Gold DofE Residentials: How to Choose the Right Experience?
The Duke of Edinburgh Award is still one of the most exciting ways to get young people involved in lots of different activities, not just in the UK but around the world.
It offers a series of awards from bronze through to gold, all require numerous personal challenges that can have a big impact on a young persons confidence and outlook on life.
Gold is the pinnacle of the Duke of Edinburgh Award - we take a closer look at the residential section of the Award and what you need to think about when organising your experience.
What is a Gold DofE Residential?
The residential section is part of the gold award (only) and means you spend time away from home with a bunch of other participants and people you have probably never met before.
You can choose from a wide range of different areas that get you involved in new and exciting things, everything from adventure activities to helping teach disadvantaged children and helping with charitable and environmental projects. Normally, you will spend 5 days and 4 nights involved in your chosen residential.
The key benefit of a residential is being with people that you don’t know, often from different backgrounds where life views may be different. It’s also about working in a team environment and is a chance for a young person to step outside their comfort zone and really experience something amazing and new.
Getting the Best Value From Your Residential Experience
There is a lot of thought that needs to go into organising the perfect Gold DofE residential and it’s important to take your time and look at all the options available.
1. Choose Something Meaningful
The first tip we have for getting the most out of your experience is to choose an area that means something to you. Don’t just go for something that you think is easy to achieve. This is about challenging yourself more than anything else.
- For example, you may be focused on helping others. That could mean doing a residential where you volunteer at a summer camp for disadvantaged children.
- You might have a passion for the environment and want to work on a tree-planting project or get involved in conservation for an organisation like the National Trust.
- Learning may be your thing and so you might want to enrol on an intensive language or cookery course.
- Perhaps you want something more physical and would like to take part in adventure activities while picking up some vital first aid and life-saving skills.
Doing a residential is not a box-ticking exercise, it’s about pushing yourself and doing something that really excites you. Choose something that interests you AND which takes you out of your comfort zone a little.
2. Pick the Right Location
The Duke of Edinburgh doesn’t confine you to the UK, you can go anywhere to undertake your residential as long as it is backed by the award.
There’s lots of options in the UK, however, and there are plenty of opportunities around England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Look for a location that is likely to give you a different perspective on life – don’t forget this is all about pushing your limits and trying new things.
3. Meet New People
The residential experience puts you in contact with other young people that you might not normally meet every day. This is a terrific opportunity to discover different perspectives and make new friends for life.
4. What Do You Want to Learn?
Finally, you want to pick up some additional skills to take away with you into later life. You may want to overcome a particular challenge - it’s important to think about stepping outside your comfort zone (that’s the whole point).
You may want to get fitter or learn a little more self-discipline. Perhaps you want to explore your own independence or develop a better understanding of what teamwork really means.
It’s important to list your goals and decide which sort of residential will help you meet those goals. The more you understand your aims, the more impactful your residential stay will be.
Whatever you decide to do for your DofE Gold Residential, give it your full attention and engage with the people, places and activities as much as possible if you want to get the most out of the experience. You’ll meet some brilliant people and hopefully come out with some valuable new skills.
DofE Gold Residentials at Land & Wave Adventure in Dorset
If you are searching for an activity-based residential, Dorset is one of the best locations in the UK to choose from. With sensational coastlines and beautiful countryside, it’s almost perfect.
At Land & Wave, we provide two amazing DofE Gold Residential packages, you can get qualified in first aid and life-saving or discover conservation and become a National Trust ranger for the day.
Want to find out more? Visit our Duke of Edinburgh Award page and discover five brilliant days of adventure.