What is DofE Award
The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award (or DofE Award) is a prestigious educational programme for young people. It was founded in 1956 by British Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Since then, 8 million young people in over 140 countries of the world have participated in it. The programme has been available in the Czech Republic since 1995.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (DofE Award) is a prestigious educational programme for young people aged 14 to 25 enabling them to develop their skills and actively use their free time.
The programme was founded in 1956 by Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth of the UK and Duke of Edinburgh, together with Kurt Hahn, a German educationalist and renowned promoter of experience learning, and Lord Hunt, leader of the first successful ascent of Everest. Since then, 8 million young people in over 140 countries of the world have participated in it. Since 1995 the programme has existed also in the Czech Republic. It was introduced in this country by Lady Abrahams, who was a golf champion in Czechoslovakia between the two world wars.
For young people, participating in the DofE Award is, above all, a personal challenge. Each participant has a unique chance to see themselves as a unique personality that we undoubtedly all are. To this knowledge the participant will be led by meeting a number of partial challenges whose particular shape will be chosen by each participant individually under the leadership of experienced leaders or trainers of the programme.
Thus, in our programme young people do not compete against each other, but only with themselves as all difficulties surmounted by them during the programme will help them get to know their qualities and learn new skills. To the goal, the participants will be brought mainly by determination and perseverance. Exceeding yourself and your own expectations therefore becomes the biggest reward for the young person.
So that completing the DofE Award is a real challenge for young people, it is crucial that they set their goals themselves as it suits them. If the accomplishment of the goals were too easy, the participant would not get the appropriate satisfaction from meeting the goals. On the other hand, too difficult challenges may discourage the participant from taking part in the programme.
That is why the programme has three levels with varying difficulty and duration – Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each participant is helped by a trained leader in the choosing of the participant's activities and goals.
In order for the development of the participants' personalities to be balanced and complex, young people set their goals in four basic areas: skills, physical recreation, service and adventurous journey. For completing the gold level, they also take part in a residential project. The particular activities and goals in these areas are chosen by the participants according to their interests so that they are inspirational, fun and beneficial. A trained Award Leader ensures that the activities are balanced, the individual goals are attainable and the internationally set requirements of the programmes are met.
Young people take part in the programme voluntarily and in their free time. After completing the selected level or levels of the programme, the participants, in addition to getting to now and improving themselves, will receive a certificate of completion of the programme and will take part in an award ceremony attended by personalities not only from the Czech Republic, but also from the United Kingdom. An inseparable part of the programme is finding new friends that look for similar challenges and international opportunities.
So that every participant in the DofE Award can set goals corresponding to their age, abilities and preferences, the programme has three levels of difficulty – Bronze, Silver and Gold. You can start with the easiest level, Bronze, or go directly to the Silver or Gold level.
The Bronze level is for young people from 14 years of age. The level has 4 sections in which the participant completes their goals: skills, physical recreation, service and adventurous journey. In the first three sections the participant must do a minimum of 3 months activity. The participant also chooses a section in which they will set a more demanding goal and which they pursue for at least 6 months. The adventurous expedition lasts at least 2 days and 1 night. It will therefore take at least 6 months to complete the Bronze level.
You need to be at least 15 years old to start doing your Silver programme. The level has 4 sections: skills, physical recreation, service and adventurous journey. The adventurous expedition lasts at least 3 days and 2 nights. The activities in the other three sections are pursued for at least 6 months. If the participant starts doing Silver without doing Bronze first he or she will have to spend six extra months on one of the following sections: skills, physical recreation, service. It will therefore take at least 6 months to achieve the Silver for the Bronze Award Holders or 12 months for those who have jumped straight into Silver.
For starting the Gold level, the participants need to be at least 16 years old. Unlike in the two lower levels of the programme, the participant of the Gold is setting and completing goals in 5 sections: skills, physical recreation, service and adventurous journey and a residential project. The activities in the first three sections are pursued for at least 12 months; if the participant did not complete the Silver level, they choose one of the first three sections and pursue it for extra 6 months. The adventurous expedition is planned for at least 4 days and 3 nights, the residential project for at least 5 days and 4 nights. Therefore, the Gold level takes at least 12 months for Silver Award Holders or 18 months for those who start at Gold level without doing Silver before.