As Spring approaches, program participants at Gonzaga are beginning to inquire about upcoming refresher training and hikes. Although the Duke of Edinbugh Program is not a part of the school curriculum, as is also the case with many other community groups that operate within our school community, Gonzaga administration continues to support the Duke program to the extent possible. In order to have a school sponsored hike, a “volunteer” teacher sponsor is required. Gonzaga currently has no teacher sponsor for the program this year and additionally, school board policy does not provide substitute teacher funding to allow teachers to attend silver and gold hikes that require one or multiple school days of teacher absence. Given no teacher sponsor this past year, we were fortunate last Fall that we were able to secure the services of a qualified and experienced contract hike leader from the Duke Office and this individual, along with community volunteer hike leaders, were able to support large group hikes at that time. Unfortunately this and any other contract resources under the auspices of the Duke Office are not currently available to lead spring hikes. It is important to note that adventurous journey delivery (hikes) is “not” within the mandate or responsibility of the Duke Office and the contract leader we did avail of on a few occasions was only a temporary situation.
Also, very importantly, past school sanctioned hikes, as well as the Duke Office contract hikes, provided the required ”insurance policy” that is important when taking out larger groups of students. Without this insurance, smaller group hikes arranged by students and families at their own risk is the only option available at the current time. Given the above, in order for Duke participants to achieve the required hikes for their award level, we are formally advising students and their families at this time to organize themselves into smaller groups and secure individuals on a personal basis who have experience hiking the East Coast Trail (family, friends, etc.) and complete your hikes this spring or summer at your own convenience. When organizing your own hikes, please refer to your Duke record book and/or website to ensure your hike route and distance requirements are acceptable for your award level and keep in mind that a minimum of 3 student hikers is mandatory for peer interaction.
As you are aware, at the beginning of each award level and prior to going on hikes, it is mandatory to complete refresher training. We are pleased to advise that we have secured a resource to provide this refresher training on Tuesday, May 9th at 7:00 p.m. in the Learning Resource Center at Gonzaga and if you wish to avail of this training, please sign up immediately by texting 685-1234 indicating your name, grade and award level.
Also, on Tuesday, May 9th at 6 p.m., prior to this training session, Duke parent volunteers at the school will be fielding general questions and concerns related to the above in a meeting open to any student and/or parent who wishes to attend and this meeting will also take place in the Gonzaga Learning Resource Center.