My ‘Duke of Ed’ Bronze Practice Experience

June 07, 2019 at 2:11 PM

With thanks to Year 10 student reporter, Kate Christie

Not all learning happens in the classroom - young people benefit from experiences outside the classroom to become committed, responsible and fulfilled citizens of the world. Saint Kentigern has a unique part in the history of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Awards as it was the first school in New Zealand to offer the Award scheme. In 1961 the first group of nine boys started at Bronze level. Now we have well over 400 students enrolled each year, split between Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. Each level has four sections - Skills, Service, Physical Recreation and Adventurous Journey - and each participant must complete all four sections at each level in order to achieve their Award. At Gold level, participants also complete a Residential Project.

The Awards are not easily achieved and entail a huge amount of individual challenge and personal commitment. We are pleased to see a growing number of our students recognising the benefit of challenging themselves to take part in the scheme.

Year 10 student, Kate Christie reports on her first practice expedition: ‘On Sunday the 12th of May, we left the College on buses to the Hunua Ranges. We arrived at the campsite around 11am and were briefed on the expectations, requirements and were put into groups before getting on our way.

The weather during our time increased the difficulty of many parts of the hike. Throughout Sunday, the rain fell steadily, making some parts of the track extremely slippery. However, our weather, although seemingly dismal, actually enhanced our overall experience in many ways. It made us feel as though we were in the middle of nowhere, as we made our way through streams and climbed steep muddy slopes to get to the view that was well worth it.

My group and I felt a strong sense of accomplishment as we reached different milestones throughout the tramp. Reaching the summit was a particular highlight for me, getting to take in the incredible view that we had walked for hours to see!

The equipment that we packed was vital due to our unfortunate weather. We needed a lot of gear to ensure that our experience went smoothly. The importance of the correct, quality equipment couldn’t be stressed enough, as the difficulty of the tramp is certainly heightened if you don’t have the right equipment.

As the night fell on Sunday, the weather became increasingly windy and rainy, and many students had some unfortunate experiences with water in their tents, their tents flying off and some being cold during the night.

Many of us weren’t as prepared as we would have liked to have been for these circumstances, therefore, it was a tough night for a lot of people. Though this weather was challenging, by morning everyone was prepared and excited to undergo the second day of the tramp and return home after what would turn out to be a fantastic, but tough two days.

Food was another key aspect of the overall experience. As we were constantly moving, we were likely to consume more calories than usual. So, having appropriate foods for snacking throughout the duration of the tramp, as well as a dinner that filled us up, was necessary.

On Sunday evening, many of the students opted for dehydrated meals, whilst others chose pasta, soup and more.

Teamwork and co-operation were something many people strived for in their groups. Groups that communicated clearly were able to navigate well and maintain high spirits throughout the tramp and get the most out of the experience.

Overall, this tramp was an amazing experience. It challenged us both physically and mentally, and we got to hike alongside some great people. Although, many of us encountered difficulty at some point, we were determined to finish in good time and high spirits, maintaining the smiles on our faces. I feel I was very prepared for the qualifying tramp and look forward to what Motutapu Island has to bring for the qualifying expedition!’

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