develop skills and character traits which will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Available to everyone between the ages of 14 and 25, the DofE helps young people to reach their full potential, boost their career prospects and get a head start in life.

None of this would be possible without the help of its volunteers, and the financial support provided by organisations like the Duke of Edinburgh World Fellowship. The latter was established 27 years ago, in a bid to ensure that the DofE programme would be available for many generations to come. Its fellows, which include Tunde Folawiyo, are aware of the many fundraising events that are held throughout the year to support the programme, all of which are organised by the Fellowship committee.

The generosity of Tunde Folawiyothose involved in the Fellowship has been instrumental in the evolution of the DofE; as a result of their donations, it has become one of the most renowned youth development programmes in the world. Prior to the founding of the Duke of Edinburgh World Fellowship in the late eighties, the DofE relied almost entirely upon the somewhat sporadic donations provided by individuals living in the UK. The limitations of this small budget made it difficult for the DofE committee to expand its programme, and it was only when the World Fellowship was launched that the programme truly began to make waves internationally.

But of course, the financial donations made by the Fellowship could not be put to good use, if it were not for the tireless dedication of the DofE volunteers, many of whom have spent years helping the participants in this programme. Supporters of the DofE, including Tunde Folawiyo, understand how hard these people work. Volunteers serve in a variety of roles, depending on their particular skill sets, with some working as leaders on expeditions, and others assisting with fundraising or administrative tasks.

In order to make sure that volunteers have the necessary qualifications and knowledge to support participants, many are given training sessions, the cost of which is usually covered, in part, by the DofE. Virtually everyone who chooses to volunteer with this programme finds it to be an exceptionally rewarding experience, as they have the opportunity to meet new people, have new experiences, and travel around the country.

History of The Duke of Edinbugh’s Award | Tunde Folawiyo

Introduced in the United Kingdom in 1956, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has long served as a beacon of inspiration for youth across the world due in part to its many supporters, including those such as Tunde Folawiyo. Created by a small team of esteemed professionals, the award first began as a means to motivate boys aged between 15 and 18 to strive toward personal growth in the often difficult years between adolescence and adulthood. It is now opened to both genders as a girls’ scheme was launched in 1958. In 1957, the upper age limit was increased to 19 and gradually increased before settling at 25 in 1980, paving the way for a new era of young adults striving to make a difference.

Since its founding in 1956, the programme has grown into an internationally recognised programme that now reaches more than 300,000 young people in over 120 countries throughout the world. While the mission and goals of the Award are uniform internationally, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award carries many different titles including The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award; The President’s Award; The National Youth Achievement Award and The International Award for Young People.

Tunde FolawiyoThe Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is focused on promoting the areas of volunteering, physical fitness, unique skills and expeditions to encourage today’s youth toward a better tomorrow. Participants must accomplish a variety of trainings and successfully complete comprehensive assessments in order to prove a vast understanding of that particular subject. It’s through the guidance of mentors called “Assessors” and “Coordinators” that participants are provided the information and leadership needed to effectively accomplish each task at hand. From embracing new, exciting activities and taking part in organising and carrying out charity work to benefit surrounding communities, young people in the programme are held to a high standard of integrity.

Whilst there are various levels of accomplishment in regards to The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the challenges set forth by the Gold Level are perhaps the most exciting to undertake. Deemed “The Residential Project” participants are encouraged to embark on an adventurous journey in which they will encounter new people and experience an unfamiliar environment vastly different to their own. Through the Residential Project, participants will meet new people, accomplish unique goals and explore life in an unfamiliar environment in order to gain a worldly perspective that will lead to empathy and understanding of other cultures. Through the continued encouragement of the programmes supporters, including Tunde Folawiyo, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award will continue to foster the development of bright young minds throughout the world.

Contributing to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award | Tunde Folawiyo

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has long served as a means of encouragement for millions of young people throughout the world. Through the immeasurable encouragement of many valued supporters of the programme including Tunde Folawiyo, the award continues to inspire a new generation of bright young leaders with a determination to make a difference. With the goals set forth by the award, participants are encouraged to strive for excellence in all aspects of life including personal growth, perseverance, self-reliance and a commitment of service to their community and other communities throughout the world.

Tunde FolawiyoIn staying true to these goals, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme is compiled of four mandatory sections including fitness, skill, volunteering and adventurous journey. Each participant completes the aforementioned sections according to his or her personal timeframe and through this non-competitive process, participants are able to apply their full focus on their own achievements, without the worry or anxiety of rivalry.

The Award has made a significant impact in the lives of millions of young people since its founding. In addition to improved educational attainment and improved health and well-being for participants, there have also been notable improvements in social inclusion, gender equality, the reduction of violence and an increased participation in civic life, each an important component of successful adult life.

As a non-profit organisation, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award relies on the continued support of various individuals in order to successfully carry out its operations and mission of nurturing personal development among youth. Therein lies a variety of opportunities to contribute to the further success of this thriving organisation.

One way to become involved in the betterment of today’s youth is to assist The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award organisation with a brand ambassadorship. Many individuals hold a variety of talents, professional positions and networks in order to spread the word of the organisation’s values. Whether it’s through voluntary time or monetary donations, each individual willing to assist proves an indispensable part of the organisation’s foundation.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award offers sponsorship opportunities for individuals wishing to involve themselves with the organisation’s goal. From assisting in the planning of fundraising events to joining The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award network to receive up to date news and other information, the ways to contribute to the mission of the organisation are endless. Due to the outstanding encouragement of the award’s supporters such as Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award will continue to thrive for years to come.