D of E: through school, Scouts or 'Open'?

(25 Posts)
SoupDragon Thu 18-Jul-13 18:02:08

DS swam in the under 14.5 race at our district swimming gala smile

BackforGood Thu 18-Jul-13 17:26:09

Soup - you can stay on in Scouts after your 14th birthday, but in our County, it's pretty rare to do so, so therefore not likely to be part of the Scout Leader's programme planning as it is an activity that can only be done by 14 yr olds, the vast majority of whom will be Explorers.

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Jul-13 10:57:57

DD is doing it through school - even though all the schools are academies it still seems to be coordinated through HCC
its great because they use regular campsites and pitched, they go with a gang of friends
and one of the girls who vowed never to camp found she loved it

they have a weekly meeting at lunchtime running through all the bits
Bronze in year 10 at school and then Silver and Gold at 6th form

great fun

alreadytaken Thu 18-Jul-13 10:19:07

Now that they have eDofE I get the impression they dont have to be as well organised to go it alone for the parts other than the expedition but I never actually saw what mine put on.

We looked at open expeditions at one stage as they tend to offer a wider range of activities (like horse riding, canoeing, biking). Although people do not get the chance to meet physically they can and do have facebook pages and e-mail communication for those who book up early enough.

Erebus one of the reasons for doing DofE is that it develops organisational skills and confidence. Do encourage him to go for it. Let him do bronze with the high achievers then encourage him to do the other stages with Scouts (it's still the Scouting movement to me even if they label older ones explorers).

kritur Thu 18-Jul-13 07:53:17

Open tends to apply only to the expedition and tends to be used by people who have left school without completing it eg, gone to uni without completing their gold exped. All sorts of centres provide these and they sort out the route, insurance etc. They are very expensive though!

I would say go through scouts. The local Indy has a scout group who do a much better and cheaper job of dofe here.

Log books aren't as much of an issue these days as eDofE means they can complete most things online (eg, upload recipes and cooking photos for their skill), they just get signatures for things like physical (eg, getting football coach to sign for weekly attendance) and volunteering.

SoupDragon Thu 18-Jul-13 06:45:23

Scouts goes to 14.5 so it is theoretically possible to do bronze in Scouts.

BackforGood Thu 18-Jul-13 00:01:03

If it's Scouts, it will be Explorers, as you have to be 14 to do DofE, and when you are 14, you go to Explorers.
IME, the vast majority of Explorer Leaders don't run DofE. Some groups do, or some do as a District group, separate from their Explorer night.

Schools are often very limited in numbers. They generally do a very good job, but, IME, it's the first 30 to get their forms back and the rest are left without the opportunity. This is usually because of the amount of time teaching staff can give to supervising the expeditions.

I don't know anything about expensive open groups. In my City, the Youth Service run groups specifically to do DofE. I think this is probably your best bet (although would be another night out). that said, you can register through them and then not attend as much. Here, they charge £20 to register you for that.

Our local Scout District have just started running Bronze and Silver, and they charge £15 to register.

If he were a very confident and outgoing person, he could register with the DofE, go off and do all the volunteering / physical / skills / etc by himself, then ask around the Scout District, or at the local DofE group if he could join a group there for the expedition, or contact the local DofE organisers to ask if they knew of someone who would let him join them - I realise you'd have to be quite a confident type to do the expedition with people you didn't previously know though.

Xihha Wed 17-Jul-13 11:57:09

My sister has just finished her bronze through school and is going on to silver next year (she's 15) I did my bronze and silver through scouts 10 years ago then did my gold through an open center 2 years ago (had a little gap there as had my eldest child when i was very young but having dropped out of my gold due to being pregnant i wanted to go back and prove i could do it)

Little sister got far more support through school but I got far more choice in expeditions through the scouts (little sisters school basically held her hand through all of it and told her exactly what she needed to do, when and how, my scout leader was very much 'come to me if you're stuck and want hints but I don't plan to do any of the work for you' he did arrange a lot of practice hikes and orienteering trips though) The open center was ok but its expensive, I did mine with a friend so had someone there i knew, I don't think it would of been as much fun on my own.

Leeds2 Tue 16-Jul-13 21:14:49

My DD's school have set training days, practice expedition and proper expedition.

Unfortunately, DD was unable to attend the bronze training day (there was only one!) as she was a bridesmaid at her cousin's wedding, which meant she couldn't do the practice expedition with school (as she hadn't done the training). We had to pay for her to do a three day course with an outside agency which combined the training day and practice expedition in one three day hit, and she was able to join her school for the final expedition.

My word of warning is that the outside agencies become full very quickly, so make sure you book up in plenty of time.

mummytime Tue 16-Jul-13 20:26:19

At my DCs school the practise expedition and the real one happen on set weekends. They organise their own routes, but have checkpoints they must check in at, and set campsites to get to. They do the practise locally but the real one a couple of hours away.
For Silver they usually go to Dartmoor, and it is crucial they are supervised, albeit remotely. One year one campsite was flooded out, so they had to relocated.
Gold I think usually go to Scottish Islands, but their school islucky to have teachers with the relevant mountain leader qualifications.

Other than the expedition they tend to organise themselves for the other sections.

They get 150+ through Bronze ever year.

Timetraveller Tue 16-Jul-13 19:22:04

I know that organising themselves is part of it. But the teacher gave them no support at all.
And I'd expect some communication with parents at that age. There was none.

alreadytaken Tue 16-Jul-13 19:05:10

the number of people in a group can vary a little so if all boys cant go one weekend some of them have to either change their plans or go with a different group. Think you can have between 4 and 7? Normally centres would give a few dates when there are assessors available and the young people are expected to work with those.

The eDofE section of the website contains tools to help young people but you do have to be signed up to see it. There are some videos on you tube but I haven't looked at them to see how much information they give.

Arcticspill Tue 16-Jul-13 18:51:09

My daughters' school stipulated the dates. There is a lot of responsibility without also getting a group of teenagers to agree in a date!

RedHelenB Tue 16-Jul-13 18:50:21

DD just started at an open centre & first few weeks were activities based on getting to know each other although she knows some from her school & another school already.

SoupDragon Tue 16-Jul-13 18:48:50

They should have just been put into groups and been told when to go.

But that goes against the whole point.

DSs school give them a choice of dates when they are running the expeditions and it is up to the groups to sort out when they are going.

Timetraveller Tue 16-Jul-13 18:23:06

I agree about going with whoever is more organised. My 2 DSs both started the Bronze D of E in year 10. They both did all the activities but never did the expedition. This was because the teacher expected them to form groups and organise themselves. The boys couldn't find a weekend when they were all free, so they couldn't do the expedition. One of mine had even given up a Saturday to do the training for it! It was such a shame after all his hard work, but some boys are just useless at making arrangements. They should have just been put into groups and been told when to go.

I agree, go with whichever is the most organised about it - there's enough to do with getting the activities done and books signed off without having to do the expedition planning from scratch. DDs school got 150 through Bronze this year with a combination of a very dedicated teacher in charge of it who sent out naming and shaming emails where DC hadn't got their books signed off or attended all the expedition training sessions grin.

{proud DM alert] DD1 and I were at St James Palace last week to collect her Gold award - she was the least outdoorsey person ever as a child, and really loved DofE which surprised all of us, even her I think wink. It's not the most obvious ones who shine.

Arcticspill Tue 16-Jul-13 15:47:18

Hyper achiever a are quite useful on d if e. they are good at things like map reading so you don't get lost. And ime they seem not to get too grumpy when things get tough. I have two daughters who have completed gold.

Check out which is most efficiently organised and go with them. If he goes on to Gold the challenges are significant so you want to know it is well organised.

bruffin Tue 16-Jul-13 12:08:05

Most definitely Erebus, although i do know one girl who is teaching herself to knit for her skill grin
DD did her bronze trek the weekend before last in over 80 degrees. I expected to get this half dead, dehydrated sun burnt girl back. Instead she called us to bring an ice cold can of coke with us to pick her up. We took her an iced lolly instead, but she was still on a high, bouncing all over the place. She really loved every minute of it

Erebus Tue 16-Jul-13 11:59:35

Thanks for that info. I will need to talk to DS and see if he wants to wait and go in for a higer level (bearing in mind he won't go in 'cold'- he has been in Scouting since he was 6 though isn't an enthusiastic backwoodsman grin!). I started my Bronze D of E back in 1977. I recall we trooped to a draughty old Victorian house by a river on the edge of an industrial estate in Salisbury; the boys were duly kitted out and went canoeing; we girls were taught how to lay a table nicely and get out of a low car demurely... we didn't stick it out....

But I believe it's changed now grin

bruffin Tue 16-Jul-13 11:19:25

My DD just completed her bronze through the school and DS is doing gold through explorers. Our local mariners base also do Dofe but charge £295 for silver. DS has said his gold trek will cost £70 in august.

DS 17 started his bronze at school, but it was badly run at the time and they never completed it, he then decided to go straight onto Gold at Explorers. Schools seems to have got it right for DD. So if you want to wait until he is a bit older he can go straight onto silver (15) or gold(16).

alreadytaken Tue 16-Jul-13 10:55:04

DofE expeditions are a group activity and the self-motivated, hyper achievers may have to do some of the work for the shy and unsure. I have a DC who wasn't too organised at 14 and ended up doing a lot for their Gold expeditions. Your son may surprise you if he sticks it out all the way through.

I'd suggest starting with the website www.dofe.org/ so you learn more about it. It includes information about how to plan routes, for example, although that may only be available to participants.

Although open centres run commercially are very expensive there are usually some open expeditions run by non-commercial groups (vague memory of scouts and boys brigade) and they are cheaper but still more expensive than school or local scouts.

It's always possible to do most of the award now and leave the expeditions until older. There are certainly some DofE groups at universities.

SoupDragon Tue 16-Jul-13 10:50:01

DS is doing his through the school. The advantage of this is that he is doing it with friends - I'm not sure how this works with an "open centre"

If your DS is shy and unsure, would he be OK doing it independently? He may find that doing the bronze one is better through the school where the people will be familiar and there may be more guidance. Once he has an idea how it works, he could choose to do silver and gold independently.

titchy Tue 16-Jul-13 10:42:47

Look on your county council website for centres. Whichever centre he does it through should make sure all the requirements are done, insurance taken out etc - they wouldn't be leaving it up to him! The expedition part also has to be done through a registered provider so again he wouldn't be making sure the hike was sufficient in length etc.

The centre should also provide the log book, but it would be up to him to arrange physical, skill service activities and make sure these were completed and signed off in thel og book.

Open centres can charge a fortune though be warned - ours charges £600 for Bronze level, school a mere £40!

Scouts won't do it, but Explorers will if they are organised enough - ask your District Commissioner for details of Explorer groups which do DofE.

Erebus Tue 16-Jul-13 10:32:49

Someone mentioned on a recent thread that they thought doing the D of E would be a good idea for a given DC, but said 'go for an open centre, not through the school' so I was wondering about people's attitudes and experiences of this? DS has the chance to do either of the 1st two but I hadn't heard of the third!

I am a bit apprehensive about the first options, however, because his school, I am discovering, is fantastic for self-motivated, hyper achievers (which they have in spades) but not so good at encouraging the shy or unsure. I'm not sure DS would actually grasp that you have to sign on to do this NOW, sunshine! Scouts is an option but not sure if the Scouts or Explorers start it. His Scout leader is a great bloke but quite laid back. I suspect DS would have to self-manage everything. Now, before you all flame me by saying 'that's what D of E is all about!' I'd say yeees, but I'm not sure a 14 year old would know how to go about registering himself, how to get his own insurance, where to access all the information about how long a hike must be, how to record the experience of doing voluntary work etc etc; in the same way that a gifted mathematician needs a guided, structured programme to follow in order to pass given exams, don't they? The point of D of E is to teach DC how to dig deep and discover resourcefulness within themselves, isn't it, rather than only being accessible to the already deeply resourceful and competent!

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