During the weekend of 12th and 13th October 2013, four groups of air cadets from 1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron Air Training Corps embarked on their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award Qualifying expeditions under the direction and leadership of the Squadrons Duke of Edinburgh Award Officer, Adult Sergeant (ASGT) Robert Charlesworth.
Upon their return, a short report was formed from Group 1, which was made up of Cadet Robert Green (15), Cadet Josh Harwood (14), Cadet Lee Gallagher (15) and Cadet Charlie Heath (14). As each qualifying expedition has to have an aim, this particular group found themselves working towards one which saw them taking photos of local scenery and animals such as sheep and cows they came across along their route and looking into how the weather throughout the weekend affected the morale of the individuals within their group.
Saturday morning saw the group leave their starting point at Staunton Harold Reservoir at 9am and arrive at their camp-site at Willesley Scout Camp in Derbyshire at 6.45pm after a long day of walking in the rain, with the first sight of blue skies being spotted at 1pm when the group stopped for a short break for lunch.
Upon completion of this expedition, Cadet Rob Green (15) says: “Although it rained a lot over the weekend and we got very wet and cold, I had a lot of fun and enjoyed myself and was able too put my theory skills I learnt at the Squadron into practise. We were so tired at the end but overall it was a brilliant weekend and I look forward too giving my presentation about the expedition to the rest of the Squadron and Sgt Charlesworth.”
Cadet Josh Harwood (14) says: “ It was a brilliant weekend and we all pulled together and worked as a team really well. We felt abit down towards the end because it wouldnt stop raining but we cheered eachother up with plenty of Haribo and carried on to the end – the blisters were huge! But overall it was an amazing weekend and I am really proud of myself that I was finally able too complete such a big challenge.”
Cadet Lee Gallagher (15) also had a bit to say about his expedition – “ I thourght the walk was fantastic and had a really good time at the campsite trying too put the tent up quickly before it got dark and cook a meal for myself. I am looking forward too receiving my Bronze DofE Badge for my Uniform and moving on to my Silver expeditions with the Squadron next year.”
Finally, Cadet Charlie Heath (15) says – “Even though I got blisters and my legs were in pain, I was encouraged and supported by the rest of my group to keep going and reach the end and I feel very proud of myself for not giving up when things got difficult. I am looking forward to re living the memories looking through all the photos and videos we taken on our cameras to put on our final presentation.”
Although the most physically demanding part of their Duke of Edinburghs award is now over, the cadets now face a nervous wait to present their findings of their aim to the rest of the Squadron through a powerpoint presentation, which will be assessed by Sgt Charlesworth, who will decide if each group has successfully achieved what they each initially set out too and confirm if they have passed or not…. Good Luck Teams!
The Duke of Edinburghs Award scheme (DofE) is open too all young people aged between 14 and 24. At Bronze and Silver level there are four sections : Expedition, Skills, Physical and Volunteering and a fifth section at Gold Level, being a residential section. Upon successful completion of your Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, participants are invited to a presentation at St James Palace in London to receive their award in the presence of a member of the Royal Family.
CI C Tildesley