(written by Amy Eastcott)
Amy Eastcott has just completed her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and in her own words she describes the challenges she faced on expedition. Amy is now completing her NCS Challenge at Cirencester College and is pictured above in the first week’s Residential in Weymouth at their Outdoor Centre.
“Hi I’m Amy, I’m 17 years old and have just completed the expedition element of the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.
I decided to do the Gold D of E because I knew it would be challenging like nothing I had experienced before. Unlike surgery, of which I have had many, this would be a positive challenge.
I was determined to do this challenge with my group at Cirencester College with the support of my wonderful able bodied peers. I knew they would find my everyday care needs challenging on their own let alone with the DofE on top. I am so grateful to them all. If they could do this with me and help me complete the challenge then I think we all problem solve and face any challenge in life.
What I found the most challenging was cycling, being drenched with rain, dripping wet and soaked. Also one of the tyres got a puncture on the tandem bicycle which was a bit of a surprise, adrenalin kicked in for most of us either causing some if us to laugh and others a little worried.
I knew the cooking outside would be hard for me and I also was extremely concerned about waking my buddy in my tent when I needed the toilet as I can’t just get up and take myself. I have a physical condition that affects me by not being able to stand or walk independently.
By the 2nd day I was ready to ‘throw in the towel’ as the saying goes. My legs were swollen and painful, I was wet through, hungry, exhausted and cold. I felt a little distressed at this point.
As we hadn’t quite got our intake of carbohydrates sorted for the amount of energy we were using most of us were feeling exhausted and emotional. It was hard work and only day 2! Time for a team talk and better organisation between us all as it wasn’t just me who was struggling.
Whilst there is a lot I found really hard I felt I helped with emotional support and my sense of humour, I like making people feel happy and confident.
I learned so much from my experience:
You don’t have to have a physical disability to find things challenging.
That all teenagers can be emotional, it’s normal and ok to have a few tears. It’s clears the toxins and you feel so much better.
To not give up even when it feels so difficult
To work together as a team as then you can achieve almost anything.
The importance of ‘re assessing, organising and structure.
To enjoy each others different personalities as we all have positives to give even if we are very different to each other. Different is good.
I’m so relieved we didn’t give up, we depended on each other to get through. I felt very emotional with happiness at our achievement, it was just a fantastic feeling. An experience that I will remember forever. Lots of fun times, I learned so much, AMAZING.
My mum refers to us as the Cirencester Celebrities as we all had our own bush tucker trials to face! Mum stated every student is a celebrity for taking on the DofE.
I thank Stuart, John and my peers for helping and supporting us so we could achieve this goal. I still can’t believe we did it!”