If you have already completed the Bronze and Silver DofE award levels, you may be expecting that the Gold DofE level is pretty similar to them. However, this is not the case! It is true that you will still have to carry out a period of time volunteering, complete a physical activity and skill once a week and finish this all of with an expedition. However, to be successful in your Gold DofE award, you will also have to take part in a residential trip. Every participant must do this if they want to achieve the Gold DofE award!
If you want to discover some good ideas for the Gold DofE residential trip if you are perhaps struggling, check out the rest of this article!
What makes a good Gold DofE residential idea?
A good Gold DofE residential idea must be one that meets all the DofE requirements! The residential that you choose must meet a set of criteria in order to count towards your Gold DofE award.
For your residential trip, you need to make sure that you are residing in an unfamiliar setting, away from home for at least five nights and four days. However, it is not just like another expedition!
After all, there are no requirements to camp, so you could stay in a hostel or dormitory for example. Food will often be provided for you too, depending on what type of residential you choose.
A good residential trip will also require you to be with people you have never met before! Therefore, you can’t organise to go on a residential with a group of friends, as you will be restricting yourself to meet new people!
During your residential trip, you must do activities during the day and the evening. Therefore, it should be a week jam packed full of fun!
The last requirement is that your Gold DofE residential must be organised by a registered charity or group. You can discover more about the requirements for Gold DofE residentials if you check out this article from the official DofE website.
All this aside, what really makes a good residential idea depends on what is a good idea personally for you! If you enjoy a sense of challenge, possibly consider going on an adventure residential. However, if the thought of heights absolutely terrifies you, perhaps consider something else, such as a baking week.
You will only expose yourself to all the good residential ideas if you do your research! Check out all the ideas for Gold DofE residential trips below if you are struggling!
The Gold DofE award is meant to be challenging. Therefore, why don’t you just go for it and choose a residential which will really push you to your limits!
Many participants find adventure residentials quite challenging, so some ideas related to this are listed below. However, whether a type of residential is seen as challenging or not definitely depends on each individual!
1. Go to an outdoor centre
There are plenty of outdoor centres across the UK, which expose students to a range of different activities. If you sign yourself up to do one of these, you could experience rock climbing, mountain biking, abseiling and much more!
The evening activities may also involve the outdoors, so you could end up sitting around a campfire, toasting marshmallows! An example of an adventure residential credited by the Gold DofE award scheme is held by the Brenscombe Outdoor Centre. You can check out their website here.
2. Go on sailing residential
If you fancy being adventurous on the water and not on land, maybe consider doing a residential where you will be doing a range of water activities! For example, Offshore is a charity in the UK which focuses on sailing and all types of water sports.
If you want to challenge yourselves and try something new on the water, you can check out the Offshore website if you click here.
3. Snowboarding residential
If you want to try something completely new and adventurous, you could consider trying out snowboarding or skiing! These types of residentials may be expensive, however will definitely provide you with experiences that you will never forget.
An example of an organisation which offers a DofE residential as adventurous as this is the Cairngorms Adventure in Scotland. You can check out their website if you click here.
4. Fitness residential
If you want to push yourself to your physical limits and discover whether you really have what it takes to pass military fitness tests, it may be worth considering doing a fitness residential!
You will be pushed to do military style workouts, whilst also making new friends! To find out more about a fitness residential from the Gold DofE award, check out this page from the Scorpion Airsoft website.
Residential trips for the Gold DofE award can be expensive. If you can’t quite get enough pennies together to pay for one, it may be worth looking at residential opportunities which are on the cheaper side, or even free!
Most of the residentials which are inexpensive often involve volunteering. However, you will still be developing important skills and will most likely have a fantastic experience! Check out this article from Think Student to discover why volunteering may actually be good for you!
The list below outlines some DofE residentials which are quite cheap. However, there is also a list of inexpensive DofE residentials found on the DofE website here.
5. Volunteering residentials
There are plenty of organisations and charities out there which would really appreciate volunteers to help them! Luckily, many charities offer residentials which fit the criteria for the Gold DofE award.
An example of a charity is the Bendrigg Trust. If you volunteered here, you would be helping disadvantaged children or individuals with disabilities.
You can discover more about how to get involved and what your role would require if you check out their website here.
6. Summer Camps
Summer camps also tend to look for new recruits to help look after the hundreds of kids that need to be looked after over summer! If you volunteer at a summer camp, you will obviously have the responsibility of looking after a load of kids, which may not seem the most appealing.
However, you will also develop leadership skills, gain more confidence and increase your experiences of working with young children! An example of a summer camp you could volunteer at is the Kirklees Summer Play Camp based in Yorkshire. You can check out their website here.
7. Join a conservation group
If you want to go on a low cost DofE residential that doesn’t involve looking after others, perhaps consider volunteering at a charity that helps to preserve and restore natural waterways. A good example of a charity that focuses on this is the Waterway Recovery Group.
This charity is based all across the UK and you can visit their website here.
If you are a bit fed up of the outdoors after your expedition but still want to try something new, there are plenty of Gold DofE residentials out there that are all inside but just as fun! There are so many different and creative hobbies which you could do for five days to tick off that residential section.
Some good ideas are listed below:
8. Cookery courses
If you want to learn how to cook from scratch or just want to increase your skills from what you know already, a cookery course could be a great option! Not only would you learn how to cook by following recipes, but you will also actually be taught about food and nutrition.
Doing a cookery course could be a very sociable and fun experience! An example of a residential approved by DofE is the Avenue Cookery School based in London. You can check out their website here.
9. Art Residentials
If you absolutely love to draw or maybe just want to improve your artistic abilities, doing an art residential could be a great option. You would be given opportunities to create a range of different pieces and may even be able to exhibit them!
An example of an art course residential is offered by the Grumpy Moose. You can visit their website if you click here. This residential even allows participants to create full portfolios by the end of the week!
10. Musical Theatre Residentials
If you are a real theatre kid and would like to spend a whole week showcasing your talents, why not consider joining a youth theatre group! The National Youth Music Theatre offers a Gold DofE residential course, where participants can increase their talents and meet new friends.
You can find out more information if you check out their website here.
Residentials focusing on the environment and conservation
If you are interested in preserving the environment, preventing climate change and nature in general, it may be worth pursuing a Gold DofE residential related to this. After all, it will allow you to increase your knowledge about this particular scientific area.
The residential ideas outlined below are all offered by one organisation, known as the Field Studies Council. You can check out their website here.
11. Conservation and zoo keeping
Not only could you be learning about conservation techniques during your residential, you could also be learning about zoo keeping and animal care! This residential offered by the Field Studies Council allows participants to learn and handle different animals and even learn how to sample them!
Accommodation and food is also included, with some night time activities, such as setting up a campfire! You can find out more about this on their website here.
12. Marine Science Camp
If you are more interested in the sea than land, this residential trip could be for you! You could learn about all the different types of marine life and sampling techniques whilst also developing vital skills.
For example, your teamwork skills could be improved, as well as your ability to communicate. You can discover more about this particular residential if you check out this page from the Field Studies Council website. Doing a residential like this will definitely be valuable if you are thinking about doing something related to marine biology in the future.
13. Sustainability and climate change residential
This type of residential will allow you to understand the key scientific concepts behind climate change clearly. You may also have the opportunity to be researchers yourselves!
For example, you may be asked to conduct scientific sampling and measure the amount of carbon trees contain. You can discover more about this opportunity if you check out the Field Studies Council website here.
Residentials with a bit of everything
If you are really not sure about what you want your DofE residential to focus on, there is no need to worry! There are plenty of charities and organisations which allow students to participate in a range of different activities.
After all, you want to be gaining as many skills as possible to make your DofE experience really worth it. Check out this article from Think Student to discover whether the DofE award is worth your time.
Read the list below to discover the different charities and organisations that will allow you to do a little bit of everything!
14. Kenton Hall Estate
This is a privately owned farm in the Suffolk countryside. This residential focuses on offering cookery courses. However, you will also be involved in gardening and picking your own veg, doing adventurous activities such as axe throwing and even participating in yoga!
You can check out the Kenton Hall Estate website here.
15. YHA Volunteering
If you are up for doing something a little different that still helps others, consider this organisations DofE residential! You will be tasked with gardening and decorating a hostel in England or Wales.
There will also be plenty of time for leisure activities whilst you are learning all your new skills! You can check out their website here.
16. Lakes and literature residential
If you are a bookworm but also a little adventurous, this could be the residential for you! If you participate, you will learn about the different famous authors of the Lake District and understand why they wrote what they did.
You will definitely also be getting your steps in from the amount of walking you’ll be doing! You can discover what else this residential involves in more detail if you check out this page from the Field Studies Council website.
If you are still unsure about what to do, you can always check out the DofE opportunity finder on the official DofE website.