Zlatý Dofák Martin, ktorý už druhý rok pôsobí v programe Stand By Me a v SPOTE prijal pozvanie na rozhovor od Radio International. Po anglicky porozprával o DofE ale aj o jeho skúsenosti s programom Stand By Me. Martin mal na talente na striebornej úrovni cieľ zlepšiť si svoju angličtinu, čo sa mu určite podarilo, overiť si to môžete sami tu

Prepis Rozhovoru:

Presenter: Thank you for listening to Radio Slovakia International. Personal growth and development  are  central to the Duke of Edinburgh International Award, a programme launched by Prince Phillip which spread around the world and where Slovakia is also a participating country. Reflecting on the current situation and the increased number of Ukrainian child refugees, a joint initiative called Stand By Me was launched in the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia, aiming to help these children integrate into society. Martin Kojda is a high school student and a successful participant in the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme and he will tell us more.

Martin: Many people would say that DofE is love - once you have been in the programme for a very long time. The programme aims to help young people develop, find their goals, and maybe even discover some skills or areas they never knew they were good at. It also helps them to develop themselves and succeed in the future, be it in a future job or at university. For me, it means a lot of things, because I realised that I like working with people and it is always great to meet people with similar mindsets, people who want to help others and also develop themselves in new ways.

From the participants' point of view there are three different levels. There's bronze, silver and gold. I have just finished the silver level. The first area is called Skill. The participant chooses a particular activity which they have never tried or they want to improve in. For example, I wished to improve my English, and so I went to an English speaking school to get my certificate in advanced English. The second area is Sports. It could be running or swimming, for example, basically anything you have never tried before or you want to improve in. Aside from improving the physical skills, it is equally important to develop “on the inside”, when it comes to your mindsets or even your mental health. Even yoga is a valid option for Sports. Then we have Volunteering, where you help a community or someone in need. Again, it could be anything, for example tutoring.

Finally we have the Expedition. Depending on the level, it is two, three, or four days long for the bronze, silver and gold level, respectively. There is always an aim, something you are trying to accomplish, such as mapping the terrain or collecting flora. During the Expedition, you can use any (non-motorised) kind of transport, such as hiking or cycling. There is one exception on the gold level called the Residential project. It takes five days during which you go into a completely new community and try to develop a skill, e.g. help them in sports. But this is specific for the gold level only.

Presenter: I think that your goal about the English language was achieved, as you speak English very well. I am sitting with Martin Kojda, a highschool student who was awarded at the Duke of Edinburgh Award ceremony. The programme also reflects on the current situation in Slovakia. We have mentioned the Stand By Me initiative. Tell us a little bit more about your volunteering part.

Martin: I should probably start by explaining what I did for volunteering. Stand By Me is a programme that was launched about one year ago within the Duke of Edinburgh award, so they are interlinked - they are not the same thing, but come from the same organisation. The aim of Stand By Me is to help Ukrainian youth who had to take refuge here in Slovakia (and other countries) by integrating them into the DofE programme. This is done by proactively introducing them to what DofE is about. They can participate by first entering the volunteering section only, and later decide if they want to continue with the other areas as well. Stand By Me helps them to start living here. It is often difficult for them to find something new here, given that they lost their homes. Another form of help is creating a place where we can meet, talk and introduce the programme to them, which is what SPOT is - a place where we meet regularly, organise activities, and get to know each other a little bit better. This was part of my volunteering.

Presenter: While working on achieving the third and highest gold level of the Duke of Edinburgh award, you continue to participate in the SPOT, you did not quit.

Martin: Well, I am definitely continuing. One thing I have learned thanks to the Duke of Edinburgh award and the Stand By Me programme is that I enjoy working with people. I was actually surprised by this, but I came to realise that working with people is really interesting and I am sure I will make use of these experiences in my future career and even at university.

Presenter: What would you say to people of your age who consider taking part in the programme? Would you recommend it?

Martin: Two years ago I found myself in a similar position, asking myself the question: Should I take part in this programme? I had a classmate who had just finished the bronze level and she said to me: “Just do it, see what it’s about and maybe you won't regret it.” I ended up starting the programme and I am really thankful that I did. For those who may be hesitant, my suggestion is to just try it. You never know how influential it could be for you.

Presenter: You are wearing your pin on your jacket, a symbol showing you are one of the successful participants of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. The programme is not just about the actual award itself, but rather about the skills and the experience and friendships that come with it. This was Martin Kojda, thank you for being with us.

Martin: Thank you very much.