Duke of Ed awards on offer at WoollamiaNick Van Breda
Year 9 students get new opportunity in 2022
Students have been offered a bonus as part of their Programme to Trinity’s Field Studies Centre at Woollamia – the chance to complete the bulk of a Duke of Edinburgh (DOE) award on site.
The south coast sojourn presents an ideal chance to undertake the two “adventurous journeys” that are part of the Duke of Edinburgh award requirements, especially since Year 9 visits have been extended to a full term.
It also affords the opportunity to fulfil the scheme’s other requirements – to learn a skill, engage in physical recreation, and perform service to the community.
“It’s a beautiful, seamless melding of the two things, the awards and the campus,” said Matthew Hirst, Master in Charge of the DOE scheme.
“It’s where we can conflate the outdoor education experience with the more personal elements of the DOE awards.”
Outdoor education staff at Woollamia will be trained as accredited award leaders. They will be available to support the boys attempting the qualification, helping them join the thousands of Trinity students to have taken part over more than 40 years.
“It would be great to see the majority of Trinity boys achieving a bronze award during Year 9 in the future,” said FSC Head Tim Knowles.
At any one time, some 200 Trinity boys are working towards an award – bronze for those 14 years old and over, silver for 15 plus, and gold for 16 plus.
From 2022, all bronze participants will be supervised by staff at Woollamia, and their award leader will be a staff member.
One leader based at Summer Hill will help boys to complete a hike around Sydney if they wish to fast track their bronze award.
Individuals design their own programmes to suit their own interests and abilities.
“An award is achievable by anyone, with the right guidance and inspiration,” said Mr Hirst.
“Doing the award is a personal challenge, not a competition against others.
“It fosters personal and social development. Boys gain invaluable experience and life skills, grow in confidence and become more aware of their environment and community.
“The award is about setting goals and working towards them. It inspires individuals to exceed their expectations.
“It requires persistence and cannot be completed with a short burst of enthusiasm.”
The skill learned must not be a purely physical skill; it can include anything from refereeing to jewellery making.
The physical recreation could be through a team sport, or simply getting out there and working up a sweat, though it must include goals.
Community service could include environmental help, emergency services, animal welfare, charity work, youth work and sports leadership.
It is unpaid and the activities are done in the students’ own time. They require regular effort, typically an hour a week for six months.
Assessors help each candidate and write a report to verify their achievements.
Mr Hirst said the DOE scheme dovetailed neatly with Trinity’s goals of nurturing mind, body and spirit – “spirit in the broader sense of giving to those less fortunate, and serving mankind”.
He said it still had “currency” in Australia on a CV or at job interviews.
“It speaks of someone who is efficient, who is always striving to do their best, who has got to ‘know thyself’. It says something about your character.”
He described the scheme as “like ice cream on a hot summer’s day – it sells itself.”
His final comment for prospective candidates is: “They won’t regret it.”