DofE Activity Ideas

  • The DofE Activity Ideas section has been developed to help DofE participants at all levels try to find activities for the Volunteering, Physical and Skills sections of their award.

    WHAT TO DO IN FOUR EASY STEPS:

    • RESEARCH you activity. Make sure you look carefully through the information on dofe.org (or on the following activity tabs) and chat to your DofE Leader to help ensure you meet the DofE rules and criteria for your chosen activity.
    • Send in your activities on your eDofE account to get them APPROVED. Go to our eDofE Support pages if you need help setting up your eDofE account or advice in how to get your activities approved.
    • Once approved you can START your activity. Please be aware, do not start an activity unless you have approval. It has been known that some participants finish an activity they did not get approval for only to find out it did not count!
    • Upload your EVIDENCE (journal, photos and assessor’s report) onto eDofE. You do not have to upload evidence but it might be useful. Your DofE co-ordinator will let you know.
    • Upload ASSESSOR REPORTS to complete an activity. This is the minimum you need to complete your approved activity. Simple upload a scan of your signed Keeping Track page or ask your assessor to fill in details at www.dofe.org/assessor.
       

    We hope you enjoy our guide. Please let us know by clicking here if you have any suggestions. Feedback is always welcome.

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  • What counts as a physical activity?
    Through the Physical section you should achieve a greater physical fitness through participation and improvement in physical activity.  For your physical activity you need to choose any sport, dance or fitness activity - in short, anything that requires a sustained level of energy and physical activity.  For example, playing a sport regularly and showing personal improvement would count.  However, learning to be a coach in the same sport would be a Skills section activity, whilst being a volunteer coach counts for the Volunteering section.

    • Remember, your physical activity needs to be outside normal lesson time. Lunchtime and after school activities are great!
    • Choose an assessor who will help you set goals, see you every session or who can see your progress over the time period. A personal trainer, coach or centre staff are great as assessor's if you are going swimming, to the gym or another activity on your own.
    • If you are joining a school or local club - make sure the activity runs for the whole time period and not just for one term. If you miss weeks for holidays/illness, then add them on at the end. 

     

    CATEGORY 1: TEAM SPORTS       

    Some ideas for you:
    American football - Baseball - Basketball - Boccia - Camogie - Cricket - Curling - Dodge disc - Dodgeball - Fives - Football - Hockey - Hurling - Kabaddi - Korfball - Lacrosse - Netball - Octopushing - Polo - Rogaining - Rounders - Rugby - Sledge hockey - Stoolball - Tchoukball - Ultimate flying disc - Underwater rugby - Volleyball - Walleyball - Water polo.

    • Make sure it's not in lesson time. Lunch and after school clubs are ideal.
    • Your one hour per week can be made up of 2 x 30 minutes etc if needed. 

    Example 'goals' include:

    Football

    • Join your local club to develop new skills and take advantage of coached practices
    • Lean new techniques, ie dribbling, volleying, heading
    • Represent your team in regular league/club matches
    • Use online tutorials to teach yourself freestyle tricks

    Hockey

    • Train with a hockey club weekly and compete in tournaments in your local area
    • Learn different ways to pass ball (hit, push, drive, flick)
    • Improve goalkeeping technique and play for your team
    • Transfer your skills to ice and learn to play with a puck

    Rugby

    • Join your local rugby club and play for a team OR learn tag rugby/sevens to increase speed, agility, strength
    • Learn different kicks, such as the chip kick, screw, drop
    • Learn to tackle, pass, ruck in practice sessions

    Netball

    • Try playing in different positions & find out you’re best
    • Improve your passing, catching and shooting techniques
    • Do specific netball drills with the team to improve your speed and agility on the court
    • Join your local netball club and play in tournaments

     

    CATEGORY 2: INDIVIDUAL SPORTS
    Some ideas for you:

    Archey - Athletics (any field or track event) - Biathlon/Triathlon/Pentathlon - Bowling - Boxing - Croquet - Cross country running - Cycling - Fencing - Golf - Horse riding - Modern pentathlon - Orienteering - Petanque - Roller blading - Running - Static trapeze - Wrestling.

    Example 'goals' include:

    Athletics

    • Learn new athletic discipline, ie discus, javelin, shot put
    • Join local athletics club to improve your technique
    • Aim to beat the school record at hurdles through practice OR train and compete in competitions to improve time

    Archery

    • Get instruction on how to perfect stance and focus and set and achieve personal targets each week
    • Train for and compete in an archery contest
    • Take weekly archery course and gain a certificate

    Cycling

    • Go on weekly mountain bike rides, improving your distance and stamina over time
    • Learn how to ride bike with help of family / friends (but remember a family member cannot assess you)
    • Race in speed trials at a local velodrome
    • Go cycling every week with a local club, going on different routes and setting fitness or speed targets

    Horse riding

    • Learn how to horse ride through weekly lessons
    • Study and train for your pony club exams
    • Discover dressage and learn how to jump.  Show off your skills in a competition

     

    CATEGORY 3: WATER SPORTS         

    Some ideas for you:
    Canoeing - Diving - Dragon Boat Racing - Free-diving - Kneboarding - Rowing & sculling - Sailing - Skurfing - Sub aqua (SCUBA diving & snorkelling) - Surfing/bosy boarding - Swimming - Synchronised swimming - Windsurfing.

    Example 'goals' include:

    Swimming

    • Learn to swim and the basics of how to do front crawl, breastroke and backstroke
    • Have tuition to improve your stroke technique and improve your speed over a set distance
    • Build your stamina through regular swim practice and improve the number of lengths you can swim each week
    • Join local swimming club and compete in competitions

    Sailing

    • Do an introduction to sailing course and practice regularly
    • Learn new sailing skills, such as power manoeuvres, anchoring and mooring techniques
    • Join local sailing club and start racing in competitions
    • Learn to sail dinghies, including how to capsize and recover in a controlled manor

    Canoeing

    • Join your local canoe club and learn basic techniques such as the draw stroke, the J-stroke and turning
    • Undertake and achieve a BCU star award
    • Explore canoe touring techniques & undertake min 4 trips
    • Learn to Eskimo roll in a pool and transfer to a moving water environment

    Windsurfing

    • With tuition, learn to sail faster & turn board more quickly
    • Practice and improve your techniques in different environments from lake to beach
    • Join a local windsurfing club and take part in competitions
    • Gain your RYA Certificate of Competence

     

    CATEGORY 4: RACQUET SPORTS     

    Some ideas for you:
    Badminton - Matkot - Rackelton - Rapid ball - Real tennis - Squash - Table tennis - Tennis.

    Example 'goals' include:

    Badminton

    • Learn how to play doubles & arrange a tournament
    • Join a badminton club and play every week, setting yourself targets to improve
    • Gain a badminton award, through a course and regular practice
    • Learn how and when to use a wide variety of strokes from smashing to delicate tumbling net returns

    Tennis

    • Take lessons to learn how to spin the ball, including topspin, backspin and sidespin OR learn new strokes, inc. serves, forehands, backhands, volleys
    • Train for, and take part in, tennis tournaments
    • Join tennis club and practice with different players, in different weather conditions and on different surfaces

    Squash

    • Take lessons to learn the different types of shots, such as volley and drop shot
    • Practice squash every week so you can keep up a rally with a friend
    • Learn how to play a game and keep score

     

    CATEGORY 5: DANCE            

    Some ideas for you:
    Ballet - Ballroom dancing - Belly dancing - Bhangra dancing - Ceroc - Contra dance - Country & Western - Flamenco - Folk dancing - Jazz - Line dancing - Morris dancing - Salsa (or other Latin styles) dancing - Scottish/Welsh/Irish dancing - Street dancing/breakdancing/hip hop - Swing - Tap dancing.

    Example 'goals' include:

    Street dance

    • Learn how to dance hip hop and perform in a talent show at school or in your youth group
    • Choreograph, practice and perform a street dance in a dramatics production
    • Join street dance group and train for competitions & shows
    • Use online tutorials to lean about popping and locking.  Practice moves weekly

    Ballet

    • Lean ballet, including mastering the five basic positions
    • Learn how to move through music & perform to an audience
    • Join a dance studio, rehearse & take part in a public show
    • Practice regularly to achieve a new ballet grade

    Salsa

    • Join a salsa class and learn basic moves, spins and turns
    • Attend weekly lessons & progress through the class levels
    • Use online videos to study and practice footwork and shines, filming your progress
    • Develop your moves in Rudeda classes

    Tap

    • Learn tap, including mastering the basic steps such as step-heel, heel-step and stamp
    • Have tuition to develop advanced moves or learn how to combine basic steps together
    • Practice regularly to achieve a new grade
    • Learn a dance to perform to an audience

     

    CATEGORY 6: FITNESS           

    Some ideas for you:

    Aerobics - Cheerleading - Fitness classes - Gym work - gymnastics - Medau movement - Physical achievement - Pilates - Running/jogging - Trampolining - Walking - Weightlifting - Yoga.

    Example 'goals' include:
    Fitness classes

    • Join a gym and take part in regular spinning classes
    • Improve your muscle tone through a class using weights, e.g. Bodypump
    • Splash your way to fitness in water aerobics sessions
    • Lean pilates and improve your technique so you can progress from beginner to advances classes

    Personal achievement

    • Join a running club, run weekly and improve times
    • Do a speed test and improve your time with training
    • Train for, and take part in a challenging charity race
    • Do regular circuit training at the gym

    Trampolining

    • Practice regularly and gain trampolining awards
    • Learn new jumps inc. straight tuck, pike and seat
    • Challenge yourself to learn two advanced moves such as a back somersault or a Barani flip
    • Join a club and compete in regional competitions

    Gymnastics

    • Develop your own warm-up routine using aerobic, flexibility and strength exercises
    • Experiment with different pieces of equipment
    • Put together a floor routine showing balance, agility and good linking elements
    • Aim for a national governing body award

     

    CATEGORY 7: EXTREME SPORTS      

    Some ideas for you:

    Caving & potholing - Climbing - Free running (parkour) - Ice skating - Mountain biking - Mountain unicycling - Parachuting - Skateboarding - Skydiving - Snow sports (skiiing, snowboarding, snowkiting) - Speed skating - Street luge.

    Example 'goals' include:
    Skateboarding

    • Practice and improve at a skate park every week, getting friends to film you
    • Learn a range of new skateboarding moves, including flips and freestyle tricks
    • Use a longboard to practice cruising, downhill racing and, if you get really good, slalom racing
    • Train and enter a skateboarding competition

    Climbing

    • Learn climbing techniques, inc. belaying, leading, abseiling
    • Train for and compete in indoor bouldering competitions
    • Train to climb to at least one grade higher, for instance from difficult to severe
    • Learn to climb, then increase your fitness by using a climbing wall once a week

    Winter sports

    • Learn to speed skate at your local ice rink
    • Learn to figure skate, performing spins and jumps
    • Learn to ski, taking weekly lessons and progress to more difficult slopes

     

    CATEGORY 8: MARTIAL ARTS       

    Some ideas for you:

    Aikido - Capoeira - Ju Jitsu - Judo - Karate - Self-defence - Sumo - Tae Kwon Do - Tai Chi.

    Example 'goals' include:

    Tae Kwon Do

    • Learn how to break, boards, bricks, tiles, blocks of ice or other materials
    • Practice sparring, inc. step sparring, free-style sparring, arranged sparring and point sparring
    • Progress from one grade to the next, demonstrating proficiency in certain aspects
    • Learn throwing and /or falling techniques and self-defence moves

    Judo

    • Learn new throws and holds & how to fall, and attain next grading
    • Attend a local judo class and learn sparring techniques
    • Regularly train and compete in judo tournaments
    • Achieve your first judo grading

    Karate

    • Progress from one grade / belt to the next
    • Join a karate club and learn basic techniques
    • Learn an Asian style of unarmed combat using the hands and feet to deliver and block blows
    • Learn to become a karate sensei

     

    STILL NEED SOME IDEAS?

    Just contact us here and ask us for advice. We’re here to help!

  • What counts as a skills activity?
    The Skills section is all about developing practical and social skills and personal interests. If you already take part in a skill, you could use that activity, but you might want to start something new. You need to choose an activity that will allow you to prove you have broadened your understanding and increased your expertise in your chosen skill.

    REMEMBER...Your Skills activity should not be a physical activity, for example tennis, dance or scuba diving, as these activities count towards your Physical section. Check your skills activity appears on the www.dofe.org website under Skills.

    Finally... family members cannot assess you, so think about grouping together for skills like cookery and have a responsible adult oversee your progress and assess you. Ask you DofE Leader to assess you if you can.

    • Remember, Dance, Gymnastics, Golf, Cricket, and Tennis are on the Physical section and are not Skills. Have a look at the list below to choose an appropriate skill.

    CATEGORY 1: CREATIVE ARTS     

    Some ideas for you:

    Basket making - Boat work - Brass rubbing - Building catapults & trebuchets - Cake decorations - Camping gear making - Candle-making - Canoe building - Canvas work - Carnival/festival float construction - Ceramics - Clay modelling - Crocheting - Cross stitching - DIY - Dough craft - Drawing - Dressmaking - Egg decorating - Embroidery - Enamelling - Fabric printing - Feng Sui - Floral decoration - French polishing - Furniture restoration - Glass blowing - Glass painting - Interior design - Jewellery making - Knitting - Lace making - Leatherwork - Lettering & calligraphy - Macrame - Marquetry - Model construction - Mosaic - Painting & design - Patchwork - Photography - Pottery - Quilting - Rope work - Rug making - Snack pimping - Soft toy making - Tatting - Taxidermy - Textiles - Weaving and spinning - Wine/beer making - Woodwork.

    Example 'goals' include:
    Jewellery making

    • Create a range of bead jewellery and showcase online
    • Use recyclable materials to create an environmentally friendly range of jewellery
    • Learn wire wrapping - one of the oldest jewellery making techniques
    • Understand the principles of working with silver and mounting semi-precious stones

    Photography

    • Experiment with different colour filters, working in natural and artificial light and present your findings
    • Learn how to use an SLR camera, and the different functions
    • Choose a theme such as wildlife, or portrait photography and take photos weekly
    • Learn how to re-touch digital images including cropping, adding effects/adjusting colour and enter a competition

    Model construction

    • Hand-paint fantasy games models / enter competition
    • Design, build and furnish your own dolls' house
    • Build a working model of a plane or helicopter, using a construction kit, and fly it
    • Create a detailed model of a famous building of your choice, with advice from an architect

     

    CATEGORY 2: PERFORMING ARTS    

    Some ideas for you:

    Ballet appreciation - Ceremonial drill - Circus skills - Conjuring & magic - Dance appreciation - Extreme ironing - Majorettes - Puppetry - Sining - Speech & drama - Theatre appreciation - Ventriliquism - Yoyo extreme.

    Example 'goals' include:
    Speech & Drama

    • Take part in a weekly drama club and develop improvisation skills
    • Create a comedy sketch show and film/present it
    • Practice reading poetry and enter a competition
    • Choreograph and perform in a stage combat show

    Circus skills

    • Learn how to ride a unicycle
    • Attend a professional circus skills course and learn how to walk on stilts
    • Learn how to model balloons OR plate-spinning, diabolo and rola bola and perform at a party

    Singing

    • Have weekly singing lessons, learning breathing techniques and how to protect your voice (if your lesson is only 30 minutes then practice at home for the other 30 minutes)
    • Watch online tutorials to learn singing tips and techniques then record your own CD
    • Join a choir or a band and perform to audiences
    • Perform in your school's musical

     

    CATEGORY 3: MUSIC        

    Some ideas for you:

    Church bell ringing - Composing - DJing - Evaluating music & musical performances - Improving melodies - Listening to, analysing & describing music - Music appreciation - Playing a musical instrument - Playing in a band - Reading ^ notating music - Understanding music in relation to history & culture.

    Example 'goals' include:
    Playing an instrument

    • Learn to play the trumpet and join a band
    • Take weekly lessons and gain a grade
    • Learn to play the guitar and be able to play more songs (if your lesson is only 30 minutes then practice at home for the other 30 minutes - perhaps learn by using books and the internet and ask your DofE Leader to assess you)
    • Create instruments from household items & record a CD

    DJing

    • Go on a DJ course and practise regularly
    • Create your own mashups and produce an album
    • Learn to mix, scratch & blend two or more tunes together

     

    CATEGORY 4: CARE OF ANIMALS    

    Some ideas for you:

    Agriculture (keeping livestock) - Aquarium keeping - Beekeeping - Caring for reptiles - Dog training & handling - Horse/donkey/llama/alpaca handling & care - Keeping of pets - Looking after birds (i.e. budgies & canaries) - Pigeon breeding & racing.

    Example 'goals' include:
    Dog Training

    • Research how guide dogs for the blind and hearing dogs for the deaf are trained
    • Learn about police dog training and how dogs are used to solve crimes
    • Care for your dog, learning about grooming, nutrition and overall health OR perhaps help your dog become more obedient by joining a weekly dog training class

    Bee Keeping

    • Gain British Bee Keeping Association Junior Certificate in Bee Keeping OR research the decline of the honey bee population and what can be done to help OR learn about traditional bee keeping in rural areas around the world OR maybe attend a weekly bee keeping course and gain practical experience

    Horse handling & care

    • Learn about the principles of watering and feeding
    • Complete your British Horse Society Horse Knowledge, Care and Riding exam, stage 1 or 2
    • Research best ways to handle different types of horses/ponies
    • Learn about the structure of a horses foot and shoeing

     

    CATEGORY 5: LEARNING & COLLECTING        
    Some ideas for you:

    Aeronautics - Aircraft recognition - Anthropology - Archaeology - Astronautics - Astronomy - Bird watching - Coastal navigation - Coins - Collections, studies & surveys - Comics - Contemporary legends - Costume study - Criminology - Dowsing & divining - Fashion - Forces insignia - Gemstones - Genealogy - Heraldry - History of art - Language skills - Military history - Movie posters - Postcards - Reading - Religious studies - Ship recognition - Stamp collecting.

    Example 'goals' include:
    Collecting

    • Collect movie posters and blog about each one
    • Collect stamps OR old seaside postcards and create a website / scrapbook showcasing your collection
    • Collect coins from around the world and research their history

    Criminology

    • Discover career opportunities related to criminology & make a careers guide for school
    • Learn how a criminal can be identified using the latest technology
    • Find out about cyber-crime and write up results
    • Look at trends in youth crime and learn about the youth and criminal justice system

    Fashion

    • Do fashion course & create portfolio of your designs
    • Organise an accessories fashion show displaying a range of items you have collected
    • Develop knowledge of fashion in three different cultures and give a presentation to your group
    • Learn about the impact World War II had on fashion, and scrapbook your findings

     

    CATEGORY 6: LIFE SKILLS               

    Some ideas for you:

    Alternative therapies - Cookery - Democracy in action - Digital lifestyle - Driving: car maintenance/car road skills - Driving: motorcycle maintenance/road skills - Event planning - First Aid - St John/St Andrew/BRCS - Hair & beauty - Learning about the RNLI (Lifeboats) - Library & information skills - Life skills - Massage - Money management - Navigation - Public speaking and debating - Skills for employment - Young Enterprise.

    Example 'goals' include:
    Skills for employment

    • Learn how to write a letter of application for a job, complete a job application form and create a good CV
    • Gain work experience in a range of careers that interest you
    • Learn interview techniques and improve by videoing yourself and getting others to appraise you
    • Consider where you might like to work by researching and interviewing people who work in different organisations

    Cookery

    • Compile your own healthy eating recipe book including photos of the dishes you've made
    • Research and prepare a few healthy, low-budget meals
    • Do a course on the importance of hygiene and safe storage of food and utensils
    • Learn to make a variety of cakes & hold tea-party for friends
      (if you cannot find an adult to assess you then ask your DofE Leader. Family members cannot assess you.)

    Digital lifestyle

    • Learn to download / upload music, photos and videos and make a digital scrapbook of a recent holiday
    • Create a slide show using digital pictures you've taken
    • Create a short documentary on an issue you feel passionately about, and post it on you YouTube
    • Create a series of podcasts on the best parts of your DofE programme

     

    CATEGORY 7: NATURAL WORLD          

    Some ideas for you:

    Agriculture - Conservation - Forestry - Gardening - Groundsmanship - Growing carniverous plants - Plant growing - Snail farming - Vegetable growing.

    Example 'goals' include:
    Vegetable growing

    • Create a vegetable patch in your garden or allotment and grow seasonal vegetables
    • Build your own greenhouse and use it to grow your own vegetables
    • Grow a selection of chili plants from seed and see which one is hottest
    • Cultivate vegetables and enter them into your local village fete or horticultural show

    Gardening

    • Take a garden design course at a local college and create a 3D design on a computer
    • Learn how to, and then grow and look after your favourite flowers
    • Help a gardener to understand and care for different types of plants OR build and maintain a pond or water feature in your back garden

     

    CATEGORY 8: MEDIA & COMMUNICATION        

    Some ideas for you:

    Amateur radio - Communicating with people who are visually impaired - Communicating with people who have a hearing impediment - Film & video making - Journalism - Newsletter & magazine production - Signalling - Writing.

    Example 'goals' include:
    Film making

    • Create an idea for a short film / animation, which includes a script and storyboard
    • Learn about the principles of lighting, sound, recording and appropriate camera work
    • Produce a series of films to promote the DofE
    • Learn how to edit film or video (inc adding titles and music)

    Newsletter & magazine production

    • Blog a weekly comparison of how different newspapers cover the same story
    • Design and produce a newsletter for your DofE group and circulate it to parents
    • Become a photo journalist by recording local/school events
    • Contribute to a weekly teen column in your local paper

    Journalism

    • Take a summer course in journalism
    • Write an article / column for local paper or magazine
    • Attend and report on local events
    • Conduct some interviews and write about them

     

    CATEGORY 9: GAMES & SPORTS    

    Some ideas for you:

    Cards (i.e. bridge) - Chess - Clay target shooting - Cycle maintenance - Darts - Dominoes - Fishing/fly fishing - Flying - Gliding - Go-karting - Historial period re-enacting - Kite construction & flying - Mah Jongg - Marksmanship - Model construction & racing - Motor sports - Power boating - Snooker, pool & billiards - Sports appreciation - Sports leadership - Sports officiating - Table games - War games.

    Example 'goals' include:
    Sports leadership & officiating

    • Learn rules and regulations of a sport of your choice
    • Gain a Sports Leadership UK Award in Dance Leadership
    • Get a qualification in refereeing and join in a sports club to practise
    • Learn how to become a tennis umpire with the LTA

    Snooker, pool & billiards

    • Join a club, take lessons and practise weekly
    • Learn the difference between the rules of snooker and pool and practise both
    • Be able to use correct cue action, bridge and stance and enter a competition

    Go-karting

    • Learn how to go-kart at a local track
    • Increase speed on each lap by learning best techniques for steering, braking & racing lines
    • Take part in competitions / races

     

    CATEGORY 10: SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY        

    Some ideas for you:

    Aerodynamics - Anatomy - Astronomy - Biology - Botany - Chemistry - Ecology - Electronics - Engineering - Entomolgy - IT - Marine biology - Oceanography - Paleontology - Physics - Rocket making - Taxonomy - Weather/meteorology - Website design - Zoology.

    Example 'goals' include:
    Science

    • Research and create a photo journal on how physics affects every day life
    • Build a water-powered rocket from household items
    • Research marine life in UK and create a website
    • Do a series of hands-on science experiments at an after-school club and film them

    Information Technology

    • Complete a computer course through a local college
    • Learn about the different parts that make up a computer and write up your findings  OR build your own computer
    • Create and manage your own website

    Astronomy

    • Study early developments of astronomy (ie findings of Galileo) OR be able to identify constellations, stars and planets OR build a telescope and document your findings OR make model to demonstrate the orbit of artificial satellite

     

    STILL NEED SOME IDEAS?

    Have you thought about the following?

    • Group together and create a cookery group with an adult supporting and assessing you.
    • Help Activ Adventures Ltd plan, shoot and edit some videos of the DofE programme.
    • Conduct interviews and write articles for the school’s monthly DofE newsletter.

    Just contact us here and ask us for advice. We’re here to help!

  • What counts as a volunteering activity?
    You need to give time to make a difference to the lives of other people, community organisations, the environment or animals. Remember, that volunteering is not ‘working without getting paid’, it is more than this! Working for a commercial organisation (ie vets) will not count, and organising clothes and learning about how the till works is insufficient if you are considering working in a charity shop. Use your Programme Planners and your Leaders to ensure you are doing the activity that follows the DofE rules.

    REMEMBER...Volunteering is not just about working in a charity shop or for a community organisation. You can plan and organise fund raising events, help in school with projects, or even create your own project. Look through all the ideas on these two pages and then, if needed, ask Sean or James for advice!

    Team Volunteering: You can also volunteer in a team, which might be an easier way to find an activity if you can identify a local need you can help with. Ask your leader for support if you feel this interests you.

    Practical Volunteering: At least three quarters of the time you spend on the Volunteering section must be practical volunteering.  So, you can learn first aid or sports leadership if it's a quarter of the time or less and providing you then go on to volunteer using your first aid/sports leadership skills, i.e. for St John Ambulance or school/local club.  If you just want to learn something like first aid, sports leadership or lifesaving, then this counts for your Skills section.

    CHARITY SHOP? Volunteering in a charity shop is not about working behind the counter, serving people and organising items. You need to: 1. Learn about the charity (who it supports and how); 2. Raise money (what does the charity sells? See if you can set up collections at school/local community), bring to shop and sort for display) and, 3. Raise awareness (let people know what you are doing and who it benefits).

    HINTS & ADVICE:

    • Working for a business is work experience not volunteering. Placements to be careful of include: vets, commercial riding stables (rather than those wit charity status), tennis coaches and dance studios.
    • It's not about providing organisations with free labour - its about making a direct, positive difference to people in need, for example - in a library you would be helping others with their reading not shelving books. In a care home you would be chatting and interacting with the older people not doing the dishes.
    • When you describe your goals on eDofE remember it is about the difference you make to others NOT how you improve your own skills. For example, if you were helping at your local football team your aim would be to improve their skills not your coaching.
    • Try and be specific with your goals - instead of "helping children" you could say "help little Timmy improve his confidence with his reading".
    • Working for a charity shop can be great but it's not about working behind the till. Make sure you learn all about what the charity does, help raise awareness and try and make a real difference. For example, you could organise a collection of items to sell in the shop or raise awareness of the issues with friends and family.
    • Remember that DofE is about getting out of your comfort zone and helping your wider community, for that reason your volunteering should not be helping family members.

    A lot of organisations place AGE RESTRICTIONS on volunteering activities. Do not worry as the list we here shows you can do much more than just work for an organisation.

    Need HELP or ADVICE? Email us at info@activadventures.com

     

    CATEGORY 1: HELPING PEOPLE
    Whether it’s children, older people, someone who may not be as fortunate as you or suffering in some way -  your chance to make a difference!

    Example 'goals' include:
    Helping older people

    • Visit & entertain older people at residential home
    • Deliver meals on wheels with your local WRVS
    • Run a 'silver surfers club' teaching older people about IT and help them get online

    Helping children

    • Be a hospital visitor on a children's ward
    • Help run a Brownie/Cubs group
    • Be part of a reading programme at a local primary school

    Helping people in need

    • Volunteer at a refugee centre
    • Staff your university Nightline
    • Help out at an evening drop-in centre for homeless people

    Helping people with special needs

    • Record talking books/newspapers with RNIB
    • Assist with Riding for the Disabled
    • Support swimming lessons for your local disabled people's club

    Youth work

    • Help run a weekly youth club for 13 year-olds
    • Be a DJ in your local youth club
    • Help your leader develop games and inductions for new people to your youth club

     

    CATEGORY 2: COMMUNITY ACTION AND RAISING AWARENESS      Do you have a passion for a particular cause? Want to see things improve in your local community? Want to make a difference?

    Example 'goals' include:
    Campaigning

    • Start a recycling and carbon-neutral project at your school
    • Run a crime prevent project in youth group with the police
    • Get 1,000 signatories to an online anti-poverty campaign

    Promotion and PR

    • Present a regular radio show in your local hospital on current affairs
    • Act as a public speaker for a charity
    • Write articles or your local paper on positive work young people are doing in your area

    Cyber safety

    • Make a video on the importance of cyber safety for your school or group website
    • Run a project on social networking safety for 10-14 yr olds
    • Design, produce, distribute a leaflet on keeping safe online

    Peer education

    • Raise awareness about drug / alcohol safety at youth club
    • Help run a life skills course for young people with special needs
    • Help new arrivals at school learn English as a second language

    Council representation

    • Become an Advisor for Girlguiding UK
    • Join your school council as a class rep
    • Stand for the UK youth parliament

    Other Community action & raising awareness ideas include: Drug & alcohol education - Home accident prevention - Personal safety - Road safety.

     

    CATEGORY 3: COACHING, TEACHING AND LEADERSHIP    Do you want to develop your leadership skills or have an expertise that you’d love to share with others and help them improve their talents?

    Example 'goals' include:
    DofE Leadership

    • Coach participants in video making and photography & uploading into eDofE
    • Set up and support a team volunteering opportunity
    • Mentor a Bronze DofE group

    Sports/dance leadership

    • Coach with your community football/hockey team
    • With a teacher, set up a lunchtime exercise club at your local primary school
    • Run street dance lessons for a local youth club

    Music teaching

    • Conduct your college choir
    • Train a Girls'/Boys Brigade marching band
    • Run a primary school music club, teaching an instrument you can play

    Group leadership

    • Be a uniformed youth group leader (Girls' Venture Corps - Sea Cadets - Air Cadets - Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade - St John Ambulance - Scout Association - Air Training Corps - Army Cadet Force - Boys' Brigade - CCF - Church Lads' & Girls' Brigade - Girlguiding UK - Girls' Brigade)
    • Help run an after-school kids' club
    • Take responsibility for a voluntary group's admin, budget and equipment

    Peer mentoring

    • Mentor a young person experiencing difficulties
    • Use sign language skills to mentor deaf pupils
    • Help another young person develop IT skills

     

    CATEGORY 4: WORKING WITH ENVIRONMENT / ANIMALS
    Join local charity/voluntary group project or national charity’s local project. If none, set up your own team opportunity. A commercial organisation, ie vets, won’t count, but voluntary, for example PDSA or Blue Cross, would be great!

    Example 'goals' include:
    Preserving waterways

    • Help arrange a series of litter picks at a local lake or river
    • Work with local Wildlife Wetland Trust to monitor mammals
    • Repair a canal with a local conservation group

    Urban conservation

    • Turn a piece of wasteland into a vegetable allotment for your local community
    • Work in a team to clear graffiti from a local park
    • Teach primary school children about recycling or set up a recycling project in your community

    Beach and coastline

    • Work for the RNLI as a lifeguard at the beach
    • Raise awareness at school of coastal erosion
    • Clean up a section of beach with friends

    Animal welfare

    • Dog walking or cat grooming for a local animal shelter
    • Assist with guided walks at local RSPB nature reserve
    • Groom and walk donkeys at a local sanctuary

    Zoo/farm/nature reserve

    • Help muck out at a not-for-profit stables
    • Design and produce a guide to local nature reserves for your community, pointing out accessible routes
    • Work at a community farm teaching

    Other Working with the environment or animals ideas include: Environment - Rural conservation - Working at an animal rescue centre - Litter picking - 

     

    CATEGORY 5: HELPING A CHARITY OR COMMUNITY ORGANISATION
    Are you keen to give something back to a particular charity or want to make a difference in a community organisation?

    Example 'goals' include:
    Administration

    • Design and maintain a website for a local community group
    • Help your DofE Leader to use eDofE
    • Give general office support to a children's charity

    Events

    • Run a quiz night for the Red Cross
    • Be a marshal at a series of Cadet events
    • Take part in sponsored events for your charity to meet a fundraising target
    • Organise a presentation evening for your DofE group & write a guide for others

    Serving a faith community

    • Run a weekly prayer group OR be an altar server
    • Help a group of young people prepare for their Bar Mitzvah
    • Help at events/functions in your local church, temple or mosque

    Fundraising

    • Work with friends to raise funds for Oxfam
    • Take active part in campaign to send shoeboxes of resources overseas
    • Do sponsored bike ride to raise money for the British Heart Foundation
    • Work in a charity shop, creating great window displays

     

    STILL NEED SOME IDEAS?

    Just contact us here and ask us for advice. We’re here to help!

  • What counts as a RESIDENTIAL activity?
    For your Residential section you need to undertake a shared activity or specific course with people you don't know, with an organised group, registered charity or AAP, in a residential setting away from home and in an unfamiliar environment.  You must join it individually and not with an existing group of friends or as part of a school or youth group trip. Evenings are often as much a part of the experience as daytime activities. 

    It is estimated that in some regions, ONE in TEN Gold Awards are not approved as participants are advised incorrectly on the Residential section of their award. So please check information below carefully.

    You need to check your plan for your residential activity meets the DofE criteria:

    1. DURATION - You must be away from home in an unfamiliar environment for a minimum of five days and four nights and must have identified an Assessor.
    2. AIM - There must be a specific, shared course or activity to broaden experiences and interests done with an organised group, registered charity or Approved Activity Provider.
    3. GROUP - Consider the group size and make up.
    4. PREPARATION - Before the residential, the participant should carry out appropriate training, briefing or research.
    5. APPROVAL - The Licensed Organisation must have approved the planned residential.

     

    1. DURATION OF THE RESIDENTIAL

    • Attending a group activity during the day but returning home each evening is not allowed. You need to stay overnight with the group. Individual home stays or staying with a friend or relative are not allowed.
    • Evenings are as important as the day, so you should be mixing with the group during planned activity and down time.
    • The Assessor should engage with you during the residential and must be familiar with the aims and objectives of the Section.

    2. AIM OF YOUR RESIDENTIAL

    We have highlighted some ideas below for you. Please take the time to read through these suggestions but make sure you get approval from your DofE co-ordinator BEFORE you start planning your residential activity. Some points for you include:

    • Doing an activity individually during the day whilst staying in a residential setting with others does not count.
    • You must volunteer your time on the residential and not receive payment; however, you may receive money for expenses.
    • Work experience and live-in internships are not acceptable.
    • Going on holiday is not an appropriate activity. You should do some form of purposeful activity, such as a training course leading to a qualification, a course which develops skills or interests or which involves volunteering. As with other sections, this should not be an activity which is part of the curriculum.
    • You cannot count their practice or qualifying expeditions for this section.

    3. GROUP

    • The group should be no smaller than five people (including you) who are all on the residential experience, as the interaction with others is crucial to the success of the residential and a group any smaller than this will not provide sufficient opportunities.
    • You should ideally join a residential as an individual. A few participants may know each other when they are joining a larger group, where possible these participants should be separated.
    • Other members of the group can be of any age.
    • The staff should also be unknown to you (for example, helping Bronze or Silver participants with their expeditions for your school or DofE group is not acceptable). 

    4. PLANNING

    • You should research the activity that you have chosen and follow any pre-activity instructions or requirements.
    • In some cases this may mean meeting some of the people on the residential once or twice before the residential for essential training.

    5. APPROVAL

    • All residential opportunities must be approved by the Licensed Organisation in advance of the residential taking place. Make sure you get approval from your DofE co-ordinator before going ahead with any plans! 

    Remember, follow this rough rule of thumb:

    • 5 days, 4 nights (minimum)
    • Away from home in an unfamiliar environment
    • Doing something productive
    • With people they don’t know
    • All staying in the same place

    The evenings on Residentials are just as important as the day time and for this reason, the ‘all staying in the same place’ rule cannot be ignored. Therefore, staying in hotels or at a home stay with a family does not count.

     

    RESIDENTIAL IDEAS:

    CATEGORY 1: SEVICE TO OTHERS

    Examples include:

    Assisting at a kids' summer camp

    • Help at an outdoor centre running residentials, helping young people do adventurous activities (many guide and scout activity centres are great for your Residential activity)
    • Be a counsellor at a faith-based summer camp
    • Be a leader at an overseas children's camp that promotes healthy eating and exercise
    • Help at a Girlguiding or Scout camp, passing on your skills, from orienteering and canoeing to cooking (make sure the group and leaders are not familiar to you)

    Helping people with special needs

    • Assist with an Open Gold special needs DofE expedition
    • Help disadvantaged children prepare for, and take part in, the Rio Carnival, Brazil
    • Help deaf/blind young people and adults to enjoy a holiday
    • Be a sighted guide on a holiday organised by the Guide Dogs for the Blind

    Overseas community projects

    • Rebuild a school roof in a village in Lesotho
    • Teach basic computer skills and English to school children in Cambodia
    • Help at a Peruvian mountain orphanage, organising activities for the children and providing company
    • Redecorate a community centre in Haiti through a faith-based charity

     

    CATEGORY 2: ENVIRONMENT & CONSERVATION

    Examples include:

    Environmental / conservation project

    • Help prepare historic buildings for public viewing, staying in the grounds
    • Join a tree planting project with The Woodland Trust
    • Do dry stone walling in the hills of the West Tyne Valley, working and living in the shadow of Hadrian's wall
    • Help with marine conservation, cleaning beaches and raising awareness in the community
    • Help protect the National Parks by path building, fencing and tree planting
    • Attend a conference on climate change as a youth representative for your local authority

    Protecting wildlife

    • Study gibbons in Thailand, checking their health and mapping movements
    • Create wildlife ponds in Ireland's Murlough National Reserve
    • Work with the National Trust on a wildlife conservation project
    • Study the bird population in a RSPB nature reserve, take photographs, observe behaviour and monitor their sounds
    • Monitor the bat population in the New Forest

    Support an eco-friendly project

    • Repair erosion on the footpath network in the Brecon Beacons
    • Work on a paper recycling project for a not-for-profit social enterprise in the UK
    • Volunteer at a centre which promotes sustainable living, and live in their eco-friendly accommodation
    • Work on a water relief project in Kenya, helping the community build and access safe water sources
    • Help the preservation team f a narrow gauge railway in md Wales

     

    CATEGORY 3: LEARNING

    Examples include:

    Culture

    • Undertake a cookery course in France
    • Do a photography course run by a university and exhibit your work
    • Study traditional dance in Morocco
    • Learn to write and produce music, and put on a show for local people
    • Improve your Spanish language skills on a course in Madrid
    • Immerse yourself in Gaelic language and culture on a week-long course
     

    Academic study

    • Go to a university Chemistry camp and learn how medicine in made
    • Take part in an astronomy course learning about constellations and black holes
    • Attend a residential web design and programming course and launch your own website
    • Attend a business skills course, such as project management, living in the training centre accommodation with other students

     

    CATEGORY 4: ACTIVITY BASED

    Examples include:

    Physical activity

    • Learn to snowboard on an intensive course in Scotland or France
      Train to be a beach lifeguard at the National Lifeguard Training Centre in Newquay
    • Join a mountain climbing residential, raising money for charity
      Join an adventure activity week
    • Learn yoga and Ayurveda (a sort of alternative medicine) on a retreat
    • Go white water rafting in New Zealand, past glaciers and camp by the river

    The arts

    • Immerse yourself in the beauty of Tuscany on a painting course
    • Design and make your own clothes at a fashion camp
    • Go on a summer drama course and learn how to direct, produce and act in plays.  End your residential with a performance
    • Take part in a multi-faith residential, studying different religions