Recently, over 400 Scottish teens gathered together in Edinburgh, in order to collect their Gold awards. Anyone who is familiar with the DofE, like Tunde Folawiyo, will understand the significance of its Gold award ceremonies; the certificates handed out to participants represent years of dedication and hard work.
The ceremony took place at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and was attended not only by the award recipients and their families, but also by a number of celebrities from the sport, entertainment, music and art industries. Some of the top names included David Murdoch, the Olympic curler, and Kevin Guthrie, the actor who starred in the production ‘Sunshine on Leith’.
A significant number of the recipients hailed from Inverness. These young people completed the volunteering section of the award by undertaking peer mentoring, working in charity shops, and by serving as Scout and Guide leaders. For the skills and physical recreation activities, the group chose archery, badminton and American football, and several of them learned how to play musical instruments.
Whilst each section of the award benefits the participants in one way or another, it is the volunteer work which is often said to be the most rewarding aspect of the programme. Those with a passion for youth development, such as Tunde Folawiyo, are no doubt aware that the simple act of helping others can have a profound effect on a young person’s character. But of course, in addition to helping individual participants to become better people, this section also has an incredibly positive impact on their communities.
Surveys carried out by the DofE show that the type of volunteering which participants choose to do varies widely, and includes everything from supporting charities, setting up eco-friendly groups and campaigning, to working as mentors, making clothes for premature infants, and helping out at local after-school clubs.
The commitment and compassion demonstrated by DofE volunteers has not gone unnoticed, and many are eager to give back to this charity, which has helped so many people over the years. For instance, three weeks ago, a group of 300 employees from Baker Tilly, an accountancy firm, set off for a cycling adventure, which saw them cover more than 660 miles over the course of ten days. The bike ride was set up as a fundraising event, in order to raise £10,000 for the DofE.