Don't stop your DofE

Just because we're staying home doesn't mean we can't keep working towards Duke of Edinburgh Awards

Even while some Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) activities are on pause, there might still be things you can do to keep working towards your award.

Have a chat with your DofE leader – remotely, by email or eDofE – to see what you can do. You can also take a look at DofE official FAQs or their flowchart, which covers what you need to do to keep doing DofE.

DofE have also shared guidance for DofE leaders, and we have some information on running expeditions below.

2020 Certificate of Achievement 

If you've completed all of your Volunteering, Physical and Skills sections before the end of 2020, you'll be given a Certificate of Achievement to recognise your accomplishment. 

So now is great time to get all your evidence – activity logs, photos and more – loaded onto eDofE so that your leader can approve them. And then take a look at our ideas for keeping up with your award at home.

Volunteering

  • Contact your volunteering activity organiser and see if there is anything you can do digitally to help. For example, helping with remote admin, phoning an older person, social media etc.
  • Fundraise for your chosen charity by setting yourself a challenge you can do at home.

Physical

  • If you’ve chosen walking, running or a fitness activity you can do at home, keep going with this for at least an hour per week to keep yourself active!
  • If you’ve chosen a team sport, like hockey or football, check and see if there are any video tutorials you can use to keep active.
  • Can you play your sport, like tennis, digitally or use a games console? This should keep you active and practise your skills.
  • Check out the full list of physical activities you can do as part of your DofE.

Skills

  • Lots of skills can still be done at home! Baking, knitting, painting, drawing will all build your skills and keep you busy at home.
  • St John’s ambulance have a self-teach first aid workbook you can do that's specially designed to use in the DofE skill section. Download the first aid workbook.
  • iDEA do free online courses that you can do as part of your DofE skills section. See their frequently asked questions for more information.
  • Check the full list of skills you can do as part of your DofE.

Expedition

  • If you’ve got a tent at home, practise putting it up indoors or in the garden. Challenge yourself to see how quickly you can do it!
  • Practise packing your rucksack.
  • Your leader might be able to hold digital training sessions for things like the highway code, scenario training, route planning and eDofE mapping.
  • Check out the DofE training resources.

Last updated: 22 July 2020

Any DofE activity happening in Girlguiding UK must follow our process for starting to meet face to face

Aside from expeditions, DofE have provided specific guidance about recognising young people who had their DofE disrupted. Take a look at their Certificates of Achievement and temporary programme flexibilities.

Girlguiding is following the youth sector and government guidance in each nation:

At the moment, the guidance across all nations allows for small group activity in an outdoor setting only. For DofE this means that you can carry out:

  • Expeditions where members return to their homes to sleep (see the guidance below on expedition flexibilities). This includes training sessions for expeditions.
  • Volunteering, physical and skill sections activities can take place in outdoor spaces in small groups.

Check  our outdoor meeting advice to see how many people can meet in your area.

Current guidance does not allow overnight activity including expeditions and residential experiences. Overnight stays will be re-introduced in the final stage of lockdown easing.

You will need to complete and submit a Girlguiding Green form for your expedition. Whilst these can be approved faster than the normal turnaround time, please give your DofE adviser appropriate notice to approve this.

Queen’s Guide award

We will be releasing some information for those working on their Queen’s Guide award soon, so keep an eye on the Queen’s Guide award page.  

DofE Expedition flexibilities

DofE have created some flexibilities for those trying to complete their expeditions. These will apply until 31 July 2021.

All levels:

  • Expeditions can take place outside of the recommended environment, and you can take all three levels to the same location. For example, Gold expeditions don’t have to take place in wild country. Groups do need be trained for the environment they do their expedition in.
  • Expedition teams can go home to sleep. They still need to plan and cook their meals as a team and complete the amount of recommended activity each day.
  • Leaders can use motorised transport to take their participants to the start point and pick them up from the end point.
  • Expeditions can take place outside the expedition season (April - October). This has always been permitted as part of the 20 conditions.

Bronze only:

  • Participants who progress to Silver can use their Silver practice as their Bronze qualifying expedition.

Silver and Gold only:

  • Expedition assessors at Gold and Silver level can be known to the group. They must still be accredited.
  • Practice and qualifier expeditions can be delivered back to back.

Considerations

For each of these flexibilities, we’ll publish some useful hints and tips on how to make them work for you and your group.

Before you decide to use any of the expedition flexibilities, there are some things you must consider:

  • Social distancing, with both UK and local government guidance. As with everything, make sure you’re clued up on what the social distancing rules are for your area and the area you want to do your expedition in. You’ll also have to follow the process to make sure you can meet again.
  • Your groups and what they want to do. It’s vital you check with your expedition groups to see what they think of the flexibilities and any you want to use. Some girls and young women might be raring to go and be able to complete their DofE. But others might not, and that’s ok. It’s vital young members have a choice in how they want to complete their DofE Award programme, and that they only do their expedition when they feel comfortable.
  • Informing parents and carers. Depending on the flexibilities you want to use, you need to make sure you let parents and carers know of any changes. For example, if you plan to let participants sleep at home each night, parents/carers will need to pick them up/drop them off. Check with them to make sure they can do what you’re proposing.
  • What you and your leaders are comfortable with. Just like the girls and young women you’re taking on expeditions, there might be some things your leadership team aren’t comfortable doing or supporting on yet. Make sure you check in with them before speaking your groups about your plans. If you need other volunteers to support, chat to your county DofE adviser or local commissioner.
  • Keeping it a challenge. The DofE should be a challenge, especially the expedition section. Whilst the flexibilities are in place to make sure young people still can achieve their Awards, have an honest chat with your groups to make sure what you’re proposing will still challenge them, especially if you plan to let your groups go home to sleep. If their expedition was going to be their first time camping, consider the impact taking this out will have on their expedition experience.  
  • The time allowance for a DofE Award. Participants have until their 25th birthday to complete their Awards. There’s plenty of time for them to do their expedition and residentials later, should they want to. If you and your groups decide you want to wait for next April, that’s fine. If you are nearing 25, DofE have been granting automatic age extensions. Chat to your leader for more information.
  •  Use the local network to create groups. If you find you’ve got gaps in your groups due to girls not wanting to or being able to come on the expedition, get in touch with your county DofE adviser. They can help put you in touch with other groups in your area who might be in a similar position. You can also join the UK DofE Slack group. Get in touch to get the invite link by emailing [email protected].

Want to know more about DofE?

If these ideas have sparked your interest, find out more about doing DofE.

More about DofE