Bronze Award Qualifying Expedition

Here we go again!

We wanted to show our students that there is more to life than sitting on a sofa watching life pass you by. So we decided to participate in the award so as to encourage them to set their own goals and challenges, work towards achieving them, and then be recognized at the end for sustaining the commitment they have made. The most important part of the award is the fact that it does not have any sense of competition between the participants. The only people with whom they compete are themselves. For this reason, self-motivation is fundamental to the Programme and we strongly believed that our students could achieve this.

After the mock expedition experience, we proceeded with our weekly meetings. These included prior training to bring participants up to the required standard before taking part in the qualifying Expedition. Sessions involved route planning, back-packing, first aid, tent pitching, reading bearings and other interesting sessions. Once all the relevant paperwork was completed, our participants were ready to proceed with the Qualifying Expedition.

The journey started on Sunday morning from Riviera Bay towards Lippija tower and past the beautiful Gnejna Bay. We reached the Victoria Lines and walked by Fomm ir-Rih towards Bahrija and through the picturesque Maltese countryside, we reached Dingli.

We set base at the Salesian Oratory in Dingli. The students prepared their mats and sleeping bags and cooked food together.  The group spent the evening together in a room sharing some ghost stories. When the boys had exhausted their stories, they went off to sleep. The entire group woke up early, cooked breakfast and started the second part of the journey. We left Dingli and walked down the cliffs past chapels and beautiful views. We walked through  the areas known as il-Fawwara, all the way through Qrendi just by Hagar Qim and finally towards Wied iż-Żurrieq, were we were joined by our assessor. On completion of the Qualifying Expedition, all of our students received a comprehensive debrief. All of them had successfully completed the expedition!

All the group was dead tired but utterly satisfied with the achievement. This wonderful experience in the outdoor environment helped the group to develop initiative, teamwork, communication, leadership, problem-solving and organisation skills. Experiencing and overcoming challenges together helped them sharpen their emotional strength and empathy for others. Whilst we are waiting for our students to complete their service, a skill and physical activity, we are really looking forward to start working for the Silver Award!

Rachel Lombardo and Stef Bugeja