Starting your Duke of Edinburgh Award this year? Whether you are doing Bronze, Silver or Gold, trusted for nearly 40 years Countryside Ski & Climb is only a click or visit away for the right gear, advice and even FREE walking boot loan for your expedition…


The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme "There is more in you than you think"

One of humanity’s eternal problems is that young people of every generation have to discover for themselves what life is all about.  There are several organisations that aim to give young people the life skills that sometimes school and family cannot, and none has served the test of time as well as The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.  Most of us have heard of this scheme but what is it really all about and how can Countryside Ski & Climb help if you or your child are taking part? Founded in 1956 by Kurt Hahn with the patronage of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, the scheme’s foundations were based on addressing four major concerns about the development of young people; “the decline of compassion, the decline of skills, the decline of physical fitness and the decline of initiative.”  These skills couldn’t be more relevant today and as a compliment to formal education the purpose of the D of E is to help ALL young people gain experience of some of the most rewarding opportunities available to adults in their non-working lives. With the D of E’s Diamond Anniversary just around the corner in 2016, the Charity has never been more relevant. The scheme positively influences this generation and has the potential to impact many more young lives in the future.   Although the focus is often on the outdoor expedition part of the scheme, the bigger picture of gaining your award is the benefit of developing transferrable skills for the workplace. Attributes such as team working, resilience, communication and drive have all been shown to open doors when applying for jobs. More young people in the UK reaching this world-class standard means that more will benefit from being a D of E Award holder when transitioning from education to work.  This can only be positive at a time when, while although on the decrease, youth unemployment is still high and poses a significant threat to young people’s prospects. There are three levels of award, all achieved in an environment of social interaction and team-working and you can progress through three levels of D of E programme to achieve a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award.  All levels have the following 10 core values:

1: Non-competitive

A D of E programme is a personal challenge and not a competition against others. Every participant’s programme is tailor-made to reflect their individual starting point, abilities and interests.

2: Achievable by all

A Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is achievable by any young person who chooses to take up its challenge, regardless of ability, gender, background or location.

3: Voluntary

Whilst D of E programmes may be offered within school, college, work time, custody or extra-curricular activity, young people choose to do a programme and commit some of their free time to undertake their activities. 4: Personal development

A D of E programme inspires personal and social development. The value to young people is dependent on personal commitment, the learning process and the quality of the experience.

5: Personalised

Young people design their own programme, which can be tailored to suit their personal circumstances, choices and local provision. They start at whichever level suits them best and they can take as long as they wish (within the age limits) to achieve an Award.

6: Balanced

Our aim is to ensure that participants experience development of the whole person; mind and body. By undertaking activities focusing on at least four different aspects of development, young people complete a balanced and wide-ranging programme.

7: Progressive

At each level of engagement, a D of E programme demands progressively more time, commitment and responsibility from the participant.

8: Achievement focused

Before starting an activity, young people are encouraged to set their own challenging goals. If they aim for these goals and show improvement they will achieve a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

9: Demand commitment

A D of E programme demands persistence and commitment and cannot be completed with a short burst of enthusiasm. Participants are encouraged to continue with activities and to maintain their interest beyond their programme requirements.

10: Enjoyable

Young people and Leaders should find participation enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding. At Countryside Ski & Climb we have a long history of being on hand to help with advice on getting the right kit for D of E expeditions for all three award levels.

All of our staff members have come up through the ranks of D of E themselves so we really understand what’s needed for the expeditions and, more importantly, what isn’t!  We give impartial advice on things like on how to pack and fit your rucksack and what you should wear and why.  Arguably the most important piece of kit you need is your walking boots.  At Countryside Ski & Climb we operate a totally free walking boot loan service and this has proved invaluable to all scheme participants.  We will measure your feet and advise on lacing up and what socks to wear.  As you are expected to do a fair bit of walking this service is excellent for growing feet. It is important to have the right type of boot and this can be an expensive purchase otherwise.

We stock the D of E approved equipment such as sleeping bags, tents and rucksacks as well as smaller essential items.  What is great is that when you buy the D of E Recommended kit in store or online, a small royalty goes from the manufacturer to support the D of E Charity too.

On our FAQ pages you will find useful kit lists for each award level expedition but don’t hesitate to call us or visit in store if you have any questions.  We’re here to help.