• Outdoor, Experiential & Ecological
  • Student Experience
A Journey with Purpose: The Duke of Edinburgh Award’s Adventurous Journey

If you see it, you might be wondering: why are Middle and High School students cooking at the campground? Or, why are there students on the field using maps and compasses?

This puzzling sight has a significant purpose. Our students are preparing and practicing the essential skills needed for their Adventurous Journey, one of the monumental pieces of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. By taking on the challenges of planning and embarking on an Adventurous Journey, students navigate through self-discovery, develop leadership skills, and explore new environments, all while building friendships and making lasting memories.

The possibilities are open and endless for a journey, but these students are currently practicing for a two-day, overnight adventure. Their journey will take them through the BC wilderness, where they will canoe in open waters and set up camp for the nights. Don’t worry, they’ve been training for months and are equipped with the knowledge and skills to ward off danger, cook nutritious meals, and steer in the right direction using land and marine maps; that’s right, no phones, just a handy map, and compass.

Planning an Adventurous Journey is an experience of a lifetime. However, it requires careful planning and preparation to ensure a safe and unforgettable time.

How to Plan for
an Adventurous Journey

 Step 1: Preparation and Training 
Students team up with their peers and commit to working together to achieve a common goal. Once their dream team is assembled, they decide where they want to go and how they want to journey in that area.

The team goes through comprehensive training and skills development with Ms. Deanne Nielsen, Duke of Edinburgh Program Coordinator, and with the support of Mrs. Stacy Banack OE3 Coordinator, and Mr. James Willms, Director of Environment and Risk at Meadowridge School. Training might involve learning how to navigate with a map and compass, meal planning and preparation, setting up camp, and first aid

There are no mistakes made along the way. Every “mistake” is a part of the learning experience to increase independence, awareness, and teamwork. - MS. DEANNE NIELSEN, DUKE OF EDINBURGH AWARD COORDINATOR & HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER 

 Step 2: The Practice Journey 
Once all the planning and skills are in place, students go on a supervised practice journey in similar environments and terrain. This can consist of hiking, canoeing, kayaking, cycling, or even swimming. Considerations are made for terrain, weather, and distance.

Once a route is decided, an itinerary is created which outlines the schedule for the distance, activities covered each day, what to cook, and where to sleep. Finally, they’ll ensure they have all the gear they need for the journey, including appropriate clothing for all weather, footwear, and equipment such as tents, sleeping bags, and cooking supplies. The students will set off on their journey, which can range from one day to an overnight experience, to make sure they are ready for their Qualifying Journey.

 Step 3: The Qualifying Journey 
It’s time to put everything they’ve trained and planned for to the test! Students can ensure a safe and rewarding experience that encourages them to explore the outdoors, gain a sense of adventure, learn about the environment, about themselves, and connect with their friends. Depending on what Award Level they are pursuing, the students can be out for two days and one night for a Bronze Award, to a four-day and three nights trip for the Gold Award.