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Hillingdon DoE youngsters go for gold in South Africa
YOUNG people, aged 16-24, from Hillingdon left last week for a character-building expedition to South Africa as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.
Their 16-day journey will culminate in a four-day trek across farmland and a game reserve in which they will use the survival skills learnt during preparation.
The DoE Award encourages young people to take part in a programme of activities, with the aim of developing physical, mental, social, and team working skills, building confidence and developing self-esteem.
The group was bound for the Conservation Academy at Craig Doone Farm in the Eastern Cape, run by botanist and naturalist Wayne Vos.
They will take part in an orientation and acclimatisation programme, finding out about local culture, history, wildlife, and learning skills, such as making fire, tracking animals and navigating by stars. They will also volunteer in a local school, take part in conservation work and go on safari.
The group will carry all they need for the trek on their backs, including a tent, food, cooking equipment and water purifying tablets.
The group of 19 trained for the trip with a practice wild camp in Snowdonia National Park and raised 90 per cent of the costs for their expedition through car boot sales, a band night and individual fund raising such as car washing and selling cakes.
Funds were also provided through the Jack Petchey Foundation,, which gives grants to raise the aspirations of young people.
Young people can find out more about the scheme by visiting http://young.hillingdon.gov.uk