Sam Sykes, the founder, has been involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Award from the moment he was born.
His father and mentor, Stuart Sykes, has dedicated 40 years of his life delivering the DofE as a volunteer to young people. This earned Stuart an MBE in 2002 for his services to young people.
Their knowledge and experience of, and dedication to, the DofE is unmatched in this country, delivering unique and exceptional expeditions throughout the UK. Sam himself has achieved remarkable things, both personally and professionally, in the great outdoors.
He climbed his first mountain at only three years of age, before going on to scale Europe’s largest mountain by the time he was 18.
His passion, experience and dedication is reflected throughout the organisation he has created and has led Sam Sykes™ to become one of the world’s leading providers of DofE expeditions.
Stuart Sykes has been involved with young people and the DofE for over 40 years, meaning Sam became involved from the word go.
By the time he was a young man, Sam was using the experience gained to organise expeditions himself, both in the UK and around the world.
Setting up Sam Sykes™ Ltd in 2009, Sam’s aim was to create the world’s best DofE expedition company and, only seven years later, we now work with schools and organisations across the globe to provide unforgettable experiences for thousands of young people.
With a firm focus on ensuring all participants are safe while enjoying the most exciting adventures, the company can now genuinely claim that Sam has made good on his aim when he started out.
“I know that doing what I do makes a difference for the better and, most importantly, I know why I set out to build the best expedition company in the world.”
On my way to meeting another school who wanted to do DofE expeditions with me I popped into a Costa, and when I was ordering a large coffee to perk me up after a long drive two young men who were in their early twenties came straight up to me and said: “Sam, we did our DofE with you in the Lakes…Do you remember?” I did, they looked a little older and had filled out a bit more from the seventeen year olds I remember, but it was them. My memory flashed to a moment at a checkpoint on the summit of Hellvellyn in glorious sunshine; I remember the group like it was yesterday and the pride-filled smiles as I took a picture for them with the Lake District mountains as a backdrop.
I shook their hands and asked how they were doing, and they told me all about uni and getting their first jobs. We talked about the DofE expedition and they smiled from ear to ear whilst reminiscing.
They told me about how they were asked about their DofE in job interviews and that they had been out on their own adventurous trips during breaks from university to the Alps and Morocco. They told me how much they loved it, and how the expedition in the Lakes was so good they wish they could do it again – their enthusiasm was infectious. I was smiling like a cheshire cat as well. Ultimately they told me that it had helped them, and one told me his younger sister was doing her Gold DofE expedition later that year with me – and to make sure I didn’t cut her any slack! The guys thanked me for the expedition again and I wished them the best of luck with their new jobs and said goodbye.
As I walked back to my car I couldn’t stop smiling. I had made a difference to those young men, and everything I have been working towards and the reason why I do it had just been justified by an idle chat in a Costa coffee.
That wasn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened and it fortunately hasn’t been the last, but when I wake up in the morning I know that doing what I do makes a difference for the better and, most importantly, I know why I set out to build the best expedition company in the world.
I believe that if you really want to do something well in life you need to know why you do it.