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The Duke of Edinburgh’s international award Gibraltar

The silver lining

A group of young people undertaking the Award at both the Open Award Centre and Prior Park School will be travelling to the Spanish hills in order to complete their qualifying Silver Adventurous Journey (AJ).

The 22 participants, whose ages range from 15 to 16 years, will travel, to the Sierra de Gredos northwest of Avila on July 14 to complete the AJ, which for most participants is the most arduous part of the Award Programme.

The AJ comprises an expedition, which will see the participants travelling a minimum of 48 kilometres on foot over three days with two nights spent under canvas.

The participants will carry all their food, tents, stoves, fuel and other equipment in their rucksacks for these four days as they are expected to be self-sufficient during the venture.

As if that isn't enough, they are expected to do this in unfamiliar wild country and do so by navigating their way along a pre-planned route, hopefully without deviating too much and definitely without getting lost.

But, that's not all, the Award requires that participants undertake “a journey with a purpose" and to this end they will need to produce a written report of the venture. The topic is of their choosing and needs to be relevant to the area they are visiting.

Once at the base camp the participants will spend the first couple of days, familiarising themselves with the area, route planning, sorting out all their food and equipment, and brushing up on their map reading skills.

Following this familiarisation the participants will then start the expedition proper during which they will be closely monitored by independent Award Assessors who will determine if the participants are adhering to the Award's conditions, observing the Country Code procedures, and correctly navigating across the various parts of the countryside.

To prepare for the expedition the participants have, since September 2018, been busy attending training sessions locally and carrying out practice camps in the south of Spain

The participants and the Award itself are meeting the costs of the trip. The Award and participants would like to thank the Gibraltar Government Youth Grant for also supporting the venture.

The participants will be accompanied by adult leaders, Marie Wallace, Richard Montado and Liam Reyes who will all be acting as supervisors and, as such, shall be responsible for the general safety and well being of the participants whilst away from the Rock.

The Award and the participants wish to thank them, and many others, for all the time they have spent over the last year getting the participants ready for the qualifying AJ and for accompanying them on this venture.

The group will be travelling by coach returning to Gibraltar on July 20.

For further information on the venture please contact the Chairman of the Open Award Centre, Paul Lyon on OACGibChair@gmail.com To learn more about the Award as a whole or, if you would like to get involved as a volunteer, please contact the National Director, Michael Pizzarello, on 20051971 or email mjpizza@gibtelecom.net or visit our website at www.thedukes.gi