After a successful month of August, which has seen us running our ‘open’ DofE expeditions, supporting and engaging with young people from across the UK, and experiencing some challenging weather along the way, we are now looking forward to a busy September, particularly with the support we offer schools with their DofE expedition delivery. We also have other ‘open’ expeditions arranged for September and October.
Congratulations to all of the young people that have taken part in our ‘open’ expeditions during August, at whatever level of the DofE. They all did extremely well in successfully completing their planned practice or qualifying expeditions in Dartmoor National Park or Worcestershire and our staff team were very impressed with their endeavours and the commitment they all showed. All met and overcame personal challenges enabling them to successfully complete their expedition, and they are to be congratulated for this and for the determination to succeed that was shown throughout 🙂
We have also been chosen by our insurers, Activities Industrial Mutual (AIM), to be September’s ‘Member Profile’ 😀
It has been a long haul, with lots of ‘behind the scenes’ organisation, reorganisation, planning and preparation, to make our DofE ‘open’ expeditions as enjoyable and challenging as possible for the many young people registered for them; and to make them COVID-19 secure, meeting current government guidelines, but at last we have delivered Bronze, Silver and Gold DofE expeditions over the past 2 weeks, supporting over 60 young people on Dartmoor and in the Worcestershire area.
Despite the added precautions such as sleeping in individual tents, using individual maps, social distancing, not sharing food or camping stoves, online training and route planning sessions, the expeditions allowed young people the opportunity to undertake challenging expeditions that met the aim and benefits of the DofE Expedition section and without compromising the value, ethos and spirit of the DofE. We have not needed to use the #DofEWithaDifference flexibilities for the Expedition section and all the young people, their parents and DofE Leaders, have commented favourably about this and how valuable the expeditions have been for giving some positivity back into the lives of these young people ☺️ During our expeditions, we have also received positive comments from members of the public, landowners, Dartmoor National Park Rangers and members of the local communities we have met and talked with.
Thank you to all our staff team who have engaged with, and positively supported these young people throughout, to ensure an enjoyable and valuable expedition was experienced.
Even during this pandemic, we are committed to offering memorable, challenging and valuable experiences, which meet both the aim and benefits of the Expedition section, and are open to all DofE participants from any background, DofE group and organisation. We don’t deliver the Expedition section ‘our way’, we deliver it as intended and developed by the DofE, following ‘best practice’ and keeping within the values, ethos and spirit of the DofE, which allows young people to gain the most enjoyment and benefit from their participation.
From 24th August, we have further ‘open’ Gold DofE expeditions arranged on Dartmoor, with another 50 young people travelling to the area from all over the UK.
We have been busy developing various COVID-19 procedures and risk assessments to ensure the safety and welfare of those young people and staff who will be participating on our ‘open’ DofE expeditions during August. These are subject to change, if required by government guidance, ensuring we are compliant with the COVID-19 legislation at the times of the expeditions. We’ve also purchased additional tents, stoves and other resources to enable the expeditions to take place within the current climate.
As usual, we look at ‘best practice’ and giving that ‘extra’ when delivering our DofE expeditions to ensure that young people derive the greatest benefits from participating in an expedition, meeting the values, spirit and ethos of the DofE. Although COVID-19 has challenged us, we believe that we have developed opportunities at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels that will meet these, without compromising safety or the overall DofE expedition experience. We hope the 100+ participants, who have registered to take part in our ‘open’ expeditions during August will agree, as well as their parents, and DofE Leaders from various schools. Licensed Organisations and National Operating Authorities who have been referring their participants to us allowing their students or members to complete their Expedition section 👍
We have just a few spaces available for our ‘open’ expeditions during August. Click on the appropriate level of DofE Expeditions in the dropdown menu if you are interested in taking part 😀
AS A LEADING DofE EXPEDITION PROVIDER, WE HAVE HAD TO MAKE A DIFFICULT DECISION, BUT ONE THAT IS A JUSTIFIED AND RESPONSIBLE APPROACH TO THE CURRENT SITUATION, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE RESPONSIBILITY WE HAVE FOR THE HEALTH AND WELFARE OF OUR CUSTOMERS AND STAFF, THEREFORE, THE STATEMENT BELOW HAS BEEN ISSUED TO PARTICIPANTS REGISTERED ON OUR ‘OPEN’ EXPEDITIONS’. WE HAVE ALSO LIAISED WITH THE NUMEROUS SCHOOLS AND ORGANISATIONS WE SUPPORT ACROSS THE UK TO POSTPONE DofE EXPEDITIONS UNTIL GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE AND SAFETY PERMITS US TO RESUME DELIVERY AND SUPPORT FOR THE EXPEDITION SECTION.
Following the most recent announcement, given on 18th March 2020, from the Government to close all schools and further education colleges (although we are not directly governed by this for our ‘open’ expeditions), we believe it is both sensible and prudent that we postpone our planned ‘Open Gold DofE Expedition Week’, 5th – 10th April (combined training & practice expedition); 6th – 10th April (practice or qualifying expedition) in the Black Mountain area of the Brecon Beacons National Park as well as our ‘Open Bronze & Silver Expedition Week’ 13th – 18th April in the Long Mynd area of Shropshire, to comply with the continued advice from the Government, ensuring the safety and welfare of our customers and staff.
The DofE have also issued a statement relating to practice and qualifying expeditions for Gold & Silver levels that offers a positive approach to the completion of the Expedition section:
‘Some Gold students are unlikely to be able to do their practice expedition due to the coronavirus outbreak. Can they just do their qualifying expedition and still achieve their Award?
At Gold and Silver levels, practice expeditions are an important part of the preparation and training participants undertake to ensure that they can undertake a safe and enjoyable remotely supervised expedition. For that reason, all Gold and Silver participants will still have to do both a practice and qualifying expedition.
But we’re determined that young people shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to achieve their Award because of coronavirus. We’ll be sharing ideas about how participants can continue their programme at this time, as well as working with LOs and AAPs to help participants to access an expedition once the crisis is over. We’ll issue more updates in the next few days.
Remember, DofE expeditions can be run throughout the year, not just in the traditional ‘expedition season’. LOs and AAPs which choose to run expeditions later in the year may wish to consider using indoor accommodation to facilitate a safe and enjoyable expedition for their participants. In any event, the DofE charity will work with LOs to minimise any potential negative impact on a participant’s progress through their DofE.’
Currently, our planned ‘Open Gold DofE Expedition Week’, 25th – 30th May (combined training & practice expedition); 26th – 30th May 2020 (practice or qualifying expedition) and ‘Open Bronze & Silver Week, 25th – 30th May, with the same venues, will go ahead. Please see the relevant pages of our website for further details and online application form, or contact us for further information. However, these may also be affected by any future measures imposed by the Government to combat COVID-19 and postponed, if required. Therefore, if developments take place that affect the running of the expeditions, we will notify all those registered as soon as practically possible to offer alternative options.
CTS STAFF TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO WISH ALL OUR CUSTOMERS AND STAFF A SAFE PASSAGE THROUGH THESE DIFFICULT AND CHALLENGING TIMES.
We’re looking forward to delivering a presentation tomorrow morning during a Year 9 assembly at St Thomas More Catholic School (Willenhall) to encourage participation in the DofE and informing the 250+ students about the Expedition section and how we’ll support them 😊
Another Bronze & Silver DofE Expedition Week has seen participants successfully complete their respective expeditions and, as it was Halloween, enjoy a ‘spooky’ celebratory meal, before delivering their presentations today. Well done 😊
Congratulations to the 35 students (8 Expedition Teams) from Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls (Ealing) that have successfully completed their Bronze DofE qualifying expedition in the Chiltern Hills area. A fabulous achievement and really well done 😊
Good luck to the 8 Expedition Teams from Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls (Ealing) that we are suporting during the next 2 days on their Bronze
DofE qualifying expedition in the Chiltern Hills. The weather forecast is looking good, so enjoy the experience 😊
Our Open Bronze & Silver DofE Expedition Week started on Sunday which is taking place in the Long Mynd area of Shropshire. We’re supporting young people from across the UK 🙂
What a successful meeting for many reasons, some of which revolved around family history going back 30+ years. Anyway, we welcome St Thomas More Catholic School (Willenhall) to the CTS family, as we’re to support their students with the DofE Expedition section 😊
We’re off to a school in Bilston near Wolverhampton to discuss and arrange the delivery of the DofE Expedition section at Bronze, Silver & Gold levels to approximately 150 of their students. Next year is looking super busy with the increase in DofE expeditions 😊
We’re looking forward to spending the next 3 days in the Chiltern Hills as we support students from St Augustine’s Priory (Ealing) on their Silver DofE practice expedition. Good luck and enjoy 😊