Duke of Ed Award Q&A

Continuing on with this morning’s Duke of Ed Award topic, I would like to elaborate on what each section requires:


Service is another word for volunteering. In other words, this is NOT PAID. Depending on which level you start on (Bronze, Silver, or Gold), there will be a min. number of hours you will have to complete over a number of months. Please note that you will only be allowed x-number of hours/event (e.g. as a Paralympics host, I volunteered for a week and a half. I went into Gold directly so I was only allowed to qualify up to 30 hours/event. In this case, the event is the Paralympics. If I volunteered for 60 hours altogether, only 30 would count).

Here are some ideas for service:

  • Sunday School teacher
  • Summer/Winter Games (Olympics/Paralympics) host
  • Big Brother/Sister mentor
  • Shoreline cleanup
  • Shelter / soup kitchen server
  • Sports coach
  • School/university committee member
  • Fundraiser


This is your one time camping adventure (i.e. you are only asked to camp once but that shouldn’t stop you from going camping every month or year if you wanted to!). For this section, I highly recommend you register for a camping trip at your community centre, school/college/university, or outdoors organisation. Many of these will meet the DofE requirements. You must receive training prior to your trip (which they should provide). I find it much easier to go with a group rather than organise my own group. The latter is a lot more work and your peers may not be as determined as you to make the trip work. Just remember that if you do organise your own group, you should have at least a few who are strangers.

The adventure section has two parts (or three if you count the training as a separate part):

  • 1 or 2 practise journey(s)
  • 1 full journey

The mode of travel could be:

  • canoeing
  • dog sledding
  • hiking
  • horseback riding
  • kayaking
  • rafting
  • skiing
  • snowshoeing
  • swimming

At the end of the adventure, you will need to prepare 1) an outline of jour practise journey & 2) a report on your adventure. The details are in your logbook. The Canadian logbook said you can be quite creative so I imagine Powerpoint presentation is one way to present your report? There isn’t a min. number of words or pages but you will have to answer all the questions.


This skill could be [and preferably] something new or a hobby that you would like to perfect. You could learn to perfect this skill by learning from a mentor, taking a class or seminar, or even working on your own. It could even be a physical activity (e.g. dance) but it cannot be used in the Physical Recreation section (must be different). Just remember to stick to one skill and work on it consistently. That means at least 1x-/week or every two weeks. I know we are all busy but you’ll have to show somehow that you didn’t just forget about it for a few months. For this section, you will need a mentor to monitor your progress, who will then sign once (short report on your progress).

Here are some ideas of skills you can pick up:

  • Millinery (hat making)
  • Soap making
  • Candle making
  • learning a new language – just note that if this is what you’re studying in school, it doesn’t count.
  • sewing
  • cooking
  • singing
  • learning a new instrument
  • writing (e.g. creative writing, blogging, essay writing)
  • growing a garden


Physical recreation can be another term for exercise orwork out. Anything you’re doing that is making you physically active (and sweaty?). It could be a class you’re taking, a club you’re part of, or just a fun activity. It could even be a 5k or 10k run, or even a marathon! You can do this as a group/team or individually. Depending on which level you start on (Bronze, Silver, or Gold), there will be a min. number of hours you will have to complete in a number of weeks. For instance, you’ll need at least 50 hours over 25 weeks = 2 hours/week. I imagine 1 hour/week could be enough if you’re going over 25 weeks and 50 hours… Please check with your provincial office.

Some examples of physical recreation could be:

  • dance (ballet, salsa, ballroom, lyrical, jazz, etc.)
  • football (soccer)
  • skiing
  • cycling
  • Pilates
  • running/jogging
  • kayaking

Note that if your physical activity is something you do on your own (e.g. running, cycling, yoga), make sure that at least one other adult is aware of this (other than your parent). It could be your neighbour, teacher, classmate, friend. If you’re unsure, please contact your local/provincial DofE office.


This is the extra section for the Gold level only. If you fully intend to do the Gold level in the future (whilst you are on Bronze or Silver), you may do so at any time. This project requires you to spend at least 4 nights & 5 days away from home (home as in your current home address, be that with your parents, your own condo, or your dorm). How far away? It could be a different city (the next town over?), region, country, or continent. During your time away from home, you could be picking up a new skill, improve on a skill, or volunteering.

Here are some great ideas:

  • language immersion – university/school exchanges or trips to a foreign country
  • cadet camp
  • sports camp
  • archeological dig
  • youth conference (e.g. Model UN or Model Parliament)
  • drama or music festival
  • Duke of Edinburgh’s exchange program
  • church retreat

This section will require an assessor who was with you during your trip and was able to see your progress. It could be the exchange coordinator, group/camp leader, teacher, or even a fellow classmate who can validate that you immersed yourself well with the locals. Like the adventure section, they will only have to fill out the section once.

Who is an assessor?

Be sure to have an adult over 19+ to sign for each log (service and physical recreation). This assessor could be the club leader, a fellow volunteer, or someone who knows that you did what you did. In some cases, it could be a roommate or friend who can validate each activity. Generally, it can’t be a parent.

How long do I have?

You have until your 25th birthday to complete all the sections. Your report and signatures, etc. can be completed afterwards but it’s recommended you complete everything within 1-2 months.
I hope this was helpful to all current and/or interested applicants. 🙂 If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or to call (it’s faster!) your provincial office.
Good luck!
NOTE: This post concludes my Duke of Edinburgh Award skills section – writing.

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