D is for…

D is for… Duke of Edinburgh Award, Drill, Drumhead Service and Day Walks.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) is a nationally recognised programme open to young people aged 14-24. A progressive qualification, cadets can complete Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards by participating in a number of sections. At Bronze and Silver level there are four sections to complete: Volunteering, Skills, Physical and Expedition, with an additional section, Residential, at Gold.

Volunteering within the DofE is about giving up time to help others, the community, environment or animals. Within the squadron, cadets have recently completed litter picking, helping in charity shops, training animals and raising money for charities as part of their volunteering projects, as well as planning charity events. Participants need to average an hour a week for the duration of the programme which will be between 3 and 12 months depending upon the level. The skill section of the DofE relates to developing a broadened understanding and increased expertise in a specific skill selected. The skills can be almost anything which can be developed, although cannot be a physical activity such as a sport, which forms part of the physical section. Examples of skills completed previously include classification training, sign language, driving and first aid. Again, participants will need to average an hour a week, this time for between 3 and 18 months. The physical section needs to focus on personal improvement in a sport or fitness activity, such as circuit training, general fitness, football or gymnastics. Timescales for physical match those of the skill section.

For most participants, the expeditions section tends to be the most challenging. It involves planning, training for and completing an unaccompanied expedition in line with 20 conditions, including a training, practise and qualifying expedition. Most cadets complete the expedition on foot, but it can also be conducted by boat, bicycle, canoe, kayak, wheelchair or on horseback! At Bronze level the expedition includes 2 days and 1 night, with an additional day and night at silver level. Gold level is a total of 4 days and 3 nights. The expedition section concludes with a presentation back at the squadron to the other cadets. The final section, which only applies to Gold participants, is the residential. This involves undertaking a shared activity with people unknown to the participants, in an unfamiliar environments for at least 5 consecutive days (and 4 nights). Within the squadron, cadets have completed camps and courses as part of their residential.

Something which could be used as a skill within DofE is Drill. Drill is used within the Royal Air Force Air Cadets, as well as the wider military to move an individual cadet, or body of personnel, in a smart and uniform manner. It also shows how disciplined and organised individuals can be, remembering instructions and carrying them out accurately. More importantly, it shows the ability to work in a team and is a way of displaying the high standards of dress and behaviour which air cadets are renowned for. Drill incorporates not only basic drill but could also include banner drill, arms drill and band drill.

Each year, during Seaham’s Armed Forces Day, cadets from the squadron participate in a Drumhead Service. The Drumhead Service dates back through history, when drums were pilled to form a makeshift altar within the field with the unit’s standards or colours placed on top. This year the squadron also participated in Murton’s Drumhead Service.

Day Walks form a vital part of navigation training within the squadron and are completed throughout the year. So far in 2019 the squadron has completed day walks throughout Seaham and the local area, as well as further afield at Hadrian’s Wall and Kielder Water, with additional walks planned later in the year.

Do you fancy getting involved in any of these activities? Are you up for fun, adventure, incredible experiences and making new friends? Aged between 12 (and in year 8 ) and 17? JOIN AIR CADETS. We are recruiting now, send us a message to find out more and join us next week as we continue our#WhatWeDoWednesday articles.
Durham Northumberland Wing Air Cadets
North Region – Royal Air Force Air Cadets
Commandant Air Cadets

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