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2023 Joint Training: Over 270 participants from across the island attended

On the 4th and 5th November, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Bermuda (the Award) held two Joint Training Sessions in which over 270 young people from across the island attended – a record number. The aim of the annual training is to bring participants and Award Leaders together from the Bronze, Silver and Gold Levels, allowing them to better understand the diversity within the Award, provide additional non-formal learning experiences and give guidance and support to Award Leaders.

On the Saturday, 156 Bronze participants were randomly chosen to form groups to complete training in various areas of the Award. Each station focused on core areas of the Award, such as: Keeping Safe during the Adventurous Journey, Reducing Waste and Eliminating Litter, Campcraft – pitching tents, packing a rucksack and necessary equipment, Obstacle Assault Course Team building, Problem Solving and Critical Thinking.

On the Sunday the Award welcomed 120 Silver and Gold level participants to Southlands Nature Reserve where they undertook a navigation exercise followed by a mini-hike to Warwick Camp where participants had sessions with the Bermuda Police Service, Keep Bermuda Beautiful (KBB) and on The Royal Bermuda Regiment Obstacle Assault Course. At Southlands Nature Reserve, participants had to use their map reading and navigation skills to find the orienteering control flags, which were placed at significant locations around the property related to its history, to complete the assigned task, finish the activity successfully and then hike to Warwick Camp. The mini-hike was incorporated to further develop their understanding of highway code, pacing within a group, walking along a main thoroughfare and to continue their teamwork.

Karen Simmons, Programme Director, stated, “This year we were extremely pleased to note a record number of participants attending Joint Training, despite the very wet and rainy conditions. I was happy to see so many young people working together and helping each other through the activities. Joint Training is important because participants are encouraged to step outside of their comfort zone and work with young people they may have just met but who are working toward a common goal by using effective communication, problem solving, critical thinking to complete various aspects of the training. They were able to put into practice their leadership skills, enhance their teambuilding abilities, and experience the benefits of pushing through challenges that result in unparalleled personal accomplishments.”

“In addition, the Award welcomed Sergeant Jackson and a team from the Parish Constable Department of the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) who worked with the participants on how to keep safe on an Adventurous Journey as they move through and engage in their activities along the roads, railway trails, parks, beaches and through the cities of Hamilton, St. George’s, and in Dockyard. The Police Team re-enacted real life scenarios with the young people and discussed how to best navigate the situations safely.”

Stephen Gunn, Police Inspector BPS, stated, “It is always a pleasure for the Bermuda Police Service to offer support and guidance to the young people taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award. The interaction between the Parish Officers and the participants was informative and educational for all parties. We look forward to supporting this program for years to come.”

Karen Simmons continued, “From the Royal Bermuda Regiment (RBR), Color Sergeant Sergio White once again provided his valuable expertise, guidance, and motivation on how to safely complete the Regiment’s obstacle course. This was a new and challenging experience for most of the participants and the young people worked together as a team to complete the course. Captain Gavin Rayner, who is responsible for the Junior Leader Programme for RBR, did an outstanding job engaging with the participants by challenging them to think critically and problem solve to complete various team building tasks.”

Captain Gavin Rayner, RBR, stated, “This years group of students took to the challenge vigorously. This proved to be a double edge sword. The task saw the natural leaders come to the front and take charge. In most cases, that left the not so bold ones to stand and watch. The task was completed however not everyone’s input was sort. After a few examples of how this could be detrimental to the success of the team, the students were happy for the advice given. Well done and good luck.”

Karen Simmons added, “We also welcomed the newly appointed Education & Community Outreach Officer for KBB, Ashleigh Holland, to talk to the participants about one of the Award’s top priorities, championing sustainability and creating a path to a greener future. The Award and KBB have a long-standing partnership and many of our participants volunteer on a weekly basis to collect trash, which has the impact of reducing the effects of climate change and supporting the natural environment.”

Traci Burgess, Executive Director, KBB, stated, “As a longtime Award programme partner and approved activity provider, KBB was delighted to participate in the joint training session. Our Education & Community Outreach Coordinator, Ashleigh Holland, emphasized the importance of caring for the environment, reducing waste and eliminating litter. The training also highlighted a variety of KBB volunteer projects that can be completed to achieve the Award's service requirements.”

Participants from our Emerging Leader Development Programme (ELDP) assisted by providing training and peer leader support to the younger participants. The ELDP provides various pathways for these young leaders to develop their leadership skills and increase their knowledge to become future leaders and ambassadors of the Award.

Fiona Holmes, Development Director, stated, “The Joint Training weekend could not happen without the support of our many volunteers and donors. On behalf of the Award Council, I would also like to thank The Royal Bermuda Regiment, The Bermuda Police Service and Keep Bermuda Beautiful for providing additional expertise and support. I would also like to thank the Emerging Leaders, Award Leaders and Standards and Training Committee Members. The Award is provided free of charge to ensure it is accessible to all and this is thanks to our many donors such as Axis, The Argo Group, Zurich, The Bermuda Centennial Foundation, The Chubb Foundation, The Bermuda Foundation, AXA XL Foundation, Jardines, Everen, The Peter Cundill Foundation, Edmund Gibbons Ltd., Butterfield & Vallis, Conyers, Orbis, Hiscox, Allied World and KPMG.”

The Award develops well-rounded, global citizens who take pride in themselves and their communities. If you are interested in getting involved in the programme or would like to donate or support the Award Raffle (draw to take place on November 29th), please email or call 737-8959.

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