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Duke Of Edinburgh Award helper


pre-warranted GiC
Staff member
Mods, I've put this here, but move it if its in the wrong place , please!!

I've been contacted by a Dad whose daughter is doing the DofE, and wants to do her , well he wasn't sure, but I think its community service, with my Rainbow Unit. I've contacted my DC, and she is coming over with some forms that need to be filled in before her service starts, and she gets county clearance.

I think someof you have done DofE, or have had DofE'ers with you. Can you give me any advice, do's don'ts etc, so I can help Annie get the most out of her time with us, and what she should/shouldn't do etc.

Thanks in advance,


Guide and Ranger Guider
Staff member
Hi Sari, I hope your helper is really that!

Personally I would consider her to have the same roll as a Young Leader as she is likely to be in that age group. but as she will only be with you for a set period of time I would think about what she can do (learn a bit about the organisation, organise an activity leading up to maybe a whole evening depending on how she gets on).

At the beginning of her time she needs to decide on an aim / goals for her role.

Does she know much about guiding?


Brown Owl to Brownies and Rainbows!
I have 3 girls doing their DofE award with me in Brownies & Rainbows. I treat them as young leaders - 2 of them have signed up to be YLs since as I've suggested it to them and said they're not allowed to ever leave now! LOL The third has not long since started so I've not tried 'converting' her yet:D
How old is she? You can do your DofE between 14 and 26, but been as it is the dad that contacted you then I am assuming that she is the lower end of that range? Basically, she is like a YL. Doesn't count in adult ratios etc.

You need to try and make sure that she enjoys her time with you (so may stay/come back!) rather than just doing it to tick a box for a certain number of months and being glad to get it over with! I know some people/units don't always make the best use of their YLs (or DofE people). They end up just making drinks, washing up after drinks, washing paint pots out etc. All useful, but not exactly interesting, and not going to inspire them to stay!

Find out if the girl has had any involvement with guiding before. We have someone helping at the moment that we have had to be careful not to through in at the deep end. She has never been involved with guiding, so doesn't know what is expected. Just little things that people forget about being 'guiding', she didn't know what it meant when we put our hand up etc. So a gentle introduction may be helpful to guiding if thats the case!

Basically it is probably worth you talking to her before hand. That way you can find out what she knows about guiding, what she wants to do, what she is happy doing etc. Is she confident to run a short game yet? If not she could work towards that maybe? Explain to her what she should and shouldn't be doing - mention the safe from harm info, that kind of thing. We have had to explain to our YLs and DofE vols before that they are seen as a leader and should behave as such. That means not encouraging the girls to do silly things, not getting overly friendly with them. So...not sitting in a corner with a group of guides all playing on their phones! Seems obvious, but we have had to point that out to people!

Hopefully she will enjoy her time with you and want to stay! She can sign up and become a YL and get her YLQ, which is more recognition of the work she does.


pre-warranted GiC
Staff member
the girl in question is 14, not a Guide, and I don't think has ever been involved in Guiding. She is , according to her granny, very shy, but that could be cos grannny never let her get a word in edgeways!! I mentioned not picking girls up, sittining on laps, showing mobiles etc, in the context of an ex-YL ( if I told that tale on here, your bloods would collectively boil...maybe later perhaps..I think the other YL's would hunt her down and do her in for sullying their name ) Thanks for your advice, and I'll keep you posted!
Guiding could well help to bring her out of her shell a little bit then....

Sounds like you are doing well with what you have told her! Like I said, been as she hasn't been involved in guiding before it might be useful to fill her in a bit! Sorry, I can't remember what section you are with - am I right in thinking rainbows? Anyway, maybe give her a bit of an explanation of what everything is. Not too much, could be very over whelming, but just so she is aware a bit about where the sections fit together and what programme they follow etc. Then gradually build up what she does. Maybe just watching the first few weeks, then little things - take the register or work with a couple of girls on their own. Building up to bigger things. Try and check back with her ever so often as to how she is doing. Is she enjoying it? Does she feel able to do more?

If she is only 14 then she will be doing her Bronze, so potentially you could get her back for silver and gold! So keep her interested!


ooooh Im now Brownies GiC!!
Maybe give her a shiny SS notebook (if they have one or a rainbows one!) and get her to keep a diary so she can record what she's done each week? That way she can see how she's helped, wat she enjoyed, any tales from the evening. When shes done her hours chat2her bout her diary entries and then u cud use that2gauge whether she is likely2want 2stay on an help as a YL! make sure u tell her how she can use guiding for references and her CV and that some of the things in her diary will count towards her YL qualification so she wont have that much to do if she agrees


Brownie Guider and Forum Moderater
I wasnt sure that we could take on D of E unless also in guiding?? How are they coverd by insurance if under 18? I mean if over you could count as unit helper?? Just wondering.


pre-warranted GiC
Staff member
I wasnt sure that we could take on D of E unless also in guiding?? How are they coverd by insurance if under 18? I mean if over you could count as unit helper?? Just wondering.
This was my big concern , Dietcoke. I have emailed my DC, and she has a form, but is going thru county channels, just to make sure. She thought that if they are doing DofE thru her school, that the DofE insurance should cover it. But she's checking with our county office anyway.


Veteran (100+ posts)
If the insurance works out okay - then like other have said just treat her like a young leader - get her to help with activities, run games etc


Veteran (100+ posts)
Can someone help me here, we've got a girl 'helping' (I use it in the very loosest sense of the word!) at Guides for her DofE gold, and GiC and I both think we remember hearing that to use Guiding for gold community service you had to be working towards/gain a qualification? Anyone know anything? We think it was a DofE requirement rather than Guiding. Thanks
As far as the person being 'allowed' to help...I can't remember all the details of it (its not me who deals with it). But it definately is ok people helping for DofE. Basically my understanding/remembering of it is that because they are volunteering through another youth organisation it is ok. DofE is covered insurance wise and so on for people participating. But, if you just have someone who wants to help, like for example someone we had who isnt involved with guiding or DofE, but wants to help to boost her CV up for teaching. That isn't ok, she wants to help regularly, so needs to be registered as something. Does that make any sense? We have had to fill forms in for DofE people, and over 16s are meant to have a CRB check done. But it sounds like your DC is sorting that.

As for what is expected from people...Incidently, the 'service' section of the award has now been renamed 'volunteering', so if you hear people using the two names they are the same section, not two different ones! Basically, a bit like with guiding, the focus for DofE is on personal achievment etc etc. So doing what you are capable of, pushing yourself, developing yourself. So one what for one person is a challenge may not be for someone else. Therefore there isn't a set list that people have to complete or do. It is all meant to be decided between the participant and the 'mentor' (so GiC in the case of guiding). You need to decide what the person can do, what they are working towards, their aims and so on.

The other thing is that you are meant to show progress through the levels of the award. (Particulary if you are doing the same activity for more than one level). An obvious example with this is if you play the violin for skill. Then at Bronze you may be at one level, by Gold you could have taken more exams and be at another level. With guiding as easy way of showing progression is by doing a qualification, whether it is YLQ, ALQ, camp licence or whatever. But, the person doesn't *have to*, particulary if they have only going guiding for say their gold award level then they may be able to progress and develop enough without doing a qualification.

Having said all that, it seems to be a 'local rule' in some places that to be able to do their DofE through guiding people have to register as a YL, or do their YLQ/ALQ. Presumably this is people wanting them to get more involved in guiding and stay in it! Which is fair enough, but be careful about pushing people do much and turning them off guiding all together!

Basically, like I said, the same as with guiding. DofE is flexible, it is all about the individual and seeing what fits them!


pre-warranted GiC
Staff member
I'm glad its called volunteering now, not service. I don't like that word, reminds me of curtseying and bowing to your master!!
That was part of the reason it was renamed. They have done a review and renamed/reogranised bits of it. "Service" was found to be thought of like you say, working for someone "serving them" etc. Also people thought of community service as more having to do it, like when people have to do a certain number of community service hours. The also decided that the official shortened version of the 'Duke of Edinburgh's Award' could be DofE, rather than 'The Award' like it used to be. Strange that, eh? Been as just about everyone everywhere used DofE anyway?!


Beginner (10+ posts)
Hi, I'm in a similar position but it's one of my brownie who left a few years ago.
She emailed me today to say she is 13 and in year 8 and can start from September, I'll have to check if she has to be 14 or if that's when her birthday is?
She has good knowledge of the group and how things run but I'll need to chat about being one of the leaders and acting as such (she was quite grown up when she left at 10/11).
I think the diary is a good idea as it gives us both a chance to reflect on progress and Joe she feels she is doing.
I'll also check about insurance and getting a DBS if appropriate.

I'd love an update on how you are getting on and any other ideas you all have in both of us getting the best out of the situation.
Thanks xxx

Sent from my D6603 using Tapatalk


Veteran (100+ posts)
Although the other comments on the thread are around nine years old it's very similar now.

The last I understood of DofE was that the starting age for Bronze is 14- but some areas can use discretion and have 13 YOs start if they are operating through a school as some pupils won't turn fourteen until later in the school year. As far as I know this does not affect stating as a DofE volunteer with Guiding but obviously might impact if she wants to move to being a YL.

This link explains a bit more about it, and how long she may want to volunteer for.
Levels and timescales – The Duke of Edinburgh's Award

Re DBS: a few years ago unlike YLs DofE volunteers need to have a CRB from age 16 onwards- but the GG website now says that volunteers over 18 need to under go "Guiding recruitment checks", with no specific mention of country specific checks (I think Scotland for example has some variation on DBS) or age 16 so it might be worth double checking this.

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award

I am guessing she is not currently a Guide? If a current local Guide or TSS member wanted to help and count it for their award they would automatically fall under either Rainbow/Brownie Helper or Young Leader, regardless of it they only want to be there for the duration of their volunteering time.
But if this is not the case then they are on GO as a DofE volunteer, are not a member of Girlguiding (therefore do not wear/ have uniform, pay census, make their promise or attend Guiding events that are not associated with their unit) and may potentially have a different age for recruitment check requirements.

I got re involved with Guiding through DofE, and quickly went over to being a YL instead of a DofE volunteer. I would say that the key thing is to have a goal, that is agreed up on before starting between you, her and her DofE instructor- unlike other volunteers in theory the whole time she is there is suppose to be an assessment against her goal/objective. For a younger Bronze member something such as simple such as "regularly attend Brownie meetings, to observe leadership used and put into practice through running games and activities" can work. As mentioned above some areas have by laws about having to get the YLQ etc but that would require being a member of GG which isn't for everyone and can be too much pressure for someone just starting out- but it might be something to suggest if she finishes her award period and enjoys herself. I was made to feel welcome and enjoyed helping which is what made me stay on. In theory DofE volunteers should only be with a unit when they are actively doing their award(s) so if she wants to stay helping being a YL should be offered, and there are more benefits to being a YL!
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Veteran (100+ posts)
Update: having asked someone else in the area who has had a DofE volunteer more recently- only those 18+ need a DBS. Unless they have previously been a member of GG they will also need to undergo reference checking. This includes those who turn 18 whilst helping (i.e. if you have someone start when they are 16 and are still helping when they turn 18 they still need a check).