Published: 02.03.2023

On 28 February, 70 students from the Zlín Region received bronze and silver certificates of the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award (DofE) at the Regional Office. They were officially awarded for their efforts and performance in the DofE programme.

The award was presented by the Zlín Regional Councillor for Education and Culture Zuzana Fišerová together with DofE patron Zuzana Bahulová. The ceremony in the council premises is the result of a successful and functioning memorandum between the Zlín Region and DofE. The ceremony was attended by young people from a total of nine different schools. One of the schools was the Gymnasium Zlín - Lesní čtvrt'. Interestingly, the DofE has been running successfully at this institution since 2014. "During those almost 10 years, over 90 dofaks have passed through my hands, you have dozens of expeditions, hundreds of hours spent under a tent, often in the rain and cold," recalls Mirek Flieger, the teacher who runs the programme at the school. "We recruit every year and the popularity of the programme continues to grow. The only thing we are running into is manpower capacity. We currently have 5 of us at the local centre." When asked what his favourite story is that relates to the DofE, he says with a smile that it's the expeditions when things happen. "Sometimes we might have kids wander off or explain to them what to do and then I just watch in silence as they go the other way, telling myself to shut up and let them be. They'll figure it out on their own." But he has a very high opinion of the final expeditions, saying they are a unique way for students to learn how to take care of themselves.

 Mirek Flieger, učitel SVS a dějepisu, který na zlínském gymnáziu vede místí DofE centrum.

Girl Scout on a mission for a cleaner planet

"I appreciate the fact that we all finished it. Fulfilling the program has moved us forward. Paradoxically, the training expedition was much more difficult than the sharp one. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it very much because the cohesion of our team was shown in difficult situations," recalls the bronze medalist Veronika Juráňová from Vsetín. As part of the programme, Veronika learned to work with wood, mastered the art of jiu-jitsu and as a volunteer led and still leads a Girl Scout troop. "I have been a scout for over 10 years and I enjoy it very much. We have a great group of people there." Asked what she likes best about delivering the DofE programme, she said: "DofE is full of experiences, each person can choose what they want to do and what they want to improve in. He's not alone in this, there are great mentors there to support him when he needs it," Verča sums up her experience.

The journey is the destination

Another of the winners was David Kříž from Bystřice pod Hostýnem, who received a bronze certificate. David's DofE journey was all the more challenging because he currently lives in an orphanage, where he also learned about the programme. "The DofE was suggested to me by our ethopedagogue, Mrs Marešová. She told me I would enjoy it, so I went for it. I chose cycling, football and I also cleaned." recalls David and proudly adds that out of the selected group of boys who decided to try the program, he was the only one who finished it. "At the moment I am already fulfilling the silver level. I think anyone who just wants to do something should try the DofE."  The Bystřice pod Hostýnem Children's Home was one of the local centres supported by the DofE through the Social Fund.  "My great thanks and respect go to Mrs. Ladislava Marešová, Pavel Janoštík and Vít Kravec, who with their perseverance and care prove that everyone has a chance to fight positively with life and get a chance to succeed." says DofE Executive Director Tomáš Vokáč, adding that the boys from Bystřice pod Hostýnem don't need pity, but role models like David.

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