We are very aware of the value of this award scheme, also known as DofE. It is available to all 14-24 year olds and is designed to equip young people for their lives ahead irrespective of their background, culture, skills and interests. Since its launch over 60 years ago it has widened the horizons of millions of youngsters world-wide and in many cases helped to transform their lives.
Our experiences with young people taking part have been very good. Most years we have had at least one student working with us who has elected to volunteer for the sort of conservation work which we are involved with. They have enjoyed taking part and have learned something and we have much enjoyed having this younger element working with us. Sometimes they bring ideas and skills of their own which are of value to our group.
We believe that volunteering with us is a good choice for these excellent young people. It gets them out of the house into the open air in all weathers and brings them into close contact with the natural environment in the woods and gardens of The Bourne. They are able to work side by side with the adults and, with appropriate guidance, pick up new skills in the realms of horticulture, use of tools and the provision of wildlife habitats. They also see the value and pleasure of working to help the community.
We provide those who join us a wide view of the area, not only the more public places where we work, such as the Middle Bourne Lane Wildlife Garden, but also the little known footpaths and pieces of woodland dotted all around south Farnham. There is also the chance to become involved in the annual In-Bloom competition in which Farnham was adjudged best Small Town in the UK last year.
We welcome DofE students joining us. Volunteers in the scheme who are 13 or over may take part with us unaccompanied by an adult so as to encourage a degree of independence which we believe is an important part of the Award.