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Exploring the Great Outdoors: A Journey Through the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award

Exploring the Great Outdoors: A Journey Through the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award

For young people across the globe, the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award program offers an exciting opportunity to learn new skills, overcome obstacles, and build confidence and resilience. By promoting the acquisition of transferable skills, enhancing physical fitness, fostering a spirit of adventure, and engaging in community service, the Award empowers young people to discover their purpose, passion, and position in the world.

For many students at Silicon Valley International School (INTL), the most memorable part of the program is the Adventurous Journey which provides participants with the opportunity to learn more about the wider environment, as well as to develop their self-confidence, team work and health. The journey takes students out of their comfort zone and puts them into an unfamiliar environment that will challenge both their physical and mental skills. The program is designed to ensure that students are adequately prepared, supported, and supervised throughout the journey, so that they can safely learn from their experiences and grow as individuals.

This was certainly the case for a group of INTL High School students who recently embarked on a trek through Point Reyes, California, for their Adventurous Journey.

Students resting on their hike on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The students’ adventure began from the moment they arrived at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Before heading to Coast Campground, the students split into two groups to ascend Mount Wittenberg ridge, with one taking a steeper route and the other facing obstacles on Meadow trail. Both groups met at the top and observed fire-damaged flora and renewing vegetation. The landscape changed on their descent to the campground, with wildflowers still present despite the wind.

After setting up their tents, the group enjoyed a short hike to the beach and an early dinner. Some watched the sunset over Drakes Bay, while others chatted at the campsite before settling in for the night. 

Students making breakfast in came, heating cookware to make pancakes.

A restful night set up the adventurers for their first full day of their journey which began with a sunny wake-up call, followed by a hearty breakfast of energizing oatmeal, tea, and pancakes. With the campsite packed up, the group headed south along the coast, taking in breathtaking views of the ocean along the way.

The first half of the hike was a constant climb up steep valleys and across river bridges, while the second half included a challenging ascent up a small hill. However, the students persevered and eventually arrived at their new home for the next two nights, the Wildcat campground. After setting up their tents, the group enjoyed games of rounders and took some time to relax and appreciate the beauty of their surroundings.

Students taking a group shot sitting on a downed tree during the sunset.

Refreshed and ready for more, the group split into small factions for the morning. Some students went on a short hike while others stayed close to the campsite and enjoyed activities like making friendship bracelets and playing rounders. In the afternoon, the entire group met back up and took a trip to Alamere Falls along the beach, a stunning sight to behold.

Students hiking the trail in wet conditions.

An early start to the final day began with contemplation as the students reflected on their journey and the goals they had set for themselves. Throughout the trip, the students used their time to hone the important skills of teamwork, resilience, and communication.

Students hiking up hill on the trail with walking sticks.

The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award program’s Adventurous Journey provides an incredible opportunity for young people to challenge themselves and discover the wonders of the natural world. Whether they are hiking through the rugged terrain of Point Reyes or exploring new cultures in far-off lands, these students are building skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. We can't wait to see where their journey takes them next!

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