Twenty seven Wyke students took part in a ten mile practice walk for their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. The weather was fabulous, highlighting the beauty and wildlife of the North York Moors and lifting the students’ spirits. The quintessential village of Levisham acted as the start and end points. In the nearby distance, the steam trains of the North York Moors Railway chugged away, releasing an occasional high-pitched, full-bodied blast on their sonorous whistles and filling the air with a cloud of steam.
The students would be practising their decision making on navigation, pace and rest stops; all necessary skills for their expedition that will happen within a few weeks. The team of staff was nearby to meet and check on their welfare throughout the day.
The positive spirit of the students throughout the day began in the minibus. As we passed through a small, quaint village, one of the lads quipped, “That’s Hansel and Gretel’s house.” This caused a chuckle amongst the talkative and excited students.
And this upbeat attitude was echoed later in the conversations between the staff: A text message from someone who was waiting in a nearby location went, “Just been charged by two deer.”
The reply, “Hope they weren’t too deer!”
Cue, “I can’t believe you’ve just said that!”
Carrying a rucksack with all the necessary gear and then camping is part of the expedition, which will be the students’ next DofE outing and can be very hard work. Moments of laughter and a positive attitude make a significant difference to morale and practice walks help to encourage this because people must work together, form friendships and be a team!
The college has run the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award for several years and given many students a chance of completing this prestigious award. Two ex-students were sat next to me whilst I was driving the minibus. Both now graduates, they enjoyed their Duke of Edinburgh experiences so much that one continued with the award and is now an accredited DofE assessor. They would be helping throughout the day. What better testimony to the purpose of the award that its legacy is to inspire students!
It is a small Wyke world! Whilst I was waiting at a checkpoint, a place called Skelton Tower, for our students, there was a couple who were lying on the grass enjoying the sunshine and the amazing colours of the scenery. The woman asked, “Are you from Wyke?”
“Yes, I replied.”
“We saw your van,” she added. And then we had an interesting chat because she said that her daughter was an ex-Wyke student who had now achieved a First class degree in Cambridge in Arts/Graphics and is now working in an Art/Graphics career. It is always good to hear about former students and their progress after leaving Wyke.
Students enter the Duke of Edinburgh scheme directly into the Gold Award at the college. There is no need to have prior Bronze or Silver qualifications.
Our students next main event will be their expedition and they are busy planning their routes and kit.