Page 9 - FIS World November 2021
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 acknowledges that the achievement of the Award is
impressive to prospective universities, she also quips, “Who doesn’t want to go off and camp on their own?”
If Award participants are drawn in by the independence of an outdoor adventure, they must also acknowledge that achievement of the award encompasses many other aspects of a student’s experiences and skills, both in and out of the classroom and can vary based upon the student’s age and level of Award sought. One million young people worldwide, including around 100 FIS students, are currently pursuing Bronze, Silver or Gold International Awards. Regardless of the level, they each must incorporate a service activity, dedication to a physical recreation, demonstration of a specific skill and completion of an adventurous expedition to be considered for the award.
“There is more to us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.” - Kurt Hahn
Victoria S., an FIS Grade 11 student, has almost completed her Silver Award after having already achieved her Bronze award in Grade 9. In pursuing the Award, Victoria has chosen to serve as the social media manager for the Upper School’s Climate and Sustainability Club, a cause in which she feels deeply invested. She is also dedicated to year-round training in track and has focused on baking and cooking as the skill she has been cultivating, even taking on the creation of birthday cakes for family members.
For Victoria, the adventurous expedition posed a significant challenge, but not due to its physical exertion or requisite outdoor equipment training. Instead, it was the elusive skill of managing group
dynamics that provided her with a “mountain” to climb. After receiving training from FIS’s extensive Award administration and supervision team, Victoria and her group set out for a practice expedition. The faculty supervisor, available from a distance to ensure safety, could sense, along with Victoria and her hiking companions, that cohesion of purpose and approach was lacking. Afterwards, they made the difficult decision to reconfigure their expedition groups and clarify duties and responsibilities so that their upcoming assessed expedition was not only a success, but was also enjoyable, leading to the memorable experience of creating forest art together as part of the journey.
“In the end, the fun bit is the most rewarding part of the program,”Victoria reflects. Sometimes, joy is the product of a hard-won accomplishment. This dynamic is one of the reasons Pete Sinclair, Upper School Assistant Principal and DofE Award assessor, has been so willing to provide his support of the program and ensure that supplies and calendar space are allocated to Award supervisors and participants. An avid hiker, who has participated in many multi-day journeys, Mr. Sinclair is aware of the transformative power of a worthwhile challenge. “Once you’ve passed that point where it’s difficult, it becomes a pleasure and you can start to enjoy it. If it’s not challenging enough that you might sit on the side of the road and cry – and I believe I’ve done that – then you don’t learn about yourself.” And here, Mr. Sinclair echoes Kurt Hahn, one of the creators of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, who said,“There is more to us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.”
Katie Thieme FIS Parent
The Outdoor Learning Area on the FISW Campus provided
a terrific camping pitch for students pursuing the DofE Silver Award
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