FOTA
Friends of the Award

Supporting Young People to Achieve

With it being the 60th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s award it was only fitting that the theme for our AGM was “Celebrating Volunteering”. As an advocate of volunteering himself, we were invited to hold our AGM in the City Chambers curtsy of the Lord Provost – Rt. Hon. Donald Wilson. This was a fantastic opportunity to invite volunteers both current and past along to celebrate this fantastic milestone especially after another busy expedition season.

It is interesting to note the different levels of volunteering that take place across Edinburgh that allows the continued access to the Duke of Edinburgh award for young people, from those on Boards and as Trustees for charities that work with young people – such as ourselves at FOTA, to those who run the sessions on a weekly basis – be they teachers giving up their lunch breaks or office-workers giving up their evenings. Alongside these there are many that give up precious summer weekends to supervise or assess groups whilst out on their expeditions across the country, and those that help FOTA through other means such as keeping the Kit Store in order, or at our events throughout the year.

It was great to hear what it was that drew a wide variety of individuals into volunteering in the first place, as well as how often these volunteering opportunities gave so much to the leaders as well as the young people they worked with – be it through developing additional skills and qualifications, or through the friendships with other leaders that have lasted decades. If ever there was a ringing endorsement to volunteer, this is it.

This evening was also a chance to celebrate some of the achievements of the young people we work with, with sectional certificates being handed out to worthy DofE participants as well as a #SuperstarSupporter certificate for our friends at Sciennes Primary School who have helped to develop our JASS award since its first inception in 2009. Without their hardwork and commitment, JASS would not be where it is today. A huge congratulations goes to Chris who was awarded his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award on the evening also, possibly completing the fastest award turn-around from the DofE Scotland office as they received the paperwork earlier that day! It was clear to see what this meant to all involved by the smile on Chris’ face.

Needless to say that the DofE in Edinburgh would not be as successful as it is without any of these individuals, and once again we say a huge Thank You to you all. For many the hard work hasn’t stopped just because it is no longer the expedition season, in fact it has only just begun again. If you would like to know how you can help over the winter then please get in contact with the FOTA team.