Your DofE Silver Award is quite a lot tougher than your Bronze for one good reason: on Bronze you were at home the morning of your first day (or in a cosy bunkhouse) and you will be back in your real bed on the evening of your second day. On Silver you have to deal with a whole day in the middle when you woke up in a tent, made your own breakfast, made your own lunch and dinner and then spent another night in a tent. If you forget anything or make any mistakes like getting really lost of really wet you will probably be miserable on at least one night. However it is for this same reason that this level is much more rewarding,
Your Silver DofE involves a 3 day practice and a 3 day qualifying expedition. Normally an Indie Outdoors programme also involves 1 day of pre-expedition training at your school where you learn various skills in and out of the classroom which build on what you learnt during Bronze.
Can be arranged for any day of the week and normally takes about 6hrs. Indie Outdoors instructors will arrive at your school and spend the day teaching more advanced techniques in the following areas:
Equipment – learn from your successes and mistakes in your Bronze and make your rucksack even lighter.
Campcraft – as you’ll be camping for two nights in a row this time you need to be quicker and better at all your campcraft skills.
Navigation – what you learned on Bronze was only the beginning I’m afraid! There is a lot more to learn about maps, navigation skills and compasses which will be introduced for the first time on Silver.
First aid – you will have forgetten everything about first aid by now so time to go have another go and learn some new things in the process.
Food and nutrition – you are going to have to carry everything you need for 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners and loads of snacks, so choosing the right things with the right weights is essential.
Again each group will have some hands on navigation practice using the local area where the new skills introduced in the classroom will be put into practice.
The group meets at a suitable location chosen by the school and Indie Outdoors.
The groups are given a quick brief by their instructor about what these three days are going to be about.
Again the first day will be fairly intensive instruction in hands on navigation with your instructor watching and coaching you constantly which can be quite exhausting but by now you should start to feel proud of your ability to read your map and the landscape around you and figure out where you are.
One your second and third day your instructor may give you more room to navigate completely on your own to give a feel for finding your way through Silver level terrain without any help. It also gives you a chance to get thoroughly lost and then find yourselves again.
Your qualifying expedition will be pretty much just like your practice expedition. It can’t be on the same route as your practice and you will have to prepare new route cards (see route cards). You will also have a different instructor from your practice expedition.