This is the one thing that burnt pasta, zumba classes and stargazing all have in common…

With participation in the Duke of Edinburgh International Awards (DofE) program reaching record numbers at Moriah, we asked graduate Kayla Gelman to share her experiences of completing the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards in this Q&A…

Q. Why did you sign up for the Duke of Ed Award?

I’ve always really liked hiking and thought it’d be cool to give it a go. I really enjoy camping and knew I wanted to do the Silver award because you get to go on canoeing trips.

Q. What did you have to do to achieve Bronze, Silver and Gold?

You have to complete three sections for each award – Physical Recreation, Service, and Skill, plus the Adventurous Journey trips. I did things like extra-curricular art and maths for my skills, and for the Silver award I took up Zumba as my physical. My mum was really into it, so she took me and my sisters along every week. I also taught Hebrew to younger kids through JEMs and organised meetings and holiday camps for Years 3 and 4 students through the youth movement, Habonim Dror, for my Service.

For the Gold award, I used learning to drive as my skill. It worked out really well as I needed to get my hours up anyway.

Q. Did you find any part of it particularly challenging?

Bronze was probably the hardest of the Adventurous Journeys because there was a lot of walking, and it’s your first time doing it. I remember I’d borrowed gear from my family friends who were all male. I’m quite small so my pack wasn’t the right size for me and kept falling off! I just remember thinking in that first journey, “Ok, it’s almost over, you’re gonna get through it.”

Q. What was the best part?

Getting to know different people. My favourite part was on my final trip – it was really warm at night so we all got our canoes and went out onto the water to do a bit of stargazing. We all rafted up and our guides told us stories about each of the stars. Making the bonfires and roasting marshmallows was also really fun.

Q. How do you think you benefited from completing all three Awards?

It’s a personal achievement. When you finish Gold, it’s like, “Yes! I’ve done it all!”

I’ve gained great teamwork skills, you learn how to work together and get to know different personalities really quickly.

You learn a lot of life-skills, too. On our first Duke of Ed trip, me and my friends ended up burning our pasta because we didn’t realise that you couldn’t leave it sticking out of the pot. We got a lot better at cooking by the end of the Gold trip. We went from burning pasta to making things that were a lot more nutritious, like pumpkin soup.

L-R: Kayla Gelman, Sarah Rose Richmond, Goldie Karp and Eden Cohen

Q. Do you have any tips or advice for students doing Duke of Ed?

Untitled design (10)About the Author

Amy Jones is the Communications and Content Coordinator at Moriah College in Queens Park, NSW.

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