Hi there, I’m Nik Robinson and I’m parkrun UK’s volunteer Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Lead, and my home run is Aberdeen parkrun.
The DofE is a great scheme that promotes the development of young people, through undertaking a skill, a recreational activity and volunteering as well as going on an expedition! The time to be spent on each section depends on which of the levels of award, Bronze (3-6 months), Silver (6-9 months) and Gold (12-18 months).
parkrun has been an Approved Activity Provider (AAP) for the Volunteering Section of the Duke of Edinburgh for the past two years, with many DofE participants aged 14 – 24 using parkrun for their volunteering section. And as we all know, parkrun volunteering is not only fun, it offers structured and rewarding roles, the development of responsibility, and many transferable skills.
Linus (pictured) having volunteered at Maidenhead parkrun for six months, took on the role of Run Director at the end of his Silver Award. I was there for the occasion, and although he was a little nervous before the run brief with 300 people looking on, he did an amazing job, and managed his team of 20 volunteers perfectly, seeing the last parkrunner in and then processing the results!
I’ll let Liam from Preston Park junior parkrun explain how he got involved with parkrun and DofE:
“Through a chance conversation, between my Mother and a colleague who happened to be a volunteer at junior parkrun it was suggested I should do this for the volunteering section of my Silver DofE.
“I have to say before starting I was a little apprehensive about what to expect. However, at my first event I was made very welcome by the lovely volunteers and the wonderful Dawn, who was the lead organiser of the event when I started. My first role was being a marshal, after a few more times going, I was to the lead the warm-up. I was very nervous about doing this but afterwards I felt I was fitting in and becoming part of the team.
“In a recent session, I was reminded of this when another young DofE participant led for their first time. It made me realise how much I have achieved, as I take part in all aspects of the event. Doing parkrun has significantly boosted my confidence and people skills and I enjoy talking to the other volunteers and welcoming the runners. I feel as though I am making a difference for example, recently a young girl nearing the finish was overcome by a painful stitch and my words of encouragement gave her the courage to run across the finish line.”
Liam is now 18, completed his Silver Award, and still regularly attends his local parkrun event. So, if you are doing your DofE, or would like to, then why not consider parkrun for the volunteering section! Email your local parkrun 5k or junior event to find out more.
You can find your nearest parkrun here.
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